2012 MLB Spring TrainingDownload App

Every MLB Team's Prospect Whose Spring Is Just a Mirage

Zachary BallAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2016

Every MLB Team's Prospect Whose Spring Is Just a Mirage

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    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that spring training stats can often be misleading.

    Take minor league veteran Jake Fox as a prime example. Last spring, Fox led the Orioles (and all other teams) with 10 home runs. On a weak team with an even weaker roster, he seemed a safe bet to make the big-league squad and potentially enjoy a career year.

    Instead, he lasted a mere 27 games before getting booted off the active roster.

    He hit only two home runs in the regular season and struggled to keep his average above .200.

    Herein lies the lesson: don't put much stock in spring stats—unless your Omar Vizquel and you're still fighting for a big-league job as a 44-year-old.

    There have been several jaw-dropping performances (good and bad) this spring by some of baseball's top prospects, but as with big-league veterans, it's hard to tell what's worth worrying or getting excited about.

    Luckily, I'm here to let you know which players' spring performances have been a mirage.

Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Skaggs' spring stat line (7.94 ERA, 4 BB in 5.2 IP) was heavily skewed by his first appearance, making him the picture-perfect mirage of spring training.

    Against the Indians, the left-hander walked four and served up four earned runs on just one hit, which happened to be a Jack Hannahan grand slam.

    He left after getting just two outs, and his ERA stood at 54.00.

    He was better in outing No. 2, allowing one hit in two innings against the Angels, and in his third he was Tyler Skaggs, top prospect.

    Against Cincinnati, he whiffed five batters and walked none in three innings.

    Despite the fact that the fifth spot in the rotation has been handed to Josh Collmenter, Skaggs is still in camp, a testament to his value in the organization's eyes.

Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves

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    The darling of a strong Atlanta system, Teheran got hit hard in his first spring outing.

    Against Detroit, the right-hander served up six homers and barely managed to gut his way through two innings.

    Toss in another rough outing (four innings, five hits, three runs) against Washington, and his ERA stood north of 15.

    He rebounded with a strong effort in his most recent start, but through four appearances, batters are still tattooing him to a .345 line. He's also served up three more homers, giving him nine allowed in 13 innings so far this spring.

    Coupled with his rough big-league debut (5.03 ERA, 10-to-8 K:BB), one would think that Teheran wasn't ready for another chance in the Braves rotation. However, his performance (15-3, 2.55) last year in Triple-A says exactly the opposite.

    Teheran will likely be fine in the long run, but it's worth noting that the same issue he's having this spring (aka homers) also plagued him last season (four HR in 19.2 IP).

Jai Miller, OF, Baltimore Orioles

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    Miller has had a prolific minor league career, making his name on tearing the cover off the ball.

    He was drafted by Florida/Miami back in 2003, and after pit-stops in Kansas City and Oakland, he's ended up in another losing city—Baltimore.

    He's been anything but a loser this spring, though, emerging as the team's top offensive threat.

    In 12 games, he's driven in seven runs and doubled four times.

    His average, however, has struggled, with his 17 strikeouts in just 34 at-bats.

    If anyone knows about struggling with Ks, it's Miller. He racked up a career-high 179 of them in 2011, putting a slight dampener on his 32 home runs and 88 RBI.

    Even with the strikeouts, Miller is exactly the kind of player the O's have been lacking in their farm system for the better part of a decade. He oozes raw power and will likely get the chance to prove himself during the regular season as well.

    Combined with Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis, the O's will have one of the most fearsome strikeout trios of all-time.

Pedro Ciriaco, SS, Boston Red Sox

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    Pedro Ciriaco, Red Sox sensation.

    It's hard to believe, but the 26-year-old who was cast off by the Pirates has been the hottest player in Boston's camp this spring.

    Through 14 games, Ciriaco is hitting .522 with three doubles, a homer and six RBI.

    Toss in three steals and some stellar defensive play, and it seems there's little doubt about him being the toughest cut Bobby V and the front office will face.

