March 2011 High Hobby Upside Minor League Players Club

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.

ARODYS VIZCAINO STATBLAST ImageArodys Vizcaino, 20, Atlanta Braves P

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.

SWEENEY STATBLAST ImageKellen Sweeney, 19, Toronto Blue Jays 3B

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.

DSANTANA STATBLAST ImageDomingo Santana, 18, Philadelphia Phillies OF

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.

RODRIGUEZ STATBLAST ImageRafael Rodriguez, 18, San Francisco Giants OF

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.

ENNYROMERO STATBLAST ImageEnny Romero, 20, Tampa Bay Rays SP

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.

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Past High Hobby Upside Minors League Players Club Articles From 2011:

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2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball Hobby Box
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2010 Bowman Draft Picks Factory Sealed Hobby Box
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2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball Hobby Box Factory Sealed
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2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball HOBBY 12-Box Case
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LOT of (2) 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball HOBBY Box
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2010 Bowman Draft Picks and & Prospects Baseball Factory Sealed Hobby Box

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Brett is a former contributor to The Cardboard Connection.

User Comments

  1. I absolutely love this series! Last year you turned me on to Mike Trout and Wil Myers prior to the season. It’s cool how you try and find the hidden gems rather than talk about obvious guys like Bryce Harper. Would you ever consider turning this into a weekly thing? That we be awesome! Thanks for the advice as always and I love the site!

  2. thanks man, I will do my best to do one per week once the season starts up.

  3. I have been really reading up and already was a little ahead of things maybe, i bought a Profar and a Martin Perez Elite auto #’d to 100 last week, actually bought a few from all the Rangers prospects and just bought a few auto’s from the ones you have listed hear, it’s great to be able to get a jump on things before everyone else, thanks!

  4. no problem Jeff, I also grabbed a Profar asirations auto about a month ago myself. I also like your guy Jake Skole a lot.

  5. Yeah i picked up a couple Skole auto’s too, Sterling ref and a donruss. Kellin Deglan looks alright too, became a Rangers fan again last season and because i’m moving to Texas soon, also a tigers fan since i currently live in Michigan. Picked up my Castellanos #’d to 100 auto a while back.

  6. I always look forward to reading this. What are your thoughts about Zach Britton for the O’s? Do you think he has Hellickson-like stuff?

  7. I like Britton, but don’t think he has Hellickson’s upside. Britton’s sinker ball is excellent and will serve him well as a middle of the rotation starter who pitches to contact, but I don’t think he has Ace potential.

  8. Brett,
    Thanks so much for posting this! Your advice is great!

    Just wondering, is now a good time to be buying these guys since it’s baseball season? Would one be better to wait until the offseason??


  9. It really depends, with the majority of guys that are featured in the High Hobby Upside Minor League Players Club I would say the time to buy is now. With this month’s group, that is especially the case, as I dug extra deep on everyone minus Arodys Vizcaino, who is still worth grabbing at the right price as he’s overshadowed in his own organization. Usually I try to make sure the guys in the High Hobby Upside articles are worth grabbing right away, as they are often overshadowed or not very well known. You bring up a good point though, I will try to work that into the article into the future.

  10. Britton is starting tomorrow since Matutz is out. One question, any idea why some of the Donruss Elite auto cards have on card auto’s and some are stickers? ’09 and 10 are that way maybe older ones too? Are you a fan of the Donruss Elite auto’s or do you prefer the sometimes higher numbered (500) refractor auto’s from Bowman Chrome? Couldn’t afford a Mike Trout Bowman so i picked up a Donruss Elite TOTC numbered to 149 and a Bowman Sterling a while back.
    How about Brandon Belt, his auto’s have gone through the roof! Would make a good write up for the eBay card of the week, i picked up a School Colors auto last week, still costs me $85.00, had to get it from someone with shady feedback, hope i get it, been having to file a few claims lately.

  11. Not sure why some are stickers and some aren’t. They may have decided to add to the print run after he signed the on-card autographs. I like the Elite Status and Aspirations die-cut autographs, but ultimately would take a Bowman Chrome Refractor auto over one.

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