The MLB's New Kids on the Block - Part 1
This is the first of a two-part series in which I breakdown ten of 2017's top MLB prospects who could be making their first real impression in the big leagues this season. Part 1 covers prospects I've ranked #10-6, while Part 2 will cover prospects I've ranked #5-1.
Baseball is an impossible game to predict. Part of the beauty of the game is the possibility of seeing something you’ve never seen before, no matter the circumstances.
Another unpredictable aspect of the game is picking breakout players. One player, seemingly at random, can suddenly put it all together and become a star, while another well-established player just falls off the table. On top of all of that comes the biggest uncertainty of all: Prospects.
One of the most fun topics to discuss in baseball is a team’s farm system. If you ask a big fan of any team, they’ll be able to tell you about how there is a bright future coming soon, with great prospects that’ll come in and take the show by storm. There’s even more talk about prospects when trade season comes around, and who gets what prospects, and what it means for the future.
For example, when the Chicago Cubs acquired flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees, they gave up top prospect Gleyber Torres (and more) in the deal.
The Cubs ended up winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years, and then Chapman signed back with the Yankees in the following off-season. Who won the trade? Tough to say now, but it’s a fun topic of discussion over a water cooler or a couple of beers.
The MLB released their list of the top 100 prospects over the weekend. Today we’ll take a look at 5 players who I feel could have a solid impact on their big league clubs this season.
10. Clint Frazier - OF New York Yankees (MLB.com rank 24)
Frazier is already growing his reputation as a social media star, with his power workouts and his wild red hair, but he has serious raw talent to back that all up. Scouts love his lightning quick bat speed and overall aggressive game.
“Red Thunder” still has some time to improve, as his aggression at the dish still needs to be toned down, and on top of that, the Yankees’ outfield is loaded already, but it’s not a far fetched thought to see him get a cup of coffee at least if an injury occurs to one of the current starters. Expect him to be a big hit in the Bronx once he puts it all together.
Season debut: August/September
Fearless prediction: 30 Games, .280 BA, 5 HR, 10 2B, 5 SB. ROY Odds: 1/10
9. Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (MLB.com rank 18)
Brinson spent the first few years of his professional career in the Texas Rangers’ farm system, where he struggled to prove his worth. He was drafted for his raw talent and athleticism, and the Rangers hoped he could put it together.
After Brinson was traded to Milwaukee in the Jonathan Lucroy deal at the deadline, Brinson started swinging one of the hottest bats in the minors, slashing .382/.387/.618, and showing that his raw power and hitting ability have come a long way. Scouts project him to have 30 homer/30 steal ability, and with Milwaukee still cultivating young players, Brinson could get a chance to show his worth.
Season debut: May/June
Fearless prediction: 80 games, .265 BA, 10 HR, 15 2B, 8 SB. ROY Odds: 2/10
Pitching for the Rockies is one of the toughest jobs in professional sports. If you miss your spot, the ball will get hit and carry on seemingly forever. Hoffman has 4 good pitches in his repertoire, a sinking fastball, a big curveball, a slider, and a change up, and has great command when he’s on his game.
His fastball and curveball grade well with the scouts, and he has a good chance to prove his worth this season with Colorado. Expect him to step his game up this season.
Season debut: Opening Day
Fearless prediction: 25 Starts, 140 IP, 8-10 W/L, 4.65 ERA, 115 K’s, 1.55 WHIP. ROY Odds: 1.5/10
6. Aaron Judge - OF New York Yankees (MLB.com rank 45)
Judge made a very good first impression last season, hitting a titanic 450+ home run in his first at bat in the majors.
However, he struggled mightily down the stretch before getting hurt. His approach needs some improvement, and he has holes in his swing he has to fill. It’s difficult to downplay his size, at 6’7’’ and 275 lbs, making him hard to miss in a crowd. He has good athleticism for someone his size, and isn’t lost in the field. If he makes contact, the ball will fly, and possibly explode.
However, he has to hit the ball. If he improves, look for him to be a home run derby candidate.
Season debut: Opening Day
Fearless prediction: 120 games, .235 BA, 30 HR, 15 2B, 2 SB ROY Odds: 1/10
What are your thoughts on my predictions? Too bold or not bold enough? Leave your comments below!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll look at the studs who I feel are this year's top Rookie of the Year candidates.