    It's not like this should come as a total shock. Over his seven-year career, Ciriaco has shown a little bit of power, speed and defensive ability.

    Last year, however, he had the worst showing of his career, hitting a paltry .231 with just five walks and 49 strikeouts.

    It's likely Ciriaco is more of that player than the kind who slugs .783 with an on-base percentage above .500.

Matt Szczur, OF, Chicago Cubs

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    Szczur was a pleasant surprise in 2011, showing great speed, some decent pop and amazing defensive ability in the minors.

    While all of those have been on display this spring, Szczur's stat line doesn't reflect much in the positive.

    In 11 games and 20 at-bats, he's mustered only three hits. He's gone hit-less in his last nine at-bats, dropping his average (.150) and on-base percentage (.190) to bottom-feeder levels.

    This is, however, Szczur's first real taste of big-league ball.

    He spent three games with the club last spring, but that was more of a formality than a challenge.

    There's no way he puts up these kind of numbers in the minors this year, and by all accounts he's still a rising star in a thin Chicago system.

Simon Castro, RHP, Chicago White Sox

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    After the season he had last year, Simon Castro must feel like gasoline has been added to his fire this spring.

    A steady performer for three consecutive years, the 24-year-old lost his touch in 2011, experiencing career-highs in hits, earned runs, home runs and ERA.

    The latter number hovered around 6.00 for most of the season before settling to 5.63.

    The right-hander struggled to find the strike zone and experienced issues serving up the long ball, a problem that has never plagued him.

    Maybe the Padres knew something we don't, hence their lack of hesitation including him in a deal that sent Carlos Quentin to San Diego.

    His first performance of the spring didn't silence any of his critics. Against Los Angeles, Castro fell apart, issuing a walk, hitting a batter and serving up a ninth-inning grand slam to Dodgers reserve Cory Sullivan.

    He bounced back nicely in outing No. 2 (2 IP, 3 K, 0 H), but it wasn't enough to reduce his ERA under 14 or keep him around for another week or two.

    Castro represents the top starting pitcher prospect in Chicago's bare-bones system, and he's likely going to be called on at some point in 2012.

    I have no doubts he'll perform better than last year or this spring.

Denis Phipps, OF, Cincinnati Reds

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    For the past couple seasons, the Reds have had a spring training darling.

    Last year it was outfielder Dave Sappelt, and this year it's 26-year-old Denis Phipps.

    The Dominican-born outfielder enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2011, hitting .346 with 34 doubles, 12 homers and 64 RBI.

    In a brief cameo with Triple-A Louisville, Phipps dazzled, hitting .380. His reward was an invite to spring training.

    Unlike his previous trips (2009 and 2010), however, Phipps has been given actual playing time and has responded quite well.

    He's been one of the team's hottest hitters, rapping five doubles and slugging one homer, while maintaining a .345 average. Unfortunately, he's also been Cincinnati's biggest strikeout threat, going down on strikes eight times in just 28 at-bats.

    Strikeouts have been the calling card with Phipps in his minor league career as well. He whiffed 124 times in 2011, or in nearly 30 percent of his at-bats.

    Combined with his unwillingness to take a walk (career-high of just 42), it seems unlikely Phipps will be able to produce enough at the plate to overcome his issue.

Russ Canzler, INF, Cleveland Indians

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    If the Indians' regular season goes anything like their spring training, it's going to be a very long year for fans at Progressive Field.

    From their horrendous starting pitching to their under-performing, incredibly strikeout-prone lineup, little has gone right.

    One player fighting his way onto the roster, and earning plenty of respect in the process, is minor league veteran Russ Canzler, who came over from Tampa Bay in the offseason after earning International League (AAA) MVP honors in 2011.

    Canzler has been the one steady offensive force for Cleveland, producing a team-high 11 hits, two RBI and three walks, along with a .355 average. He's also swiped a base and has seen time at three different positions (1B, 3B, LF).

    It's that versatility and his production at the plate that might earn him a shot with the big-league club at some point this season, possibly as the team's opening day left-fielder.

