Carlos Correa was the 2012 top overall pick.
The 2013 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit continues today as we reveal more of our top 60 prospects.
So while you wonder if Kyle Lohse can keep his 2012 magic going now that he’s in Sausage City, let’s review prospects 30 through 21.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
30. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros (NR): The first overall pick in last year’s draft, Correa has already ascended to near the top of the Astros’ prospect rankings. Taken out of a Puerto Rico high school, he will move to full season ball this year after playing at two different rookie levels in 2012 upon signing. Correa, 18, got plenty of at-bats in the GCL before a promotion to the Appy League to wrap up the season. He’s just 50 games into his pro career, so don’t start planning for his arrival in Houston any time soon, but Correa’s power as a shortstop has to intrigue keeper league owners. Like many youngsters, he’ll need to learn patience as he moves up the ladder, but his strong work ethic should stead him well as he develops his game.
29. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (NR): In his first full season as a pro last year, Baez announced his presence as a prospect with authority. This spring, he continued that trend by impressing the Cubs’ brass before he was farmed out to High-A. The consensus top prospect for the Cubs, Baez was taken ninth overall in 2011 and spent most of last season at Class-A before moving to High-A for the final month. His amazing bat speed has elicited comparisons to Gary Sheffield, and you’ve got to be intrigued by the power he flashed this spring. Baez exhibited impressive extra-base power at Class-A last year before getting his feet wet at High-A. He’s got major potential as a high-average, power-hitting shortstop with speed, but he really needs to learn to take a more patient approach. There’s a difference of opinion about whether he’ll stick at short; some suggest he’s better suited for second or third, while others report his fielding at short has been rather slick.
28. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals (28): When we ranked Starling 28th in our Top 55 Prospects last year, we raved about his tools. Well, after his pro debut, we’ve decided to leave him exactly where he was. Starling showed some very promising things, but was also exposed in some respects. The fifth overall pick from 2011 was a football and baseball star in high school and we love the power he flashed in his first taste of professional ball at Low-A. Starling had a solid BA and got his feet wet, but we’ll know a lot more about him after he tackles full season ball this year. Can he improve his contact rates as he moves up? That will be the key for Starling and will determine whether he moves into the truly elite prospects of the game or becomes a project. That’s the thing — he has as much potential as a stud as he does as a dud. However this shakes out, it’s going to take some time, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
27. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (52): Last year, we expected Odorizzi to earn a September call up and that he’d be worth a look in such an eventuality. Sure enough, he got the call and held his own in his first two big league starts, although he failed to bag a W. Unfortunately, Odorizzi was dealt to the Rays this winter as part of the James Shields trade. Why unfortunately? Well, he goes from a prospect with an excellent chance to bag a rotation spot on the Royals to around seventh on the Tampa Bay starting pitcher depth chart. Odorizzi made it academic when he struggled this spring, getting optioned back to Triple-A. Yes, his walk rate rose at Triple-A, but it didn’t affect his bottom line results. Odorizzi is very close to major league ready, but we’d like to see him induce more ground balls. Tampa Bay has the depth to be patient, but the fact that Odorizzi has already been dealt twice (going from Milwaukee to KC in the Zack Greinke deal) makes you wonder what the deal is here. Still, at the age of 22, look at what he did between Double-A and Triple-A combined: 15-5, 3.03 with a 135/50 K/BB ratio in 145 1/3 IP. All the tools are there, and we especially like the strikeout potential. A sandwich pick in 2008 by the Brewers, the righty has a nice pitcher’s build at 6’2″, 185.
26. Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (21): A year ago when we ranked Martinez 21st on this list we talked about how he endured some wildness after a promotion to High-A. Well, he addressed that last year, but also struck out far fewer, leading to a slightly lower ranking this season. Worse yet, visa issues had him stuck in the Dominican this spring, so he’s been unable to compete for a rotation spot for the Cards (he finally received the visa Tuesday). Still, he remains one of the top prospects in an underrated system and he managed to reach Double-A (and spend two-thirds of the season there) before he was 21 — a very impressive feat. Martinez will likely have to begin the season at extended Spring Training just to get into game shape before he’s assigned to a minor league club, likely at Triple-A. He enjoyed a fine ERA at High-A and managed to trim it slightly after his promotion to Double-A — the toughest transition a pitcher will make. Overall, Martinez put together a second straight winning season and has really shown no weaknesses yet. His ability to limit baserunners is his best trait and the declining K rate is the only moderately red flag — but even so, pitching to contact worked for Martinez. Because of his size, his long-term future could be in the bullpen, possibly as a stud closer.
25. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies (22): The fact that Arenado slots 50th in our Third Base Rankings tells you that we think he has a chance to contribute this season. He’s flashed serious power this spring (four homers, but mostly early in camp), and remains in the running to earn the starting job over Chris Nelson. There’s no doubt that Arenado is a seriously talented prospect; what’s held him back so far are maturity issues. Last year, his counting cats took a bath with the move to Double-A, hence us slightly lowering him in this year’s rankings. Arenado has slowed down of late, giving Nelson a chance to bounce back as he tries to hold onto his job. However, time is on Arenado’s side as he doesn’t turn 22 until next month. Last year, Arenado’s BA slipped at Double-A, but was still solid. However, after leading all minor leaguers in RBI in 2011, last year was a bit of a letdown for the team’s second rounder in 2009. Arenado is a tremendous contact hitter, but speed is not his thang (no steals last year). Power and contact is a great combo. As soon as Arenado proves he’s all grown up, he’s going to be a serious factor — possibly as soon as this season.
24. Jon Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (45): As we discussed in a mid-January Podcast, Singleton is facing a 50-game suspension for using drugs (his second infringement) — but since when is weed a performance-enhancing substance? He’s not appealing the suspension, so don’t expect to see him in action for the first couple of months of the 2013 season. Singleton is still the long-term answer at first base for Houston and he got some valuable experience in the AFL this season. Tim McLeod saw him there and said he’s a “massive, big kit with lots of power.” The Astros gave Singleton a brief chance this spring, but as a key part of the Hunter Pence trade, he is going to get lots of chances to prove he was worth acquiring. Singleton was promoted to Double-A last year and his numbers didn’t suffer much with the move. He has tremendous patience (88 walks last season), but not a ton of speed. In time, expect Singleton to settle in as a solid first baseman that will bat in the middle of the Astros’ lineup, probably as soon as next year (although the suspension delays his arrival, obviously).
23. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds (NR): It hasn’t been a glorious spring for Hamilton as he struggled offensively and hurt his hammy. But you know the drill here: he’s all about speed. In fact, there probably isn’t a faster player in the game than Hamilton, who set a new professional single-season record with 155 steals last year. Yes, you read that right. A lot of people consider this switch-hitter a top 20 prospect, but truthfully, we would have been more bullish on him if he had remained at shortstop. Last year, Hamilton was productive at High-A and then gained some valuable experience at Double-A. Homers won’t be in the cards here, but man, is he going to get a ton of triples (a career-best 14 last year). Cincy’s second round pick in 2009 has shown he can drive in a respectable amount of runs from the top of the order, but that’s just going to be gravy on top of his swipes, runs and BA. Let’s see: 379 career games in the minors: 320 steals, seven homers. Get the picture? It won’t be long before he gets a chance to stick in Cincy — expect him in the bigs by 2014, if not sooner (depending on how quickly he adjusts to Triple-A).
22. Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (26): When we ranked Bradley 26th a year ago, we talked about how quickly he proved he can blow away pro hitters in his debut. Well, he continued to rack up the Ks in his first year at full-season ball in 2012, prompting us to shift him into the top 25. The seventh overall pick from 2011 impressed Arizona in Spring Training this year, reaching as high as 97 mph with his heater. We think Bradley is the third best prospect in a stacked Arizona system, yet he still has top-of-the-rotation potential. The righty looked like a workhorse at Class-A and was almost impossible to take yard. The poise Bradley showed against major leaguers this spring should make Arizona feel comfortable about accelerating his development path if it should so desire. But really, this team is so flush with young pitching that there is no reason to rush anyone. The Oklahoma high school product actually had a higher strikeout against lefties, and that’s a great sign. We simply love his strikeout potential, but Bradley will need to improve his control significantly or he’ll get into trouble in the higher levels. Still, he has everything he needs to be a future ace. Expect Bradley to move to High-A this year and potentially reach Arizona by 2015.
21. Julio Teheran, SP, Atlanta Braves (5): When we ranked Teheran fifth a year ago, we said we were expecting big things from him. Unfortunately, thanks to inconsistency, those big things didn’t happen last year, however, he looks like a different pitcher so far this spring as he battles for the fifth starter job (a gig he’s all but wrapped up). Teheran was actually tough to hit during his brief time in Atlanta last year, but his bottom line results were not good. He struck out nearly a batter per inning in the Show but an ugly ERA at Triple-A of over 5.00 limited his opportunities in Atlanta. On the positive side, Teheran improved his control in the minors and now six years removed from being signed out of Columbia, he looks ready to stick in the majors. He has nice control which helps him limit baserunners, but he’ll have to watch the gopheritis in the majors as that could be problematic. Last season likely changed people’s minds about whether Teheran will be an ace, but even if his upside is as a No. 3 starter, his keeper value hasn’t diminished greatly.
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