My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 4

I’ve outlined my top 10, and now things should get interesting as we move to spots 11-13. A few things to note before we continue. This list is my own, its my opinion, and I expect you to disagree in cases. My hope is that my case is outlined in a manner that makes sense, and you can at least understand why I picked player X in spot Y. If there are things that don’t make sense, I’m more than happy to explain in more detail. If I don’t get to it in the comments, I’ll answer any and all questions in the post top-30 mailbag. Enough yammering, lets get to it.

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

11. Julio Rodriguez, RHP
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: Rodriguez put up big numbers in 2010, especially in the strikeout department with 126 in just 90.1 IP across two levels. He also lowered his home run rate significantly from 2009 to 2010. In his 3 pro seasons, he’s now struck out 190 in 150.1 IP, while allowing just 111 hits.

Strengths: Its tough to argue with the big strikeout numbers Rodriguez has put up. His long arms and legs help him create natural deception, and his arm works well in his delivery. Though the pitch is inconsistent, he can snap off a big breaking curveball that obviously confounds the inexperienced hitters in the NYPL and the SAL. He also improved his groundball and HR rate substantially in 2010, which is a positive sign.

Weaknesses: The biggest shortcoming of Rodriguez, right now, is the inconsistency of his velocity. Keith Law reported him at 90-93 in the beginning of an outing this summer at Lakewood, but that he then dropped off into the 87-90 range. He has filled out a bit since being drafted, but the consistent velocity still isn’t there. His command and control are a tick below average right now, and his curveball can get a bit soft at times, as he slows his arm down to create a bigger break. You can see this if you watch the video linked above closely.

Best Case: At just 20 now, he’s going to be young for his level in 2011, and he still has a chance to develop further, whether it be adding velocity or improving his secondary offerings. His delivery creates deception, and hes always likely to be a tough guy to square up. So, in short, I don’t know what the best case is, because the scouting reports on him have been so divergent. His curveball already flashes plus at times, so its easy to imagine him in the starting rotation going forward.

MLB ETA: Its a ways away, and he has a number of other arms to compete with. After repeating the GCL, he handled two levels this year, and pitched well at Lakewood. He could start back at Lakewood and take a rotation spot, or move to Clearwater and function in the swing man role again.

Ranking Difficulties: He’s one of the toughest prospects to really understand. The strikeout numbers, and I love strikeouts, are off the charts good, and he’s done at as a younger prospect in more advanced leagues. The groundball rate is moving in the right direction, and as I talked about back in 2008 when he was drafted, I like his athletic delivery. Yet his fastball velocity varies wildly, and the reports on him have all conflicted. Some indicated his velocity was consistently 90-93 at the end of the season, some indicate he was still in the high 80s. If he ends up in the 88-92 range, its tough to see him as an impact guy, and he’s more a back of the rotation starter. However, if he can ramp things up in short stints and sharpen his curveball he could also be a solid late inning reliever.

Final Thoughts: Drafted as a 17 year old in 2008, he is still very young, and pitched 2010 as a 19 year old for the entire season, meaning he still has plenty of time. What I want to see, more than anything, are consistent scouting reports from him in 2011. If his velocity can hold steady in the 90-93 range, he should be just fine in the rotation. His curveball has the potential to be a true weapon if he can maintain a consistent release point on on both his fastball and curve. He’ll need to sharpen his command and control, but his 2010 was a solid step forward in his development.

12. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: After three years in rookie ball, two overseas, Hernandez had an excellent season in the pitcher friendly NYPL, hitting .325 and drawing his share of walks, while also swiping 32 bases at an 84% clip. He also draws solid marks for his defense at second base, committing only 7 errors and showing good range.

Strengths: Hernandez does a number of things really well, starting with his ability to make consistent contact. He struck out in less than 10% of his plate appearances, which I consider to be elite level contact ability. By comparison, the strikeout rate of all prospects in the NYPL was 20.1% in 2010. On top of his ability to make consistent contact, he also walked in almost 10% of his plate appearances. He showed strong aptitude on the bases, and in a full season league, he figures to steal close to 50 bases. His defense should be an asset going forward.

