The Prospect Stock Watch: Gordon, Hoffman, Schwarber

The with the 2015 amateur draft now in the rearview mirror — but the excitement still simmering while fans await signing news — let’s check in on some of the top draft picks from 2014 and see how they’re doing.

Nick Gordon, SS, Twins: A year ago, people were calling Nick the better Gordon when compared to brother Dee. The Marlins shortstop, though, is enjoying an all-star-caliber season due to his .416 BABIP and improved defence. Nick could still overtake his brother one day but the early results in his pro career have not been great. Currently playing in Low-A ball at the age of 19, he features a disappointing .604 OPS with just eight of his 52 hits going for extra bases (.288 SLG%). Like his brother, speed is supposed to be a big part of his game but he’s only stolen 25 bases in his career (111 games) with 12 caught stealing. The second-place Twins have seen some success in 2015 despite dismal results from the shortstop position. Unfortunately, the club’s top shortstop prospect is probably at least three years away. [Value Down]

Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Blue Jays: Considered by some as not only the best pitching prospect in the 2014 draft, Hoffman received consideration for the first overall pick but he blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. He slid to the Jays at the ninth slot in the first round. He made a fairly speedy recover from the injury and is back throwing in the upper 90s with his heater. His command has not been there in the early going, though. In 23 High-A ball innings, he’s allowed 27 hits (including 3 homers in a league where the long ball isn’t overly prevalent) and seven walks. And despite the velocity, he’s struck out just 15 batters. The 2015 season will likely be all about getting a solid footing in pro ball for the 22-year-old Hoffman but he could take off in 2016 and might even reach the Majors next year. That’s good news for the Jays who continued to struggle in the pitching department and will soon lose the aging Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey to retirement or free agency. [Value Steady]

Kyle Schwarber, C, Cubs: Six games above .500, the Cubs are one of the more surprising teams in the Majors in 2015 after having a disappointing year in 2014. Buoyed by a large wave of young talent, the club is actually in the playoff picture in the middle of June. Freshmen and sophomore players are playing key roles — such as Jorge Soler (currently injured), Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks. Schwarber, a catcher by trade, is quite possibly the next talented player headed on a crash course with The Show in 2015. He features a 1.020 OPS with 13 home runs and 39 walks through 56 games (but also has 47 Ks). The problem with Schwarber, though, is that he’s probably good enough to hit in the Majors but he’s definitely not good enough to catch there. The only other reasonable option would be to shift him to the outfield where he could replace the perennially-underwhelming Chris Coghlan. Given that the Cubs are teetering on the edge of the playoffs, it might be worth saying goodbye to Schwarber’s added defensive vale and hello to his powerful offensive potential. [Value Up]

Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians: Michael Conforto of the Mets recently received a promotion from High-A to Double-A but a fellow first round outfielder has been even better for Cleveland despite that fact he remains at the lower level. There were some who considered Zimmer not quite powerful enough for a corner outfield gig and not quite defensively gifted enough for center field. The 22-year-old prospect has produced a .514 slugging percentage (and nine homers) and is also producing an on-base percentage of .406. That has helped him spend a lot of time on base, which has allowed him to nab 26 bases in 29 attempts. He’s now looking like a 20-20 threat in the not-too-distant future. The big difference between Conforto and Zimmer is the strikeout rate. The Mets’ prospect had a strikeout rate of just 12.6% in High-A ball, while the Indians’ prospect has a strikeout rate of 22.8% and is nearing one per game. [Value Up]

We hoped you liked reading The Prospect Stock Watch: Gordon, Hoffman, Schwarber by Marc Hulet!

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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