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.
CHICAGO CUBS: Cory Abbott, RHP:
Original report: Age 22, second round pick in 2017 from Loyola Marymount; spectacular spring last year, NCAA stats 1.74 ERA in 98 innings, 130/28 K/BB, just 61 hits; pitched 14 pro innings in the Northwest League with 18/3 K/BB, 3.86 ERA; advanced pitchability with low-90s fastball, curve, change-up, cutter; will likely make short work of A-ball
Result: Impressive season between Low-A and High-A, 2.50 ERA in 115 innings, 131/39 K/BB; stock rising, A-ball was not much of a challenge.
CINCINNATI REDS Alex Blandino, INF:
Original report: Age 25, first round pick in 2014 out of Stanford; hit .265/.382/.453 between Double-A and Triple-A with 36 doubles, 12 homers, 64 walks, 86 strikeouts in 393 at-bats; good strike zone judgment; despite draft and college pedigree he is often lost in the prospect shuffle; on-base skills with occasional pop combined with defensive versatility could still result in a long career.
Result: Hit .234/.324/.289 in 128 at-bats in the majors until going on the disabled list with a torn ACL and missing the rest of the season. Capable of better, though needs to show more power.
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Zack Brown, RHP:
Original report: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2016 from University of Kentucky, posted 3.11 ERA in 110 innings in Low-A/High-A, 107/36 K/BB; fastball 90-95, flashes plus curveball and workable change-up; particularly sharp late in the year with 23/2 K/BB in last 25 innings.
Result: 2.44 ERA in 126 innings in Double-A, 116/36 K/BB; strong season while making the often-difficult transition to the high minors, could arrive in majors next year.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Clay Holmes, RHP:
Original report: Age 25, ninth round pick in 2011 from high school in Slocumb, Alabama; just promoted to the major leagues this morning; 3.36 ERA in 113 innings in Triple-A last year, 99/59 K/BB, 96 hits; lost two years to Tommy John surgery but has been healthy lately; power sinker in low-90s, mixes in cutter/slider, curve, and change; notable for high ground ball rates, could be workhorse type if command holds up.
Result: Solid enough in Triple-A, 3.40 ERA with 100/40 K/B in 95 innings but has been hit hard so far in major league exposure, 8.84 ERA in 18 innings, 15/17 K/BB; control obviously the big problem here, heavy ground ball rate remains interesting if he can manage to cut down on walks.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: Andy Young, INF:
Original report: Age 23, 37th round pick in 2016 from Indiana State University; quietly had very nice season in ‘17, hitting .278/.359/.471 with 17 homers in 410 at-bats between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A; versatile glove, best at second but playable at shortstop, third base, and even corner outfield; bargain as a 37th rounder even if he’s just a utility player but should not be under-estimated.
Result: Excellent year, hitting .289/.379/.479 with 21 homers, 38 walks, 85 strikeouts in 432 at-bats between High-A and Double-A including .319/.395/.556 after his promotion; very reliable at second base, can play third or short in a pinch; classic Cardinals budget draft pick who exceeds expectations, don’t overlook him.