RHP Bruce Rondon (Tigers)
With the Baseball Winter Meetings (Dec. 3-6) and the Rule 5 Draft (Dec. 6) right around the corner, teams have been shuffling their respective 40-man rosters throughout the week in anticipation of Wednesday's deadline.
A majority of the players added earlier this week are Rule 5-eligible and are now protected from the draft on Dec. 6. However, there has also been numerous prospects added based on an expectation that they will contribute in the major leagues in 2013.
So, here’s a look at 10 notable prospects that have been added to their team’s 40-man roster this week.
2012 Stats: .243/.275/.291, 8 XBH, 8 SB, 45/11 K/BB (71 G, Double-A Mississippi)
Still only 21 years old, Christian Bethancourt is without a doubt one of the top defensive catching prospects in the game. The same praise doesn’t apply to his offense, though, as the concern about his bat headed into the 2012 season was ultimately justified by his .566 OPS in 71 games at Double-A Mississippi.
However, with David Ross out of the picture and Brian McCann slated to begin next year on the disabled list, there’s a strong chance that Bethancourt is the Braves’ Opening Day catcher based solely upon his defensive prowess.
2012 Stats: .245/.324/.386, 39 XBH (14 HR), 103/50 K/BB (124 G, Double-A Bowie)
While his 2012 production wasn’t particularly impressive, it’s important to remember that Jonathan Schoop played the entire season as a 20-year-old at Double-A. Capable of playing both shortstop and third base, the latter being his projected home in the major leagues, it won’t be long until he joins Manny Machado on the left side of the Orioles’ infield.
2012 Stats: .240/.368/.440, 35 XBH (10 HR), 20 SB, 126/62 K/BB (94 G, Double-A Birmingham); .231/.329/.364, 13 XBH, 53/16 K/BB (36 G, Triple-A Charlotte)
Selected by the White Sox in the first round of the 2009 draft after a storied two-sport career at Louisiana State, the toolsy outfielder’s development was hampered by a serious ankle injury that cost him the entire 2010 season.
However, Jared Mitchell, 24, did play in a career-high 130 games between Double and Triple-A last season and could receive a big-league audition at some point in 2013.
2012 Stats: 15 SV, 23.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 13.1 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 (22 G, High-A Lakeland); 12 SV, 21.1 IP, 0.83 ERA, 1.108 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 (21 G, Double-A Erie); 2 SV, 8 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 7.9 BB/9 (9 G, Triple-A Toledo)
Boasting a fastball that sits 99-102 mph, Bruce Rondon, 21, has all the makings of a future big-league closer and will likely get the nod for the Tigers to open the 2013 season. After beginning last season at High-A Lakeland, the right-hander finished the year with Triple-A Toledo.
2012 Stats: 3-6, 91.2 IP, 5.69 ERA, 1.669 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 (17 GS, Triple-A Omaha); 2-6, 58 IP, 6.67 ERA, 1.552 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 (10 GS, Double-A Northwest Arkansas)
One of baseball's top left-handed pitching prospects headed into the 2011 season, Mike Montgomery, 23, has regressed rapidly over the last two years and was even demoted from Triple to Double-A this past season. He still has some of the upside that made him a first-rounder in 2008, but all of his stats have trended in the wrong direction since reaching Double-A in 2010.
2012 Stats: .286/.384/.460, 100 R, 45 XBH (13 HR), 32 SB, 116/79 K/BB (129 G, Double-A New Britain)
The 22-year-old enjoyed his best minor-league season to date in 2012—at Double-A nonetheless—as he flourished in all facets of the game. The 14th-overall draft pick in 2008, Aaron Hicks’ power-speed was especially impressive with 45 extra-base hits and 32 stolen bases in 129 games.
2012 Stats: 10-6, 116 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 8.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 (19 GS, Double-A Binghamton); 2-2, 33 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 (6 GS, Triple-A Buffalo)
One of the top pitching prospects in the game, Zack Wheeler, 22, excelled last season at both Double and Triple-A, and it’s only a matter of time until he joins Matt Harvey atop the Mets’ starting rotation. His inclusion on the 40-man roster hints at a possible spot in the Opening Day rotation.
2012 Stats: .296/.338/.458, 49 XBH (15 HR), 13 SB, 75/33 K/BB (125 G, Triple-A Sacramento)
The 13th-overall draft pick in 2009, Grant Green ultimately had to move off shortstop and became essentially a super utility man. In his first season at Triple-A in 2012, the 24-year-old emerged as a viable second baseman and could receive Opening Day consideration at the position.
2012 Stats: .256/.325/.361, 17 XBH (6 HR), 6 SB, 71/29 K/BB (72 G, Triple-A Durham)
The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008, Tim Beckham has never evolved into a player worthy of such a prestigious selection. After finally reaching Triple-A at the end of the 2011 season, the 22-year-old’s 2012 campaign began on the wrong note as he was popped for a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse.
Upon returning to the field, the right-handed hitter once again turned in an underwhelming performance. He will inevitably reach the major leagues in 2013, but it will certainly be bittersweet.
2012 Stats: .277/.370/.390, 15 XBH, 33/18 K/BB (40 G, Double-A Altoona); .233/.316/.408, 20 XBH (8 HR), 46/23 K/BB (62 G, Triple-A Indianapolis)
The fourth-overall selection in the 2009 draft out of Boston College, Tony Sanchez, 24, has proven that his plate discipline is big-league ready. However, he’s never produced at the plate as the Pirates expected and his above-average defense has regressed since reaching more advanced minor-league levels.
2012 Stats: 9-2, 137.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, 0.3 HR/9, 7.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 (24 GS, Double-A Jackson)
After a breakout season in 2012 as a 21-year-old at Double-A, the 6’5” right-hander has asserted himself as another young, high-upside pitching prospect alongside RHP Taijuan Walker and LHPs Danny Hultzen and James Paxton.