2012 Sleeper Prospects in Review, Part Two
Here is a look at each player I tagged with a Sleeper Alert! label in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book. This is F through O. P through Z will follow later today.
Some of these guys are better-known than others. By Sleeper, I mean a guy who wasn't well-known nationally as a top prospect pre-season, but who I expected could become one this year or have a breakout. This doesn't mean the player in question was a complete nobody pre-season, especially to fans who follow a particular team closely, or to people who are just super prospect fanatics (like many members of the Minor League Ball Community).
Brian Fletcher, OF, Royals: Hitting .327/.395/.416 with 11 walks, 20 strikeouts in 101 at-bats for High-A Wilmington. Has been an excellent performer since college days at Auburn and has major league bloodlines as the son of Scott, but mediocre tools and unconventional hitting style hold him back with scouts. Age 23.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies: Hitting .210/.295/.370 with 10 walks, 20 strikeouts in 100 at-bats for Low-A Lakewood. Outstanding defender with a chance to hit, hasn't developed his power yet. Age 19.
David Freitas, C, Nationals: Destroying the Carolina League, hitting .342/.427/.553 for Potomac with 11 walks, 12 strikeouts in 76 at-bats. Good plate discipline with power, defense is underrated, possible steal as a 15th round pick in '10 (University of Hawaii). Age 23, need to see at higher levels.
A.J. Griffin, RHP, Athletics: Superb for Double-A Midland thus far, 1.93 ERA with 41/5 K/BB in 37 innings, 23 hits. Another potential steal from college ranks, 13th round pick in '10 from San Diego. Known to Oakland fans pre-season and reputation is growing. Age 24.
Chris Herrmann, C, Twins: Hitting .245/.294/.412 with seven walks, 23 strikeouts in 102 at-bats for Double-A New Britain. Playing well on defense, 40% of runners caught with no errors or passed balls. Plate discipline has slipped this year. Age 24.
Hector Hernandez, LHP, Cardinals: 3.91 ERA with a 16/7 K/BB in 25 innings for Low-A Quad Cities, 29 hits allowed, 1.55 GO/AO. Stocky lefty from Puerto Rico, doing OK but nothing special. Age 21.
Mason Hope, RHP, Marlins: Extended spring training, should go to the New York-Penn League in June. Fifth round pick from an Oklahoma high school last year, has some mechanical issues but has a live arm, good curveball, reasonable command. Age 19.
Trent Howard, LHP, Orioles: 1.86 ERA with 14/5 K/BB in 19 innings for Low-A Delmarva, 1.29 GO/AO and 18 hits allowed. Smooth lefty with inconsistent velocity, seventh round pick from Central Michigan last year. Good numbers in limited sample thus far. Age 22.
Mike Kickham, LHP, Giants: 3.00 ERA in 21 innings for Double-A Richmond, 19/16 K/BB, 20 hits allowed, 1.35 GO/AO. I've liked him since college days at Missouri State, lively stuff but needs to get the walks down. Age 23.
Matt Long, OF, Angels: Promoted to Triple-A yesterday, was hitting .278/.371/.464 in 27 games for Double-A Arkansas, 15 walks, 27 strikeouts, eight steals in 97 at-bats. Tools don't excite scouts but has provided power, walks, and speed at each level so far. Just turned 25.
Brett Lorin, RHP, Diamondbacks: 3.26 ERA with 13/2 K/BB in 19 innings for Double-A Mobile, 18 hits allowed, 1.67 GO/AO. Career slowed by a hip injury and he lacks premium velocity, but his control is excellent and he gets grounders. Age 25.
Brett Marshall, RHP, Yankees: 3.82 ERA with a 20/11 K/BB in 35 innings for Double-A Trenton, 34 hits allowed. OK performance but hasn't lived up to his potential just yet, at age 22 he still has time to do so.
Justin Miller, RHP, Rangers: Had Tommy John surgery this spring and was recently released by the Rangers. Throws hard when healthy and was outstanding last year in Double-A. Age 24.
Akeel Morris, RHP, Mets: Extended spring training. Will go to the New York-Penn League in June, as the Mets have slowed down their previously-rapid promotion paths. 10th round pick from the Virgin Islands in 2010, has one of the best arms in the system. Age 19.
Aaron Northcraft, RHP, Braves: Good start to the season at High-A Lynchburg, 2.25 ERA with a 29/14 K/BB in 28 innings, 22 hits, 2.00 GO/AO. Nice grounder/strikeout combo but needs to sharpen command. K/IP has improved this year. Age 21.
Jose Osuna, 1B-OF, Pirates: Good start for Low-A West Virginia, hitting .308/.383/.413 so far with 12 walks, 20 strikeouts in 104 at-bats. 11 doubles but no homers yet, will need more power to stick at 1B. From Venezuela, age 19.