Weaknesses: Its easy to see in his profile, he has no raw power, and at 5’10/170, he doesn’t really project for much down the line. He hit 3 home runs in 2 seasons in the VSL, but has zero in 2 short seasons in the US. He could still add a bit of muscle, and if he can develop even a line drive stroke, he should be okay.

Best Case: Second base is not a traditional power position, though we’ve been spoiled watching Chase Utley day in and day out. Hernandez profiles as a top of the order hitter who can work the count, but should always provide a healthy batting average, along with a ton of stolen bases. Defensive numbers in the minors mean very little to me, so I want to see more scouting reports on his defensive ability. But his approach at the plate, coupled with his speed and his potential above average defense gives him the chance to be a solid every day player.

MLB ETA: Hernandez turns 21 in May and was just added to the 40 man roster, so he does have to move quickly, but if he moves a level at a time, starting at Lakewood in 2011, he should be ready to stick as a utility guy at worst in 2014.

Ranking Difficulties: The lack of power may turn some people off, but all of his other skills are above average. Guys with zero power often struggle at higher levels, but the reason I’m not concerned about Hernandez right now is the elite contact level. He doesn’t swing and miss much, and he has excellent speed. If he were a left fielder, I’d be concerned, but as a middle infielder with excellent speed, a solid glove, and the ability to hit .300, he still profiles as an every day player. Will it come with the Phillies is another question.

Final Thoughts: I guess I’m taking a risk on Hernandez, but I love the fact that he plays a premium position, has a good idea of the strike zone, makes elite contact, and has excellent speed. I think as he gets more comfortable, he’ll develop at least some power, but as long as he keeps hitting, and shows a good approach, he’ll be fine.

13. Domingo Santana, OF
(Click here for larger image)

2010 Summary: It was rough sledding for Santana in 2010, as he struggled mightily at Lakewood, and never really got on track at Williamsport. Despite most of his numbers regressing, he still managed to draw a ton of walks, showing that while he struggled making contact, he was still able to work the count. He was the youngest player in the SAL by over a year, and will be the youngest, or one of the youngest, again in 2011.

Strengths: Santana’s strengths are still his strengths. He’s a big dude, at 6’5/200, and he just turned 18 in August. He showed excellent raw power in 2009, in a league that stifles power, it just didn’t come out against more advanced pitching in 2010. His approach at the plate is advanced for his age, as he draws plenty of walks. He has a strong arm, and he should be an asset defensively in right field going forward.

Weaknesses: Santana is mostly still projection. He was really in over his head in 2010, and if he’d spent an entire season at Williamsport, things might have looked different. He has major issues making contact, striking out in over 35% of his plate appearances, and he loses his timing with his swing. His raw power did not translate against better pitching.

Best Case: His upside is still an all-star right fielder, but he took a step back in 2010. His raw power is still excellent, his approach at the plate shows promise, but he has to start making more contact. Even reducing his K rate to, say, 25% in 2011 would be a huge step forward. He profiles as a 3 true outcomes offensive player, drawing walks and hitting home runs, while piling up strikeouts. But with the raw power, he could hit 30+ HR a season.

MLB ETA: He may be further away than any prospect in the system. He just turned 18, and he’s going to need a ton of reps against advanced pitching to hone his craft.

Ranking Difficulties: Where to begin. I was obviously too high on Santana last season, even though the power and patience were off the charts good in his debut, and other outlets were also hyping him up. Its clear that he just wasn’t ready. I like this spot on the list, because his upside surpasses anyone behind him on the list, yet he’s still miles away. The fact that he still drew plenty of walks in 2010, despite all of his struggles, gives me hope for him going forward.

Final Thoughts: To put things into perspective, if Santana were a US citizen, he’d have been drafted this past summer, and he’d have gotten a few PAs in the GCL as a 17 year old. As it is, he’s already logged 550+ PAs and experienced advanced pitching. He should know exactly what he has to work on, and reports on him have indicated he is a hard worker and a bright kid. As you can see in this video clip, he has a strong stance, almost resembling Andruw Jones from a more narrow setup. He pulls his hands against his body a bit in his swing load, which may be cutting off some of his power, but he has time to work out all of the kinks.

