Prospect Watch: April 22nd
The Chicago Cubs have been active in the past week, recalling two of their top prospects – Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. We all knew Bryant was going to get the call on April 17th, once the Cubs had the extra year of control on his contract, but Russell was a bit of a surprise. Russell came over to the Cubs organization last summer when the A’s traded him to Chicago for pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Russell, a Shortstop by trade, was recently moved over to second base in AAA Iowa to see how he can handle the position. With Starlin Castro securing the shortstop position, the Cubs wanted to find space for the young prospect. After just five games at second base in Iowa, the Cubs apparently saw enough to feel good about promoting him to Chicago. Speaking of Chicago, over on the south side, the White Sox have promoted Carlos Rodon to their big league club. Archie Bradley, Joc Pederson, and Daniel Norris have all made their respective teams already, so the youth movement is in full swing.
With two of the top prospects in not only the Cubs organization, but in the entire league, getting called up in the past week, we’ll take a look around at the top prospects that are in the minors right now and which ones might get the call next.
My top 5:
1. Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins OF
Buxton reminds me a lot of Mike Trout. He hits at the top of the order for AA Chattanooga, as did Trout the first year of his career before moving down to the two hole. His defense in center field is good enough to make him a major leaguer right now, but his bat is a little behind the rest of his game. Buxton has world class speed, which compliments his defensive abilities in center field. Once teh bat catches up with the rest of his game, which I believe it will, I believe the Twins will give the 21 year old a look. Not to mention, it would be great for Buxton to learn alongside Torii Hunter to begin his career in the Twins outfield.
2. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros SS
If Correa was on any other team, he would be talked about much more than I believe he is. He’s a 6’4″ shortstop who is tearing it up so far this season in AA for Corpus Christi. He reminds me a great deal of current Rockies shorstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is just an inch shorter with similar offensive numbers. Correa has played in 11 games so far in 2015 hitting .356 with two home runs and 13 RBI. The downfall so far of the season for Correa could be the walk:strikeout ratio, as he has struck out 12 times in 11 games while drawing just five walks. Correa seems to have the whole package, and the fact that his numbers aren’t taking much of a hit given the number of times he strikes out, he could become the top offensive shortstop in the game in a few years. (Stats via mlb.com)
3. Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers SS
Shortstops will be flooding my top five in this article, which is good news for fantasy owners. Shortstop is a tough position to find big time offense, so it’s good to see the top prospects at short. Corey Seager, despite being third on my list, might be the best pure hitter in the minor leagues right now. Although he has yet to take a walk in 12 games for AA Tulsa, he has 22 hits in 50 at-bats, hitting .440 with two home runs and 11 RBI. The younger brother of Mariners 3B Kyle Seager, Corey might also slide over to 3B in the majors, as have many over the years. Seager also stands at 6’4″ just like Correa, which leads me to believe that he likely would get moved to another position. With Jimmy Rollins at shortstop for the Dodgers this season, it doesn’t look like Seager will get the call unless they work him out at 3B or another position. A September call-up seems likely if he’s going to make it in the big leagues in 2015.
4. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians SS
Once again, another shortstop makes the list of my top prospects in 2015 currently in the minor leagues. Just like Buxton, Lindor is still in the minors because his bat just simply isn’t ready. He might be the best defender at any position in AAA, but he’s hitting just .214 so far in 12 games. (Stats via mlb.com)
5. Blake Swihart – Boston Red Sox C
The only reason why I moved Swihart to my top five prospects in 2015 is because of his position and because I believe he will be called up before any other top prospect. Ryan Hanigan is hitting just .207 so far this season as the Red Sox catcher, and doesn’t appear to be the future at the position. Swihart is a very athletic catcher, and could be moved around to multiple positions, and his defense is great at all of them. Unlike Buxton and Lindor, his hitting seems to be developing, even though it is a very small sample size. He is hitting .333 in 10 games for Pawucket, but has yet to draw a walk and struck out seven times. If he can simply put the ball in play and get on base, that is more than enough to contribute to the Red Sox lineup. With the troubles they’ve had behind the plate this season, I believe Swihart could get the call first of these five prospects.
(All stats via mlb.com)