Don’t Overlook These Prospects: American League Central
Here are some prospects who are somewhat overlooked but certainly still worthy of your attention. We wrote up the National League Central on Friday.
Chicago White Sox: Ryan Cordell, OF: An 11th round pick by the Texas Rangers from Liberty University in 2013, Cordell came to the Sox last July for Anthony Swarzak. He hit .284/.349/.506 in Triple-A but was limited to 68 games by a vertebrae fracture. He’s healthy again and hit .317/.417/.512 in spring training.
The Sox sent him back to Triple-A on March 22nd but his strong spring performance was certainly noticed and he should be on the short list for promotion as the season progresses. The 25-year-old Cordell has above-average power/speed potential and is a strong overall athlete. Hes made some progress controlling the strike zone, which was a problem earlier in his career.
Cleveland Indians: Willi Castro, SS: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Castro broke through in 2017, hitting .290/.337/.424, hitting 11 homers and stealing 19 bases in High-A despite being just 20 years old. Although he’s somewhat error-prone at this point both his range and arm fit well at shortstop and his miscues should decline in time. There’s a good chance he can stick at shortstop but even if he moves to second base his bat should play well there.
In my opinion Castro is one of the better middle infield prospects in all of baseball and deserves far more attention than he’s received so far, which (obviously) is why I’m mentioning him here.
Detroit Tigers: Michael Gerber, OF: A 15th round pick in 2014 from Creighton University, Gerber is a classic “skills over tools” player. He’s never the best athlete on the field, with just average tools at best, but he’s often the most instinctive baseball player. He hit .304/.373/.496 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017.
Age 25, the left-handed hitter was sent back to the minors on March 13th although he’s hit well this spring (.350/.435/.650). Like Cordell in Chicago, Gerber will be on the short list for promotion assuming a good start to his season in Triple-A.
Kansas City Royals: Ryan O’Hearn, 1B: The Royals brought in Lucas Duda on a one-year contract to cover for departed free agent Eric Hosmer. Duda has hit well this spring (.400/.486/.667) but prospect O’Hearn has been even better (.400/.447/1.000), hitting four doubles and five home runs in 35 at-bats.
Age 24, O’Hearn was drafted in the eighth round in 2014 from Sam Houston State University. He hit .253/.330/.455 with 22 homers between Double-A and Triple-A. The Royals did not protect him on their 40-man roster pre-season but his performance this spring has been notable and his left-handed power is quite real. Duda is probably just here for one season and O’Hearn has an opportunity to be the long-term option at first base. He is capable of putting up Duda-like numbers at less cost.
Minnesota Twins: LaMonte Wade, OF: Like Gerber in Detroit, Minnesota Twins outfielder LaMonte Wade isn’t especially toolsy but he has great instincts, especially as a hitter. A ninth round pick in 2015 from the University of Maryland, Wade is an on-base specialist. He hit .292/.397/.408 in Double-A last year, with 76 walks against just 71 strikeouts. He’s got a similar profile this spring, 7-for-23 (.304) with eight walks.
Age 24, the left-handed hitter isn’t a huge basestealing threat despite slightly above-average running speed but has doubles power to go with his OBP. Wade is also a good defensive outfielder, capable in center, very impressive in left, and playable in right despite a so-so arm.