    Let's not kid ourselves, though. Canzler is a career minor leaguer who never produced an average above .287 in a single season before this past year.

    The likelihood of him performing Roy Hobbs-like feats is slim at best.

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

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    Arenado has a truly great campaign in 2011, leading the minors in RBI, setting numerous career-highs and earning MVP honors in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

    Despite having never seen a pitch above High-A ball, the third baseman came to spring camp with plenty of name recognition.

    Unfortunately, he's been the exact opposite of "as good as advertised."

    In 11 games and 25 at-bats, he's mustered only four hits (.160).

    On the bright side, three of the four knocks have been doubles, further enhancing his status as an extra-base hit machine. He also has five RBI, three of which were earned against Arizona.

    Defensively, he's also been off his game. He put a lot of hard work into remaining at third base last year, but this spring he's already committed three errors.

    Arenado is one of the game's brightest young players, and this spring is just a minor speed bump on the road to an impressive big-league career.

Jacob Turner, RHP, Detroit Tigers

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    Turner is the Tigers' top prospect, and even if he gave up 20 home runs without getting any outs all spring, he'd still have that going for him.

    He got off to a quiet start, pitching out of relief, before the wheels fell off.

    In his second outing, his first start, Turner couldn't even make it out of the second inning. He issued four walks and threw only seven of his 23 pitches for strikes.

    Outing No. 3 was even worse. In 1.2 innings, he allowed five runs on four hits and issued another two walks.

    All in all, he walked six batters and gave up five runs in four innings. An 11.25 ERA put a dampener on what should have been his coming-out party.

    Clearly, something was amiss. The Tigers found it during a doctor's visit, in which Turner was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis.

    The good news is that Turner should be fine in a few days. That certainly won't help his case for the fifth spot in the team's rotation, but it should put the front office very much at ease.

Kyle Weiland, RHP, Houston Astros

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    Weiland was dropped into a pressure-packed situation late last season when he was called upon to stop Boston's bleeding after numerous injuries to the team's starters.

    He made three starts in September and got shelled, allowing 12 earned runs in 11.2 innings.

    He failed to make it out of the fifth inning in each of his three starts.

    After the Red Sox completed their historic late-season collapse, Weiland was dealt to Houston along with Jed Lowrie in exchange for closer Mark Melancon.

    With a change of scenery and the chance for a fresh start, Weiland came to spring camp with nothing to lose. In his first three outings, he allowed just three hits while striking out four.

    Things were looking up, and the possibility emerged for him to earn a spot in the team's rotation.

    Things took a more realistic turn in his last outing, giving Houston a better look at the real Weiland. In three innings, he allowed three runs on four hits and issued three walks.

    Control has never been Weiland's strong suit, so it's no surprise that he's already walked five batters this spring. To me, he seems well suited for a relief role. 

Mike Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City Royals

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    The Royals graduated several of their top position prospects in 2011, including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Johnny Giavotella, each of whom outperformed expectations in their first taste of the big leagues.

    Whereas 2011 was the year of the hitter for K.C.'s farm system, 2012 will likely be that of the pitcher.

    In addition to Kelvin Herrera and Luis Mendoza, the Royals top arm, Mike Montgomery, should play a major role in the team's plans.

    The lanky lefty should have arrived last year, but a shoddy performance (5-11, 5.32 ERA) at Triple-A Omaha held him back.

    While all of his stats from 2011 look miserable, including a career-high number of walks (69) and homers allowed (15), you have to give the 21-year-old credit for gutting through such an awful campaign.

    He'll likely be the better for it, as experiencing a bit of failure often bodes well for top prospects. He didn't show much progression, however, this spring. His ERA (20.25) was ugly, and despite the fact that he only made two appearances before being optioned to Triple-A, he was once again hurt by the home run.

    Thankfully, it was such a small sample size, and there's still plenty of time for him to work out the kinks in minor league camp before the season starts.

