At the end of spring training we wrote up a report on Sleeper Prospects for each major league organization. With the minor league season at an end this seems like a good time to review the list and see how we did.
We will begin with the National League East.
ATLANTA BRAVES: Thomas Burrows, LHP:
Pre-season report: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 from University of Alabama; posted 2.16 ERA, 92/25 K/BB in 67 innings in Low-A, just 48 hits; high strikeout rate due to low-90s sinker and power slider combo; command needs some sharpening but can rise quickly to big league pen if that happens; effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, giving him closer potential.
Results: Fine season in the minors, combined 2.66 ERA in 68 innings between High-A and Double-A, 86/36 K/BB, just 48 hits allowed, on course for major league trial sometime in 2019.
MIAMI MARLINS: Ben Meyer, RHP.
Pre-season report: Age 25, drafted in the 29th round in 2015 from the University of Minnesota; posted 2.02 ERA in 111 innings between Low-A and High-A, 134/23 K/BB, just 81 hits; fastball 89-93, touching 95; mixes in decent slider and change-up, throws strikes with everything; velocity has picked up since college, something of a late-bloomer.
Results: Decent campaign in Triple-A considering Pacific Coast League context, 4.24 ERA in 64 innings, 49/19 K/BB, promoted to majors and has been hit hard out of Marlins pen, 25 hits and 23 runs in 18 innings; will be on the margins for years.
NEW YORK METS: Corey Oswalt, RHP:
Pre-Season report: Age 24, seventh round pick in 2012 from high school in San Diego, California; posted 2.28 ERA with 119/40 K/BB in 134 innings in Double-A, 118 hits; soft-tosser when drafted, velocity has picked up into low-90s with some sink, complete arsenal of secondaries with curve and change keeping hitters off-stride; impressive command and good mound presence, should be up later this year.
Results: Has spent about half the year in the majors, making 10 starts and five relief outings, posting a 6.31 ERA in 56 innings, 37/15 K/BB; that’s not very good overall but there are some solid outings mixed in there, he throws strikes, and should be in the fifth starter mix entering 2019.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: McKenzie Mills, LHP:
Pre-season report: Age 22, 18th round pick by Washington Nationals in 2014 from high school in Marietta, Georgia; came to Phillies last summer for Howie Kendrick; 3.22 ERA in 122 innings in Low-A/High-A, 134/22 K/BB; mechanical tweaks and physical maturity boosted fastball into low-90s and improved command of solid curve and change; live-armed lefties live forever.
Results: Adequate in High-A, 3.51 ERA in 90 innings, 85/33 K/BB, which was enough to get him noticed in trade talks, was shipped to the Marlins for Justin Bour in early August, made four starts in Double-A with spotty results, should return to that level in ‘19, basic take hasn’t changed, he’s a lefty with some arm strength but in need of refinement.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B:
Pre-season report: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; hit .288/.347/.414 with two homers, 19 walks, 59 strikeouts in 222 at-bats in High-A, missing much of season with ankle injury; superior defensive third baseman with above-average range and dramatically improved reliability; hasn’t tapped his raw power yet but hit .350 in Arizona Fall League while showing signs of improved strike zone judgment.
Results: Another trade guy, sent to the Kansas City Royals in June for Kelvin Herrera; hit .275/.329/.400 overall in Double-A, 11 homers, 20 steals, no real change in profile, will have more of an opportunity in KC if he can boost his production another notch.