2012 Sleeper Prospects End of Season Review, Part Four,
Here is a look at each player I tagged with a Sleeper Alert! label in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book, finishing up the rest of the alphabet.
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 showed signs of being a breakout prospect entering 2012. 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). The idea is to look for guys with the potential for sharp increases in their performance, publicity, and placement on prospect lists.
Getting ahead of the curve with guys like this is one of my main goals with the book each year.
Michael A. Taylor, OF, Nationals: Raw athlete type, hitting .242/.318/.362 with 40 walks, 113 strikeouts in 384 at-bats for High-A Potomac, 19 steals in 28 attempts. Age 21. Didn't make any real progress solving his contact issues.
Mitchell Taylor, LHP, Blue Jays: Suspended for using a drug of abuse, then he voluntarily retired. I don't know if we'll ever get the whole story with this one.
D'andre Toney, OF, Royals: 20 year old tools guy, traded to Houston Astros, hit .252/.351/.326 with 25 walks, 60 strikeouts, 15-for-20 in steals in 230 at-bats for Greenville in the Appalachian League. Too little contact for a guy without power, but young enough to improve.
Nik Turley, LHP, Yankees: Age 22, a fine season, 10-5, 3.00 ERA with a 117/45 K/BB ratio in 117 innings, 105 hits, just seven homers between High-A Tampa and one start for Double-A Trenton.
Breyvic Valera, INF, Cardinals: Turned 20 last month, solid year for Batavia in the NY-P, .316/.359/.418 with 18 walks, 27 strikeouts in 282 at-bats. Good defender at second base and the bat has promise.
Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox: Hit .266/.360/.396 with 40 walks, 70 strikeouts in 293 at-bats for High-A Salem, then .205/.280/.260 with eight walks, nine strikeouts in 73 at-bats for Double-A Portland. Threw out 40% of runners, although PB/E rates are rather high. I'd like to see more with the bat, but he's young, turned 22 a couple of weeks ago.
David Vidal, 3B, Reds: Good start at High-A Bakersfield (.281/.358/.512 in 121 at-bats) but slumped after moving to Double-A Pensacola, .230/.294/.397 with 11 homers, 28 walks, 90 strikeouts in 335 at-bats. Played very well on defense, at age 22 still has time with the bat.
Austin Wright, LHP, Phillies: Age 22, solid year, 11-5, 3.47 with 133/60 K/BB in 148 innings, 147 hits for High-A Clearwater. Command still wobbles at times, but he has good stuff and dominates on occasion.
Overall, I'm pleased with the way the Sleeper Alerts turned out this year. There were a lot of success stories, especially on the pitching side.