5 MLB Prospects Whose Trade Value Has Spiked Most in 2013
Every year prospects jump on to the major league radar with a strong performance in the minor leagues. However, it’s not necessarily always with their present organization.
Just as we do here at Prospect Pipeline, teams scout and scrutinize specific prospects over the course of a season. More specifically, they keep a close eye on up-and-coming players considered to be future trade targets. Therefore, when a prospect’s stock improves during the season as a result of an impressive performance, so does their trade value.
Here’s a look at five prospects whose trade value has spiked the most in 2013.
Mookie Betts, 2B, Boston Red Sox
2013 Stats (Low-A/High-A): .286/.395/.470, 72 R, 39 XBH (10 HR), 24 SB, 44/61 K/BB (92 G)
With top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Garin Cecchini capturing headlines on a nightly basis, Mookie Betts hasn’t received the love he deserves in his full-season debut.
Assigned to Low-A Greenville to begin the 2013 season, Betts, 20, quickly emerged as one of the South Atlantic League’s top prospects, showcasing above-average speed, a knack for making hard contact, and underrated power potential. However, it’s the ridiculously advanced plate discipline and approach that separates Betts from most other prospects in the low minors and explains why he's already received a promotion to High-A Salem.
Although he’s undersized at 5’9”, 156 pounds, Betts has surprising strength for his size, with a feel for applying it in games. The right-handed hitter has a compact swing with excellent barrel control that allows him to drive the ball across the entire field. And while he offered gap power exclusively in 2012, Betts has shown more over-the-fence pop this year after adding strength during the offseason.
However, with Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts set to occupy Boston’s infield for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to see where Betts fits in the organization’s long-term plans.
Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
2013 Stats (Triple-A): .347/.371/.497, 155 H, 40 XBH (11 HR), 15 SB, 83/16 K/BB (102 G)
After acquiring Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed in the offseason, the Diamondbacks promoted Owings to Triple-A Reno for the 2013 season despite his struggles at Double-A Mobile in 2012. So far, he’s thrived as one of the younger everyday players at the level and emerged as one of the more consistent hitters in the minors.
Despite his lack of a plus attribute, the 21-year-old has the potential for five average or better tools at maturity. And while his numbers in the Pacific Coast League are obviously inflated, Owings is much more than a product of hitter-friendly parks.
At 5’10”, 180 pounds, Owings, a right-handed hitter, has a direct bat path and knack for barreling the ball. The power potential may be the most surprising aspect of his game, with impressive extension after contact that enables him to generate considerable backspin carry. However, his approach is still too aggressive and has the potential to be exploited against advanced pitching in the major leagues.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 Stats (Double-A): .283/.377/.489, 37 XBH (14 HR), 28 SB, 87/47 K/BB (91 G)
After posting a .913 OPS with 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases for High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2012, Pederson, 21, has improved his prospect stock this season with a strong showing at Double-A Chattanooga.
Previously viewed as a potential fourth outfielder, Pederson’s performance this season in the Southern League—as well as his strong showing in the All-Star Futures Game—makes me believe he can be an everyday guy.
A left-handed hitter, Pederson has the potential for an above-average-to-plus hit tool as he already knows how to control the strike zone and get the barrel to the ball. The fact that his power has translated at Double-A continues to be a pleasant surprise and suggests the potential for above-average power at maturity.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Stats (Low-A): 87.1 IP, 2.27 ERA, .154 BAA, 122/48 K/BB (19 GS)
Selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, the Pirates delayed Glasnow’s professional debut until 2012 so as to control his workload. This season—which is also his full-season debut—the 19-year-old has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the low minors. But even though he has one of the higher ceilings among all pitching prospects, the right-hander still carries a considerable risk factor.
With an ultra projectable 6’7”, 195-pound frame, Glasnow has cleaned up his delivery, which in turn has helped eliminate a lot of the inconsistency that plagued him last season. In terms of his arsenal, the right-hander will works in the mid-90s with his fastball and could conceivably sit a few ticks higher at maturity.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old’s curveball can be a hammer and flashes plus potential but is still inconsistent at present as he struggles to stay on top and execute the pitch. Lastly, the changeup will likely be a work in progress for the next several years, though it’s worth noting that his feel for the offering has noticeably improved this season.
In general, Glasnow’s command has taken a significant step forward this season, as the right-hander continues to look less like a thrower and more like a pitcher.
Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Los Angeles Angels
2013 Stats (Double-A): .277/.331/.428, 104 H, 31 XBH (12 HR), 63/31 K/BB (99 G)
The No. 37 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Lindsey had an up-and-down full-season debut at High-A Inland Empire last year after making the jump from the Pioneer League. However, his performance was enough to convince the Angels that he was ready for a promotion to Double-A Arkansas to begin the 2013 season.
After a dismal first month, the 21-year-old finally settled in at the more advanced level and has raked since. A left-handed hitter, Lindsey keeps the bat head in the strike zone for an extended period of time and peppers the ball from line to line. And while his power didn’t emerge last year in the California League as expected, he’s showcased more consistent home run pop this season against better pitching.
Furthermore, Lindsey’s approach and plate discipline survived the jump to Double-A this season—in fact, it’s improved—which caters to his projection as an above-average hitter and everyday second baseman at the highest level.
Bonus: Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
2013 Stats (Triple-A): .274/.343/.440, 115 H, 43 XBH (13 HR), 77/46 K/BB (106 G)
Nick Castellanos is one of a select few prospects in the minors with the potential for a legitimate plus hit tool in the major leagues.
A lanky right-handed hitter, Castellanos has always stood out for his pure bat-to-ball ability and excellent barrel control. However, his overaggressive approach and penchant for expanding the strike zone was exposed last year following a midseason promotion to Double-A.
Still, the Tigers challenged their top prospect with an aggressive assignment to Triple-A Toledo to begin 2013 season. Considering that he’s one of the younger position players at the level, the adjustments that Castellanos has made to his approach this year are remarkable. Besides significantly reducing his strikeout rate, the 21-year-old’s improved feel for the strike zone has also resulted in an improved walk rate and power frequency.