7 Unknown Prospects Ready to Take MLB by Storm by 2013
Some of the best and brightest of Major League Baseball's future are being groomed in the minors and are on the fast track to reach the big leagues by 2013.
Whether it's winning the starting job during spring training or being a late September call-up, these players possess the skill sets to help their respected teams over the course of the next year.
We all know about the Bryce Harpers and the Matt Moores, but what about the fifth-round draft pick who has been working his tail off in the minors to make the big show?
Here are seven unknown players ready to hit the bigs by 2013.
Tyler Skaggs, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks obtained Tyler Skaggs when they moved Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels drafted the southpaw in the first round of the 2009 draft.
Pitching in A+ and AA ball last season, the 20-year-old lefty was a combined 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. If that doesn't do it for you, maybe his 11.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 will.
In fact, while playing Single-A, A+ and Double-A ball, Skaggs put together three consecutive seasons of a K/9 of at least 11.2.
Per Baseball America, Skaggs is expected to reach the majors by 2013.
Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
Jurickson Profar signed as an international free agent with the Texas Rangers as a pitcher in 2009, but the team transformed the 19-year-old into a shortstop.
Profar has shown a keen eye at the plate, collecting more walks in the Sally League than strikeouts in 430 at-bats (65 vs. 63).
In those 430 at-bats, Profar hit .286/.390/.493, swiped 23 of 32 on the basepaths and and even knocked 12 out of the park.
His Sally League fielding percentage was .955, which isn't too shabby for a converted shortstop.
If everything goes according to plan, Profar will debut in 2013.
Jarred Cosart, SP, Houston Astros
This 6'3" Texas righty was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 38th round of the 2008 draft.
No longer in the Phillies' organization, Jarred Cosart is now battling in the Houston Astros' farm system for a shot at the big leagues.
Though Cosart's minor league numbers aren't that impressive, many believe he can succeed in the big leagues.
As ScoutingBook.com says,
"Another two-way player inherited from the Phillies system, Jarred Cosart is primarily a pitcher as far as the Astros are concerned. As a pitcher, he displays a consistent, balanced delivery, with a mid-90's fastball and a polished 11-5 curve that's probably the best hammer in the Astro system. His change, while a bit rough, also looks to be a potential plus offering."
Baseball America predicts that the 20-year-old will reach the majors by 2013 and should be a big contributor to the Astros' arms.
Chris Archer, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Chris Archer has spent the past six seasons playing in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays.
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, Archer is now in the Rays' system, playing for their Triple-A club.
The 2010 Chicago Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year was acquired by the Rays in the deal that sent Matt Garza to Chicago.
He can be wild—as his minor league career BB/9 sits at 5.2—but his fastball blazes at 97 mph and he also possesses a plus slider.
As ScoutingBook.com writes,
"As long as he can command his pitches a bit better and mix in his sub-average (for now) change, he still looks likely to be a near-ace starter come 2013 or so. If not, he's looking a lot like lights-out closer material already."
Don't be surprised to see Archer pitching for the Rays either this season or next.
Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 2009 draft, Nick Franklin has been compared to a youthful Michael Young.
Franklin has played more than 230 games over the course of two years, spanning between Single-A and Double-A.
During that time, Franklin has posted .286/.353/.460 averages.
Double-A Jackson saw him hit .325/.371/.482 while collecting seven extra-base hits and five stolen bases in 21 games.
Franklin will be contending for a spot in the Mariners' infield very soon.
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Playing as a shortstop in high school, the Detroit Tigers drafted Nick Castellanos in the first round of the 2010 draft, but he's now listed as a third baseman.
In his first complete minor league season, Castellanos hit .312/.367/.436 with 76 RBI and 46 extra-base hits.
"He shows very quick wrists and great natural hitting ability already, which means as he grows and fills out, he could become a certifiable monster. He has surprising speed for a big guy, too."
He'll be exciting once he hits the field, which Baseball America is saying will be by the 2013 season.
Matt Szczur, CF, Chicago Cubs
Matt Szczur was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs. The Los Angeles Dodgers originally drafted him three years earlier, but Szczur opted for Villanova University instead.
In two seasons in the minors—spanning from A- to A+—Szczur hit .303/.350/.431, while stealing 26 bases and only being caught five times. He also displayed a little bit of power, hitting 10 homers despite his 6'1", 195-pound frame.
The center fielder could use some work on his defense, posting a .983 career fielding percentage in the minors.
As ScoutingBook.com states, "He looks to be on a fast track to Wrigley."
Fans should see Szczur by 2013 and shouldn't be surprised to see more Cubs prospects hit the big leagues, given the talent and mind of Theo Epstein.