We continue the Top 100 Prospects with numbers 95-91. A little callback to the last post:
100. Gary Brown, OF, San Francisco Giants
99. Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
98. Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins
97. Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
96. Jose Iglesias, SS, Boston Red Sox
Now, let’s get moving on the next five prospects.
95: Martin Perez, Pitcher, Texas Rangers
2012 Teams: Round Rock Express (AAA Pacific Coast League), Texas Rangers
Assets: Fastballs, Changeup
My take: With the Rangers losing pitchers at an alarming rate this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Perez, who conquered the AA bump in 2011 to end up making the 40 man roster at the end of the year. Perez has a toolbox of pitches which include a solid four seam and split fastball, and a valuable changeup, as well as a serviceable curve, which if used effectively, could launch him into the rotation rather quickly. The one drawback on Perez is that he’s effectively stuck as a mid-rotation option, per Jonathan Mayo’s opinion, but in the American League, a good third starter is worth the investment. Expect Perez to season a little more in AAA before joining the big club for good.
94: Henry Owens, Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
High School: Edison High School (Huntington Beach, California)
Draft: First Round (Comp.) 2011, 36th overall
2012 Teams: Greenville Drive (A South Atlantic League)
Assets: Solid Pitch Mix, strike zone location
My Take: In 2011, there was a huge commotion over several high school pitching arms, one of which was Edison High’s Henry Owens. Owens, who ended up falling to the compensation round, had a solid SAL league season with 12 wins, albeit with a high ERA, has shown that he can locate the strike zone despite a high walk rate. Owens is a long way away from a spot in Boston’s rotation, but if he can lower the ERA and walk numbers, he could be up as high as Double-A come the middle of the season.
93: Oswaldo Arcia, Outfielder, Minnesota Twins
2012 Teams: Fort Myers Miracle (A Florida State League), New Britain Rock Cats (AA Eastern League)
Assets: Outfield Arm, Solid contact with occasional power
My Take: Arcia is yet another example of the Twins’ abundance of young outfielders who could make the case as Denard Span and Ben Revere’s replacements. While Arcia lacks the speed to fill Revere’s leadoff spot, his “tappable power”, as Jonathan Mayo said, is perfect for a number 5 spot in the lineup. Arcia is gifted also with an outfield arm that is suited for the deep dimensions of Target Field. Though he made the leap from the FSL to the Eastern League without difficulty, it is expected that he will be staying in the minors for the duration, as fellow prospect Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni are clearly in the wings. Arcia might find a better opportunity with another team, but as the Twins are currently in a rebuilding year, don’t expect him to go quite yet.
92: Bruce Rondon, Pitcher, Detroit Tigers
2012 Teams: Lakeland Flying Tigers (A Florida State League), Erie SeaWolves (AA Eastern League), Toledo Mud Hens (AAA International League)
My Take: It’s a surprise that Rondon is ranked so low in the top 100 prospects despite being considered an almost immediate candidate to take over Jose Valverde’s role as Tigers closer. After all, the big rightly blazed through not one, but three levels of competition over the course of last year. Rondon’s best weapon is his fastball, which is reportedly a consistent triple digit pitch. One of the big knocks on him is his AAA experience. Rondon may have gone through the system quite quickly, but he should be getting more seasoning in the final level before he can be considered truly major league ready, which is why the Tigers have spent the spring looking for bullpen help. Still, expect Rondon to make his long awaited debut sometime in June, by which point he should have the closer role for good.
91: AJ Cole, Pitcher, Washington Nationals
High School: Oviedo High School, (Oviedo, Florida)
Draft: Fourth Round, 2010, 116th overall
2012 Teams: Stockton Ports (A California League) Burlington Bees (A Midwest League)
My Take: AJ Cole came back to the Nationals after spending a year in Oakland’s system. Acquired initially in the Gio Gonzalez deal, he returned in the three-team Michael Morse deal. Cole was absolutely brilliant in the Midwest League last year with a 2.07 ERA and 102 K’s, but struggled in Stockton, as he failed to record a win and had a 7.82 ERA. Still, Cole has plenty of time to go through Washington’s system and implant himself in what is already a vaunted rotation. Expect him to come up next year at around midseason at the best. With a 96 MPH fastball, and a toolbox of pitches available to deploy, he should be able to adjust to the competition hike this time around.
Stay tuned for prospects 90-85: Roberto Osuna, Jarred Cosart, Jorge Alfaro, Cody Buckel, and Kyle Crick.