Eno Sarris


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Almost-Ready AFL Prospects

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Brian Goodwin
The Brian Goodwin Experience is a roller coaster. In the AFL All-Star game, he rifled a single to center off of a mostly-dominant Alex Meyer. Then he was caught stealing. Then he struck out the next time up. Then he went hitless over his final three chances. And that's about right for his overall game -- he strikes out a bit much, and gets caught stealing a bit much, and looks like he should be better with the glove than he is. He'll probably spend another year in the minors refining those rough edges, but if Denard Span goes down with an injury, Goodwin becomes more interesting -- particularly in on-base percentage leagues.


Eddie Rosario
Any second base prospect is interesting, but Rosario has some warts. He's struggling in the desert, but that might only be 60-plus bad plate appearances. What's worrying is that his same impatient plate approach is at work, and he's not showing much progress. He hasn't shown a league-average walk rate since High-A and his walk rate in Arizona right now is under 4%. Add to that package an uppercut swing -- possibly brought about by the fact that his hands are very low in his batting stance -- and you've got a strange package. Almost like an aggressive power hitter -- but in the six-foot-nothing, 170-pound body of a second baseman. Watch Brian Dozier closely. If the incumbent Twin second baseman can iron out some of his infield fly problems, his batting average and on-base percentage will improve, and Rosario's star will dim within the organization.


Stephen Souza
It took him until he was 24 until he finally got to Double-A, so his breakout there is a little on the old side. That said, he's shown great power and patience for a while now, and the real question is the strikeout rate. In today's inflated environment, he could survive with a 25% strikeout rate, as long as the power, speed and outfield defense are still there. According to Trackman data, the Nationals outfielder is leading the league in the velocity of the ball off his bat and that's probably why he was added to the Nationals's 40-man roster last week. But it'll take an injury or trade for him to matter in 2014. And even then, the average may not be pretty.


Stefen Romero
Romero, like Schoop, has spent plenty of time in the high minors, and it's almost time to poop or get off the potty. He's 25 and has plenty of pop -- he hit two home runs in the All-Star game -- but he also struck out 25% of the time in Arizona and has very little patience. Add in the fact that he's stopped playing second base, and you see the warts. On the other hand, he might have a better chance of helping the big league squad in the outfield, and he does have power. He should figure in to the Mariner's spring-time position battles, so his All-Star game performance is interesting. On the other hand, so is his .185/.254/.278 overall line in Arizona.


Kenny Wilson
The Jays might now protect the center fielder, since he's spent the AFL hitting .269/.347/.343, which looks better this year against the league line (.254/.339/.381). He's also been fast on the base paths and strong in center field. The Jays have some options in center, but Wilson has also looked like he could be a fourth or fifth outfielder right now, and that's an asset that you might lose in the rule five draft. Even if he strikes out too much, he's no Anthony Gose.


Stephen Piscotty
James Ramsey could be listed here too, because he's also a corner outfielder on the same team, and a team that might need a corner outfielder soon. It's likely that one of them gets first shot over the other, but should it be the older, more polished Piscotty with his high-contact, average-power approach? Or the more powerful, more whiffy James Ramsey? Given the fact that the Cardinals usually wait a while with their guys, the guess here is that Piscotty would get the first dibs on a call up next year. Even if Ramsey has more upside.


Derek Law
Dude is turning 23 next week and hasn't seen Double-A yet, and he's a bit of a polished reliever churning bats in the low minors. But he's got gas, a great breaking ball, and struck out almost half the people he saw in High-A last year. In the AFL, he's been a bit wild, but his strikeout rate is still nice (28.2%) and he hasn't given up a run. The Giants can afford to push him all the way into the major league bullpen sometime next year, and with Sergio Romo's potential issues with lefties and injury, it's not inconceivable that he finds himself at the back of the Giants bullpen quickly.

Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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