Josh Reddick and the Most Overrated Prospect in Each MLB Farm System
Josh Reddick is not who you think he is.
Now in his third appearance with the Red Sox and first full-time appearance, Reddick has been hitting the stuffing out of the ball, to the tune of .343/.387/.567, with five home runs, 22 RBI and 26 runs scored in 44 games.
The 24-year-old must be for real, because those are some real numbers.
Reddick, a 17th-round pick of the Red Sox way back in 2006, has never performed at this level in any single minor league season, and when the Red Sox called him up, he was hitting .230 with an .841 OPS at Triple-A.
It only stands to reason that Reddick is likely to come back to earth in a big way.
This is why he is included in this list of the most overrated prospects in each MLB farm system.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
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But keep this in mind: Dom Brown was a 20th-round draft pick in the 2006 major league draft.
Generally speaking, 20th-round picks do not become stars.
Brown's star began to rise when he hit .290 or better with decent power and speed over the course of the 2008-2010 minor league seasons.
At the same time, .290 in the minors and decent but not great power and speed is not actually something to get terribly excited about.
There is a chance that Phillies fans drank the Kool-Aid on this one.
Not Really Anybody, Atlanta Braves
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The Philadelphia Phillies' "Dynasty" will come to an end someday. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.
And the reason why?
Because the Braves minor league system is stacked.
In 2009, the Braves unleashed Tommy Hanson onto the world. In 2010, it was Jason Heyward and Jonny Venters. In 2011, it has been Freddie Freeman, Brandon Beachy and Craig Kimbrel.
In the coming years, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado will all be arriving at the major league level, and every single one of these guys appears to be the real deal.
Kind of amazing, actually.
Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
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Leaving aside the fact that this deal essentially cost the Giants nothing since they are stacked with pitching, this trade reflects a surprisingly high rating of Wheeler's career to this point.
To this point, the 6'4" right-hander has struck out plenty of batters at Single-A and High-A, but he has also walked lots of guys and given up plenty of runs.
It is still early in Wheeler's career—he is only 21 afterall—but this is not a huge return for Beltran.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
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This is really a semantic argument:
Even if Stephen Strasburg becomes the best pitcher in baseball upon his return, he will have failed to live up to the enormous hype we have placed upon him.
And that is the definition of overrated.
Matt Dominguez, 3B, Florida Marlins
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The 12th overall pick in 2007 out of high school, Matt Dominguez has never done anything to distinguish himself in the minors.
Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Billy Hamilton (who shares his name with one of baseball's greatest 19th century players) is going to be on the Reds' radar for a long time after this season, in which he has already stolen 77 bases in 106 games at Single-A Dayton.
So why is he overrated? Actually, his stolen base totals are made all the more amazing by his 103 strikeouts, his .255 average and his .317 on-base percentage. Just imagine how many bases he could steal if he could hit .300?
Hamilton has also made 30 errors in 104 games already. So, his one asset is going to be making people overlook his many flaws for quite a while.
Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs
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Yes, he is the youngest player in baseball, and he plays everyday. It is amazing.
At the same time, isn't Starlin Castro really an empty-average, no-glove shortstop?
And more importantly, is there any reason to expect him to develop into anything more?
Jordan Lyles, SP, Houston Astros
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The 38th pick in the 2008 draft, Jordan Lyles had an awesome season in 2009 when, at the age of 18, he struck out 167 batters and walked only 38 in 144.2 innings at Single-A Lexington.
He has been on all of our radars ever since.
After a deceptively mediocre 2010 season (137/46 in 158.2 innings, but also 181 hits, a 7-12 record and a 3.57 ERA), Lyles was a merely solid pitcher through 59 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
Now, he is an Astro. At the age of 20.
I am pretty sure he is not ready for the majors, and I am pretty sure there is no reason to rush him along.
Maikel Cleto, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
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It is not completely clear what is going on with this guy; maybe Tony LaRussa slapped his mother or slept with his sister or something.
It took Maikel Cleto four seasons to move from Rookie ball to High-A ball. Now, suddenly, in 2011, Cleto as risen from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A to the majors all inside of one season, and he did not pitch terribly great at any of his stops along the way.
I am not sure why the Cards are suddenly in such a hurry with this guy, but it is unwarranted.
Nobody at All, Milwaukee Brewers
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Strangely, the Milwaukee Brewers simply do not have any highly-touted prospects. None appear on MLB.com's top 50 prospects list or on Baseball America's top 100 list.
I would take the opportunity to talk trash about right-handed pitcher Eric Arnett, a terrible pitcher whom the Brewers drafted in the first round in 2009, but no one is rating this guy all that highly.
Oh well. Next?
Stetson Allie, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are also light on prospects, which is probably because most of their recent top prospects are currently producing at the major league level.
Stetson Allie, though, was their second-round pick in 2010 and has been an out-and-out disaster so far in 2011 at State College of the New York Penn League.
