How happy would we be
by, 02-12-2013 at 12:27 PM (407 Views)
I was looking at several current and fromer players to see who some of our top prospects would compare to, maybe get a glimpse of what they might look like in a few years if everything went right. Would an infield featuring Adrian Beltre (Sano) and Robinson Cano (Rosario) excite you? How about an outfield Devon White, Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Lofton and Shawn Green
Now Beltre made the majors at 19 and was full time in the majors for his age 20 season. Beltre is about 2 years ahead of Sano's timeline. Beltre did very well in the minors, posting 900 plus OPS at every stop. But a case can also be made that he was rushed to the majors. Beltre did OK in the majors in his first couple years, especially considering he wasn't able to buy a beer yet. Then is in years 3-5 he kind of struggled, posting low 700 OPS for all 3 years. Would Beltre have been better off spending another year in the minors to mature physically and emotionally? Also of interest, Beltre committed 37 errors at age 18 in 121 games at A+. The big difference in their minor league stats, besides the age difference, is the strikeouts. Beltre showed much better bat control and recognition, walking as much as he struck out as 19 year old in AA. Sano had huge strikeouts last year as a 19 year old in A. Beltre is a thicker than average 3rd baseman but isn't nearly as tall as Sano. So Sano is definitely behind Beltre's timeline and has struck out more often but there are similarities.
Rosario to Cano is a bit more of a stretch as I don't see Rosario developing the power that Cano has shown. But Cano's minor league stats did not predict this kind of power either. Cano started his age 20 season at A+ and then was promoted to AA towards the end of the season. So time line wise Cano is ahead of Rosario same as Beltre was ahead of Sano. You can also make the arguement that Cano was too aggressively promoted. At the time of his promotion to AA Cano had sub 700 OPS thru 90 games. In his age 21 season he started to show a little of what he would become, posting a 301/356/497 slash with 35 extra base hits in half a season at A+. A season very similar to Rosario's age 20 season last year at A, 296/345/490. Sano came up a SS and has spent his whole life as an infielder. That is a much easier transition than Rosario's form an outfielder but Rosario has better quickness. Rosario has a lot of work ahead of him to be successfuk at 2B but he has the tools to succeed.
Aaron Hicks just reminds me a lot of Devo, a bigger CFer that just looks like he is gliding out there. They both cover a ton of ground without looking like they are really flying. Devo had a good arm but Hicks' arm is special, being a 70 or an 80 depending on which scout you're looking at. Devo struggled in his 1st few years before putting up a 296/384/412 at AA in a half season at age 22. Hicks' age 22 season at AA was even better with a 286/384/460 slash. They both repeated a full season in A ball at age 20 with Devo having a 738 OPS and Hicks having an 829. Devo struggled in his first few years in the majors. He post a 700+ OPS just once in his 1st four full seasons. But after the trade to Toronto, he took off abd became one of the better centerfielders in baseball. He posted OPS in the upper 700s every year except 1, hit double digit home runs and won 5 straight gold gloves. I think Hicks covers as much ground, has a better arm and better plate discipline.
I know that Magglio Ordonez bats RH and Arcia bats left but they look alike. Their swings are also similar, albeit from opposite sides. The first thing that jumped out at me about Oronez is that he did post an OPS above 800 until he hit 840 as a 23 yr old in AAA. Arcia on the other had has a career OPS of 905 thus far. Ordonez was good right from the start in the majors and soon developed into a star. Mags would have 4 straight season with OPS above 900 from age 26-29 and would make 3 AS games, finish top 20 in MVP 3 times and win a Silver Slugger award in that stretch. Oswaldo I can't wait to see if that is what you can be.
When I 1st saw Max Kepler I immediatley thought of Shawn Green. Their build is almost identical with Green listed at 6'4" 190 and Kelper at 6'4" 180. Green was drafted in the 1st round out of high school but surprisingly was sent to high A where he predictably, struggled posting a 665 OPS. He only hit 1 homer in 417 at bats. That was enough to earn a promotion at age 20 to AA where he improved, slightly. He put up a 706 OPS with 4 HR's in 360 AB's. Green would then blossom in his 3rd year posting a 344/401/510 in AAA at age 21. Green was solid from the start in the majors putting up an 835 OPS as a rookie. He would develop big time power, averaging nearly 40 home runs a year in a 5 year stretch from age 25-29. Kepler is a few years behind Green's timeline, but like Green, took off in his 3rd year. Kepler hit 10 homers in 269 AB's last year after only hitting 1 in his first 374 professional at bats. Max is considered a better outfielder who can handle center if needed. I am a big fan of Kepler's and I think he will be flying up prospect lists as the year goes on.
The last one is all about projection as Buxton barely got his feet wet in the minors last year. Lofton was drafted out of college so his timeline will look a little different than the path that Buxton will take. Lofton was much more a SB threat when he came up, than Buxton might be, leading the majors in SB's for 5 straight years form age 25-29. Kenny did develop decent power hitting double digit home runs 7 times in a 10 year stretch from age 27-36. Lofton was a 3 time Gold Glove winner. I think Buxton is slightly better version of Lofton with a stronger arm, more power but won't steal as many bases.
I know comparisons are never spot on and can be unfair to both players sometimes. But they are also fun to look at. Will these 5 prospects turn into exactly these 5 guys, of course not. But we can dream, and in some insatnces they might even be better.