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Interesting Grade C Prospects to Follow in 2012

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Some Intriguing Grade C Prospects to Follow in 2012.

I wrote a piece yesterday about Jorge Posada, pointing out that the retired Yankees star was just a Grade C/C+ prospect in the minor leagues. I want to expand that theme today by looking at some Grade C prospects in the upcoming 2012 Baseball Prospect Book, who in my opinion have a chance to get beyond that and surprise us.

First, here is how I define a Grade C prospect:

Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys.Some don't make it at all. . .keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.

Here are six Grade C prospects who I think should be watched closely in 2012. Two of them are "limited upside" guys who could end up being surprisingly solid contributors, and four of them are players from the low minors with upside but who are a long distance from the Show.

Andrew Carraway, RHP, Seattle Mariners
HT: 6-2 WT: 200 B:R T:R DOB: September 4, 1986

(Carraway posted a 3.66 ERA with a 106/25 K/BB in 138 innings for Double-A Jackson in 2011, allowing 123 hits and nine homers)

Carraway was a 12th round pick in 2009 from the University of Virginia. He doesn't generate much buzz due to a mediocre fastball in the 86-90 range, but he has a good curveball and will mix in some sliders and changeups. The best thing he does is throw strikes, and he pitched well in Double-A last year after surviving the murderous environment at High Desert in '10 with his sanity intact. You won't see his name on many prospect lists, but Carraway is the type of efficiency expert who could sneak his way into some major league success as a fifth starter or long reliever, especially in a pitcher's park like Seattle. Grade C.

Tyler Greene, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
HT: 6-2 WT: 175 B:R T:R DOB: December 1, 1992

(Greene hit .276/.386/.379 in 17 games for the GCL Phillies, with 11 walks and 23 strikeouts in 58 at-bats. He stole five bases in six attempts).

Greene was drafted in the 11th round by the Phillies last June, out of high school in Boca Raton, Florida. His draft position was deceptive. At one point he was considered a candidate for the second round, but an erratic spring and a University of Georgia commitment hurt his stock. The Phillies signed him for $375,000, and he showed intriguing tools in his pro debut, demonstrating gap power, speed, and a willingness to work counts. Greene is a very good athlete with the arm strength to remain at shortstop, although problems with his footwork may move him to third base. His swing mechanics need refinement and he strikes out a lot, but he will show patience at times and has above-average power potential. Greene is under-the-radar at the moment and will need time to develop, but his ceiling is higher-than-normal for an 11th round pick. Keep an eye on him. Grade C for now

Juan Perez, 2B-SS, Cincinnati Reds
HT: 6-0 WT: 180 B:L T:R DOB: November 1, 1991

(Perez hit .346/.424/.496 in 33 games for the AZL Reds, then .268/.344/.476 in 19 games for Billings in the Pioneer League. He stole 15 bases in 19 attempts with a 25/38 BB/K in 215 combined at-bats).

Juan Perez was a 26th round pick in 2011, from College of the Canyons in California. He was Player of the Year in the Western State South Division Conference, and he continued to play well in pro ball, showing an intriguing line drive bat, good speed, a feel for the strike zone, and some defensive versatility. His best position is second base but he's not horrible at shortstop. We need to see what happens at higher levels, but he's got potential. Grade C.

Kendrick Perkins, OF, Boston Red Sox
HT: 6-2 WT: 225 B:L T:R DOB: September 12, 1991

(Perkins hit .257/.362/.386 with 27 walks and 62 strikeouts in 171 at-bats for the GCL Red Sox)

Perkins was drafted in the sixth round in June 2010, from high school in La Porte, Texas. It took $628,000 to sign him away from baseball and football at Texas A&M. A raw athlete, Perkins has good running speed and excellent raw power, but is very unrefined. His swing is inefficient and he strikes out too much, but he makes an effort to work counts, so he is certainly not a lost cause. He could be a 20+ homer power source if he figures out how to play baseball, but it will take time and slow progress is more likely than a sudden breakout. Grade C with a high ceiling.

Jorge Reyes, RHP, San Diego Padres
HT: 6-3 WT: 195 B:S T:R DOB: December 7, 1987

(Reyes went 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA and a 98/30 K/BB in 113 innings for Double-A San Antonio, allowing 111 hits)

Jorge Reyes was drafted out of Oregon State in 2009, a 17th round pick. He had a rough patch in the California League in 2010, but was much more effective in Double-A in '11, seeing good success as a swingman in the Texas League. He posted a 3.90 ERA with a 74/24 K/BB in 88 innings over 20 starts, fair performance, but he was outstanding after moving to the bullpen in early August, posting a 0.36 ERAwith a 24/6 K/BB and 19 hits in 25 innings. He also vultured five wins in relief. Reyes has a low-90s fastball and a good slider, but his changeup is lacking and he's probably best-suited for a relief role. Although not overpowering, he throws strikes and works very quickly. The Padres have a lot of raw material for a future bullpen, and Reyes is another piece. Grade C.

Neftali Rosario, C, Chicago Cubs
HT: 5-11 WT: 193 B:R T:R DOB: July 22, 1993

(Rosario hit .294/.351/.490 in 102 at-bats for the AZL Cubs, with six walks and 28 strikeouts).

Neftali Rosario was drafted by the Cubs in the sixth round last June, from high school in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He didn't receive much attention pre-draft, but there are things to build on here. Although he needs more experience to refine his blocking skills, Rosario is mobile and should be an effective deterrent against baserunners due to a strong throwing arm. He has power, but his plate discipline needs work; he strikes out a lot and doesn't draw walks yet, but he was just 17 on draft day and has plenty of time on the clock. He bears watching. Grade C with higher potential.