Jean Segura, SS, Los Angeles Angels

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    Segura is in the midst of his third spring training appearance as an Angel, and without a doubt he's at his best.

    In just 11 games, he's already racked up eight hits, six runs, two homers, six RBI and a .381 average.

    Not too shabby for a player who's only seen seven games of action above High-A.

    The two long-balls, which came in the same game against San Diego, are half of his total from 2011.

    His defense hasn't been too shabby, either.

    Segura broke out in 2010, hitting .313 in Low-A ball, while racking up extra-base hits (24 doubles, 12 triples and 10 homers) at an ungodly rate. He also accumulated 50 steals.

    Keep in mind, however, he had his career year at age 20 in a league filled with 18- and 19-year-olds. He's now 21 and, as noted above, has yet to see more than a handful of games above High-A ball.

Matt Angle, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Angle was a fan favorite in Baltimore for many seasons before being claimed off waivers by the Dodgers.

    His performance in spring camp has been anything but endearing to fans, but he has showed a few of the traits that made him such a popular player in the Orioles' system.

    For starters, there's his speed. The 26-year-old racked up 169 steals in his five years with the O's and compiled another 11 in just 31 big-league contests last year.

    That number placed him fourth on the team, behind Adam Jones (12 in 151 games), Robert Andino (13 in 139) and Nick Markakis (12 in 160).

    In the field, Angle was also a speed demon, making more than his fair share of highlight-worthy catches and throws.

    He's shown both of those attributes in camp, swiping two bases so far in just 11 games.

    Angle was widely praised for his plate discipline while with Baltimore, and that's been present, too. He's walked three times, compared to three strikeouts, and despite hitting .200, he still has an on-base percentage of .333.

    Angle doesn't have an incredibly high ceiling, but his value as a fourth or fifth outfielder is massive. He can get on base and make you pay once he does, and he offers stellar defensive value at three spots in the outfield.

Tom Koehler, RHP, Miami Marlins

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    One would think given his performance (28-9) over the past two seasons, right-hander Tom Koehler would be one of the Marlins' top pitching prospects.

    Toss in his stellar early performance (1-0, 1.17 ERA) this spring, and it could come as a total shock to most that Koehler barely registers on Miami's minor league depth chart.

    Yes, this is the same pitcher who went 16-2 in 2010, but don't look past his numbers from last year (excluding his win total, of course).

    Koehler was hit hard in 2011, serving up a career-high 18 home runs while compiling his worst ERA (4.97) ever. As with many prospects before him, he was simply revealed as an inferior prospect at the highest level of the minors.

    He might spend a good chunk of 2012 with the Marlins, especially if Josh Johnson succumbs to yet another injury, but don't expect an impressive line from Koehler.

Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Three outings and 6.1 innings isn't enough to glean anything about any pitcher, but for Milwaukee's top prospect Wily Peralta, his spring couldn't have gone much worse.

    In the right-hander's first two outings, both against the Giants, he was a mess, allowing six runs on five hits, while issuing four walks in 4.1 innings.

    He entered his third appearance with an ERA approaching 13.

    Peralta has been such a steady presence in the Brewers' system that it's hard to put any credence to his spring stats.

    He did, however, show a glimmer of hope in his spring finale against San Diego, striking out two batters while allowing two hits (and no runs) in two innings.

    It's as if the team wanted him to leave camp with a good taste in his mouth. He was optioned to Triple-A three days later.

Terry Doyle, RHP, Minnesota Twins

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    The second-overall selection in the 2011 Rule V draft, Doyle caught the interest of the Twins with a strong minor league campaign (3.07 ERA, 122-to-33 K:BB) in 2011 and an impressive showing (4-0, 1.98) in the Arizona Fall League.

    He's done anything but impress in spring camp, getting shelled the last two times he's taken the mound.

    In a combined 3.1 innings against Pittsburgh, Doyle has given up 14 hits and allowed 10 runs. 

    Control, normally his specialty, has been anything but. He's hit two batters and walked three in 5.1 total innings. His ERA currently stands at a robust 16.88.

