Results tagged ‘ James Paxton ’
By Jonathan Raymond
With the 2013 MLB Draft scheduled to take place on Thursday, we thought we’d take the next few days to run down how some of the more intriguing picks out of the top rounds from the last few Drafts have fared. We start with 2009.
- Stephen Strasburg, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals) — Strasburg has pretty much panned out as hoped for the Nationals, turning into one of the best pitchers in the big leagues.
- Dustin Ackley, Seattle (2013: MLB Mariners, Triple-A Tacoma) — Drafted as an outfielder out of North Carolina, Ackley soon made the move to second base. He made it to the Majors after just a year and a half in the Seattle system and debuted impressively, hitting .273/.348/.417 in 90 games in the bigs in 2011. The 25-year-old regressed in the following two seasons, though, and now finds himself in the Pacific Coast League after posting a .516 OPS in 45 games with the M’s to begin this year.
- Donavan Tate, San Diego (2013: Unassigned within Padres Org) — Tate signed for $6.25 million in 2009, underwhelmed in his 2010 debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, then missed much of 2011 due to a suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse. After hitting .226/.342/.278 in 107 games between Class A Fort Wayne and Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore last year, the outfielder failed to show up for San Diego’s Minor League camp due to a “personal issue” earlier this year and has yet to make an appearance anywhere this season.
- Tony Sanchez, Pittsburgh (2013: Triple-A Indianapolis) — Sanchez has dealt with injuries off and on throughout his career but appears to be healthy and is putting together perhaps his best season to date in the International League this year. He’s hitting .317/.415/.577 with six homers in 39 games for the Indians and put together his first career four-hit game on May 31.
- Matt Hobgood, Baltimore (2013: Class A Delmarva) — Now 22, the right-hander was mostly plagued by injuries in his first three Minor League seasons. The Orioles have the former starter working out of the bullpen in the South Atlantic League, where he’s posted a 2.38 ERA with one save in 34 innings for the Shorebirds.
- Zack Wheeler, San Francisco (2013: Triple-A Las Vegas) – Traded by the Giants to the Mets for Carlos Beltran at the deadline in 2011, Wheeler blossomed into one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, and appears to be close to making his debut with the Mets this year.
- Mike Minor, Atlanta (2013: MLB Braves)
- Mike Leake, Cincinnati (2013: MLB Reds)
- Jacob Turner, Detroit (2013: MLB Marlins, Triple-A New Orleans) — Turner was given two cups of coffee in the bigs in 2010 and 2011 with the Tigers before becoming the big prize for the Marlins in the trade last year that brought Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. He had a 3.38 ERA in seven starts for Miami last season and was 3-4 with a 4.47 ERA in the Pacific Coast League this year before tossing seven shutout innings in a win against the Mets on May 31.
- Drew Storen, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals) — The former Stanford closer notched 43 saves for the Nationals in 2011 before being hampered some by injures in the last two years. Has a 3.14 ERA in 183 2/3 innings across four Major League seasons so far in his career.
- Tyler Matzek, Colorado (2013: Double-A Tulsa)
- Aaron Crow, Kansas City (2013: MLB Royals)
- Grant Green, Oakland (2013: Triple-A Sacramento) — The former Southern California star has had trouble sticking at a position, moving off shortstop, to centerfield, to the corner outfield spots, to a few tries at third base to second base, where he’s playing this year for the River Cats.
- Matt Purke, Texas (2013: Class A Hagerstown) — The lefty never signed with the Rangers, instead reentering the Draft the next year where Washington selected him in the third round. He’s battled arm problems, throwing just 15 1/3 innings for Hagerstown last year and making one appearance so far this season.
- Alex White, Cleveland (2013: MLB Rockies)
- Bobby Borchering, Arizona (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
- A.J. Pollock, Arizona (2013: MLB Diamondbacks)
- Chad James, Miami (2013: Unassigned in Marlins Org)
- Shelby Miller, St. Louis (2013: MLB Cardinals) — The right-hander debuted late with St. Louis last season and has been one of the best starters in the Majors this year, owning a 1.82 ERA in 69 1/3 innings.
