5 Top Prospects Who Can Give Each Last Place MLB Team Hope for 2013
Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
Although the implementation of a second Wild Card team in each league definitely spiced up the final month of the 2012 regular season, there were still several teams on the outside looking in. While a majority of those teams ultimately finished the season in the cellar of their respective division, that doesn’t necessarily equate to an equally dismal 2013 season.
While it’s rather early to speculate, there’s seemingly a top-ranked prospect, in some cases multiple, for every bottom-tier team capable of making an impact within the next year. Although that doesn’t mean that those organization's will enjoy a bounce-back, winning campaign, it at least gives fans a reason to be optimistic.
San Diego Padres: 2B/3B Jedd Gyorko
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Although there are still questions about his future position in the major leagues, one thing is certain: Gyorko can hit. After leading all minor league hitters with 192 hits 2011 in his first full season, Gyorko enjoyed an equally impressive 2012 campaign as he nearly reached the major leagues in September.
He’s demonstrated the ability to hit for both consistent average and power, and his bat should outweigh any defensive inadequacies. With Chase Headley entrenched at the hot corner for the foreseeable future, expect Gyorko to continue receiving reps at second base, where his bat is a greater premium.
Seattle Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
At 6’4”, 210 pounds, Walker is an outstanding athlete who is still learning the nuances of pitching as professional. While his 2012 stats don’t jump off the page, it’s important to remember that the pitched the majority of the season as a 19-year-old at Double-A against competition well beyond his age.
The right-hander has all the making of a future No. 1 starter, and although it’s likely he won’t assume a role for several years, a late-season call-up in 2013 is definitely a possibility.
Minnesota Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson
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The 22nd overall selection in the 2009, it’s been easy to forget about Kyle Gibson. Seemingly on the fast track to the major leagues, the 6’6” right-hander’s development was derailed last season when an elbow injury required Tommy John surgery.
However, he returned late this season and reached Triple-A for the first time since 2010. Gibson will need most of the 2013 season to rediscover his pre-Tommy John form, but expect him to pitch out of the Twins rotation for a portion of next season.
Houston Astros: 1B Jonathan Singleton
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Acquired at the 2011 trade deadline along with Jarred Cosart in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, the 20-year-old first baseman enjoyed a breakout campaign this season at Double-A.
His power finally emerged in the face of more advanced competition—52 extra-base hits in 131 games—and he exhibited equally impressive on-base skills (.396 OBP).
Singleton shouldn’t need much more time in the minors, especially given the Astros' need for more production as an A.L. West representative in 2013, and has a bright future hitting in the middle of the team’s order.
Miami Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez
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OK, this one might be a bit of a stretch, but I truly believe there’s a chance the Marlins may promote the right-hander to the major leagues at some point next season. Fernandez is that special of a young pitcher, as he demonstrated this season by dominating both Low-A and High-A as a 19-year-old.
Everything about him is advanced relative to his age, and there will come a point next season where he’s deemed one of the five best starting pitchers within the organization.