March 2011 High Hobby Upside Minor League Players Club
With the 2011 MLB season just days away, we present the latest edition of the "High Hobby Upside Minor League Players Club", a monthly feature spotlighting some of the lesser known up and coming prospects that could soon make some major noise in the hobby world.
Due to the largest cashing out of minor league systems in major league baseball history in 2010, the 2011 MLB season will usher in a substantial amount of fresh faces into the prospecting world. Below is a look at five such prospects including an intriguing Atlanta Braves hurler not named Julio Teheran or Mike Minor and a pair of Latin American outfielders that could see their trading card fortunes take a turn for the better in 2011.
There is no doubting Vizcaino's stuff, as he can hit 94-100 MPH on the radar gun and features a devastating go-to curve ball. The only question is whether he has the durability to go along with his swing and miss repertoire. The most innings he's ever pitched in a season was 72 in 2010, when he went 9-4 with 2.39 ERA in 14 starts in low A. Should he remain a starter, the former Yankees farmhand has an extremely high hobby ceiling. Playing in the same system as Julio Teheran (top pitching prospect in the game) has cast a shadow over Arodys' cardboard, giving collectors the perfect opportunity to buy in while the bidding is relatively low.
- 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Arodys Vizcaino Autographs
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Arodys Vizcaino Autographs
Since drafting the younger brother of Ryan Sweeney in the 2nd round of 2010 draft, the Blue Jays have been extremely impressed with the young 3rd baseman's plate approach, maturity and advanced baseball IQ. Here's the crazy part, the Blue Jays would actually like to see Sweeney be more aggressive at the plate, which is an easy fix when compared to the infinitely taller task of teaching strike zone judgement. At the moment, Sweeney's cards aren't even on the radar, making him a low-risk player worth looking at. 2011 will be his first full season in the minors.
The 6'5" Dominican import could see his stock boost drastically with a strong 2011 campaign. Santana possesses plus speed, raw power and is an above average defender. Some scouts have likened his ability to another Latin American import - Vladimir Guerrero. On the other hand some scouts have been turned off by his apparent lack of effort at times. It will be interesting to see which road the skilled outfielder goes down in 2011.
In 2008, the Giants gave the lanky right-handed slugger a club record international signing bonus of $2.55 million. In 2011, Rodriguez will be entering his 3rd season of minor league baseball at the ripe age of just 18. R-Rod has drawn comparions to Dave Winfield due to his "tall glass of water" frame and well rounded skill set. At a long-limbed 6'5", the only concern scouts have his whether he'll be able to defend the plate against the large strike zone his size creates.
- 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Rafael Rodriguez Autographs
- 2008 Playoff Contenders Rafael Rodriguez Autographs
- 2008 Prime Cuts Rafael Rodriguez Autographs
Like most teams in baseball, the Rays have begun investing heavily in Latin American scouting and player development. Romero is one of the key grabs of Tampa's expanded approach. The lightning armed lefty features a plus four-seem fastball that tops out at 96 mph and a plus 12-6 curve ball. Scouts have been impressed by his maturity on the mound and believe his upside is has as any pitcher in the Rays system including blue chip hurlers Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore.
- No cards currently available
Past High Hobby Upside Minors League Players Club Articles From 2011: