Baseball Card Prospecting Update: Hot Starts
As the name of the article suggests, the theme of the latest Baseball Card Prospecting Update is hot starts. Below are 11 prospects that have stood out during the first few weeks of the 2011 MiLB season. Some are more established prospects like Mike Trout and Jenrry Mejia, while others are prospects looking to piece together a breakout campaign like Bryce Brentz and Tim Wheeler.
Bear in mind that this is just a small sampling of stats. Most position players have yet to top 30 plate appearances, while most pitchers have yet to take the mound for a 3rd time. Never the less, in the world of prospecting, there's no such as thing as too early a start or too few stats.
Mike Trout, 19, Los Angeles Angels OF(AA) - The game's premier prospect has already slugged 3 home runs. The only question scouts had coming into 2011 was whether or not the 5-tooler could develop power. If this power surge should sustain, there's an outside chance we see Trout in the Angels outfield by the tail end of the 2011 season. Trout's premier prospect card is his 2009 Bowman Chrome auto.
Bryce Brentz, 22, Boston Red Sox OF (A) - The Red Sox 2010 sandwich pick (36th overall) has gotten out of the gate fast. Through 7 games, Brentz is batting .441 with 2 HR and 12 RBI's. The 22-year old outfielder was one of the most over-dissected players in the 2010 MLB draft, but has thus far proven his doubters wrong with his hot start. Brentz's premier prospect card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft auto.
Jenrry Mejia, 21, New York Mets SP (AAA) - Baseball America's #1 Mets prospect has started the 2011 season in style. Through his first two starts, Mejia has yet to surrender a single run. For some reason it feels like Mets prospects are older than they seem, as Mejia won't turn 22 until December. Jenrry's top chase card is his 2010 Topps Chrome auto.
Drew Pomeranz, 22, Cleveland Indians SP (A) - Through 2 starts, the 5th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft has yet to surrender a run. The talented lefty has also struck out an impressive 17 batters in just 11 innings of work. Pomeranz's best prospect card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome auto.
Matt Harvey, 22, New York Mets SP (A) - The Mets other noteworthy young hurler is 2-0 with 17 strikeouts in 2 starts. Like fellow Mets farmhand Jenrry Mejia, Harvey has yet to surrender a single run on the season. There's no doubt he has the stuff, the big question is whether or not he can handle the 200 inning work load expected of a starting pitcher. Harvey's premier prospect card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft auto.
Anthony Rizzo, 21, San Diego Padres 1B (AAA) - Rizzo and SP Casey Kelly were the two blue chip prospects the Padres received in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Thus far, the 21-year old first baseman hasn't disappointed, hitting .333 with 2 HR and 11 RBI's. It's also worth noting that Rizzo is one of the youngest players in AAA. Rizzo's best card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome auto.
Joe Benson, 23, Minnesota Twins OF (AA) - The 23-year old five-tooler is part of a stacked crop of Twins outfield prospects (Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere, Max Kepler, Oswaldo Arcia, Angel Morales, Eddie Rosario, Rene Tosoni). Through 8 games Benson is batting .405 with 1 HR, 9 RBI's and 3 SB. Benson's two best cards are his 2007 Bowman Heritage and 2007 Bowman Sterling autos.
Brett Jackson, 22, Chicago Cubs OF (AA) - When the Cubs inexplicably sent SP Chris Archer and SS Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays in exchange for Matt Garza, they subtracted two of the top five prospects from their system. Thankfully, OF Brett Jackson appears ready to take the next step. Through 7 games B-Jack is batting .480 with 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R and 4 SB. He reminds me of Mike Trout in many ways. Jackson's best card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome auto.
Paul Goldschmidt, 23, Arizona Diamondbacks 1B (AA) - The 23-year old first baseman might have the most raw power of any prospect in baseball. Through 7 games he has cleared the fences 5 times. In 2010, Goldschmidt slugged 35 home runs in single A. Paul is the definition of a power hitting first baseman, bringing 245 pounds to the plate with each at bat. Goldschmidt's best card is his 2010 Bowman Platinum auto.
Jaff Decker, 21, San Diego Padres OF (A) - For some reason Decker reminds me of a right field version of John Kruk. Decker was considered one of the best pure hitters in the 2009 draft and is living up to that billing thus far. Through 8 games, Jaff is hitting .379 with 2 HR, 11 RBI and 2 SB. Decker's top chase card is his 2010 Bowman Chrome auto, which was a redemption.
Tim Wheeler, 21, Colorado Rockies OF (A) - Since being taken in the first round of 2009 draft, Wheeler has been a disappointment. That may very well be changing in 2011, as the CF prospect is hitting .346 with 3 HR, 10 RBI and 2 SB through his first 7 games. Tim's top trading card is his 2009 Bowman Chrome auto.