As we go through the final list of right fielders we begin to look at who might return for the top ten next season. Obviously, Bryce Harper won’t, but he is the only to be cut because of making it in the big leagues. So, we get to the tough choices of evaluating performance versus evaluating potential. Welcome to the difficult world of scouting.
Jacob Anderson– Toronto Blue Jays (R)
Anderson just hasn’t produced this year. Is the talent still there? Sure it is and the Blue Jays would be nuts to give up on him now. Dropping him out of the top ten is not the same as giving up on him in an organizational sense. He can always make it back in 2014 with a solid 2013 season. I’ve always leaned on the side of production in terms of looking at prospects.
Oswaldo Arcia– Minnesota Twins (A+-AA)
There are two levels of production we tend to look at. The first level of production are what we might call the percentage numbers. Batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage are basic percentage numbers. They will be subject to a player’s environment just like the so-called counting numbers. The strikeout to walk ratio is far more indicative than the traditional counting numbers. In this case, Arcia looks pretty good, but not great. His other numbers say the same thing. He deserves a spot unless someone comes along that is outrageously good.
Robbie Grossman– Houston Astros (AA)
Grossman was a part of the Wandy Rodriguez trade and that is very significant. Often times, when we evaluate how highly a player should rank we look at how his organization values his skills. Moving to a sabermetric organization is huge for a player like Grossman. Jeff Luhnow and company will value his skill set more than the Pirates would have. Outside of patience, he does not have a skill that jumps off the board at you, so having an organization that values that is huge.
Bryce Harper– Washington Nationals (AAA-ML)
Harper is in the unenviable position of having lofty expectations. There is no way he can live up to them right off the bat. I like the numbers for him overall, but it’s way too easy to try to compare him to Mike Trout. We have to keep in mind that it is now how you start but how you end up and he has that kind of superstar potential even if he hasn’t been a superstar this season.
Rhymer Liriano– San Diego Padres (A+-AA)
Again, all numbers have a context. Liriano started in advanced A ball and got the promotion to AA. He was facing a higher level of competition than he was in the beginning, so it is natural for his numbers to take somewhat of a hit. If you looked at them in a vacuum you would say he’s not a top ten guy, but when you add the degree of difficulty you might be inclined to add him to the list next year.
Wil Myers– Kansas City Royals (AA-AAA)
Myers has put up monster numbers, but that is burying the lead. He has been better since getting the promotion to AAA and that is the real story. In other words, he is ready for prime time. The Royals will have to do something with Jeff Francouer, but if they can then just imagine the lineup they will throw out there in 2013. It’s scary to think of what they could be with a little pitching.
Marcell Ozuna– Miami Marlins (A+)
Ozuna is far from being considered a bust, but he’s not exactly the profile we get from a top ten prospect either. He’ll likely finish the season with close to 25 home runs. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but the number of players in A ball that have that kind of production isn’t exactly small. It remains to be seen what kind of future he has.
Domingo Santana– Houston Astros (A+)
Santana has essentially been like Ozuna except he’s hit 40 points better. That’s substantial beyond itself, but if you take away a slow April, he has been well above a .900 OPS the rest of the way. Sure, Lancaster is a hitter’s paradise, but April was a lost month for him. He deserves at least another look see in 2013.
Oscar Tavares– St. Louis Cardinals (AA)
It’s easy to understand why scouts have a man crush on this guy. It’s one of those rare cases where the numbers and skills intersect. Scouts from Baseball Prospectus said he was the best hitter at the Arizona Fall League this past season. Carlos Beltran has one more year on his contract, so he may end up going back to AAA for at least part of the season in 2013, but he is likely closer to being ready than that.
Danry Vazquez– Detroit Tigers (A-A)
There is a huge difference between salvaging yourself as a prospect in general and keeping your spot in the top ten. Vazquez went back to short season ball after failing in a trial at full season A ball. Still, his solid play there is not enough to keep him in the top ten in 2013. Still, he is young enough to where he can find himself back somewhere down the line.