2014 Sleeper and Breakout Prospects

Before canvassing for everyone’s “Sleepers and Breakers”, I thought I would go back and see last year’s predictions. I’ll publish the 2015 Sleepers article to gather everyone’s predictions over the weekend.  So, without a whole lot of fanfare, here are the 2014 picks and outcomes.

Last year’s sleeper projections:

  • David Buchanan – The non-roster invitee went to Lehigh at the start of the 2014 season. His contract was selected twice by the Phillies during the season. He finished the season in Philadelphia with a 6-8 record in 20 starts and a 3.75 ERA. (Kudos to Matt)
  • Braden Shull – Released March 17, 2014.
  • Manuare Martinez – 26 in auspices appearances across 2 levels, although he did post a 9.6 K/9 after staring the 2014 season in Lakewood and lasting 2 weeks.
  • Marek Minarit – Released March 2013. Picked up by Pittsburgh and assigned to Jamestown on June 14, 2014 and was demoted to Bristol before the end of the season.
  • Lewis Alezones – Four starts in 13 GCL appearances – 2.70 ERA, 0.867 WHIP, 1.5 BB/9, 8.1 K/9 in 30 IP.
  • Trey Williams (3) – Released October 14, 2014.
  • Bryan Martelo – .207/.307/.261 in DSL.
  •  Denton Keys (2) – The 2013, 11th round pick out of high school made a big jump in performance over his 2013 GCL season. In his second season, in 7 starts in 11 appearances in the GCL he posted a 2.20 ERA, 1.122 WHIP, 2.2 BB/, 6.4 K/9, in 49 IP.
  • Tyler Viza (3) – The 2013, 32nd round pick out of high school was thrown to the wolves in Lakewood in 2014 after posting solid numbers in the 2013 GCL. To his credit, in spite of a 3-17 record, he made 24 starts and pitched 126 innings. He posted a 1.7 BB/9 and 5.7 K/9.
  • Alejandro Arteaga – Started the 2014 season (his 4th in professional ball) in Lakewood. After 9 inauspicious starts, he was sent down to Williamsport for the start of the NYPL.
  • Deivi Grullon – Started in Clearwater, after 4 days, spent 6 weeks in Lakewood, and then finished the season in Williamsport. Ironically, he posted a better slash in Lakewood – .237/.275/.342. Caught 28% of base stealers at both lower levels. The 18-year old gave up 3 or more years to average at all levels.
  • Angelo Mora – Spent the 2014 season being pushed around the diamond by other prospects. Started at shortstop until Roman Quinn was activated. Started at second base until Jesmuel Valentin reported. Relegated to left field for his final starts of the season. Slashed .227/.284/.314 in 353 AB.
  • Logan Moore – Started 2014 in Clearwater, but was promoted to Reading. Slashed .221/.296/.358 at Reading. His OBP and SLG were actually higher at Reading. Had a 25% CS at Reading.
  • Grenny Cumana – The 5’5 shortstop posted a .248/.304/.363 with 11 errors in the GCL.
  • Kevin Brady – Released August, 7, 2013.
  • Samuel Hiciano – Full season at Lakewood, modest increase in BA, slight drop in OBP and SLG from 2013 numbers in Williamsport.
  • Jan Hernandez (2) – jumped from GCL to Lakewood at start of 2014 season. Returned to Williamsport at the start of the NYPL. Disappointing numbers at both stops.
  •  Mitch Walding – Unspectacular numbers after full 2014 season at Lakewood.
  •  Venn Biter – Unspectacular numbers after full 2014 season in the GCL.
  • Rich Bielski (2) – Released December 2014.
  • Tyler Buckley – Released June 23, 2014.
  • Franklyn Vargas – Released May 1, 2014.
  • Wilmer Oberto – Started 2014 season in Lakewood and reported to Williamsport at the start of the NYPL. Posted modest numbers after a breakout 2013 season in the GCL.
  • Mike Nesseth – Pedestrian numbers at Reading after a quick flame out at Lehigh.
  • Tyson Gillies – Released June 2014.
  • Mitch Gellar – Disappointing 2nd season at Williamsport with modest improvement.
  • Yacksel Rios – 13 starts, 33 appearances in Lakewood. Pedestrian start on the road back.
  • Hoby Milner – Little step backward after 2013 campaign in Clearwater. Increase in HRs from 11 to 25 in same amount of innings stands out.
  • Dan Child – Earned a July demotion to Lakewood where he also faltered.

