Welcome to the first of 8 installments of the Stickball World top prospect report. Over the course of the season I will reviewing all 32 teams minor league systems and offering my take on each franchise’s top 3 prospects. Each installment will feature an entire division.
3 quick rules to write about. 1. To be considered a prospect the player must not be on an ML roster at the time of writing. So if you have that early season call up happen before I have written about your division, that player won’t be included. 2. Overall ratings are important, but not the most important. Depending on the role a guy could play he may not be the highest rated guy, just the player I think will have ML success 3. These are just the opinions of me and how I would rate/grade prospects…and yes we all know opinions are like a-holes….
Joe D. and Yogi Berra
So for installment #1 we will start with my own division, the AL West.
Albuquerque - Renrog is going on the 10th season in Stickball World, so these prospects truly are his, not an inherited bunch.
Russell Spencer – Drafted with the 10th overall pick in Season 22 Spencer projects as a decent range good arm average glove fielder. Corner OF is likely the permanent position unless you sacrifice an average glove to take advantage of his arm and bat at the hot corner. With current projected power in the mid 80s and speed at 86 Spencer will be the power bat that can still swipe 25 bases making him a great middle of the order hitter. With slightly above average contact and an above average eye at the plate Spencer should be able to hit for a slash line of .280/.340/.530. 17-20 HR power with 100+ RBI and 20+ steals sets up as a great #2 or #3 hitter. With a durability projected at 90 he should easily be a 150 game plus per season player. When it is all said and done he will be a $10 mil plus contract guy.
Pablo Cornejo – Cornejo was an IFA acquired in Season 23 for a $19 mil signing bonus so this 21year old comes with high expectations. Defensively Cornejo will have an average at best glove, range and arm so he is destined for life as a corner OFer, unless he transitions to 1b where he would have gold glove potential. As a hitter he will have a slightly above average eye, but with a projected 94 contact rating he should be a great bad ball hitter in the likes of Vladimir Guererro. With high 70 power 25-30 HRs is not an unreasonable expectation. And lefties beware! This right handed hitter will pummel you. Cornejo, much like Spencer, is very durable and will be a 150+ game player and with his speed he too is a good fit for the middle of the order. In the long run I can Spencer and then Cornejo complementing each other as 2-3 or 304 hitters in the ABQ lineup.
Jerry Watson – Right out of the gate on team 1 I may cause controversy as I rate Watson the 3rd best prospect in the ABQ system. There are higher rated players in the farm system, but Watson projects as an All-Star level closer. Drafted as a supplemental 1strounder (58th overall) in Season 22 along with Spencer, Watson has projected with A++ control, very high splits and very good GB/FB ratio paired with a deadly curveball and just above average sinker Watson will generate plenty of groundballs and should average a K per inning. With a great durability rating he will be able to appear in 65-70 games, however he will not be a 2 inning closer. With his stamina he will be best if is limited to an inning an appearance. A sub 1.20 WHIP and sub 2.75 ERA is not out of the question for Watson.
Salem – mgreed1954 is entering season #4 in Stickball World, some of these prospects may be holdover from the previous owner and some maybe from astute acquisitions by mgreed1954.
Dean Walton – Walton was drafted 19th overall in Season 22 out f high school. As a starting pitcher with good durability and stamina Walton will be able to eat innings as long as he can get guys out. Walton’s control will be above average but not great, but combined with tremendous velocity, being a dead nuts ground ball pitcher and possessing a nasty heavy sinker Walton could project along the lines of a Justin Masterson. With a solid cutter and 4-seamer paired with the sinker this hard throwing lefty will be a solid #3, so long as he can keep the sinker in the strike zone or hitters chase it as it falls off the table.
Shannon Hornsby – the last an opposing team will want to do is tell Shannon he throws like a girl. This projected #3/4 starter has well above average control with an above average 4-seamer. He will not be afraid to Moonlight Graham you and put on in your ear hole. With above average velocity this right hander will be tough on RH hitters. If coaches can get Hornsby to focus on his 4-seamer, further develop his slider and leave the splitter behind he will be a more dominant pitcher. At 23 and already on the 40-man roster as a 4th year player Hornsby is about ML ready he could be contributing by mid-season or could be a good trade target for a team looking to add ML ready young pitching.