    Doyle was a steady performer in the minors with Chicago, and there's no reason to expect him to be any less so with division-rival Minnesota. As a Rule V pick, however, he's going to have to be much better, or else he'll be optioned back to Chicago at the end of the spring.

    The Twins have one of the least-talented rosters in baseball, so there's no harm in letting Doyle have a roster spot.

Josh Edgin, LHP, New York Mets

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    By all accounts, lefty Josh Edgin is a nobody.

    Despite having the odds stacked against him as a former 30th-round pick (2010), out of Francis Marion University (???), Edgin has put a choke-hold on hitters and in the process has thrown his name into the hat for a spot in the Mets bullpen.

    He has allowed just two hits so far this spring, in five outings, and has served as the team's de facto closer, notching two saves in three save opportunities.

    He's racked up seven strikeouts and has issued just two walks, both of which came in the same appearance.

    Not too bad for a guy who hasn't even pitched above High-A ball yet.

    There's already been whispers of Edgin heading north with the team, possibly as their lefty specialist, making him the feel-good story of the spring.

    If he makes the squad, though, don't expect similar results. Yes, he's 25 years old, but he's still plenty inexperienced at the professional level.

Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees

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    Last spring, Banuelos was the toast of the Yankees spring camp.

    This year, he's simply been toast.

    The left-hander has struggled to get outs, and in three outings has been lit up to the tune of a 7.20 ERA.

    Most of the damage came in his most recent outing, in which he walked two batters and gave up four runs on three hits in just one inning.

    It was, however, the second time in three appearances that he walked more batters than he struck out.

    Don't be too concerned, though, Yankees fans.

    Over the past two years, Banuelos has emerged as a legitimate prospect, and could even lay claim to the top lefty pitcher in the minors once Tampa Bay's Matt Moore graduates.

    Considering his age (21), it's remarkable that he's achieved as much as he has, and that he has a serious chance to have an impact on the team as early as this season.

    Unlike fellow prospect and good friend Dellin Betances, Banuelos will likely get a chance to remain a starter.

Brad Peacock, RHP, Oakland Athletics

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    As good as Peacock was in his big-league cameo (2-0, 0.75) last season, he's been just as bad for his new squad this spring.

    In the same number of appearances (three), he's been shelled, giving up 10 runs on 12 hits in a mere seven innings.

    Not the kind of performance you'd expect from a prospect who ranked behind only Bryce Harper back in Washington.

    It is, however, still incredibly early—way too early to be frightened by Peacock's 12.86 ERA. Remember, this is the same pitcher who went 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA last year, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A.

    Peacock still has a chance to earn his way into the A's starting rotation, and with a bounce-back outing or two (like the one Julio Teheran had), he could garner some serious excitement all over again.

Joe Savery, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Roy Halladay (6.59) and Cliff Lee (4.66) have struggled mightily this spring, while 26-year-old Joe Savery has quietly gone about dominating every appearance.

    The left-handed pitcher-turned-hitter-turned-pitcher has held down a perfect ERA and allowed just three hits in four outings, striking out seven in 5.1 innings and putting those older guys to shame.

    In the process, he's earned some recognition as a legitimate candidate for the Phillies' lefty reliever spot.

    Considering his versatility and the fact that he'd be hands-down the top hitting pitcher in baseball, it makes sense to give him a long, hard look.

    Unfortunately, by the time the regular season rolls around, both Lee and Halladay will be back to form, challenging for Cy Youngs and leading the Phillies' effort back to the playoffs, while Savery will be trying to impress down at Triple-A.

Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Marte has gotten off to a blistering start, further enhancing his status as the Pirates' top position prospect.

    His stellar start is coming off the heels of an impressive 2011 campaign that saw him hit .332 with 38 doubles, eight triples, 12 homers and 24 steals.

    He put up those numbers at Double-A Altoona, and he'll spend the majority of the 2012 season in Triple-A, so the fact that he's spent a good chunk of time in spring camp is no surprise.