83 thoughts on “My Top 30 Prospects for 2011: Part 4

  1. This is where something like the consensus top 30 comes in handy. Ranking Domonic Brown #1, that you don’t need to explain really because practically everyone has Brown at #1. But when you rate Jiwan James who readers placed at #10, you would want to put more words into that explanation.

    1. I’ve been wondering where James is myself. I have him #8 behind Gillies and ahead of Worley. From what I’ve gathered, the tools are very good and his progress was encouraging. It does sound as though power and contact won’t ever be strong suits, and in that he reminds me a little of Dexter Fowler.

      1. Compare Fowler’s 2006 Sally stats with James’. If James had put up those numbers, people would be talking about the next Domonic Brown in here. He still has a ways to go.

      2. I’ve made the connection before that James’ upside (and we’re talking 95th percentile) is something like Garry Maddox. Anyone else see that as valid?

        1. I’m not surprised that Jiwan James is ranked down the list, as he got dinged pretty good by Scouting the Sally, which I know James takes pretty seriously, as he should since that guy actually, you know, watches the players.

        2. Yes, Maddox is probably a very good comparable for James who is very fast and a very good defender. Its funny, but James looks bad in some at bats and then lashes a gapper that he runs into a triple. I seem to remember having the same thoughts watching Maddox who I only recall having one great season.

        3. I’ve comped James to Maddox since last year. A body/power/defense comp to Maddox seems pretty useful for describing his ceiling..

  2. I still love Santana. I expect big things from him this year. Its important to remember with a guy like this that he’s still physically developing and he’s basically a young kid very far from home. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes for him. I expect him to do much better the 2nd time around in Lakewood.

    1. Im with NEPP, I have Santana just inside my top 10 at 9 i think. Obviously his ceiling is as high as anyone’s so i love that. Striking out a ton seems to be less of an issue now with other 3 true outcome guys like Howard and Mark Reynolds. His K rate of course needs to be chopped down significantly, but he has time on his side and I think teaching/learning how to make contact is much more doable than teaching/learning the plate discipline and raw power that he has

  3. Julio’s PP profile has him at 6’3″, 215. I guess even that part of the scouting reports are inconsistent.

    1. Just as a way of explanation, the one in the profile came from the Phillies media guide. I think a lot of times that the height / weight in there are from when a guy gets signed and probably only gets updated when they hit the 40-man or something. In all honesty, when I wrote those up, I didn’t spend much time researching updated sizes unless it was a guy like Bastardo who has gained significant size since signing.

  4. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m not sold on Santana – yet he has lots of raw power, nice plate discipline and is ridiculously young. I guess I need to see a bit more from him before I hop on board.

    Still, I find myself reading James’ rankings and finding that I agree with them (and the reasoning) for the most part.

    – Jeff

    1. “I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m not sold on Santana”

      I am with you on this. I just don’t like those massive SO numbers and while he has time on his side, I just feel like he’ll never put it together. Hope I’m wrong.

      1. I actually think he has a higher upside then Brown… though… i’m with most of you, i’m not quite on board yet.

    2. Or maybe a more athletic Dave Kingman is a better ceiling comp if he does not improve contact skills.

    3. Santana is a Dominican. As a rule of thumb you should add two years to a Dominican’s age, because most of them subtract two years.

      Then there is the issue of steroids. Two Phillies Dominican prospects at the Phils academy died in the first half of the last decade. The bankrupt Philly dog kennel cage liners never reported this, but the Washington Post did. The steroids were for a horse, procured from a veterinarian on the island.

      So Santana’s physical appearance cannot be vouched for either. You can only grade a Dominican on his performance. There is no legit projection to be made.

  5. A second ranking difficulty I have for Hernandez is his age. I think he is a level behind where he should be as a top prospect. And, I don’t see any second baseman who was in Lakewood last year blocking him from being promoted after Villar was traded.

    1. 20 years old is NOT old for the NY-Penn League. You can look at past seasons of the NYP. Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist, Michael Bourn, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Curtis Granderson. All these guys played in a three year period and were 20 or older.

      Honestly, I don’t think 20 is old for any league except the GCL. 21 isn’t either. I think it isn’t until a prospect is 22 that you can really say that he is too old for a level. I mean really, most of the players in the NY-Penn League are college draftees. Is Hernandez having pro experience instead of college/prep experience really a detriment worth noting?