In 20.1 innings pitched, he has allowed 20 hits, 19 runs, 18 earned, 20 walks and 23 strike outs. He is 0-2 with a 7.97 ERA.
Casey Kelly, SP, San Diego Padres
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This is the guy (or one of them) that the Padres got from Boston in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez.
Now in his third minor league season, he is 10-4 this season, but he has allowed 136 hits in 119.1 innings, struck out only 87, and walked 35, which is a lot. His ERA is 4.15, which is an improvement over last year's Double-A ERA of 5.31.
Kelly was pretty great at A-ball three years ago and has done little impress since then.
Tyler Matzek, SP, Colorado Rockies
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The Rockies drafted this 6'3" left-hander in the first round in 2009, and he has been a wash from the get-go.
In two minor league seasons, he is 7-7 with a 5.14 ERA. He strikes out over a batter per inning (164 in 152.1) but walks nearly a batter per inning (140 in 152.1).
Sounds like he's not breathing out of the right eyelid.
Ethan Martin, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers drafted Ethan Martin with the first pick in the 2008 draft, and for one year, in Single-A, he looked good.
That season, he went 6-8 but with a 3.87 ERA, while striking out 120 men in 100.0 innings.
The following year, in High-A, his record fell to 9-14, his ERA sunk to 6.35 and he walked almost as many as he struck out (81/105).
This year, split between Double-A and High-A, he has struck out 83 and walked 49 in 77 innings.
Throwing hard does not equate to good pitching if you can't keep from walking the farm.
Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Matt Davidson was drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft to be a big power-hitting third baseman; they no doubt had ridding themselves of Mark Reynolds in mind at the time.
In three seasons of minor league ball, Davidson has shown no special skills. He hits for mediocre average, passable on-base percentage and John Olerud power. He also strikes out just under three times as much as he walks.
This guy will have a very nice minor league career.
Thomas Neal, OF, San Francisco Giants
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This guy is a classic blue-collar find in baseball.
Drafted in the 36th round of the 2005 draft out of high school, he has made proving his doubters wrong his goal at every stop.
Neal looked to have a shot to make the Giants in the spring, and he was a fan favorite at the time. However, it is clear that Neal is an overachiever. His best season came in 2009, at High-A ball, when he hit 22 home runs, scored 102 runs, and batted .337/.431/.579.
He has not replicated this success and looks more like a valuable backup than a major league starter.
Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Man, and to think the Phillies and their fans were hesitant about trading this guy for Roy Halladay.
Andrew Brackman, SP, New York Yankees
Andrew Brackman is an appealing guy, standing 6'10" and weighing 230.
Maybe this is the reason he is generally considered one of the top 80 or so prospects in baseball.
The 30th overall pick in 2007, Brackman is 14-29 with 5.35 ERA in three minor league seasons, and so far in 2011, Brackman has walked more batters (69) than he has struck out (58).
Maybe Brackman has a late-developer issue, like Randy Johnson before him.
Josh Reddick, OF, Boston Red Sox
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In the short time he has been with the Red Sox, Josh Reddick has caused quite a stir. In 44 games, he has hit five homeruns, driving in 22 RBI and scoring 26 runs, while batting .343/.387/.567.
Don't be stirred.
Reddick never came close to performing at this level in the minor leagues, enjoying his best season in 2008 with 23 home runs and a .311/.356/.544. More recently, he was hitting .230 at Triple-A when he got called up, after hitting .266 there a year ago.
In fact, Reddick may very well be venturing into Kevin Maas/Shane Spencer territory here.
Tim Beckman, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
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Actually, Tim Beckham's days as a highly-rated prospect may be over.
The No. 1 overall pick as a high school shortstop in the 2008 draft, Beckham has never come close to living up to the billing. He has never better than .275, never stolen more than 22 bases (while getting caught 14 times that season) and never gotten his OPS over .731.
In 2009, he made 43 errors in 117 games and recently committed his 100th minor league error in four seasons.
This is one of the very few wrong turns the Tampa Bay Rays have made in recent years. They are secretly the best run organization in baseball, and as soon as they move away from the Tampa area, they will likely make money hand over fist catering to a fanbase that will reward a good team with good attendance.
Xavier Avery, CF, Baltimore Orioles
Xavier Avery (whom, where I come from, you call Xavery) has all the features.
He is a speedy lefty-hitting center fielder who moving quickly through the Orioles minor league system. Already at Double-A at the age of 21, he will get a long look next spring.
All Avery has shown an ability to do, at this point, though is hit for a mediocre average, strike out a lot, and not get on base where he can use his speed.
He is a toolsy guy in the mode of Corey Patterson. And we see how Patterson turned out.
Jared Mitchell, OF, Chicago White Sox
As much as it pains me to dog a guy from New Iberia, LA, one my favorite towns, Mitchell comes from the "he's a helluvan athlete, so we'll overlook the fact that he strikes out more often than Steve Carell in 40 Year Old Virgin.
