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Sleeper Prospects for 2013 in Review, Part THREE

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Burch Smith
Burch Smith
J. Meric

Back in April, I posted a look at my Sleeper Alert! list from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book. We have enough minor league data now to get a read for how the players on the list are doing, so let's take a look. This is players N through Z.

Here are links to the original lists.

Sleeper Prospects for 2013, Part One
Sleeper Prospects for 2013, Part Two
Sleeper Prospects for 2013, Part Three

Starling Peralta, RHP, Cubs: WHAT I WROTE IN APRIL: Age 22, Peralta was written up as a sleeper for the book in November, then was selected by the Diamondbacks in the December Rule 5 draft. He didn't stick on the roster and was sent back to Chicago. The live-armed Dominican can hit the mid-90s and shows promise with his slider, but is still often more thrower than pitcher. Nevertheless, his upside is very high, particularly as a reliever. RESULT: Just 14 innings for High-A Daytona, with 16 strikeouts but 19 hits and 20 runs allowed. Has spent most of May and June on the disabled list, so it's hard to know here.

Dane Phillips
Age 22, Phillips was drafted in the second round out of Oklahoma City University last June. He's a sleeper because he didn't hit well in short-season ball (.228/.327/.350) and could get ignored, but the sound swing and good plate discipline he showed in college didn't just disappear. He can rebound. RESULTS: Hitting .265/.329/.424 with four homers, 12 walks, 37 strikeouts in 151 at-bats for Low-A Fort Wayne. He was outstanding in April (1.003 OPS) but has cooled off since then, though a trusted Midwest League observer still likes his swing. Glove looks like a problem though: he's thrown out just 11% of runners.

Jorge Polanco, INF, Twins: APRIL:
Age 19, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. A bonus baby at the time ($750,000), he fell out of general prospect consciousness after mediocre '10 and '11 seasons and was passed by other Twins prospects. He rebounded to .318/.388/.514 in the Appy League in '12. With solid tools across the board, he should make more noise in '13. RESULT: Excellent so far, .294/.346/.450 with 23 walks, 33 strikeouts in 262 at-bats for Low-A Cedar Rapids. All the attention paid to Kernels teammate Byron Buxton has obscured the fact that Polanco is a very intriguing prospect in his own right.

Jose Ramirez, 2B, Indians: APRIL:
Age 20, Ramirez is a Dominican signed in 2009. He's undersized (generously listed at 5-9) and overshadowed by other guys with more press in the Cleveland system, but he rakes (career .342.383/.459), runs well, controls the strike zone, and has a good glove at second base. Scouts have mixed opinions but it is hard to knock his performance thus far. RESULT: Hitting .248/.316/.313 with 26 walks, 23 strikeouts in 246 at-bats for Double-A Akron, with 22 steals. This doesn't look too hot, but he's quite young for Double-A and is at least making contact. I remain very intrigued with him.

Nate Roberts, OF, Twins: APRIL
: Age 24, Roberts was a fifth round pick from High Point University in '10. He's ripped low-level pitching (.307/.439/.458 in A-ball) and destroyed the Arizona Fall League in '12 (1.226 OPS to lead circuit). He has a clean swing and strong feel for hitting, but his career has been slowed by knee issues. He fits the fourth outfielder profile but is clearly worth tracking. RESULTS: Played one game in High-A and has otherwise been injured all spring. At this point I wonder if he will ever be healthy enough for his abilities to matter. He has always hit well when healthy, but he just can't avoid the doctors and is falling behind the age/competition curve.

Wilfredo Rodriguez, C, Rockies: APRIL
: Age 19, drafted in seventh round out of high school in Puerto Rico last June. Stocky (5-10, 200) but has athleticism and good defensive tools along with a chance to hit for power and average. He's raw and needs more polish, but he also impressed many Pioneer League observers last summer and has the potential to be a regular big league catcher. RESULTS: Just activated from extended spring training and is playing for Tri-City in the Northwest League, where he is 1-for-9 with two walks in his first three games. Obviously too soon to know anything.

