The season is basically over for Minor Leaguers. Yeah, there are a few games left but the last 15-20 at bats aren't suddenly going to make Brian Pointer's line look like that of a top prospect and a final handful of innings isn't going to change much in Brody Colvin's end of season line.
Believe it or not, I'm thinking Top 30 list already. Some of it is easier than other parts. Most prospect evaulators will have a pretty similar top 4 (some combo of Crawford, Biddle, Franco and Tocci). The back of the Top 10 gets a bit dicier (will Asche and Martin exceed ROY eligibility, how do you grade guys who lost most of the season to injury), but where it really gets tricky is past ~15 on the list. Guys starts getting somewhat interchangeable depending upon how you value them and whether you believe their flaws can be fixed and how valuable their position is.
I currently have a list of 50 guys in consideration for the Top 30. Some are obious to make the list, some less so. Over these final few weekly updates. I thought it might be a good time to look at these guys instead of looking at weekly stats unlikely to have much effect, at this point, on the bottom line. So I figured we can look at 5 or 6 of these guys over each of the next 2 updates. And let's start with one of the, sure to be hotly debated picks:
Sebastian Valle - Earlier this summer I kind of wrote Valle off. I am rethinking that stance. Sea Bass's line sucks .205/.247/.363. There's no way to really dress that up nicely, but there are factors to consider. The role of a backup Catcher is to provide solid to excellent defense and it's preferred you have some pop. Valle fills both those expectations. Let's look at why his line sucked. First of all Valle carried a .233 BABiP. That's really low, even for Valle who tends to have a low BABiP. Valle also had his highest BB rate since 2009 and his lowest K rate since 2010. Valle's HR/OFB was also well down from his career number (though 11+% is still pretty good). Valle's never going to be a high OBP guy nor will he ever be a high BA guy. However, he could get you something like a .250/.290/.400 line with very good defense. That's not bad for a backup and a good season might even make him fringe starter worthy. This isn't what everyone deamed of with Valle, but if my list includes guys with ceilings as 4th OF, backup IF, Backup C (Rupp), then it should probably include Valle who can probably make a nice MLB career as a backup, and at 23 with 2 years of Options left? I feel silly for giving up on him the more I think about it.
Brian Pointer - What do we make of Pointer? Few guys in the system have his ceiling. He's got the speed to play Center, good power potential and he shows flashes of skills, but never maintains anything for very long. He's another guy with a kind of ugly line .212/.335/.331. One thing sge has going for him, he takes walks almost prodigiously (11.8% rate this year). His power diappeared this year, but his HR/OFB is way below his norm (7.2% vs ~11% for his career). His K rate is high, but improving at 25.6%. I would lean towards leaving him off the list, but I also know he's a potential sleeper who could put it together and rocket up lists next year. If his LD rate rebounds, his HR/OFB rebounds and his K rate continues to trend down you could be looking at a 22 year old in High A with solid defense, pushing a .400 OBP and possibly pushing an .800 OPS.
Tyson Gillies - Gillies appears to be Ben Revere lite at this point. Attempts at overhauling his swing to add power failed. His .146 ISO this year is nearly identical to his ISO in 2012 of .141 and 2011 of .154. At this point Gillies neither hits for power or average. His walk rate leaves something to be desired and his K rate is on the high side for a guy who kills so many worms. The last 2 years I felt like if Gillies could just stay healthy for a full season he's a sure-fire Top 20 guy. Well, he stayed healthy all season and I'm not sure he doesn't go on waivers after the season.
Mauricio Robles - A waiver wire grab from Seattle Robles is like a younger Bastardo in many ways. He's thrown a ton of K's in his relief work, but there are more free bases than a 1986 Mets reunion. He has good GB rates, and despite being a Lefty he doesn't have strong splits. He stinks equally regardless of which side you hit from. If anything he's had a slight reverse split this year. The Phillies have a ton of Bullpen guys like this already and Robles will be 25 next summer, so he isn't exactly a kid. I'm likely to leave him off my list, as to make a Top 30 as a reliver, you've got to be really damned good.
Willie Carmona - Willie plays both corner IF spots, though by skill and build, he's pretty much a First Baseman. Still his number are pretty solid at the dish. .299/.349/.431, 18.9% K, 7.3% BB. The problem is that if you're going to be a First base prospect you can't sport a .132 ISO. Still, he has solid plate discipline and if he can play some outfield he could have a future as an MLB utility man. Is a Low-A guy with Utility player as his ceiling enough to get into the Top 30? probably not. That said he'll be 23 next year and if some power develops, well he's still probably a utility player, but don't overlook him, he won't be a superstar, but he may help the club someday.