      1. From this very website:
        A- Level (NYPL, PIO, NWL) – 19 years old is average (subtract value for 20+ ages, add value for 18 and under)
        (https://phuturephillies.com/prospectprimer/my-prospect-philosophy/)

        I agree there are plenty of 20-year-olds in that league, but 20 is an age PhuturePhillies says he subtracts value for, so I would like like to hear PP’s comments on. His age does cause the Phillies a problem since they had to protect him, and PP did allude to that fact. At one level a year, he would be 23 at AA in his third and final option year. If he remains a prospect, he will have to skip a level or do two levels in one season. Why wasn’t he promoted to A in the second half of this season? There may be an easy answer, but whatever it is I’d like to hear it.

        I think his age and level is the reason he was only #20 in the Reader top 10 (I ranked him #15), so I think it is an issue that causes a “ranking difficulty” for many people besides me.

        1. 21.1 was the average age for a NYP hitter last season. I disagree with PP’s ages and I said so awhile back. I think 24 is the limit for a AAA prospect, 23 for AA, 22 for A+ and 21 for A. Age is important at those levels, but its not a linear process. I really don’t think you can sweat the level of a player who is 20-21 years old. Many prospects at that level are still in college. Development patterns vary too widely for it to be of any use.

          As a point of reference, I’m looking at the 2007 NY-Penn Leaderboard via baseball-reference.com. It lists ages. Of the top 100 players in plate appearances, 11 of them were younger than 20. This year, 18 of the top 100 were under 20. The vast majority of at bats in the NY-Penn are taken by hitters and pitchers 20 or older.

          As far as why he wasn’t promoted. I went to see Williamsport late in the season and Hernandez was out with an injury. Probably minor, but it could have been something at an inopportune time that caused the Phillies not to want to promote him.

          Its worth noting that Hernandez went on to participate in the Venezuelan Winter League as a utility infielder. It is very unusual to see a player of Hernandez’s limited experience in that league which is largely made up of AAA caliber players. He did move up and play advanced competition this season.

        2. To put another spin on this. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Wilson Valdez, Ross Gload, Joe Blanton, Raul Ibanez played short-season ball when they were 21 years old. Roy Oswalt and Ben Francisco were 20, same age as Hernandez, when they played in the NY-Penn League.

    2. Well he is age appropriate for his level, and while being young for your level does help in being viewed as a prospect, I don’t think its necessary to be viewed as a top prospect as long as the tools and results are there.

  6. Santana kind of strikes me as a all or nothing type guy. With where his contact abilities are at right now and where the rest of his skills are, alls he really needs to do is improve his contact rate and he is a top 5 prospect. But that is easier said than done, its just as likely, (if not more) that he never improves his contact rate and flames out. Like I said, kinda seems like hes either an all star OFer in the future or nothing.

    1. That may be true, but I just have a hard time drawing any firm conclusions on a young man who just turned 18. I am refraining from even starting the process of assessing him until this season is over.

    2. Yeah don’t get me wrong, I love having the ultra high upside guys like this in the system. Just saying should be an interesting guy to watch develop.

  7. any chance Cesar Hernandez becomes a SS? or is his range too limited? would be great if he could provide depth there too.

    1. This may be a stretch, and it seems that teams are really quick to move a guy off of SS, and teams never usually move a guy the other way. The biggest difference between SS and 2B is the need for a strong throwing arm. I’m not entirely sure how strong his arm is, but I think that in a pinch, he could probably play SS just fine. Though hes not a long term fit there.

      1. Its very rare that a guy gets moved to SS. There’s a reason he’s playing 2B and I have to assume he can’t play SS. This is a kid they’ve watched for several years now. By the way, I expect Barnes (a guy that has at least a chance to be a Ute in the future) to play 2B at C Water.

    2. I think if he had the arm that PP correctly says is necessary for SS, he would be there. His bat would certainly play better there and his overall prospect value would be significantly better if he had a plus IF arm, good range and hands, and his set of hitting skills.

      That said, I can see trying to shoehorn anyone close into SS, a position of need. If he had what I described, he would be the designated successor to Jimmy.

    1. I’d say Luis Castillo. Seven year prime averaging .300 average, plenty of walks and 35 steals a year. Highest upside of this type is Willie Randolph.