    What has been a shock, though, is how well Marte has performed.

    In 12 games, he's managed to rack up 13 hits in 25 at-bats (.520). He's also slugged three home runs, including one, his most recent, off of Cliff Lee. For good measure, he also has two steals.

    Granted, Marte is an above-average prospect, but don't expect him to get off to such a hot start when he finally gets the big-league call.

Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Adams has had quite the spring, homering twice and driving in eight runs in 12 games.

    One of his long balls was a grand slam against one of the Mets' top pitching prospects, Jeurys Familia.

    Just imagine how good his .265/.286/.529 line would have been if he hadn't struck out 10 times.

    Speaking of that, striking out is not something Adams is familiar with, having whiffed in only 17 percent of at-bats in his three-year career.

    Something he is familiar with, however, is power. He's rapped 81 doubles in just 299 games and averaged more than 20 home runs the past three seasons. He slugged a career-high 32 long balls last season.

    He's also quite keen on hitting for average, compiling a .316 career number.

    Adams has yet to see time above Double-A, but he's going to be a candidate to fill the void left by Albert Pujols regardless, thanks to his epic power.

Brad Boxberger, RHP, San Diego Padres

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    When Boxberger, a former staff ace at USC, was shifted to the bullpen halfway through the 2010 season, it seemed like a massive mistake by Cincinnati.

    The career-starter bombed, giving up 35 hits and 28 runs in 29.2 innings, spanning 22 appearances.

    The team stuck with him, however, and he bounced back with an incredible campaign in 2011.

    After dominating (1.31 ERA, 57 K in 34.1 IP) in Double-A, the 23-year-old made the jump to Triple-A Louisville, where he kept up his torrid pace (2.93, 36 K in 27.2 IP).

    He finished the year with an astounding 93 strikeouts in 62 innings and an ERA just a hair over 2.00.

    That was enough to pique the interest of the Padres, who demanded he be included in the deal that sent Mat Latos to Cincinnati and brought Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Boxberger to San Diego. At the time, it was envisioned that Boxberger would challenge for a spot in the Padres bullpen, and with a strong spring, he might actually earn one.

    Through five outings, however, the right-hander has struggled to find his footing. He's been torched for eight hits and six runs in just 3.2 innings, and he hit one batter. His 19.64 ERA has negated the good will created by his five strikeouts.

    The performance might be enough to send Boxberger back to Triple-A, but he's still going to be a huge part of the Padres' future.

Tommy Joseph, C, San Francisco Giants

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    Joseph has done nothing but impress since getting drafted in the second round back in 2009.

    The obvious heir-apparent to Buster Posey (when the latter moves to first base) has rapped 55 doubles and slugged 38 homers the past two seasons—the latter of which was spent in High-A.

    Despite being just 20 years old, the Giants tapped Joseph to come to spring training, more than likely to get another hand behind the plate, where he's thrown out 36 percent of base-stealers.

    Joseph has more than earned his keep, though, slugging two homers and driving in six runs in a mere four games.

    Here enters the warning about Joseph.

    For starters, he's just 20 years old and at least three years away from the majors. Second, his offensive outburst in 2011 was aided greatly by the hitter-friendly California League.

    And last but not least, not even the Cal League could hide the holes in Joseph's swing. He struck out 102 times and walked on only 29 occasions. His on-base percentage also increased a mere 27 points, despite a 34-point jump in his batting average.

    There are enough holes in his swing to reserve judgement on Joseph, despite his impressive spring start.

Alex Liddi, 3B, Seattle Mariners

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    Last year, Liddi had a terrific spring, hitting .385 with two homers and eight RBI in just eight games, solidifying his place among the Mariners' top position prospects.

    After a sensational campaign (30 HR, 104 RBI) at Triple-A Tacoma in 2011, Liddi is back and playing just as well.

    In 12 games, he's hitting .407 with five doubles and six RBI. Despite not being known for his speed, he's managed to swipe two bases.