Larry Johnson – Grandmama was drafted #17 overall in Season 21. With average range and arm but a below average glove Johnson will be restricted to mediocre at best play in LF or RF, but could be an above average 1b. At the plate he is slightly above average in all major areas, but does not excel at one particular thing. With his speed, he can be a 20 SB guy. I believe you can expect Jhonny Peralta like defense if he plays in the OF, but projects as a Michael Brantley like bat with the ability to hit in the 1, 2, 5, 6, or 7 holes and have success.
San Francisco – League Commish mr_Stickball has been in control of this franchise since day 1. All these guys are his.
Ron Collmenter – I admit that it is tough to call Collmenter a prospect, he is after all 26 and was drafted 6 seasons ago in Season 18 at #5 overall. But he meets my definition and SanFran is yet to promote him to the majors after acquiring him in Season 22. Collmenter projects as a plus glove plus range 2b,but his arm could be a liability when making plays in the hole behind 2nd or trying to turn the double play. As a LFer he has gold glove potential. At the plate Collmenter is above average in all areas, and with plus speed he should be a guy who can go 20-20 pretty consistently. He is ML ready today and should either see time in the majors or could be valuable trade bait later in the season for a vet as San Francisco looks to build a title contender.
Stephen Torrres – Torres fits the same bill as Collmenter. Torres was drafted as a supplemental pick at #66 in the first round and acquired by San Fran in Season 22. Also age 26 Torres is ML ready today. With his range and arm Torres could see time at 2b or 3b, but his glove itself is not the strongest. As a COFer, especially in RF, Torres can be a dangerous defender. He runs well and could steal 15-20 bags with regular playing time, but an average bat might limit Torres to the super utility playing in 100 games with 300 ABs, but not being a full-time starter.
Wally Tropeano – Drafted #33 overall in Season 22 Tropeano will be a slightly below average COFer who could have success at 1b or as a full-time DH. With plus power and speed a20-20 season is not an unreasonable expectation for him. With and average eye and average contact rating, the question will be can Tropeano get on base often enough, particular against right handed pitching. At probably 2 seasons away from contributing at the ML level Tropeano, currently at High A could easily end this season at AA.
Honolulu – I’ve been in the league since day 1and have been rivals with stick in the AL West since day 1.
Eugene Gennett –Drafted 13th overall in Season 23 Gennett, 19, is still a true prospect, but he projects well. With pus rnage and glove but an average arm Gennett is similar to Collmentor for San Fran. Gennett will wind up either at 2b or more likely as a possible glod glove LFer. His biggest asset is his contact and power combo. The right handed hitter should excel against right handers and hold his own against lefties. With a just above average eye, Gennett is likely to be a fairly decent bad ball hitter, but he could struggles to get on base often enough.
Hector Lopez – Lopez was also acquired in Season 23 as an IFA. He was a late season signing and has yet to play for the Lu at any level but big things are expected. Lopez will have better range and a much better glove, but arm strength likely will limit him to 2b/LF. At the plate Lopez projects to have a plus contact rating and plus eye, so he should be on base plenty. The left handed hitter, however projects to struggle against left handed pitching, so he may potentially be a platoon guy or the Lu will just accept he won’t be that productive a hitter in the lineup.
Kendry Ozuna – Drafted #30 overall in Season 21 Ozuna projects as a super utility type defender who can be plugged in at 2b/3b or at a COF spot depending on the team needs each season. 3b looks to be best long term fit for Ozuna. At the plate Ozuna has a great eye and runs well, but he might struggles to get that baton the ball. When he does he hits with average power. His season at AA when he hit .244 with a .322 OBP looks tobe anaccurate projection of his ML numbers. Ozuna could be a candidate for a call up this season depending on how the Lu’s seasons goes or based upon an injury.