      1. Luis Castillo is a perfect comparison statistically . Only difference is about 1 year in age. If Hernandez turns into a young Luis Castillo, that would be a great.

    2. Hernandez stole 32 bases in 65 games. On a 160 game pace, that’s over 70 a season. Significant speed. Polanco was never a burner on the basepaths.

    1. Agreed. Thank you.

      The advanced age combined the lack of any demonstrated outstanding hitting skill makes me wonder why people are so crazy about him (he must be some kind of a crazy good athelete – perhaps he puts on fireworks shows during BP). If he doesn’t take it to another level in a big way this year, I am going to lose what little interest I already have in him.

      1. I can tell you that the pitchers love James playing CF behind them over all the other CFs in our system. And yes, he is a sick athlete who has won the initial spring training run every year he’s been there.

    2. Personally, I see him as a long shot at best…he simply lost way too much development time due to the position switch.

      1. I am not a huge fan either. However, I think it is somewhat unfair to compare his season to other 21 year olds since his baseball hitting life is more like a 19 year old (1 short season and 1 full season since high school). I see him having similarities to Gose (speed and defense, high Ks, low BBs) but is on a track 2 years older due to his injuries.

        Since the Phillies may have a roster crunch I could see them possible trading James and Hewitt during the season rather than need to protect them in the Winter.

        1. I’m not comparing him to other 21 year olds but he did lose out on 2 full years of ABs that he won’t get back. He’s behind the 8 ball by a big margin as a result.

    3. I’m a Jiwan James booster, but I can easily see why others wouldn’t like his chances. His K rate is ridiculously high for someone who doesn’t hit for power. I would guess his K/Bb is what turns PP off.
      He really has no comparable major leaguer. There is no current major league regular with his type of minor league numbers. Maddox isn’t a good comp either. Maddox hit for power and didn’t strike out as much in the minors, and was one of greatest defensive MLB CF of All time.

      Where I have faith is how he improved in the second half of the season. He hit about .300 and didn’t strike out nearly as much for 2 and a half months in the 2nd half. Because he is a position change, and he improved, I have trouble downgrading him too far.

      1. Are there strikeout numbers available for Maddox in the minor leagues? My source (baseball-reference) doesn’t have them. Maddox did hit 30 HRs in a minor league season in Fresno. But Steve Ontiveros played on that team as well, hit 18 HRs and then never hit more than 10 in an MLB season (and that was a fluke, Ontiveros’ second highest total was four). Horace Speed hit 18 HRs for that Fresno club as well, and he slugged .259 in a brief MLB career. Ken Cornell hit 18 at Fresno, four the rest of his minor league career. So while Maddox hit for minor league power, I have reason to believe park factors had a lot to do with it.

        A few points in favor of the Maddox-James comp as I see it.
        -Maddox’s career high in HRs in MLB was 14. That’s not an unreasonable total for most prospects.
        -Maddox’s triple slash career line was .285/.320/.413. OPS+ of 100. I don’t see that as unreasonable either.
        -The most potent part of Maddox’s offensive game was his speed. James is one of the fastest runners in the system.
        -James is 6’4″. I looked for tall center fielders who did not hit for exceptional power. Maddox is at the top of that group. If James is not going to develop power, that seems to be the player to shoot for.
        -James’ defense is well regarded. I don’t know how good it is. But it strikes me that of the 22 pitchers who took the mound for Lakewood in 2010, 20 of them had ERAs better than 4.00. Obviously there had to be tremendous defense on the club to help the pitchers, and I have to believe James in CF was a big part of that.

        (One other point of comparison. James missed development time because of his initial pitching efforts. Maddox missed two years of his minor league career serving in the Vietnam War.)

        Now I’ll be fair and note that the chance of James becoming Maddox is the 5%, best case scenario. A more likely path could be Brian L. Hunter, another tall outfielder who topped out as a good 5th outfielder.

        1. While comparing James’ defense to Maddox might be a stretch, James is very good and could be a gold glove winner at some point, he’s that good.

        2. I agree with your argument, but Maddox’s line of 285/320/413 would be nowhere hear a 100 OPS+ in today’s game. James would need to be closer to 285/340/433 which, given his defense, would make him a plus player for a championship caliber team. Not out of the realm of possibility, but he’ll have to show offensive growth this year for me to believe it.