- Chad Jenkins, Toronto (2013: MLB Blue Jays)
- Jiovanni Mier, Houston (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
- Kyle Gibson, Minnesota (2013: Triple-A Rochester) — He missed part of 2011 and much of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. He has a 3.38 ERA in 66 2/3 innings for the Red Wings this year, striking out 59 and walking 19, and threw his first complete game following the surgery on May 8.
- Jared Mitchell, Chicago AL (2013: Triple-A Charlotte, Double-A Birmingham) — Mitchell tore a tendon in his left ankle during Spring Training in 2010 that derailed his season before it got out of the station. He returned last year to hit .237/.358/.420 between Birmingham and Charlotte but has mustered just a .156/.305/.229 line between those two clubs in 27 games this year.
- Randal Grichuk, Los Angeles AL (2013: Double-A Arkansas) — For better or worse, Grichuk will likely always be linked to the man who was picked directly behind him. For his part, the 21-year-old is still working his way through the Angels’ system and has a .243/.296/.491 line in 48 games for the Travelers this year. He’s shown good power, with 18 homers and a .488 slugging percentage for Class A Advanced Inland Empire last season.
- Mike Trout, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Angels) — He quickly made his way to the big leagues and emerged as one of the best players in baseball, finishing second in the AL MVP race in 2012.
- Eric Arnett, Milwaukee (2013: Unassigned in Brewers Org)
- Nick Franklin, Seattle (2013: MLB Mariners, Triple-A Tacoma) — Franklin began the year in the PCL and caught fire, hitting .324/.440/.472 in 39 games, leading to his Major League debut on May 27.
- Reymond Fuentes, Boston (2013: Double-A San Antonio)
- Slade Heathcott, New York AL (2013: Double-A Trenton) — The 22-year-old has progressed through the Yankees system steadily and owns a .246/.300/.377 line in 46 games for the Thunder this year. He recently outshined Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis while they rehabbed in the Eastern league.
- LeVon Washington, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Lake County) – Never signed with Tampa, instead opting to return the following Draft, where Cleveland took him in the second round.
- Brett Jackson, Chicago NL (2013: Triple-A Iowa)
- Tim Wheeler, Colorado (2013: Triple-A Colorado Springs)
Supplemental first round:
- Steve Baron, Seattle (2013: Class A Advanced High Desert)
- Rex Brothers, Colorado (2013: MLB Rockies)
- Matt Davidson, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Reno) — Davidson emerged as one of the D-backs’ best prospects over the last couple years. He’s hitting .285/.332/.460 in 51 games for the Aces this season.
- Aaron Miller, Los Angeles NL (2013: Class A Great Lakes) — The former starting pitcher is now trying his turn in the outfield. The 25-year-old hit .297/.333/.541 with a home run and eight RBIs in 28 games for Double-A Chattanooga last year and is hitting .167 in 19 games between Double-A and Class A this year.
- James Paxton, Toronto (2013: Triple-A Tacoma) — The native Canadian never signed with the Blue Jays and became a fourth-round pick of the Mariners the next year. The 24-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA for the Rainiers this season.
- Josh Phegley, Chicago AL (2013: Triple-A Charlotte) – Enjoying a breakout year offensively for the Knights, Phegley has a .329/.386/.639 slash line with 11 homers and 14 doubles in 41 games.
- Kentrail Davis, Milwaukee (2013: Double-A Huntsville)
- Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Diamondbacks, Triple-A Reno) — Acquired by the D-backs in 2010 as part of the package for Dan Haren, Skaggs turned into one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. The 21-year-old tossed six shutout innings in a spot-start win over Texas on May 27 after posting three straight quality starts for the Aces from May 11-22. Overall has a 5.23 ERA in 51 2/3 innings in the PCL with 54 strikeouts to 17 walks.
- Chris Owings, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Reno)
- Garrett Richards, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Angels) — He’s spent the past couple years working mostly out of the bullpen and making the occasional start for the Angels. He has a 4.92 career ERA in 128 big-league innings.
- Brad Boxberger, Cincinnati (2013: MLB Padres, Triple-A Tucson)
- Tanner Scheppers, Texas (2013: MLB Rangers) — Scheppers has worked out of the Rangers’ bullpen the last two seasons and boasts a 0.66 ERA in 27 1/3 innings this year.