Adrian Sampson, RHP, Pirates: APRIL:
Age 21, fifth round pick from Bellevue Community College in '12. Tommy John survivor has 90 MPH sinker along with a very good curveball and changeup. Effective in the New York-Penn League (2.95 ERA, 44/17 K/BB in 43 innings), he shouldn't be overlooked in a rich system and has the potential to be a useful fourth starter. RESULTS: Not working out so far: 5.56 ERA with a 37/12 K/BB in 66 innings for High-A Bradenton, 87 hits, 11 homers. Low K/IP rate, high home run rate. . .not a good combination. That said, he's had some good starts and his control gives him at least some chance to get better, perhaps in the bullpen.

Burch Smith, RHP, Padres: APRIL:
Age 22, Smith was a 14th round pick from the University of Oklahoma in 2011. He was solid in High-A in '12 (3.85 ERA with 137/27 K/BB in 129 innings), throwing strikes in the mid-90s. Development of his changeup and breaking ball is still in progress, but he has the basics for success. RESULTS: Excellent in the minors, 1.52 ERA in nine starts between Double-A and Triple-A with a 53/11 K/BB in 47 innings, 34 hits. Got beat up in three major league starts, but he'll get more chances, and the point is he got there.

Devon Travis, 2B, Tigers: APRIL
: Age 22, Travis was a 13th round pick from Florida State in '12 but didn't get much hype despite a successful college career against top competition. He is undersized and lacks the arm for shortstop, which hurts his status with scouts, but he could develop into a Jeff Keppinger-type line drive hitter. RESULTS: Excellent. .350/.423/.488 with 30 walks, 32 strikeouts, 10 steals in 260 at-bats for Low-A West Michigan. We need to see him at higher levels since he's an advanced college guy, but there's nothing to complain about yet.

Blake Treinen, RHP, Nationals: APRIL
: Age 24, acquired from the Athletics in January three-way trade with Mariners. He owns a mid-90s sinker and a good slider, but will need to improve his changeup to start at higher levels. He was drafted in the seventh round from South Dakota State in '11. RESULTS: 3.74 ERA with a 59/20 K/BB in 79 innings for Double-A Harrisburg, 89 hits, 2.17 GO/AO. I like the grounders and slider is effective against right-handed batters, but lefties give him enough trouble that he likely fits best in relief.

Jesus Valdez, 1B-OF, Dodgers: APRIL
: Age 20, Valdez hit .324/.404/.502 in the Pioneer League last summer. Originally drafted in the 17th round in '11 from Oxnard Junior College, he's had trouble finding a steady position but looks like he could thrive as a hitter. RESULTS: Severe contact problems in the Midwest League, fanned 22 times in 80 at-bats resulting in .188/.241/.213 line. Has been sent back to the Pioneer League. Obviously disappointing.

Jonathan Walsh, OF, Angels: APRIL:
Age 22. 11th round pick from the University of Texas in 2012, he didn't live up to expectations in college but mashed in the Pioneer League (.300/.411/.522) and has switch-hitting power. He needs a lot of work on defense, but the bat is interesting for sure. RESULTS: Like Valdez, he couldn't make contact in the Midwest League (20 whiffs in 57 at-bats for Burlington) and has been sent back to extended spring training for a new assignment. Unlike Valdez, Walsh isn't young enough to get a ton of slack and he needs to progress this summer.

Logan Watkins, 2B, Cubs: APRIL:
Age 23, Watkins was a 21st round pick in 2009 from high school in Kansas but had the talent to go 15 rounds higher. This lefty hitter stole 28 bases with 76 walks and an overall .281/.383/.422 line in Double-A last season. He's athletic, defensively versatile, and could be a fine utility man. His makeup is considered excellent. RESULTS: Hitting .234/.345/.373 with 40 walks, 66 strikeouts in 244 at-bats for Triple-A Iowa. Versatile glove and patience still give him a chance, but where'd the speed go? He's stolen just five in 13 attempts.

Tyler Wilson, RHP, Orioles: APRIL:
Age 23. A 10th round pick from the University of Virginia in 2011, Wilson doesn't throw that hard (just 87-91) but has a good curve and change, posting a sharp 114/19 K/BB in 111 innings last year in High-A. Like all finesse types, he faces a challenge in Double-A, but he could be a useful back-end starter or middle man. RESULTS: 4.48 ERA in 11 starts for High-A Frederick, 48/25 K/BB in 62 innings, 57 hits. Recently promoted to Double-A and has given up five runs in 10.1 innings over two starts.

I will summarize what I think of these lists in today's gameday thread.