This afternoon we will begin our review of all players with the "Sleeper Alert" Tag in the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book. The complete list was published here on March 18, 2016. We'll split the review into three sections, beginning with letters A through G.
The purpose of a Sleeper Alert is to point out promising players ahead of the general knowledge curve. They are sometimes (but not always) well-known to close followers of their particular team, but haven't made their way into the broader baseball conversation yet.
Past Sleeper Alert success stories include Jacob deGrom, Roenis Elias, Jeurys Familia, Mike Fiers, Tyler Lyons, Nathan Karns, David Phelps, Devon Travis,Trevor Rosenthal, Eugenio Suarez, and Michael Taylor. Top Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow was a Sleeper Alert player entering 2013, as he was transitioning from "interesting arm known to Pirates followers" to "top pitching prospect known to everyone."
Let's see how the 2016 list looks right now. Remember, this list was put together in mid-March.
Imani Abdullah, RHP, Dodgers: Highly projectable 19 year old has performed reasonably well in Low-A (3.61 ERA, 59/12 K/BB in 72 innings) but has made two trips to the disabled list. Long way off, but shows promise.
Albert Abreu, RHP, Another Low-A success story with 3.50 ERA in 90 innings, 104/40 K/BB; just promoted to High-A; age 20, throws very hard but needs sharper command. Still promising.
Telmito Agustin, OF, 67 games in Low-A at age 19, hitting .269/.318/.384, 14 steals, 16 walks, 68 strikeouts in 219 at-bat; toolsy, fast, has some wiry strength, held his own in general but still raw.
Tyler Alexander, LHP, Age 22, impressive season in High-A/Double-A with 2.55 ERA, 100/17 K/BB in 130 innings, panning out so far.
Logan Allen, LHP, Padres:
Eliezer Alvarez, 2B, Cardinals: very good year in the Midwest League with .317/.401/.464, 33 doubles, 34 steals, 53/92 BB/K in 407 at-bats; defense needs a lot of work but he's shown considerable offensive ability.
Anthony Banda, LHP, Age 23, excellent season in Double-A/Triple-A with 2.96 ERA in 143 innings, 145/52 K/BB and several very dominant starts; ready for a major league trial.
Allen Cordoba, SS, Cardinals: Age 20, Panamanian shortstop outstanding in the Appalachian League so far, hitting .359/.423/.495 through 192 at-bats, 22 steals, excellent 20/19 BB/K ratio; glove is solid for his age; another guy who is far away but looks strong so far.
Oscar De La Cruz, RHP, Cubs: excellent since being activated from extended spring training, 2.65 ERA in 34 innings between short-season ball and Low-A with 48/9 K/BB; scouting reports match the stats; main question at this point is workload management/durability; talent seems clear.
Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Padres: Age 20, solid year between Low-A and High-A with 3.91 ERA, 90/38 K/BB in 115 innings, 105 hits; lively fastball with in-progress secondaries. Not a breakout yet but a good year.
Bubba Derby, RHP, Brewers:
Yandy Diaz, 3B, Polished 25 year old Cuban line drive hitter having a great year, hitting .315/.406/.441 between Double-A and Triple-A, 70 walks in 438 at-bats; still needs work on defense but have to like the pure hitting skills; more home run power may yet come.
Mauricio Dubon, SS, Red Sox:
Jose Espada, RHP, Age 19, from Puerto Rico, 5.12 ERA in 51 innings in Appalachian League, 30/11 K/BB, 54 hits; long way off but remains interesting due to control, projectability.
Gray Fenter, RHP, Age 20, out with Tommy John surgery.
Chris Flexen, RHP, Age 22, 24 starts in High-A with 3.70 ERA, 91/51 K/BB in 129 innings, 125 hits; not terrible but not a great year given Florida State League benefits; would like to see more whiffs going forward.
John Gant, RHP, Has split season between Triple-A (4.18, 57/22 K/BB in 56 innings) and the majors (4.59 in 33 innings, 33/11 K/BB); he's shown enough in the Show to imply that he can take a larger role eventually. This one has panned out.
Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Age 23, strong year in High-A with 2.77 ERA, 122/53 K/BB in 123 innings, 117 hits; good stuff, needs tighter command, may wind up in pen but overall a successful campaign.
Isiah Gilliam, OF, : Age 20, powerful switch hitter showing sock in Appalachian League, .249/.313/.459 with 10 homers, 17/63 BB/K in 209 at-bats; he hits the ball a long way but his approach will need a lot more polish as he moves up.
Josh Graham, RHP, Braves: Age 22, good year in Low-A bullpen with 3.57 ERA in 40 innings, 45/11 K/BB, 33 hits; no complaints really but he was a college guy (fourth round, Oregon, 2015) and we need to see him higher than the Sally League to make a firmer judgment.