  8. I know Harold Garcia is 3.5 yrs older than Hernandez, but he also played at 3 levels ahead of him and showed he could hit at those levels as well. He seems to have similar speed and defense, but with more power. So is the lower ranking just the more walks and lesser K’s?

    1. Garcia doesn’t have the elite speed that Hernandez does, and yes the k/bb ratio is a big factor. I think another part is Garcia hadn’t been doing much at all until last year and had been old for his level.

    2. I think the plate discipline edge is significant. Most of Harold Garcia’s value is in his batting average. Can he maintain that while striking out three times as often as he strikes out? I have my doubts. I look at Garcia and see another Danny Richar type. I’ll be surprised if he becomes a major league starter quite honestly.

      I think Garcia’s 2010 performance, particularly in Clearwater, was flukish. He’s 24 now so if he doesn’t thrive in 2011, the shine comes off his prospect status very quickly.

        1. Batting average tends to flucuate in small samples. Garcia is a career .292 hitter. He hit .335 in Clearwater, but that was in just 204 plate appearances. Promoted to Reading, his batting averaged dropped to .281. I don’t think Garcia can maintain the kind of production he showed in Clearwater.

    3. I think the Phils have talked about playing him in multiple positions this year. His upside looks like a utility IF that can’t play SS.

  9. I probably sound like a broken record but Cesar Hernandez is very hard for me to evaluate. He’s 6 months younger than Galvis and playing in a much lower league. Many people have written Galvis off as a guy who has gone as far as he can go. He’ll never play in the Majors. Maybe he’ll be a utility guy at best. He’s still a baby. We’ve just seen that he isn’t ready to hit at AA (YET). How would Hernandez do if he were put in AA? When will Cesar even get to AA?

    Let’s talk a little bit about speed. Hernandez stole a whole bunch of bases and his success rate is fantastic. Freddy stole 15 bases in 19 tries at AA. I’ll bet there are a few better catchers in AA. That’s not too shabby. Anybody want to take a guess at how many bases Galvis would steal if he played at Williamsport? He hasn’t seen Williamsport since he was 17.

    I matched Hernandez, Garcia and Galvis and really had a tough time trying to come up with a 1 through 3 for our middle infielders. If we could combine these three guys into 1, we’d have a new #1. Brown might be #2. Age is important, proximity is important, tools are very important. I actually rated Garcia above Hernandez. I went with proximity and he’s shown he can hit over Cesar’s upside. Galvis slid down the rankings but evertime I match them up, I wonder if I wasn’t too critical.

    1. I think what you have to understand is just how good a .325 average in the NYPL is. This year, the average batting line was .249/.326/.362. Hernandez was .325/.390/.392

      Its a really tough hitter’s league.

      I’ll be completely honest. I have no idea how to rank Galvis. I’ve been all over the map on him the last few years. His glove is awesome. But he’s really struggled with the bat. His age does factor in, but his secondary skills are very limited. Like Hernandez, he has no power, he has far less speed, and he doesn’t draw walks. And he hasn’t hit for average. And he strikes out a lot. His entire value is tied to his glove, and him one day being a competent hitter.

      Right now, Hernandez is more than a competent hitter. His contact skills are elite. His speed is excellent. And he plays a position not far down the defensive spectrum from Galvis.

      Ranking middle infielders is really difficult.

  10. After reading the piece on Santana I think a lot of us are being overly critical. If he was facing high schoolers 80 mph fastballs he would be putting up freak power numbers. I love the patience hes showing at the plate, lets just hope he can learn to hit something that isnt flat and straight.

    1. He’d probably be batting in the .400-.500 AVG range with big time power if he were going into his HS senior year (which is where he’d be if he were US born).

      1. True. But many of those prospects flame out also. Santana certainly has huge potential and that will stay with him until he is 25. My concern is that he did not hit for power this past season. High K with huge power is acceptable; but high K rate, high BB rate, and average power is not quite so good. Unless 80% of his K’s are looking, his plate discipline still gives me hope (but further down on my list).

        I still think Mayberry has excellent power but unfortunately higher level pitchers refuse to throw him fastballs down the middle. (Mayberry never had the plate discipline that Santana has so I am not trying to directly compare them.)

