I love reading about new prospects and the next big thing. Guys like Keith Law of ESPN, or the guys at Baseball Prospectus or Baseball America rank the top 100 prospects every year. These rankings are often based on what they see and what they know about a given prospect’s skill set, potential, and production. I want to take a slightly different look at some prospects lighting it up in the Minors. To me, production is the best indicator of success. Some guys may not be flashy, fast, have a pretty swing or graduated recently enough from high school but, hits are hits and wins are wins. The MLB is currently littered with guys who don’t light up the radar gun or shock us with their athletic prowess. Guys like former MVP Dustin Pedroia come to mind. Josh Collmenter and his 86 mph fastball, 1.25 ERA and 0.67 WHIP exemplifies my point perfectly. So who is tearing it up in the Minors that we may not have heard of?
Alex Presley (Pirates AAA): Alex has been absolutely raking in AAA. He’s hitting .339 with a .904 OPS. Presley is second in the International League in batting and has 8 HR-good for 12th. After a cup of coffee with the Pirates last year, he was sent back down in favor of guys like Garrett Jones or whoever their current left fielder is. Presley deserves at least a shot at producing at the Major League level despite the fact that Keith Law didn’t list him among the top 10 prospects in the Pirates organization.
Anthony Rizzo (Padres AAA): The first baseman has been putting on a show in Portland. Rizzo was part of the haul the Padres got for Adrian Gonzalez. He’s hit .377 with 16 homers. He’s not exactly an unknown prospect producing but, with Brad Hawpe being an awful first baseman for the Padres, it’s time to see what Rizzo can do.
J.J. Hoover (Braves AA): I’m a huge Braves fan and I’ve never heard of this guy. He’s a right handed pitcher who’s striking out about a guy an inning and his ERA has steadily decreased over the past few years. He was 2-4 with a 2.52 ERA in AA this year before getting the call up to AAA. Who knows what he’s going to continue to do given all of the starting pitching depth in the Braves system.
Alex Cobb (Rays AAA): Cobb had a 1.14 ERA in AAA for the Rays before getting a spot start on May 31. It has recently been announced that Andy Sonnastine will be replaced by Cobb and if his success continues (doubtful), he’ll be a big boost. Cobb was not ranked among Keith Law’s top 10 preseason prospects in the Rays organization.
Eric Surkamp (Giants AA): Surkamp has a 1.92 ERA through 65 innings in AA. The lefty is armed with an 86-88 mph fastball but that hasn’t stopped him from striking out over 10 per 9 IP in his minor league career. He reminds some of Barry Zito, so that could mean that he needs to try on an A’s jersey rather than Giants. It could be a while before Surkamp gets a shot at the Major League level as he is trapped behind a high quality 5 man rotation in the Bay.
Stat of the Day: By law, an American flag must be 1.9 times wider than it is tall.