Post-Hype Prospects, Part 2 by Paul Sporer November 28, 2017 In part 1, I looked at the first five of my post-hype prospects. They aren’t necessarily ranked in order of preference in that piece, but they grouped together as the top tier from this group. I’ve got a second group of seven guys who essentially make up another tier that is a cut or two below the first five. To recap how I’m choosing these guys, here’s what I said in the first part: I’m looking at younger players with medium-to-high prospect pedigree that they haven’t cashed in yet. They’ve had some major league time (usually 300+ PA, but I didn’t have a specific set of statistical parameters) with maybe a spurt of success, but there’s a real shot for much more, especially if the playing time is there. Best of all, they won’t cost much at the draft table. Examples would include the Tim Beckham and Chris Taylor types. Beckham, of course, was a former #1 overall who was written off in some circles before he could legally drink. Meanwhile, Taylor never had the hype of a Beckham, but was firmly Top 10 in the Seattle org. for 2013 lists and might’ve charted in some Top 100s had he not expired his rookie status in 2014. Without further ado… Raul Mondesi Jr. | Royals – .181/.226/.271, 34% K, 4% BB, 29 wRC+ in 209 PA Signed from DR in 2011; 3-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide (4x at BP) Mondesi is still just 22 years old so while his MLB work is putrid, he’s incredibly young and enjoyed a power breakout at Triple-A this past season. He hit a career-high 13 HR with a healthy .234 ISO in 357 PA at Triple-A Omaha. This was especially encouraging because he’s always struck out too much for someone without any real punch and a ton of speed. That said, the speed and his sharp base running are driving my interest here. He has an 82% success rate on the bases in the minors including a 21-for-24 effort at Triple-A. His work at Omaha is a glimpse into his tremendous upside and while he’s unlikely to replicate the line in the majors this year, the speed should tide you over while you wait on the potential. Barring a re-sign of Alcides Escobar, Mondesi has a path to the job from Day 1. Kaleb Cowart | Angels – .197/.257/.318, 27% K, 6% BB, 55 wRC+ in 256 PA Drafted 18th overall in 2010; 1-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide (2-time at BP) Like Mondesi, Cowart hasn’t done anything in his limited MLB sample, but enjoyed a Triple-A breakout that reignited the hype flame (what the hell is a “hype flame”?). He hit 12 HR in 413 PA, his highest since 2012 (16 in 605 PA) and added 19 SB. He, too, has run well throughout his career with a 77% success rate on 149 attempts, though lacks the raw speed of Mondesi. He has notched double-digit SB totals in each of his seven pro seasons. He’s got the glove for third, but playing time may be more readily available at second if they don’t find something in the trade market. With a job, you better get that hype flame ready and light that baby up! Roman Quinn | Phillies – .263/.373/.333, 28% K, 12% BB, 99 wRC+ in 69 (nice) PA Drafted 2nd round in 2011; 1-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide I don’t understand why he doesn’t get any buzz. By the way, this is another speed guy – I’m sensing a theme. His numbers don’t jump off the page from the minors, but he has just one minor league stop with a wRC+ under 106 (97 in 298 PA at A-ball). He has stolen 169 bases in 219 attempts across his 1789 minor league PA (and a 5-for-6 clip in his MLB sample). That’s with a peak of 382 PA in any single season so he was putting up 30-something SB in half seasons. It’s an 80-speed grade for sure, but health has been a major issue. An elbow injury this year, a fractured wrist, and a bevy of strains have perennially kept Quinn off the field. He’s missed a lot of development time for someone headed into his age-25 season, but the skills are here. Playing time is an issue after Aaron Altherr hit well in 412 PA and bought himself some time while Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams lock down the other spots. He may have to start in a 4th OF role, but the beauty of base stealers is that they don’t always need to plate appearances to do damage with pinch-running opportunities late in games. Raimel Tapia | Rockies – .283/.322/.394, 22% K, 5% BB, 72 wRC+ in 212 PA Signed from DR in 2010; 1-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide (4x at BP) I saw Tapia in 2015 during the AFL and haven’t stopped thinking about his two-strike approach since then. Or at least it’s the first thing I think of when Tapia is brought up. It’s an exaggerated crouch, much different from his stance throughout the rest of a plate appearance and instantly grabs your attention when you see him live for the first time (read more here in a great piece). But don’t let it distract you from his consistent success across the minor leagues. He opened with a 97 wRC+ at age-17 in 283 PA at Rookie ball, but has dipped below 120 just once since (112 in 593 PA in High-A during the 2015 season). All told, he has a .322/.366/.455 line in 2816 minor league PA with 8 HR and 28 SB per 600 PA. He’s only walked 6% of the time, but he’s balanced it out with a 14% K rate. The power is unimpressive and doesn’t carry much potential, but a contact/speed approach in Colorado should play very well. In fact, we saw just that in a tiny home sample with a .400 home AVG in 65 PA – buoyed by an insane .479 BABIP. The expected departure of Carlos Gonzalez should open some playing time for Tapia to at least own the strong side of a left field platoon. Brian Goodwin | Nationals – .256/.314/.488, 26% K, 8% BB, 103 wRC+ in 322 PA Drafted 34th overall in 2011; 1-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide (2-time at BP) Goodwin’s ceiling has definitely dropped since I first saw him at AFL in 2013 (and then again in 2014) as he labored through three tours of Triple-A, none of which were especially successful (the 127 wRC+ in 2016 was solid, but also his second tour and at age-25). He’s held his own in his two MLB samples, including an extended look this past season that was cut short by a groin injury in mid-August. Goodwin isn’t a pure speed guy like the others profiled so far, but he has plus raw speed and even better raw power that has unfortunately only shown up in flashes during his 2381 minor league PA. Playing time won’t come easily for the 27-year old as the departure of Jayson Werth will be immediately filled by a returning Adam Eaton, who missed the final five months of the season with a torn ACL. The September surge and LCS fireworks of Michael Taylor could also prove to be a roadblock in Goodwin’s playing time. Taylor’s career issues against righties showed some light with a career-high .794 OPS against them, but a career .682 with a 31% K rate means a platoon is possible. While the first four guys have the skill and playing time opportunity to take a full-time role, Goodwin likely a needs an injury or severe underperformance to get one, rendering him more of a 4th OF option which translates to NL-only appeal or reserve status in deeper mixed leagues (15+ teams). Alen Hanson | White Sox – .222/.263/.335, 21% K, 5% BB, 56 wRC+ in 267 PA Signed from DR in 2009; 2-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide Another speedster, Hanson looks like a utilityman at best having already logged MLB games in all three OF positions as well as 2B, 3B, and SS over the course of his two stints. Getting picked up off waivers by the White Sox should bring more playing time than staying in Pittsburgh would have, at least in the short-term. The Pirates still fancy themselves contenders while the White Sox know they’re at least another year from really starting to compete with their burgeoning farm system. There’s room for the 25-year old Hanson to bounce around the diamond for the White Sox in 2018. With ~400 PA, he can deliver 25 SB. Jorge Soler | Royals – .244/.318/.412, 28% K, 9% BB, 96 wRC+ in 875 PA Signed from Cuba in 2012; 3-time Top 100 Prospect industry-wide If I had written up a similar list in the fall of 2016, Soler would’ve likely appeared on it with high hopes about how a move to KC should finally bring his first 500+ PA season. Those hopes were dashed as he logged just 110 uninspiring MLB PA (32 wRC+) with his new club. He did put up a 145 wRC+ with 24 HR and a 15% BB rate in Triple-A (327 PA). He’ll get a real chance in 2018 between the corner outfield and DH. We’ve seen his power in previous MLB stints and throughout his minor league work. There’s 30 HR potential here.