 Last year’s breakout projections:

  • Carlos Tocci – Showed marked improvement in 2nd full year at Lakewood. Still giving up 3.5 years to the field. I wouldn’t call it a breakout, but it looks like he’ll start his age 19 season in Clearwater.
  • Zach Collier – Showed modest improvement, but became FA per UPC on November 7, 2014. Not signed.
  • Andrew Pullin (5) – Played 2014 in Lakewood. Some improvement over Williamsport, although SLG dipped a little and K rate rose 2%.
  • Harold Martinez (2) – Probably still not living up to everybody’s expectations. Thrust into a new role on weak Threshers team as clean up hitter. Adjusted to attacking pitches early in count. Toughest guy to walk on the team. One of my personal favorites, although I didn’t pick him as a breakout performer.
  • Samuel Hiciano (3) – Full season at Lakewood, modest increase in BA, slight drop in OBP and SLG from 2013 numbers in Williamsport.
  • Malquin Canelo (2) – .270/.319/.355 at Lakewood but disappointing .954 Fld%
  • Hoby Milner – Little step backward after 2013 campaign in Clearwater. Increase in HRs from 11 to 25 in same amount of innings stands out.
    Brian Pointer (2) – 15 HRs but 30% K%
  • Larry Greene (2) – 224 AB, .183/.265/.279. Early injury side tracked him early in the season.
  • Tyson Gillies (4) – Released June 2014.
  • Deivi Grullon – Started in Clearwater, after 4 days, spent 6 weeks in Lakewood, and then finished the season in Williamsport. Ironically, he posted a better slash in Lakewood – .237/.275/.342. Caught 28% of base stealers at both lower levels. The 18-year old gave up 3 or more years to average at all levels.
  • Tommy Joseph (2) – Looked to be on way back with .282/.345/.551/.896 thru 78 AB in Reading, but May injury posed first roadblock, he was shut down July 19th after 5 GCL starts.
  • Cord Sandberg (2) – Fast start, tailed off to .235/.267/.345.
  • Phillippe Aumont – Didn’t make the opening day roster. Was called up twice during the season for 3 days in June and 11 days in July/August. Was not called up in September.
  • Ken Giles – Called up on June 8th and pitched his way into a long stay.
  • Dylan Cozens (2) – 16 HR, 25% K in first full season league.
  • Jesse Biddle – Suffered a concussion and started to rehab July 26th in GCL, Clearwater August 6 thru 11. At the time, I would have let him finish the final 19 days of the season in Clearwater. The Phillies sent him back to Reading, and he suffered another injury. Later he suffered another injury in winter ball. His 29 total errors were probably a bit of a concern.
  • J.P. Crawford – Excelled at Lakewood and was pushed to Clearwater where he surprised with another excellent showing. Hit a surprising 8 HR for the Threshers.
  • Logan Moore – Started 2014 in Clearwater, but was promoted to Reading. Slashed .221/.296/.358 at Reading. His OBP and SLG were actually higher at Reading. Had a 25% CS at Reading.

 

27 thoughts on “2014 Sleeper and Breakout Prospects

  1. I forgot how good Joseph’s numbers were before the injuries started again. IF he can return to health, he has a lot of talent. Big IF.

    Anyone know if is healthy coming in to camp?

    1. Last report I read on him a last month, he said he was ready for spring training to start. The wrist was coming along fine and no problems with the concussion after-effects. Will see next week when they do the next write-up on him..

      1. Apparently Joseph has put on a lot of weight based on a first-hand report I was given from someone currently in Clearwater. Not sure if it is good weight or bad weight (meaning muscle or fat).

  2. JimP:
    Before starting the ‘sleeper’ picks, could you define the ground-rules on who and what qualifies as a sleeper. For example, I would assume no one in our reader’s top 10 or 20 or 30?

    1. Not that you asked me, but I think that a sleeper could be someone in the 20-30 range. I think the key is not where they start but how much they move + where they end up. So if, say, Ricardo Pinto has a breakout season and ends up as our #7 prospect, that qualifies as a sleeper to me. If Chris Oliver is off the Top 40 and then has a decent season and ends up as the #20 prospect next year, that’s not a sleeper to me, even though his move of 20 places is larger than Pinto’s move of 18.

      So I’d say that to me, a sleeper is a prospect who you think will 1)make a substantial jump and 2)end up in the consensus Top 10 by the end of the season. I guess the trick is how you define “substantial.” It’s reasonable to assume that 4-5 players on our current list will cycle off by the end of the year by exhausting their rookie eligibility (Franco, Nola, maybe Elflin/Lively, Dugan, Altherr, definitely Herrera, since he’ll either stay in the majors of leave the system). So presuming that a prospect would advance at least a few slots just by treading water, a sleeper would be someone who jumps substantially more. I would say a minimum of 15 slots. But others may have their own definitions.