    Like a few other players on this list, Liddi has been strikeout-prone during his minor league days, racking up 731 punchouts in 2,951 at-bats.

    His problem has seemingly gotten worse the past two years. He struck out a career-high 145 times in 2010 and then blew that out of the water with 170 last year.

    Still, he remains the best power-hitter in Seattle's organization, and having proven himself at Triple-A, he'll likely spend a good chunk of the 2012 season with the big-league club.

    If he does, though, expect some massive strikeout numbers.

Tim Beckham, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

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    It's a tough pill to swallow, but Beckham, the team's No. 1 overall selection back in 2008, produced the worst batting average of any player who notched at least one hit this spring.

    His .042 average not only put a dent in Beckham's momentum, but it also resulted in him being optioned to the minor leagues just a few days ago.

    Luckily for the 22-year-old, the experience hasn't soiled him in the eyes of the organization, who still view him as a valuable prospect.

    Beckham has quietly rebounded from a terrible start to his professional career and has finally distanced himself from the dreaded "B" word (aka bust).

    With a strong campaign (.271, 12 HR, 70 RBI), during which he set numerous offensive career-highs, Beckham has also presented himself as a serious challenge to the Rays' top position prospect, Hak-Ju Lee.

    Both players play shortstop, although Beckham could be moving off the spot sometime this season.

    You'll see Beckham in St. Petersburg at some point this season.

Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers

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    After a sterling career at UConn, Olt made it his mission to wreak havoc on minor league pitchers and emerged from the 2011 season as the Rangers' top position prospect not named Jurickson Profar.

    Olt looked sensational in his pro debut in 2010, slugging nine homers and driving in 43 runs in just 69 games.

    He one-upped himself in 2011, bashing 14 long balls in just 73 contests. That's 23 home runs in 142 games.

    Despite striking out in just under 30 percent of his at-bats, he's also proven to be one of the most patient hitters in the Rangers' system, garnering 89 walks.

    In spring camp, however, Olt has looked overmatched, overwhelmed and just plain lost. Gone is the patience (just two walks) and the power (zero homers), leaving Olt with a .222 average and seven strikeouts in less than 30 at-bats.

    Maybe it's just a slump, or maybe he's just antsy after being asked (a la former Rangers 3B Chris Davis) to spend some time at first base this spring.

    Either way, don't expect those numbers to remain that low once his minor league season starts.

Travis d'Arnaud, C, Toronto Blue Jays

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    The Blue Jays have one of the top farm systems in baseball, and d'Arnaud is one of the primary reasons.

    The 23-year-old has blown through the minors, showing improvement at each stop, and with another strong campaign he's destined to crack the big-league roster at some point in 2012.

    Just don't expect numbers like the ones he put up in his brief spring cameo.

    In just nine games, d'Arnaud produced the 29th-best batting average—on his own team.

    That's right, his .143 line was downright ugly. He struck out five times and didn't draw a walk, and his only positive was a back-to-back stretch where he homered and drove in four runs.

    That's not the kind of performance that is going to win any competition with J.P. Arencibia, the Jays incumbent backstop.

    Fortunately, everyone knows d'Arnaud is better than his production this spring. In fact, there's little doubt he's going to put up numbers similar to the ones he produced in 2011: .311, 21 homers, 78 RBI.

    D'Arnaud was recently optioned back to the minors, putting his terrible spring out of its misery.

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals

31 of 31

    The last time Anthony Rendon hit below .300, he was probably in Little League.

    Unfortunately, that's the position he found himself in as the owner of a .231 average in his first big-league spring training.

    Before he was optioned to High-A Potomac, that is.

    It's unlikely Rendon will see time with the big-league club this season, but he's primed for a huge year.

    After a record-breaking career at Rice, one in which he was frequently ailing with ankle injuries, Rendon is finally healthy and ready to start his path to Washington.

    Don't be fooled by his 1-to-4 walk-to-strikeout ratio, either. At Rice, Rendon walked nearly 100 times more than he struck out.

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