        1. Here’s the way I think about Santana.

          If he were 18, we’d have a 100 PA sample or so to judge him on. If he was a 3rd round pick out of high school, we wouldn’t give up on him, especially knowing his frame, raw tools, and potential.

          Our opinion is colored slightly because we have 550 PA of data to look at over 2 seasons. But he’s still so young, its really tough to even hold his 2010 against him.

          1. If he bombs again in Lakewood at Age 18 or even struggles mightily, I’d would think his projection drops off significantly. Though as an 18 year old, he’d still be 2-3 years younger than most of his competition so all he really has to do is hold his own.

          2. I agree w your point PP. However I think you have to temper it somewhat wit a cold, hard truth. The guys in HS have not been exposed to pro pitching yet, so their weaknesses generally have not been exposed. At least initially, Santana has been exposed for his raw fielding abilities (highly correctable–no worries there) and his lack of current contact skills (puts him at significant risk as a prospect).

            So sure, he is young and has tome to improve his skills. But his characteristic struggles are still telling about his risk and prospect value.

            IOW, sometimes young experience gets you started faster, sometimes it gets you started failing faster, IF you don’t have the enabling skills (eye-hand, mindset, etc.) to solve the problem and get better.

            I have to temper his considerable raw skills and youth with the fact that that he has been exposed in certain areas, but I’m pulling for him to get the right instruction, ramp up his skill set, and be great.

            1. Here’s an interesting Comp

              Santana in Rookie Ball at Age 16:

              139 PA, .288 AVG, .388 OBP, .897 OPS

              Singleton in Rookie Ball at Age 17:

              119 PA, .290 AVG, .395 OBP, .835 OPS

              Obviously, Santana’s K rate is about 3 times higher than Singleton’s but the walk rates are much closer (with Singleton’s being a tad higher though)

  11. Can’t argue strongly against the guys PP lists as 11-13. My biggest objection is that I think we should have come to Altherr by now.

    1. I like Alther a lot and personally had him higher than santana but I wouldn’t place him above anyone else on the list already.

  12. I love the slow roll out of the ratings. It is giving me something to read every day during these slow, cold days. That being said, were you planning on a summation post? I’d like to go back through everything in one listing, maybe just their chart, 2010 summary and final thoughts in one post?

  13. Looking at Santana’s B-Ref page, it didn’t occur to me that Santana’s home town was Santo Domingo.

    Domingo Santana from Santo Domingo. How can you not love that?

  14. I agree, I would have thought Altherr would have been listed, but PP fooled me with Worley, who I have 15th. Keith Law ranking Altherr highly maybe tainted my opinion, or maybe “PP hates Keith Law”.

  15. the thing that bothers me about santana is the contact rate. can this developed or is it like speed which can improve a bit but is basically an inherent ability. i would appreciate thoughts on this subject from the contributors. i really don’t have a firm opinion.

  16. Maybe a good comparison for Hernandez is Polanco. Polanco also does not have much power, makes a lot of contact and plays good defense ( I think Polanco is actually a Gold Glover, which seems to me to be better than solid). Polanco, that is, with speed, since Polanco does not have much.

  17. Well Mitch Williams basically said on HotStove tonight that Dom Brown has no shot to make the team and will go to AAA. Cited the high bat stance as the reason. Williams is likable but when he says stuff like this it really makes you lose respect for his ‘analysis’

  18. Very young high upside list. None of them with more than a half season in full season ball but I agree the ‘best case’ for each of them is not unreasonable and is very exciting.

  19. Mitch is a moron. Two years ago he said it was a guarantee that Kyle Kendrick would be okay and win 15 games easily. After he said that, I lost all respect for his analysis.

  20. Pat, lets hope that Greg Gross can make Mitch eat his words. I believe that Dom Brown will be a pleasant surprise this year in all areas.

    1. He probably will, but unless he is gangbusters in ST he probably needs another month or so in LHV to get his timing back.

      1. I don’t think he should need anymore time to get his timing back than the average player coming back from the off-season layoff.

  21. Thanks for the video clip on santana, he sure does look like a young Andruw Jones at the plate,we sure could do worse, if thats what he becomes

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