      1. don’t understand your Oliver scenario at all. A 20+ move is a 20+ move regardless of whether or not u begin in top 40

        1. I don’t think that makes you a “sleeper.” A guy at #20 is usually still very fringy, definitely not among the team’s top prospects. To me, to be a sleeper you have to move solidly into the Top 10. So looking back at previous lists, 2012’s sleepers would have been Freddy Galvis (25 –> 5) and Jon Pettibone (unranked –> 7). 2013’s would be Morgan (unranked –> 3) and Ruf/Asche (unranked –> 6/7). Last year’s lone sleeper would have been Aaron Altherr (unranked –> #8), although I guess you could make a weaker argument for Dugan (#27 –> #9). This year is a little weird, because no one really broke out who wasn’t expected to break out, and the team added a ton of new talent to the list. But I guess you could say Yoel Mecias would qualify as having been a sleeper, since he went from 25 to 10. That’s sort of a weird one, though, it’s more based on our assumption he’s now healthy than anything he’s done on the field–had he not hurt himself he almost certainly would have been a Top 10 prospect going into 2014, so he was artificially low.

          Anyway, that’s my probably way over-thought conception of what a sleeper is. You’re welcome to disagree though. It’s a totally subjective term.

      2. I think the idea is to name a “sleeper” AND a “breakout” player. It seems like you’re defining a “sleeper” AS a breakout though. I think what you’ve described with Pinto would be a “breakout” (someone whose performance carries them into the top-10, roughly), while what you’ve described with Oliver would be a “sleeper” (someone lower on prospect lists whose performance or emerging tools put them in the 10-20 conversation, roughly). I’m no expert here, either, though, just my understanding.

  3. Oberto seemed to have an attitude problem. Charging an umpire, had to have Jan Hernandez and Cord Sandberg pull him back into the dugout

  4. walding is my sleeper which may come as a surprise to some. his power and swing translate to many dank moments later

  5. The obvious choices for me is Morgan or Watson. Their names have not even been mentioned in the top 40 — except by me. But maybe they are better suited for Comeback Player of the Year. So if a guy was injured and drops off the list and then comes back and rises to the mid-teens and we want to call him a sleeper, then Morgan’s my choice.

    A guy like Gamboa can easily climb into the mid-teens, if he shows anything at all in the GCL. He’ll be my wish-for, hope-for, pray-for Breakout candidate this year.

    A general question for the site: Does anyone think Hoskins will go to A+ to start the season? Is he a player they want to move fast through the organization? Who’s on 1st at CLW besides Martinez? Okay, that was 3 questions?

    1. Another category to include.
      Comeback Player of the Year and also Sleeper of the Year.
      Is there more?

      IMO, Hoskins starts at LKW, assuming Charles is bumped up to Reading. Green could also start at first in CLW. .

    2. I would. I would be aggressive with Hoskins and Brown. They’re college players and they are older so if they are going to be anything in the big leagues they should be able to start and hold their own in A+.

  6. Two guys I am really interested in watching this spring are Dugan and Joseph.

    Health is a major factor for both of them. Dugan’s injuries are less concerning than Joseph’s (concussions). But, if they can manage to stay healthy, I think both could could offer something to the Phillies.

    So, I will go with Dugan as the breakout prospect, and Joseph as my sleeper pick.

  7. I think Logan Moore is another good Sleeper pick. Defense alone could get him a back-up job since he is regarded as a top-quality receiver and thrower and someone pitchers have worked well with.

  8. Just before camp starts is always such a fun time filled with optimism. Its always fun waiting to see the workout groups and debating what they mean (sometimes, very little). Every year, there are guys that break out and guys that fall back into the pack. There aren’t too many major leaguers who didn’t perform very well in the low minors so hoping for guys that hit 250 with 10 homers, for more than one year unless injured, to become major leaguers isn’t good. In other words, we needs several guys to significantly step up this year or they will fall into the career minor leaguer category. Do we have players who are not in our top 20 now who might be in our top10 next year? I think we definitely do and those are my sleepers. I think the college guys, due to their age and body type, have the better chance. A pitcher who throws 85? Not so much. A guy like Oliver who throws mid 90s? Yes

  9. Roman Quinn as the Breakout player, Malquin Canelo as the Sleeper and the Comeback players would be Jesse Biddle.

  10. For a sleeper I like Carlos Duran. He has not been mentioned at all in our top players exercise, but he went from Venezuela to GCL last year and was a key player for the GCL team, hitting well and fielding well. He has gap power and with a bit more maturity can come into more power. Harold Martinez is my breakout player. He improved through the last part of the 2014 season. He may have finally adjusted to wooden bats. He came highly scouted with a high upside. I hope it happens for both this year.

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