View Full Version : The MLB prospect 'dream' squad

06-21-2012, 10:37 AM
This is by Baseball Prospectus writer Kevin Goldstein and prospects with the biggest gap between current ability and future potential. Check it out and comment.

C: Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox

The 26th overall pick in last year's draft, Swihart's $2.5 million bonus was more in line with that of a top-10 pick, and he has rare tools for a catcher. Still, as a product of a New Mexico high school -- which is a low level of competition by high school standards -- he has a long way to go, as he hit just .250/.302/.375 during the first half of the season for low Class A Greenville.

A switch-hitter who is very athletic for a catcher, Swihart has the potential for average or more power down the road, and he shows a solid approach and good feel for contact so far. He has the potential to be a good defender as well, but like his hitting, it's still a work in progress.

1B: Telvin Nash, Houston Astros

Nash has incredible raw power, including 18 home runs in 226 at-bats this year at high Class A Lancaster, but questions remain about his ability to tap into it as he progresses. At 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, he's a physical beast, but his swing mechanics are just as beastly.

With more than 60 percent of his hits this year going for extra bases, Nash makes dangerous contact. But with 114 strikeouts in 226 at-bats, it might not ever matter. It's hard to make the majors if you strike out that frequently. For example, Adam Dunn fanned roughly once every four at-bats in the minors, which goes to show that even the most strikeout-prone major leaguers made more frequent contact in the minors.

2B: Delino DeShields, Houston Astros

The Astros knew they were drafting a raw product when they made DeShields the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, but he was a bit more unrefined than expected, hitting just .220/.305/.322 in his full-season debut and earning a return ticket to low Class A Lexington this year.

With a batting average of .265 and 45 stolen bases in 66 games, DeShields has certainly made some progress, but his raw power is still in the potential phase of the game. He just doesn't make as much loud contact as you'd like to see in a player who could, if everything works out, hit 15 home runs and steal 50 bases annually.

3B: Aderlin Rodriguez, New York Mets

Rodriguez is the hot corner version of Nash. He's a massive player with massive power, but he's yet to hit enough to make a difference with it. Spending his second straight year at low Class A Savannah, Rodriguez is hitting .254/.326/.459, and scouts have noted some big steps forward in his game.

He's relaxed his swing and begun to trust his strength, which has led to a dip in strikeouts. Scouts have also noted defensive improvements, but whether or not he ends up being able to stay at third base is open to debate.

SS: Luis Sardinas, Texas Rangers

Sardinas earned a seven-figure bonus out of Venezuela three years ago, but 2012 is the first season he's been healthy. Still just 19, Sardinas has some drool-worthy upside, especially on the bases and defensively, as he's a plus-plus runner who has 21 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He also has well above-average range, hands and arm strength.

Now for the bad news: He's skinny and weak, and that's holding him back at the plate, where he is hitting just .259 for Hickory, and 46 of his 50 hits have been singles. If he can just develop enough offensively to hit at the bottom of a lineup, he'll have significant value.

OF: Jordan Akins, Texas Rangers

The aforementioned Akins has the size and athleticism to earn comparisons to a young Matt Kemp, but he's not on the same planet as Kemp in terms of baseball ability. He's a plus-plus runner who earns equal grades for his raw power, but he has almost zero feel for hitting.

His .207/.235/.346 line at Hickory includes 76 strikeouts in 217 at-bats and just seven walks. There's no prospect in baseball who fits the "spectacular mess" label more than Akins, but he'll get (and deserves) plenty of time to figure things out.

OF: Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

This year's second overall pick, Buxton's $6 million bonus will almost certainly be the 2012 draft's biggest payday, and he earned it with his tools. He has the potential to be a dynamic center fielder with above-average power, blazing speed and outstanding defense.

That said, he will be a bit of a project, as while he held his own on the national tournament circuit, he simply did not see any quality pitching during his years at a rural Georgia high school. His ceiling in this year's draft class was unmatched, but he's not expected to move quickly through the system, and many adjustments will be necessary.

OF: Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals

Starling was last year's Buxton, but he might have even more upside yet also more risk. At 6-4 and 180 pounds, he has the potential to be a five-tool monster, but he was as focused on football as baseball in high school, so he remains quite raw.

All of the tools are there, including plus-plus power and arm strength and well-above-average speed, but his hitting ability is still a work in progress. After signing late last year and being held back in extended spring training in 2012, he turns 20 in August and has yet to make his official debut. He's arguably the biggest lottery ticket in the game.

SP: Luis Heredia, Pittsburgh Pirates

Some think Heredia is the best pitching prospect ever to come out of Mexico, and the Pirates showed they might share that perspective when they signed the then 16-year-old to a $2.6 million deal two years ago. Heredia held his own in the Gulf Coast League last year and will begin his 2012 season in the New York-Penn League as a 17-year-old, and there's still plenty of room for growth in his game and body.

Already 6-6, Heredia can touch 96 mph with his fastball while comfortably sitting at 90-93. He's still refining his mechanics and is struggling to find consistency in his delivery due to his length, but he does know how to spin a breaking ball and has some feel for a changeup. He might be five years away from Pittsburgh, but Heredia has a ceiling that ranks with much more well-known Pirates arms like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.

06-21-2012, 10:46 AM
Aderlin getting some love! Nice to see a Mets prospect on these lists.

Pinstripe pride
06-21-2012, 11:01 AM
arod 2.0

06-21-2012, 12:24 PM
He's also 19 going on 20.

06-21-2012, 12:28 PM
Is Delino DeShields the son of former major leaguer?

06-21-2012, 12:51 PM
Is Delino DeShields the son of former major leaguer?