- Michael Belfiore, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Norfolk, MLB Orioles) — Belfiore was dealt to Baltimore for Josh Bell in 2012. A reliever since 2011, the 24-year-old has a 4.28 ERA in 27 1/3 frames for the Tides and was called up to the Majors in May.
- Matt Bashore, Minnesota (2013: Unassigned in Yankees Org)
- Kyle Heckathorn, Milwaukee (2013: Triple-A Nashville)
- Tyler Kehrer, Los Angeles AL (2013: Unassigned in Marlins Org)
- Vic Black, Pittsburgh (2013: Triple-A Indianapolis) — The 25-year-old has a 2.63 ERA and 11 saves in 19 appearances for Indianapolis. He posted a 1.65 ERA and saved 13 games for Double-A Altoona last year.
The Rockies’ David Dahl (to MiLB.com colleague Ashley Marshall): “The one that stands out the most was [the Reds'] Robert Stephenson who pitched for [Class A Short-Season] Billings. I only faced him one game, I think he went seven innings. He was honestly like a Double-A pitcher already. It was really cool to see, and it was fun to face. He was throwing like 97 [mph] to 101 with three really good pitches. You never really knew what he was going to throw. If he was behind in the count, he could still throw his dirty curveball or change when you were sitting on the fastball. He was just a really good pitcher. He had everything working that day.”
The Mariners’ Stefen Romero: “Probably [the Astros' Jarred] Cosart. He’s pretty tough. I saw him in the [Arizona] Fall League. He’s just one of those guys who can spot up everything, knows how to command all his pitches really well and keeps you guessing, off balance.”
The White Sox’s Marcus Semien: ”Last year, I had a pretty tough game against [the Nationals', and now Twins'] Alex Meyer from [Class A] Potomac. He’s probably one of the better ones I have seen. [With Meyer's height], I was not able to pick up the ball. One of worst games of the year was against him. He throws hard and has a good slider.”
The Padres’ Jedd Gyorko (to MiLB.com colleague John Parker): ”That’s a hard one — there are a lot of good guys. Maybe Danny Hultzen from the Mariners — he’s a tough lefty with a three-quarters drop-down motion and a great changeup.”
Let’s keep this all very simple and put it in bullet-form. According to a report Friday from the venerable Jeff Passan:
- the Royals are willing to trade their top prospect — and, perhaps, baseball’s top prospect — Wil Myers
- the Royals will seek young, front-line starting pitching in any deal for Myers
- the Royals have discussed such a swap with the Rays, the D-backs, the A’s and the Mariners
As much as it might seem a surprise for a down-and-out, on-its-way-back team to be “dangling” or “shopping” such an impactful slugger with zero Major League service time, this news should not, in fact, come as a surprise. Let’s stay simple and explain why:
- the Royals appear set with their outfield to begin 2013 — and unwilling to make room for Myers (he could force the issue with a big Spring Training)
- the Royals appear set with an offensive nucleus of young sluggers (which includes the names Butler, Gordon, Moustakas, Hosmer, Perez — not Myers)
- the Royals do not appear set with their starting rotation (in no small part because prospects Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer have stalled in the Minors)
Which brings us to the Rays, the D-backs, the A’s and the Mariners. What Passan doesn’t tell us, I will. What he doesn’t tell us, of course, is which pitching prospects Kansas City might be targeting from each of these four potential trading partners. Let’s take them one at a time:
- Major League rotation: James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb/Jeff Niemman
- Expendable prospects: Chris Archer (AAA), Alex Torres (AAA), Alex Colome (AAA), Enny Romero (High-A), Felipe Rivero (A), Taylor Guerrieri and Blake Snell (Low-A)
- The proposal for Myers: Chris Archer and Taylor Guerrieri for Myers
- Why it Wil/won’t work: The Rays will be loathe to part with two elite hurlers and may insist on an Archer-and-anybody-but-Guerrieri package, but including their 2011 first-round draftee probably puts them ahead in the race to land Myers. And Tampa Bay might overpay (in its mind) to get a can’t-miss slugger that it can control contractually for the next six years. … Don’t discount Romero or Rivero, who like Guerrieri are far away from the Majors, but have very live arms.
