Feliciations, and I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and respite.
I spent the bulk of the long holiday completing our annual Top 250 Prospects List, which is now available to all of our Platinum Subscribers.
So, today we will look at the Top 10 Prospects for 2013.
There are a few caveats. First, the list is generally geared more for Dynasty and Ultra Leagues. So, while names like Jurickson Profar are in the Top 10, and even expected there, perhaps Clayton Blackburn was not anticipated among the elite.
When analyzing players, I look at primarily at power and strike zone command. For hitters, that means strikeout-to-walks, and extra-base hits, while for pitchers it again means strikeouts-to-walks, and strikeouts-to-innings pitched.
Additionally the ability to compete in these categories at the highest possible level, and the youngest possible age, suggests the player will develop those skills not only faster, but also with increasing skill as a result of age and experience.
So, the list is weighted to youth. As an example, Texas outfielder Leonys Martin scored #243. Along with Jed Gyorko (#213), they are the only players on the list to be 25-year olds on Opening Day 2013. However, had the Cuban transplant been signed and worked through the system such that he produced the same numbers at age 23, that would have made Martin a Top 15 player. So, there is a fine line which means Wil Myers at #32 is not such an overt travesty.
It does mean that the difference between Myers and #7 Dylan Bundy is .83 of a point. Which is nothing.
I can say that this year's final 250 is a lot cooler than before, as I added a comment line of basic stats for each player in addition to the basic small set of numbers we provide. Second, there are 19 Zen Picks highlighted on the list. These are players that for some reason jumped out at me when I took a closer look at their skill set after the algorithms had been run.
Doing this proved to be interesting, for I noticed there are large chunks of players with very similar profiles. Maybe that should have been expected, but it made it such that suddenly certain players with dominanting strikeout-to-walk totals, or fantastic extra-base hit totals, took on new depth and I highlighted accordingly.
Again, you can have the complete 250, with comments and special picks by becoming a Platinum Subscriber. However, you can download a free Top 50 Prospects (note this list just contains player, rank, age, bat/throws, and franchise information).
So, without further ado, here is this year's Top 10 (age list is age on Opening Day 2013).
- Cody Buckel (P, Texas, 20): Buckel was the #3 pick last year after dominating Hickory with 8-3, 2.61 numbers that included 120 strikeouts over 96.2 innings (27 walks, 83 hits). Starting 2012 at High-A Myrtle Beach (5-3, 1.31), Buckel then moved on to AA Frisco going 5-5, 3.78. He struck out 68 in the hitters owned Texas League over 69 innings, which shows great poise for first timer at that level. Pitching is iffy, as Deolis Guerra (#183 this year, but #1 in 2009) and Carlos Zambrano (#1 in 2001 and 02) show. Still, the Rangers #2 pick in 2010 has control relative to his age that is too good to ignore. At least statistically.
- Oscar Taveras (OF, St. Louis, 21): Tavares scored #6 in 2012 on the heels of his .386-8-62 totals over just 303 at-bats at Quad Cities in the Midwest League. Tavares made the jump to AA Springfield in 2012 and handled the advance with the statistical applomb of .321-23-94 with 37 doubles and 42 walks to 56 strikeouts.
- Jurickson Profar (SS, Texas, 20): #1 last year on the Top 250, Profar made his presence known with a home run his first at-bat in the major leagues. .281-14-62 2012 numbers were in line with his 2011 at Hickory (.286-12-65) totals. The 37 2011 doubles and 26 at AA (last year) suggest 20-homer power, as the 23 2011 steals to 16 in 2012 say the same about swipes. Profar will force the Rangers to have to move Ian Kinsler somewhere else on the diamond, probably in 2013.
- Tyler Skaggs (P, Arizona, 21): Drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Angels, then swapped to Arizona as part of the Dan Haren deal, Skaggs was #16 on the last year 250. That was following his 9-6, 2.96 totals earned between High-A and AA. This year found Skaggs starting again at Mobile (5-4, 2.84), then advancing to AAA Reno (4-2, 2.91), and finishing the season Chase Field going 1-3, 5.83 over six starts and 29.1 major league innings. If Skaggs does not make the Opening Day roster in 2013, it won't be long before he is a member of the Diamondback rotation.
- Taijuan Walker (P, Seattle, 20): Walker was #4 last year based upon his very strong 6-4, 2.89 totals at Clinton, and this year Walker moved to AA Jackson. On the surface Walker took a hit with 7-10, 4.69 totals, but the 118 strikeouts he nailed over 126.2 innings, to 50 walks and 124 hits are pretty good for a then 19-year old. Walker will likely start 2013 back at Jackson, but I suspect a year older and wiser he will master that level and be on the road to Safeco by year's end.
- Joe Ortiz (P, Texas, 22): The Rangers are clearly rich with three guys in the Top 10, and reliever Ortiz could be the next closer depending upon the long term prospects and role for Nelftali Feliz (#1 on the Top 250 in 2010) and Joe Nathan (no spring chicken). Ortiz has 278 minor league strikeouts to 62 walks over 276.2 innings, with 232 hits allowed and 28 saves. In 2012 Ortiz began the year at Frisco (1-2, 2.35 with four conversions) and then moved up to AAA Round Rock (1-1, 1.97 with two more saves). For the year that made 2-3, 2.15 totals over 60.2 innings, with 52 strikeouts to nine walks, and 57 hits allowed. That is a pair of hitters leagues and a 52/9 whiff to walk ratio. Killer numbers they are.
- Dylan Bundy (P, Baltimore, 20): An auspicious premiere season for the Orioles first round selection in 2011, with Bundly climbing three levels starting with Delmarva (1-0, 0.00 over eight starts and 30 innings), then 6-3, 2.84 innings over 57 more innings at Fredercik before climbing to AA Bowie where the righty was 2-0, 3.24 over three more starts. Those are totals of 9-3, 2.08 over 23 starts and 103.2 innings, with 119 strikeouts to 28 walks with 67 hits allowed (0.916 WHIP). Expect him at Camden sometime in 2013.
- Clayton Blackburn (P, San Francisco, 20): San Francisco's 16th round selection in 2011, Blackburn was 3-1, 1.08 over 33.1 Rookie Ball innings after being drafted, then 8-4, 2.54 at that Sally League in 2012 over 131.1 innings at Augusta. Blackburn punched out 143 over the season while walking 18 and allowing 116 hits (just three homers). Obviously watching the jump to AA is the thing for 2013, but if he continues Blackburn is the kind of sleeper our list reveals.
- Jonathan Singleton (1B, Houston, 22): Singleton scored #48 on the list last year after combining to go .298-13-63 split between Clearwater (Phi.) and Lancaster (Hou.) at High-A. Singleton's change of venue was a result of the Hunter Pence swap, Singleton spent 2012 at AA Corpus Cristi with .284-24-79 and 27 doubles, along with a pretty solid 88 walks (131 whiffs, .386 OBP). Singleton could easily wind up the Astros first sacker by the end of 2013.
- Miguel Sano (SS, Minnesota, 20): A Profaresque-like player, Sano hit .258-28-100 with 28 doubles as a 19-year old in the Midwest League in 2012. Add 80 walks to 144 strikeouts (.376 OBP) and the potential is obvious. If Sano keeps it up, expect a major league arrival as soon as second half of 2013, just like Profar. Worst case is 2014.