Prospects2pros is back with the top 100 prospects in baseball, from 85-81. So far the site has covered everyone from Gary Brown to Kyle Crick. Let’s begin this round of prospects.
85: Joc Pederson, Outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
School: Pao Alto High School (Pao Alto, California)
Draft: 11th round, 2010, 352nd overall
2012 Teams: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A California League)
Assets: Contact, Fielding
My Take: The son of former Dodgers outfielder Stu Pederson, Joc may find himself outstripping his father in many categories when he makes the major leagues. Joc is still young and has a ways to go, but a solid season at Rancho Cucamonga in which he hit for a .313 average could mean big things are on the way for him. Joc has proven himself also as an international star, playing for Team Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. While he will certainly not develop into the next Matt Kemp, he has the tools to be a solid table setter in the Dodger lineup in the future, especially when most of those big contracts the Dodgers took on expire. Expect him to labor at least two more years in the minors before he can make it to the big leagues, though.
84: Luis Sardinas, Shortstop, Texas Rangers
2012 Teams: Hickory Crawdads (A South Atlantic League)
Assets: Speed, Defense
My Take: It’s a good thing that Sardinas is this young, because with Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus in his way, if he were more majors ready, he probably would not see the light of day. All kidding aside. Sardinas is certainly the next in a long line of skilled Rangers shortstops While he does not have the power that Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young, Andrus, and Profar have, he certainly makes up for it with quality legs, which netted him 32 stolen bases in Hickory. Sardinas is a solid hitter as well, but his future will most likely be in the leadoff spot. With all the rumors that Andrus will likely be traded, expect Sardinas to jump up the prospect list in the coming years.
83: Michael Wacha, Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
School: Texas A&M University
Draft: First Round, 2012, 19th overall
2012 Teams: Texas A&M Aggies (NCAA Big 12 Conference), GCL Cardinals (Rookie Gulf Coast League), Palm Beach Cardinals (A Florida State League) Springfield Cardinals (AA Texas League)
Assets: Fastball, Fast Development, Large Build.
My Take: Wacha pretty much jumped out of the gate after his junior season of college. A Golden Spikes candidate, after being taken 19th overall, Wacha took three big steps, going from rookie ball to AA. Because he only had a half season of work, Wacha’s statistical output cannot be measured accurately. Wacha is expected to start the season in AA though, but could jump to the Majors by September and contribute there. His fastball is a mid 90’s gem and his build suggests he could be a dominant pitcher, possibly even a suitable replacement for the soon-to-be-retiring Chris Carpenter. Keep an eye on him, as he could develop into an all-star caliber arm.
82: Adeiny Hechavarria, Shortstop, Miami Marlins
Signed: 4/4/2010 (Toronto Blue Jays)
2012 Teams: Las Vegas 51’s (AAA Pacific Coast League), Toronto Blue Jays
Assets: Speed, Defense
My Take: The first of many prospects attained in Jeffery Loria’s purge of the 2012 Marlins, Hechavarria has been labeled as “better than” Hanley Ramirez, by Hanley himself nonetheless. Hechavarria had the benefit of playing in the dry Las Vegas air for most of the year, plus the Rogers Centre, and will now play once again in warm weather in another retractable roof ballpark. Hechavarria’s greatest strength is his defense, but his speed will give him a leg up on the leadoff position that was vacated by Jose Reyes. Look for him to last about six to seven years before the next Loria fire sale, barring any front office upheaval.
81: Andrew Heaney, Pitcher, Miami Marlins
School: Oklahoma State University
Draft: First Round, 2012, (9th overall)
2012 Teams: Oklahoma State Cowboys (NCAA Big 12 Conference), GCL Marlins (Rookie Gulf Coast League), Greensboro Grasshoppers (A South Atlantic League)
Assets: Fastball, Curveball, Control
My Take: The reigning Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and first ever Miami Marlins Draft pick will not rise as quickly to the big leagues as fellow prospect and draftmate Michael Wacha, in part due to a delay in signing a contract, but in limited work, Heaney has shown that he could effectively become the next homegrown Marlins ace. Heaney has three developed pitches in his fastball, curve and changeup, and his control is remarkable. Expect him to start in the Florida State League with a possible jump to New Orleans barring any setbacks.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the top 100 prospects, 80-76, which will include Ethan Martin, Kolten Wong, Zach Lee, Matt Davidson, and Yasiel Puig.