- Major League rotation: Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Daniel Hudson, Wade Miley, Pat Corbin/Tyler Skaggs
- Expendable prospects: Trevor Bauer (AAA), David Holmberg (AA), Anthony Meo (High-A), Archie Bradley (A)
- The proposal for Myers: Trevor Bauer, David Holmberg and Anthony Meo for Myers and SS/2B prospect Christian Colon
- Why it Wil/won’t work: We’ve seen national reports that — before they were shot down — depicted the D-backs making and taking calls on Trevor Bauer. So this could be the trade makes the most sense: Arizona trades a pitcher it undervalues to Kansas City for a slugger it undervalues. Has there ever been a prospects-only deal that could also be a change-of-scenery-needed swap for both players? … I expanded my proposal above to include two more Arizona hurlers because we know that the D-backs are starving for a shortstop and that the Royals’ Colon, while not a plus defender at the position, can hit enough to play there. (And Colon is obviously blocked in K.C. by Alcides Escobar.)
- Major League rotation: Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Bartolo Colon/Brandon McCarthy (free agent)
- Expendable prospects: Dan Straily (AAA), Brad Peacock (AAA), Sonny Gray (AA), A.J. Cole (High-A)
- The proposal for Myers: Dan Straily and Brad Peacock for Myers
- Why it Wil/won’t work: What do Billy Beane and Co. in Oakland have going for them? They may be the lone club of the four that can offer Dayton Moore two Major League-ready, top-of-the-rotation pitchers. The Royals could insist on the more-proven A.J. Griffin or the higher-ceiling Cole, but it’s hard to imagine them not being at least instrigued by a Straily-Peacock combo. … One flaw in this proposal is really two: Peacock, for all of his stuff, had a 6.01ERA at Triple-A this year, and it would behoove GM Moore to wonder if he is too much like another exiled Athletic right-hander: Vin Mazzaro.
- Major League rotation: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez
- Expendable prospects: Danny Hultzen (AAA), Taijuan Walker (AA), James Paxton (AA), Brandon Maurer (AA), Jordon Shipers (A)
- The proposal for Myers: Danny Hultzen and Jordan Shipers for Myers
- Why it Wil/won’t work: Of the four, this deal has the most obstacles to getting done. The Mariners will offer Danny Hultzen, the Royals will want Taijuan Walker, and the Mariners will not want to counter with the logical next best thing: Hultzen AND James Paxton. And I don’t blame them. The M’s MLB rotation is thin, and all three members of the Hultzen-Walker-Paxton trio will probably be needed in Seattle by 2014. Pulling off this transaction would be as gutsy as that Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero memory of last offseason.
Last Saturday, I wrote this blog post, soliciting prospects-related questions from you. I’m writing this post here and now to fulfill my end of the bargain and answer those questions as best as I can. Before we get to the Qs and As, I would like to thank you for participating — or, for just reading along — and also encourage you to use the comment section below in the future. As I wrote in this post (the first in this blog’s now 42-day history), this platform is for you. So if you want to see more chats like this one (or an actual-live chat in which we are conversing real-time) or have other ideas, please let me know. Without further adieu…
Kourage Kundahl: If you’re Cincinnati, how do you handle Billy Hamilton? Develop further in Double-A Pensacola, or put him on the AAA fast track?
If I’m Cincinnati, I would start Hamilton at Triple-A Louisville next season. He did enough at Pensacola in 2012 with his bat (.286 .AVG, .406 OBP and 36-43 BB-K in 50 games) to prove that he is ready for another challenge. The International League will present that challenge. The 22-year-old switch-hitter has work to do at the plate — making his swing more fluid would be a start — if he and the Reds want him to be more than a base-stealer. (Remember, to be a good base-stealer, you need to be able to get on base consistently.) So will Hamilton start ’13 in Louisville? The only way, I think, he could be held back for more seasoning at Double-A is if Walt Jocketty and Co. are unimpressed with the shortstop-turned-center fielder’s acclimation on defense. Hamilton is learning his new position in the Arizona Fall League, however, and he obviously has the athleticism and the baseball smarts to be, at least, an average defender. There’s no reason he can’t work on that part of his game at Triple-A, one level below the bigs.
