Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects After Week 11
Another week is in the books as the top prospects of the MLB are either working out the kinks in the lower levels or making their case to be a mid-season call-up. We have seen some of the top prospects make their major league debut already this season, like Oscar Taveras, who didn’t disappoint in his first major league game.
We have also seen some top prospects bitten by the injury bug, like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. While the Minnesota Twins haven’t had much luck this season with their top two prospects, many other teams are starting to get giddy with anticipation for the arrival of their top prospects. Some of these prospects will be thrown into the fire of heated playoff races as teams look for reinforcements and an added spark in the second half of the year.
Without further ado, here is how the MLB’s top 10 prospects are doing after Week 11.
Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
After crushing a home run in his first major league game, Taveras struggled at the plate, posting a .522 OPS in 37 at-bats for the Cardinals.
ESPN.com has reported that Taveras has been sent back down to Triple-A after the Cardinals activated Matt Adams from the 15-day disabled list.
At 21 years old, Taveras still has more to learn, according to manager Mike Matheny. John Mozeliak, the Cardinals' general manager, stated “I think he learned a lot, and it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point he’s back.”
That’s a safe assumption, as Taveras was tearing up Triple-A pitching before being called up to the tune of a .321/.372/.515 slash line.
Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners
The question isn’t whether or not the Mariners will call-up their young righty, but when.
He’s had some shoulder issues this season, but his start this past Saturday was very promising. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for Triple-A Tacoma, working past the fifth inning for only the first time this season. He threw 57 of his 94 pitches for strikes on his way to striking out seven batters.
According to milb.com's Tyler Maun, Walker said after the game:
I think I felt the fastball pretty well tonight. I used it a lot. I was pounding the zone with that and making them put the ball in play, and I got the strikeouts when I needed them. I wasn't really going for the strikeouts or anything, so they kind of just came on their own.
Walker seems to be heating up, and Mariners fans may not have to wait much longer if he continues to pitch like he did on Saturday night.
Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
Let’s call a spade a spade—Baez isn’t having the type of season many Cubs fans were hoping for so far in 2014. But, in his defense, hitting 37 homers would be a tough act to follow for just about anyone.
Baez is sporting a .217/.275/.415 slash line to go along with only nine home runs so far this year. His past ten games are equally as unimpressive—posting a .211/.256/.447 line.
Regardless of how his 2014 season has gone thus far, Baez has the talent and ability to break out at any moment. While his stock may be down right now, that can all change in the blink of an eye. You can’t hit 37 homers by accident. The Cubs have a stud in the making.
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
The Astros have to be super excited about Correa’s development thus far. At 19 years old, he’s playing for Lancaster and shredding A+-level pitching in 2014. He has a .329/.421/.502 slash line to go along with 20 stolen bases.
Over his past 10 games, Correa has been on fire, posting a .378/.558/.595 slash line. He also has six stolen bases during that span.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
You don’t have to be a Cubs fan to get excited over the thought of having Javier Baez and Kris Bryant in the lineup in the very near future.
Bryant has had no trouble making the jump from Single-A to Double-A, which is supposed to be where prospects experience the toughest adjustment. Bryant scoffed at that notion, crushing 22 homers and posting a 1.169 OPS through 67 games.
This kid’s stock couldn’t be any higher. Over his past 10 games, he’s rocking to the tune of a .378/.465/.757 line with three homers. Expect him to make his Triple-A debut very soon, and possibly be a September call-up for the Cubbies.
Stock: Way Up
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Lindor is known for his plus-plus defensive skills, but he can handle the stick as well.
Many are calling for Lindor to be called up, especially with Asdrubal Cabrera’s defensive woes this season. Cabrera has 12 errors thus far this season, which, according to Jim Ingraham of The News Herald and Morning Journal, puts Cabrera on pace to commit the most errors by an Indians shortstop in the past 30 years.
While Lindor’s defense is MLB-ready, his bat may need more development. That may not be enough for the Indians to keep Lindor down in the minors much longer. Over his past 10 games, Lindor had a .297/.381/.324 slash with six stolen bases.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets
Syndergaard is definitely having a rough go-round in Las Vegas this season. He has dominated every level in the minor leagues and looked great against major league hitters this past spring, but Syndergaard is learning that Las Vegas isn’t exactly kind to its pitchers.
Syndergaard has recently been placed on the 7-day disabled list after a collision at home plate caused a little bit of a scare for the Mets’ top prospect. Up until the collision, opposing batters were hitting almost .300 against him (.290). He's slated to start his first game since the collision on Monday night, and hopefully he'll get his season back on track.
Mets fans were hoping to see their big righty hurling 98 mph heaters at Citi Field by now, but it looks as if they are going to have to wait a little longer. Syndergaard’s stock may be down right now, but his future is still as bright as his blond hair.
Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
Russell hasn’t had much playing time in 2014 due to a hamstring ailment, but he finally got on the field this past week and started a rehab assignment with Stockton (A+).
He has shown a little rust, but just having him playing and getting work in is great news for the A’s. Hamstrings have a tendency to nag and hamper players throughout the season, so it will be interesting to see how it effects Russell the rest of the year.
His stock is down, but mostly due to rust and getting his feet wet again.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Polanco, a five-tool talent, made his major league debut for the Pirates this past week. Before the call-up, the Pirates’ top prospect was shredding Triple-A, posting a slash line of .347/.405/.540 and 15 stolen bases.
His first week in The Show wasn’t disappointing either. Over his first five games in the bigs, Polanco is hitting .385 with a homer and a .407 OBP. Polanco’s stock is definitely up, and he is probably in the majors for good.
Jon Gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
The third pick in the 2013 draft has regularly had his fastball clocked in triple digits. The Rockies are patiently awaiting the arrival of the dominating righty.
Gray has only had one bad outing all season—on May 29, he gave up eight earned runs (2 HR) over 5.1 innings pitched. He bounced back during his last start on June 10, pitching five scoreless innings while striking out seven.