Let's complete 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've split the review into three sections.
Letters A through G were written up yesterday.
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.
Chris Paddack, RHP, : Age 20; traded from Miami Marlins to San Diego Padres on June 30th for Fernando Rodney; pitched brilliantly all year (0.85 ERA in 42 innings, 71/5 K/BB, 20 hits in Low-A) with great scouting report to back up the insane numbers; subsequently blew out elbow and needs Tommy John surgery. Everything is on hold for at least a year now but this looked like a great call until he got hurt.
Pedro Payano, RHP, Age 21, off to a great start with 2.08 ERA in 74 innings in Low-A with 82/29 K/BB, 59 hits; went on disabled list in early July and has yet to return. Can't argue with results when healthy.
Cody Poteet, RHP, Marlins: Age 22, former UCLA standout was another strong performer with 2.88 ERA, 104/41 K/BB in 112 innings, 103 hits in Low-A; went on disabled list August 23rd with "abscess". Again, can't argue with the result when healthy although in his case he doesn't have the same stuff of Payano and Paddack and relies more on polish.
, 1B, Rockies: Age 21, has missed most of season with injury, hitting .280/.339/.514 between High-A and rookie ball rehab in 107 at-bats; power main strength but we need a larger and healthy sample size.
, OF, Rays: Age 18, mashing rookie ball at a .330/.353/.541 clip; nine walks, 41 strikeouts in 209 at-bats; would like more walks but he's ahead of the competition in all other respects; bat speed, overall tools look solid.
Zac Shepherd, 3B, Tigers: Age 20, hitting .184/.287/.345 in High-A with 15 homers, 62 walks, 156 strikeouts in 403 at-bats; power, very young, from Australia so understandably raw; I would not give up on him despite the problems with batting average.
Corey Toups, SS, Royals: Age 23, 15th round pick in 2014 from Sam Houston State, hitting combined .268/.354/.437 between High-A and Double-A with 11 homers, 21 steals, 54 walks, 123 strikeouts in 474 at-bats; reliable defender moved to second base; still interesting due to broad skill base.
Blake Trahan, SS, Reds: Age 22, hitting .262/.326/.362 in High-A with 23 steals, 49 walks, 70 strikeouts in 504 at-bats; very good glove at shortstop; hitting may improve in time.
Seth Varner, LHP, Reds: Age 24, 4.53 ERA in 131 innings between High-A and two Triple-A spot starts; 96/31 K/BB, 163 hits; throws strikes and deceptive but quite hittable; large decline in strikeout rate since Low-A is a bad sign.
Carlos Vidal, OF, Yankees: Age 20; has missed almost entire season with thumb injury; just 67 at-bats hitting .194/.280/.239 in Low-A and NY-P; write this season off and try again next year.
3B, , Jr, Giants: Age 22; another injury case, hit .261/.336/.403 in 295 at-bats in High-A until going down with ankle injury; needs a lot of work on defense but there's more power to come in my view.
LaMonte Wade, OF, Age 22, another injury case; was hitting very well with .293/.402/.438 line, 54 walks and just 44 whiffs in 317 at-bats in Low-A/High-A before getting hurt; impressive on-base ability.
Tyler Watson, LHP, Nationals: Age 19, 34th round pick in 2015 but off to an excellent start, 2.21 ERA in 53 innings since being activated from extended spring training, 62/13 K/BB, 37 hits between NY-P and Low-A. Keep an eye on this one.
Lachlan Wells, LHP, Twins: Age 19, Australian, very strong since being activated from extended spring training, 11 starts in Low-A with 1.94 ERA, 52/16 K/BB in 65 innings; no complaints here.
Jamie Westbrook, 2B, Diamondbacks: Age 21, hitting .267/.318/.355 in Double-A with 10 steals, 26 walks, 56 strikeouts in 420 at-bat; steady defense at second; I think bat can improve.
Lucas Williams, 3B, Age 20, third round pick in 2015 struggling in New York-Penn League at .211/.293/.277 with 19 walks, 45 strikeouts in 166 at-bats; 10 steals and shows defensive promise but hasn't hit much yet. Young.
Ryan Williams, RHP, Cubs: Age 24, pitched well in nine Triple-A starts (3.27 ERA, 30/12 in 44 innings); got hurt and hasn't pitched since mid-May.
Hunter Wood, RHP, Rays: Age 23, solid year between High-A and Double-A with 2.38 ERA in 106 innings, 100/44 K/BB, just 65 hits; missed time with a broken thumb but back in action now; still a sleeper in the typical Rays mode.
Juan Yepez, 1B, Braves: Age 18, on disabled list most of the season but back in action in Low-A, hitting .278/.329/.380 in 79 at-bats; sample too small to mean much of anything yet but holding his own.