Here comes the next round of the top 100 prospects in baseball. So far, we’ve covered the bottom ten, from Gary Brown of San Francisco to AJ Cole of Oakland. Now we move to the next five, the bottom half of the 80’s.
90: Roberto Osuna, Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
2012 Teams: Bluefield Blue Jays (A Appalachian League), Vancouver Canadians (A Northwest League)
Assets: Fastball, command, youth
My Take: Osuna, who inherited the Blue Jays’ number two overall prospect ranking after the departures of Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, and Adeiny Hechavarria, is the youngest prospect in the top 100 and by far one of the most intriguing to watch. After making the jump from Appy league baseball to Northwest League baseball, Osuna showed no signs of slowing, as he kept his ERA in the low 3’s Osuna has been handled carefully, and considering his stuff is advanced for his age, he could find himself in the majors by the age of 20 if he continues the way he’s been going.
89: Jarred Cosart: Pitcher, Houston Astros
School: Clear Creek High School, (League City, Texas)
Draft: 38th round, 2008, 1156th overall (Philadelphia Phillies)
2012 Teams: Corpus Christi Hooks (AA Texas League) Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA Pacific Coast League)
My Take: Like most Phillies top prospects, Cosart was on his way out before he could make a difference. Packaged with fellow prospect Jonathan Singleton in the Hunter Pence deal of 2011, Cosart has found his way through the Astros’ system without much difficulty. Though Cosart’s strength seems to be his fastball, which has touched the mid 90’s he seems to be more inclined to be a contact pitcher. Cosart is probably destined to be a part of Houston’s young, but extremely talented pitching staff though, with Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris already up, and with Lance McCullers, Mike Foltynewicz, and Brad Peacock coming along. One of the concerns for Cosart though is that the fastball is his only really effective pitch. If he can develop his secondary pitches and improve his command, he could find himself as a number two starter in the future, but if not, the bullpen seems to be his most likely destination.
88: Jorge Alfaro, Catcher, Texas Rangers
2012 Teams: Hickory Crawdads (A South Atlantic League)
Assets: Arm, Hitting skill
My Take: If Alfaro had finished last season in AA, there probably would be a chance that he would have been fighting newly acquired AJ Pierzynski for the starting catcher position, but as he was still in Low-A ball as of last year, he’s probably two to three years away at best. Alfaro is on track to develop like Mike Napoli, except he would be able to stay behind the plate provided he develops his defensive skills. Alfaro could find himself in the middle of the Texas lineup in the future though, as he is a top hitter with plenty of power. In addition, he must stay healthy if he wants to advance quickly in the system, or he may be forced to switch to a less physically demanding position.
87: Cody Buckel, Pitcher, Texas Rangers
School: Royal High School (Simi Valley, California)
Draft: 2nd Round: 2010, 72nd overall
2012 Teams: Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A Carolina League), Frisco RoughRiders (AA Texas League)
Assets: Fastballs, Curve, Durability, Deceptive delivery
My Take: Like in-state rival Houston, the Texas Rangers should look forward to a standout young pitching staff in the future, with Wilmer Font, Martin Perez, and Buckel rising through the ranks, among others. Of interest, in their young pitchers, is Buckel, who shot through two levels of play last year. Buckel, like most of the latter half pitching prospects, is best served by his fastball, but not only does he have a traditional 4 seamer, but also a cutter which looks Major League ready. Buckel is also aided by the fact that he can maintain his fastball velocity late into games. In addition, his curveball is a work in process. Buckel is also inclined towards success, as his unconventional delivery should serve him well as he continues to advance through Texas’ system. Expect him to make his Major League debut by September, provided he pitches well enough in Round Rock.
86: Kyle Crick, Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
School: Sherman High School, (Sherman, Texas)
Draft: first round (comp.) 49th overall
2012 Teams: Augusta Greenjackets (A South Atlantic League)
Assets: Fastball, Slider
My Take: Normally, the San Francisco Giants have at lease one top 50 prospect in each year’s ranking, but with the 2011 trade of Zack Wheeler to the Mets, Kyle Crick stands as the best prospect in San Francisco’s system right now. This is fine, as San Francisco is one of the best at developing pitchers, their current rotation, sans Barry Zito, stands as a testament to that. Crick is on a fast development right now, as he pulled through his full season at Augusta with a sub 3 ERA and more than 120 strikeouts. Crick is at least two years away from making an impact in san Francisco’s rotation, but as he seems prime for a promotion to San Jose, time will tell if he is truly ready to make a double jump to Richmond in-season. What Crick boasts in terms of pitches though, is his fastball and his slider. If he can develop his curveball as well, and hone his changeup, Crick will be on an even faster track, and could be up by September 2014.
Stay tuned for prospects 85-81: Joc Pederson, Luis Sardinas, Michael Wacha, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Andrew Heaney.