Since there is a lot of debate about the placement of guys towards the back of the rankings with huge swings in their value. Brad and I are going to take on some of them that we have very different opinions on and debate where we think they should rank and what their upside is going forward.
Brody Colvin (RHP):
Ranking: Brad – 19, Matt – 30-35
Brad: Listen, I’m of the mindset that relievers, even those that are headed for the back of the bullpen, don’t belong high on prospect lists until they are knocking on the MLB door, (Aumont and DeFratus are in my top 15, Kenny Giles barely makes my top 30, for example).
So, if I thought there were zero chance Colvin was going to make it as a starter, or if I didn’t think his back-up plan was a back-end bullpen guy, I would probably have him way down the list - maybe in the early 30s. But there is still a chance he pulls his control together and sticks as a starter, at which point his ceiling would probably go back to a mid-rotation starter at least. He has the stuff to do it, but his control is obviously the issue.
Last season, for the period of time he was in the bullpen at Clearwater and after, he was pretty good. In a very small bullpen sample, he threw 9IP and have up 9H 3BB and struck out 9. This really did seem to calm him down a little when he came back to the rotation, where he had basically 2 bad starts out of his next 9 before going to AA and imploding. Is imploding the right term? Seems right.
So what will happen at AA in 2013? Hard to say. I get the feeling from interviews that he’s in his head a little too much, pretty much all the time. That’s something that can be managed if he can regain his confidence. So, assuming he’s somehow in a good mental state, and that leads him to maintain his control as he did for a couple months in the middle of 2012, I remain mildly hopeful that he can become a starter.
Matt: I have been a huge Colvin supporter up until this offseason. There is a point where you need more than stuff to succeed. The problem with Colvin is the stuff isn’t always there and even when it is the results aren’t always there.
Much of Colvin’s status was built on his 2010 campaign. It was a good year but it wasn’t dominating. Colvin has never had a year with a K/9 over 8, he just doesn’t miss bats for a guy with his raw stuff. It would be much different if Colvin was having a mediocre year (2011) and a really bad year (2012) if he was coming off of sustained success. Colvin however really only has a season of good but not great performance. He will have to not only return to previous levels to reach his potential, but he will have to set a new level of performance
I see a zero chance Colvin is a starter and even as a bullpen piece I only ranked him this high on the stuff. There are some serious problems here with control and make up and it just has gone on too long to give him a pass for it.
Brad’s Rebuttal: Zero chance? ZERO? (Well thought-out rebuttal by me, I know)
Cameron Rupp (C):
Ranking: Brad – 23, Matt 35-40
Brad: CAMERON RUPP IS THE FINEST PROSPECT IN THE WORLD – A FUTURE MVP!!!!! I only have him at 23 because I’m pretty sure I’m at least a little bit wrong about that.
Truly obvious to anyone who reads my blurbs on the Box Score Recap during the season, I like Cameron Rupp. When he was on a tear last summer, I was giddy looking at his “Last 10 Games” stats on MiLB.com every day. There was a time there when he was OPSing something like 1.200 in that rolling 10 game window for three weeks in a row. AMAZING! Yes, I admit freely that he was old for his league. He played 2012 as an old 23 year old (turned 24 in September), in a league where the average was 22.7 (per BRef).
So, why do I like him as much as I do? I have made essentially the same argument before, but here it is: in my opinion, he’s good enough and tracking in the right direction to see him having a 3-5 year window of being a just below average/average big league regular at the plate and probably about the same behind it, with back-up roles in the years beyond that. And that kind of player is valuable. He’s no Buster Posey. He’s not going to be anyone’s franchise player, but he’s a good backstop with a good arm, and he’s got at least a fair amount of power, without sacrificing plate discipline.
At the dish, he had a real good 2012. Walks were up over 10%, Ks were down below 20%. He hit 10HR in Clearwater in 390 PAs, hardly a number to sneeze at for a catcher in that environment, and his power was way up from 2011, with an ISO of .157. His wOBA came in at .355, with a wRC+ of 120. Good. Not spectacular, but good and trending better than 2011.
Rupp is a bit of a victim of circumstance at this point. Instead of being blocked by Sebastian Valle, as he was when he started to get hot in June and July of 2012, he’s now blocked by both Valle and Tommy Joseph. Sick burn, Rube.