Mike Squier: Could I get your complete analysis of Tyler Collins in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system? What are the chances of him getting to the bigs? His strikeout-to-walk ratio, plus 20 stolen bases — interesting…
Collins is definitely a guy that deserves to be talked about more following his 2012 at Class A Advanced Lakeland: .290/.371/.429 and, as you mentioned that 58-64 BB-K ratio and 20-for-23 success rate on the basepaths. I am high on Collins’ bat, as his swing is not unlike his stature: short, but powerful. It’s hard to argue with his production, too. Where my enthusiasm declines: Collins is, at most, an average defender in left field and, despite that 20-steal total, is very likely a 10-to-12 steal guy when he gets to the bigs. And that was your other question, wasn’t it? His chances of getting to the bigs? I would put them very high because of that bat, his one standout tool. He will be able to hit Major League pitching, though we might differ on how well and how often he goes deep. From the reports I have read, Collins will hit some home runs but should be considered more of a gap-to-gap hitter. This is all starting to sound familiar. Andy Dirks 2.0?
J.P. Schwartz: Who are your top five overall prospects for 2013 and why? Thanks.
Below is my top five, though I preface the list with this: Rankings, as much as you and I might love them, are very subjective and often poorly defined. Are we talking about, for example, the five Minor Leaguers who have the highest ceilings, the five Minor Leaguers with high ceilings who are most likely to reach them or some combination of the two? And is a player further along in his development ranked ahead of a player that is, say, only a year into his career? Every so-called expert weighs these things differently. Let me tell you that I am ranking players with high ceilings who are almost certain to reach them, and I should also add that I show a subjectivity toward position players. (That there are three pitchers in my top five — and seven pitchers in MLB.com’s top 10 — shows just how many elite pitching prospects there are knocking on the door of the bigs.)
1. Wil Myers: He is most natural hitter in the Minor Leagues. From talking to him, opposing pitchers and the Royals, I get the sense that Myers can make up his mind whether he wants to his .330 with some power and some strikeouts or .300 with more power and a lot more strikeouts. Either way, he was the best offensive player in the Minors in 2012 and, barring an Opening Day nod in Kansas City, will be again in 2013. I also like the fact that Myers adds value not only with his versatility, but also his deftness at playing any outfield position as well as third base.
2. Jurickson Profar: No. 1 on a lot of others’ charts, I have Profar a step below Myers despite the fact that he plays a premium position (shortstop) at a potentially gold glove-caliber level. Why then? Well, Profar is still 19 and, in my mind, a ways off from being a star in the Majors. He could probably be an above-average Major Leaguer tomorrow, which is why I don’t disagree with the Rangers promoting him late last season, but he’s not as far along his career path as Myers, who could star tomorrow. One other thing I like about Profar: Like Manny Machado, he seems to play “up” to his level of competition. Not all prospects are like that.
3. Dylan Bundy: At 19 and in his first season, Bundy not only got to Double-A, but to the Majors. And I’m not sure it will be long before he’s back for good. The right-hander has as much or more stuff and poise of any Minor League pitching prospect. And as long as we’re talking ceilings, Bundy is very sure to reach his. Ironically, that is also my only qualm — and many scouts’, too — with the Orioles’ ace of the future. Is he peaking now? How can he get any better? He’s a workout fiend and, at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, isn’t going to change his body as he ages (he turns 20 in eight days, by the way). How good will be when he can no longer pump his fastball up to triple digits? Those questions explain why Baltimore was so intent on Bundy improving his secondary pitches, particularly his changeup, this year.
4. Gerrit Cole: Because I’m working in New York City and not at a Minor League ballpark near you, I tend to place a greater emphasis on a prospect’s actual production than other scribes. It’s a more data-driven, on-the-surface way of looking at things, but I don’t have the scout’s eye that tells me that a guy with an ERA over 5.00 is a better prospect than a guy sporting an ERA sub-3.00. Which bring me to Cole, who happens to projectable and productive. He was consistently strong, if not stellar, in 26 starts in 2012. (He was the No. 1 overall draftee in 2011 but didn’t pitch that season.) I would expect him to be in the Majors by next June.
