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Christopher Crawford

Prospect Roundup

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Most Disappointing Prospects

Monday, September 17, 2018


Last week, we talked about the most improved prospects from 2018. Now, we have to look at the glass half empty.

 

Keep in mind that player development is impossible to predict, so these players could easily be listed in the most improved group next summer, or even end up contributing to big-league clubs by then. Based on what they showed this year, however, these players are unlikely to make immediate contributions, if at all.


Here’s a look at the most disappointing prospects of 2018.



Hitters

Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners: The most frustrating thing about Lewis's struggles is that much of it isn't something that Lewis can control. He showed superstar potential when he was drafted with the 11th pick by the Mariners, but a gruesome leg injury has clearly not fully recovered for the 23-year-old. He posted a .711 OPS with nine homers in 86 games at the High-A and Double-A levels, and he had to go on a hot streak to get the number that high. Is Lewis a lost cause? No, you can't call someone who showed his ability at that age that, but he's going to have to make more hard contact, hit for more power and improve his approach considerably if he's going to be anything more than a bench bat.


Jorge Mateo, IF, Oakland Athletics: The Yankees traded Mateo to the Athletics in the deal that sent Sonny Gray to the Bronx. To say he underperformed in his first full year in Triple-A is an understatement. The 23-year-old hit .230 and struck out 139 times in 131 games, and while he stole 25 bases, he was also thrown out 10 times in the process. Mateo has as much speed as any prospect in baseball, but in order to use it, you have to get on base. Based on what we saw in 2018, it's hard to imagine that he's going to be able to do it enough to play everyday. 

 

Monte Harrison, OF, Miami Marlins: Lewis Brinson was the "big name" acquired in the Christian Yelich trade -- Lewis Brinson would also quality for this list if he was still a prospect after his poor year for the Marlins -- but Harrison was the one many scouts believed offered the most upside. That upside is still there; whether or not he can reach it is another question. Harrison showed his speed and power with 19 homers and 28 steals, but he also struck out a whopping 215 times in 136 games. The ball can jump off the former highly-recruited football player's bat, but if you make that little contact, it's borderline impossible to hit for average. There's time for the 23-year-old to develop, but Harrison did not make the improvements we were hoping for in 2018.

Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees: If you are a person who follows prospects, you might be a little surprised to see this name on this list. And to be fair to Florial wasn't awful. He just didn't come close to living up to the hype. He might have some of the most misleading numbers of any prospect in baseball, however. When on a rehab assignment, the 20-year-old blistered the ball, picking up 17 hits in 31 at-bats. When he was at High-A, he was far more pedestrian with a .255 average and .714 OPS in 75 games. The left-handed hitting outfielder flashes five tools, but power didn't show up at all (three homers in 75 games) and he struggled with consistent contact as seen in his 87 strikeouts in that time frame. There's certainly reason for optimism still, but it's fair to say that Florial was a disappointment in 2018.

 

Pitchers


Alec Hansen, RHP, Chicago White Sox: This was ugly. Hansen flashes tremendous ability in 2017 with his high 90s fastball and two swing-and-miss breaking pitches. That's all well and good, but you have to know where those pitches are going, and the former Oklahoma Sooner did not in 2018. He posted a 6.31 ERA, and he walked 59 hitters in his 51 and 1/3 innings. He also struck out 55 hitters, which shows you that the strikeout arsenal is still there in his right arm. If he doesn't make vast -- and we are talking vast -- improvements to the control, it won't matter. You can't start if you can't throw strikes.

 

Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: Like Hanson, Alvarez had issues with control, walking 42 hitters in 55 1/3 innings. The Dodgers gave the 22-year-old $16 million in 2015, and there were those -- including myself -- who believed this would be the right-hander's breakout year. It didn't happen, as he struggled with locating his offerings, and there were also some issues with maturity. The latter is something that happens with lots of prospects, but the simple fact is that Alvarez looks more like a reliever at this point than a future starting pitcher. Considering he's shown three strikeout pitches, that's disappointing.

 

Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees: Adams is the only player on this list that saw big-league time, but that promotion -- if we're being brutally honest -- as as much to do with the Yankees' injury issues and Justus Sheffield's future contracts than it did with the 24-year-old's success. His stuff ticked down, what was a plus fastball/slider combination was more solid-average this summer, and his command backtracked as well. He was still able to strike out 113 hitters in as many innings, but his 4.78 ERA in that time frame is not what we were expecting to see; especially considering how dominant he was at times in 2017. There's a good chance Adams is going to have to make his living in the bullpen.

 

Cal Quantrill, RHP, San Diego Padres: If you would have asked me what Quantrill's future held at this point last year, I would have assumed he was pitching for the Padres in the rotation. Unfortunately, the eighth selection of the 2016 MLB Draft regressed in 2018, posting a 5.15 ERA in his time at Double-A San Antonio, and a 4.80 ERA overall in 28 starts. The 23-year-old still has as good of change-up as anyone else, but his velocity dropped, and his breaking-ball -- always the biggest concern with Quantrill -- was a below-average for much of the 2018 season. At this point, Quantrill profiles best as a backend starter with a high floor. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but considering this was once a top 50 prospect -- and recently, too -- it certainly qualifies as a disappointment. 



Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.
Email :Christopher Crawford



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