For every prospect who's looking to build upon a breakout 2012 season, there are countless others hoping to right the ship and prove that their off-year was merely a fluke. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the player performed poorly; in most cases it’s that they were unable to meet lofty expectations.
Either way, each of the five prospects on this list struggled in one form or another last season—some more than others, as you will see. More importantly, they are all prime candidates for a strong bounce-back campaign in 2013.
Gary Brown, OF, San Francisco Giants
After batting .336/407/.519 with 51 extra-base hits and 53 stolen bases in the hitter-friendly California League (High-A) in 2011, Brown was regarded as a can’t-miss prospect headed into the 2012 season. Unfortunately, the speedy center fielder regressed across the board in the Eastern League, as his OPS dropped nearly .200-points to .731 and he struggled to showcase the consistency that was present the year before.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Entering 2012 as one of the game’s top pitching prospects, Teheran, a right-hander, was fresh off a breakout season in 2011 in which he registered a 2.55 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett as a 20-year-old.
Forced to repeat the level due to the depth of the Braves rotation in the major leagues, Teheran struggled mightily in his second tour, registering a 5.08 ERA and failing to execute his pitches. After a strong showing in the Caribbean Winter Leagues, he may have finally righted the ship and reaffirmed his ranking as an elite pitching prospect.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Bauer breezed through both Double- and Triple-A last season, and ultimately reached the major leagues in late June nearly a year after he was drafted.
But for all the success he experienced in the minor leagues last season, the unorthodox right-hander was overmatched in his six starts with the Diamondbacks; more so, he was seemingly tentative attacking hitters, trying to fool them with one of his many pitchers rather than trust his pure stuff. Now that he's with a new team a free from the pressures of the Diamondbacks' system, Bauer could be in a store for an excellent season in the major leagues.
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
As was the case with Gary Brown, Arenado’s 2011 numbers were clearly inflated by the hitter-friendly California League, as he’d bat .298/.349/.487 with 55 extra-base hits (20 home runs) and 122 RBI in 134 games for High-A Modesto. The third baseman’s production came back down to earth in 2012 at Double-A Tulsa. He still showcased an impressive hit tool and above-average defense, but the 21-year-old’s .285/.337/.428 was a far cry from his output the year before.
Brad Peacock, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Peacock was extremely sharp during his exposure in the major leagues with the Nationals in late 2011, as the right-hander registered a 0.75 ERA over 12 innings that included two starts. However, prior to the 2012 season, he was dealt to the A’s along with Tommy Milone, Derrek Norris and A.J. Cole as part of a prospect package for left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
In the first year with his new organization, the 24-year-old struggled to demonstrate consistency, posting an ugly 6.01 ERA and career-worst 4.4 BB/9 for Triple-A Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League.