5. Jose Fernandez: Some won’t have this Marlins farmhand among their top 25 prospects for 2013, let alone their top five. And, to be honest, I can’t understand why. His 1.75 ERA at Class A and Class A Advanced this year shows that, at age 20 and in his first full season, he was facing inferior competition. That won’t be the case when he begins next year at Double-A Jacksonville. Based on where I have him ranked, of course, I expect him to excel there as well.
Josh Pfaffle: Do you think Nick Franklin can make the Mariners roster next year and produce?
Next year, yes. To start next year, I’m not sure. Franklin is a strong prospect, but he hasn’t yet proven his bat against Triple-A pitching: .243/.310/.416 in 64 games at Tacoma last year. I have little doubt that he can, but that’s not the only obstacle to clear before he joins the Mariners. After playing mostly shortstop at Double-A Jackson, the 21-year-old switch-hitter started playing more second base at Tacoma and is playing there almost exclusively in the Fall League. If Seattle’s brass deems him a better defensive fit there, a decision will have to be made about him or incumbent Dustin Ackley.
Josh Pfaffle: How do you think the Mariners prospects will affect the big league team, and how far are they away? Do you see James Paxton or any other prospects getting traded for a proven bat?
That Big Three — starting pitching prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and Paxton — needs at least another half-season (and, likely, a full season or more) of development in the Minors. That leaves Franklin, who would need to catch fire in Spring Training to make the Opening Day club, and catcher Mike Zunino, who is probably another full season away, too. So as far as the M’s elite prospects making a difference, I would expect them to make a significant impact — but not before the 2014 season. And, by the 2015 season, watch out. Sluggers like Brad Miller and Stefen Romero should be in Seattle by then, too. Their presence — and continued emergence — would lessen the pressure to deal away Paxton or one the organization’s other top pitching talents. There is a lot to be excited about if you’re a Mariners fan.
Pierre: Andrew, I have the No. 9 pick in my Dynasty League Rookie Draft. All the players who made their debut in 2012 are available. What’s your top 10 list? Harper, Cespedes, Middlebrooks, Machado, Olt, Profar, Darvish, Harvey, Bauer, S. Miller, Bundy, Skaggs, M.Perez, Odorizzi, etc…
Let me say first off, Pierre, that I’m no fantasy baseball expert. I have suggested to my editor that we start a fantasy baseball advice column at MiLB.com, so that could be an addition to our prospects coverage by Opening Day 2013. That said, I’ll try and help you out now. I’m guessing that Mike Trout, who made his Majors debut in 2011, is not available, or you would have included him in your list. So we’ll leave him off mine, too. I’m also assuming prospects who have yet to appear in the Majors (like, say, Wil Myers) aren’t eligible in your draft, so we’ll stick to prospects who made their MLB debuts in 2012. Here’s my list, in order:
- Bryce Harper
- Manny Machado
- Jurickson Profar
- Dylan Bundy
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Yu Darvish
- Matt Harvey
- Shelby Miller
- Will Middlebrooks
- Tony Cingrani
Reena (from Tucson): Which player this year has surprised you the most by excelling as a player? Who do you see as a breakout star?
I would zero in on Tyler Austin (Yankees) and Dan Straily (A’s). Here are the blurbs I wrote about each player’s “Breakout Prospect” bid for our annual MiLBY Awards coverage:
Austin, a 13th-round draftee in 2010, reached Double-A the week of his 21st birthday during his first healthy season. He hit 14 homers in 70 games, including six in one seven-game stretch, with Class A Charleston.
Straily, a 24th-round draftee in 2009, pitched at three levels, finishing in the Majors. The K’s were his calling card, as he led the Minors most of the year.
As far as identifying the next breakout star, it’s very difficult to pick out a guy who goes from nothing to something in such a short span. Austin and Straily, in all honesty, weren’t on my radar entering last season, and I’m not in the minority on that one. Who’s on my radar entering next season? I’ll give you a hitter and a pitcher: Max Kepler (Twins) and Josh Bowman (A’s), guys I’ve written about on this site.