J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami Marlins: .256/.319/.345, 24 XBH (8 HR), 13 SB, 64 K/37 BB (123 G)
One of my breakout predictions heading into this season, Realmuto continues to be lauded for his athleticism and strong arm behind the plate—remember: he wasn’t a full-time catcher until entering the Marlins’ system—but his bat has been a disappointment this season.
After watching as much recent video as possible of Realmuto, it’s clear that his swing is long due to excessive and unnecessary movement during his load. I’m not worried, though, as his raw talent will continue to catch up to his baseball skills.
Donavan Tate, OF, San Diego Padres: .226/.342/.278, 15 XBH (12 2B), 21 SB, 118 K/60 BB (107 G)
Now 21 years old, Tate’s career never got on the right track after the Padres selected him with the third overall pick in 2009.
He suffered both a sports hernia and fractured jaw that prevented him from making his professional debut in 2009, and he missed even more time with a concussion and a shoulder strain in 2010. To complicate matters, Tate also served a 25-game suspension after testing positive for a drug use (in his case, marijuana) for a second time.
Although he played in 107 games this season, it’s obvious just how far he is behind in his development.
Noah Perio, 2B, Miami Marlins: .248/.293/.311, 25 XBH (22 HR), 6 SB, 68 K/27 BB (119 G)
As a left-handed hitting second baseman, Perio enjoyed his best minor league season in 2011 when he batted .295/.323/.406 with 144 hits, 30 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 119 games at Low-A.
He’s still only 20 years old and made the jump to the more advanced Florida State League (High-A) this season, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned with the lack of production.
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Kansas City Royals: .240/.296/.322, 25 XBH (7 HR), 59 RBI, 6 SB, 80 K/37 BB (124 G)
Cuthbert set the bar high for himself this season after posting a .742 OPS with 36 walks at Low-A last season as an 18-year-old. Therefore, his .618 OPS this season at High-A is naturally viewed as a disappointment. So he may need to repeat the level in 2013. For Cuthbert, that may be a smart idea, regardless of his level of production this season.
Cory Spangenberg, 2B, San Diego Padres: .271/.324/.352, 21 XBH (8 3B), 27 SB, 72 K/26 BB (98 G)
Selected by the Padres with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Spangenberg was expected to move quickly through their system given his advanced, left-handed hit tool, slick defense and knack for stealing bases. All of this was confirmed during his professional debut in 2011, when he batted .316/.419/418 with 21 extra-base hits and 25 stolen bases between Class-A Short Season and Low-A.
Unfortunately, his bat has been a disappointment this season, but his defense and ability to steal bases has been impressive, though. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Padres keep him moving with a promotion to Double-A to open the 2013 season, or if they start him at High-A once again.
Cesar Puello, OF, New York Mets: .260/.328/.423, 25 XBH (17 2B), 21 RBI, 19 SB, 58 K/7 BB (66 G)
A toolsy, 21-year-old outfielder, Puello’s athleticism and raw talent still profiles through the roof. He’s had an injury-plagued 2012 season, though, missing two months after breaking the hamate bone in his hand in May and landing on the disabled list in late July with a hamstring issue.
He’s struggled to find rhythm at the plate, but either way his 58 strikeouts to seven walks in 66 games is worrisome.
Brandon Jacobs, OF, Boston Red Sox: .252/.322/.410, 43 XBH (13 HR), 61 RBI, 17 SB, 128 K/39 BB (114 G)
Jacobs had a breakout season in 2011, posting an .881 OPS with 17 home runs and 30 stolen bases at Low-A.
He’s taken a step back this year after a promotion to High-A Salem, as his production regressed considerably. He has loads of raw power and the potential for a decent hit tool, but his strikeout-prone ways (123 in 2011; 128 in 2012) continue to impede his overall development.