To be fair, Mitchell showed lots of promise in 2009 before getting injured and missing all of 2010. But since he has returned, he has been off, to say the least.
Along with 28 doubles, seven triples and nine home runs in 104 games, he has also struck out an unconscionable 146 times.
The sky may be the limit in terms of his athleticism, but if he strikes out at this rate in High-A ball, what will happen at the higher levels.
Joe Benson , OF, Minnesota Twins
Joe Benson is a six-year veteran of the minor leagues who, in 2010, suddenly hit 27 home runs at Double-A after having hit only 19 home runs in the four combined seasons leading up to 2010.
Benson has always had speed, but when he hit those 27 home runs, suddenly he became a power-speed threat and was on everyone's radar.
He remains on everyone's radar despite the fact that, in 2011, he has only hit nine home runs in 81 games.
This guy is a poor-man's Michael Cuddyer if the Twins are lucky.
Jacob Turner, SP, Detroit Tigers
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I think Jacob Turner, the Detroit Tigers' No. 1 pick in 2009, as everything he needs to be a successful major league pitcher.
In Double-A in 2011, at the tender age of 20, Turner has gone 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 113.2 innings pitched. I think in another year or two (or three) he will be a very good major league pitcher.
Why the hell, though, did the Tigers call him up in 2011?
What a ridiculous idea.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals
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The problem with the Kansas City Royals is that have a hitter-friendly minor league stadium in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and they play their major league games at pitcher-friendly Kaufmann Stadium (or whatever we're calling it these days).
As a result, prospects like Mark Teahen, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Kila Kai'aihue regularly fail to replicate their dominant Triple-A numbers at the major league level.
Mike Moustakas, who at the age of 21 ripped up Double-A and Triple-A in 2010 (36 HR, 124 RBI, 41 2B, .322/.369/.630) has looked a bit lost in his first taste of major league action in 2011 (.195/.253/.252 in 42 games). Do not expect this to change.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians
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A third baseman who it 22 home runs between High-A and Double-A in 2009, Chisenhall seems to have a low ceiling as a good-power, bad-average strikeout machine.
He has been rated as the 25th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before the 2011 season.
Chris Carter, OF, Oakland Athletics
There have not been many prospects more highly touted than Chris Carter in recent years, and unfortunately, we're at the beginning of the end of his window.
Sadly, Carter has had power and flashes of speed in the minor leagues, but he hasn't put it together with any sort of all-around ability since 2009 at Double-A.
At this stage, he is a high-strikeout, high-walk, low-average guy who may actually be a quintessential Quad-A hitter.
Which is a shame.
Martin Perez, SP, Texas Rangers
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Martin Perez was ranked the 23rd best prospect in baseball by MLB.com and 24th by Baseball America before the 2011 season, which is a bump up compared to recent years by both organizations.
Why the bump up? Your guess is as good as mine.
After posted a 2.31 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 93.2 innings for Single-A Hickory in the first part of the 2009 season, Perez moved up to Double-A ball and was terrible (1-3, 5.57 ERA).
He followed that with a full season at Double-A in 2010, during which he went 5-8 with a 5.96 ERA.
So far, in 2011, Perez has finally gotten under control at Double-A, to the tune of 4-2 wit a 3.16 ERA, albeit with a terrible 83/36 K/BB ratio, and then gotten lit up at Triple-A to the tune of 3-2 with a 5.76 ERA and 40 hits in 25.0 innings pitched.
How is this guy not just the next easy-to-hit hard-thrower?
Nick Franklin, INF, Seattle Mariners
If Christian Bale, Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper had a baby, wouldn't he look like this guy?
Nick Franklin was the Mariners' first-round pick, 27th overall, out of high school in 2009 and has moved between second base and shortstop in the last three years. He was rated as the 38th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com and 53rd by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season.
Way back in 2010, Franklin hit 23 home runs and stole 25 bases for Single-A Clinton at the age of 19, and put his star on the map. However, Franklin also hit jusy .283, struck out 124 times and got caught stealing 10 times. A work in progress to be sure.
In 2011, at the age of 20, Franklin has spent most of the year at High-A High Desert, where his average dropped to .275, and he has hit only five home runs in 64 games. A lot of the excitement this kid generated at Single-A ball has already fallen away.
Let's see if he can get it back.
Tyler Chatwood, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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Okay, okay, easy target. In his first ever action with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tyler Chatwood is not having the easiest go of it.
And thus, it is easy to make fun.
But I would have made fun of this second-round pick from the 2008 MLB draft before the 2011 season.
Despite the number of people who are high on this guy, he has never shown great or even good stuff in the minors. He has always walked too many batters (career K/BB ratio: 1.57:1) and been easy to hit, and he does not strike out very many batters per inning (well less than a batter per inning even in his best seasons).
With a minor league record of 22-19 and a 3.33 ERA, Chatwood managed to get to the majors in 2011 despite never really succeeding at the minor league level.