No matter how things shake out, I think the man has a future in the big leagues. And compared with some of the question marks I have in the mid-20s on my list, he’s practically a lock to add value to the big league club, whether on the field or as part of a trade.
Matt: The first thing that jumps out with Rupp is his age, the problem with it is, you really cannot predict a ton more growth in skills. So what you have is a solid catcher with no great skills but no real weaknesses. To me especially for a player that hasn’t yet reached AA this is a back up profile. I have no doubt that Rupp will have a major league career, I just look at the profile and there is nothing that says starter, he is good defensively but not enough to carry him, and the bat is good but not good enough, and there is a real lack of carrying tool (Valle has power and recieving, and Joseph has power and a arm).
So the value of a career back up just isn’t high enough to value Rupp higher than the high upside players towards the back of the list. If you were betting on who would make the majors of the players this low on the list Rupp is the favorite, but I am not sure there is enough ceiling there to rank based on the safety.
Brad’s Rebuttal: Yeah, fine, whatever. I love this guy!
Gabriel Lino (C):
Ranking: Matt – 30, Brad – 46
Matt: I am going to start out by saying I acknowledge that Lino has some huge flaws to his game. He might have the largest gap between tools and results of any player in the system. But while his season looks bad on the surface lets put it into perspective. Here is a set of stat lines both in Lakewood only (both played partial years in other parks), both batters were the same age
Player A: .223/.313/.331, 8.9 BB%, 20.7 K%, .306 wOBA, 89 wRC+
Player B: .220/.304/.356, 9.5 BB%, 22.3 K%, .309 wOBA, 85 wRC+
Player A is Sebastian Valle’s 2009 Lakewood campaign (he also played in Williamsport where he mashed, he would repeat LKW in 2010), Player B is Gabriel Lino after the trade this year. After the offseason Valle was ranked by Baseball America as the #7 prospect in the system. The only difference is that Valle was sent back to Williamsport midseason and Lino was left to handle the South Atlantic League.
Now to the tools, Lino has huge raw power but he hasn’t been able to fully put it into game action, some of the reason is the hit tool. The scouting reports say that Lino has a great approach at the plate (something Valle showed for the last time in this small Lakewood sample), the problem is his swing is very noisy and while he has great pitch recognition and even good two strike approach he struggles to put the bat on the ball. In the field Lino is once again really toolsy, his arm is his greatest strength, but there is a hitch in his motion that slows his pop times, he has good instincts on receiving but his footwork and fundamentals could use some work. The good news is Lino is only 19 so there is plenty of time for him to make a return trip to Lakewood to work on things without taking a step back in the developmental process, if he can put it together he is a monster prospect.
Here’s where we agree, Matt. Lino has some huge flaws to his game. The disagreement comes from how we look at his upside versus the red flags, I think. I see a guy who’s absolutely young for his league, and that’s fine. He had a good month of August, fueled in part by some good batted ball luck, though he did show some power there as well. His throw out rate for the year was ok – 29%, per BRef. For a guy with his supposed arm strength, he’s not scaring people off with a throw-out rate around 30.
I kinda think he should have been in short season again in 2012 to start, but he wasn’t. Was that due to the O’s being extra aggressive, knowing he’s 2 years away from needing a 40-man spot to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 draft? Could be. Did it help his development or hinder it? Hard to say. But in the end, for the year, he showed an ok BB rate of 8% and a borderline dangerous K rate of 25.9%. That’s a red flag, to me. Too many Ks.
We know Joe Jordan knew of this guy, and likely it was his valuation that got Lino to the Phils in the first place, so maybe there’s really something there to get excited about. He’s got tools to dream on, but so far, it’s a lot of dreaming and not great results and a couple of red flags.
Matt, you did win me over a little bit though. After reading your logic and re-evaluating, I moved him from #49 to #46 on my list. Sorry, previous #46-48 Chris Serritella, Brian Pointer & Justin Friend. I’m sure they’re devastated.
Matt: I guess I am banking on him improving his swing to close up some of the holes (best case scenario is he is a .240 hitter in the majors if he makes it), allowing his good pitch recognition to come through. On defense I just don’t think it will be impossible for a 19 year old to work out some footwork and mechanics issues. Glad to see you move him up some.
I think this was favorite piece to have written for this site, it forced me to go in depth on my opinions, I might have been a bit too low on Rupp and his safety. I hope everyone enjoyed this, feel free to debate our points and if there are any guys you want to see us debate give us suggestions and we will see what we can do.