Top Prospect #12: Brett Wallace

March 14, 2009

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NAME: Brett Wallace
POSITION: Third Base
AGE: 22 | BATS: L | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: St. Louis Cardinals

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG
MiLB .337 41 8 36 .427 .530

Scouting Report: Wallace’s greatest asset is his approach at the plate. He has very good plate discipline considering his age as it generally takes some time to get everything in synch. But Wallace is the type of hitter who refuses to expand his strike zone and waits pitchers out, forcing them to throw him something he can make solid contact with. Wallace also does a great job in plate coverage thanks to his batting stance which crowds the plate. With his advanced approach, Wallace has the potential to translate his success to the pros and could end up being a perennial on-base machine. I project him a .280-.300 hitter, around .380-.400 OBP and a slugging percentage in the upper .500’s. Then add in his 25-30 homers and 100+ RBI and you have a pretty strong offensive weapon that Albert Pujols will love having hit behind him. With all that said, he is an average defender at third (I view him higher than most) who would be better suited to play first, but with that position locked up, he will do just fine at the hot corner (read my extended scouting report on Wallace with his “Prospect Spotlight“).

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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Top Prospect #13: Elvis Andrus

March 3, 2009

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NAME: Elvis Andrus
POSITION: Shortstop
AGE: 20 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Texas Rangers

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R RBI SB OBP SLG
MiLB .295 82 65 54 .350 .367

Scouting Report: Some scouts have been down on Andrus saying he hasn’t developed offensively like they have hoped. I don’t think they are looking close enough at his numbers from last year as he got better progressively throughout the 2008 season and finished with a strong average. He possesses all plus tools except power which isn’t a big deal considering he looks to be the lead off hitter of the future for the Rangers. He is a very smooth ballplayer and you can see that in the way he conducts his business on the field from his swing all the way to the way he handles himself in the field. He’s an incredible runner and has really mastered the art of stealing bases. But what really has garnered him the most attention is his defense. He has a ton of range, soft hands and an accurate cannon for an arm. He looks to make the Rangers’ club this season and has a solid mentor in Omar Vizquel to help him adapt.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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Top Prospect #14: Colby Rasmus

February 16, 2009

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NAME: Colby Rasmus
POSITION: Center Field
AGE: 22 | BATS: L | THROWS: L
ORGANIZATION: St. Louis Cardinals

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG
MiLB .252 58 12 38 .351 .401

Scouting Report: Colby Rasmus projects all plus tools and is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Some people are worried that Rasmus won’t be the same man since his injury last season, but there’s no proof of that. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. He has very quick hands which gives him excellent plate coverage. Projects to have plus power and should be able to put up a fantastic stat line. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors but could have 20+ stolen bases per year. He’s doing an excellent job on his move to center field which is where the Cardinals desperately need someone ever since Jim Edmonds’ departure.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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Top Prospect #15: Mike Stanton

February 2, 2009

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NAME: Mike Stanton
POSITION: Right Field
AGE: 19 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Florida Marlins

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG
MiLB .293 89 39 97 .381 .611

Scouting Report: Stanton’s plus plus raw power is, for a lack of a better word, incredible. Perhaps the most powerful bat in all of the minors, what sets him apart from other power hitting prospects is that their power is usually projected, his is already here. He’s a big kid who fits into the prototypical right fielder/clean-up hitter mold. He has shown a lot of growth in the field thanks to his strong work ethic and dedication to getting better. He has improved not only in the field, but also at the plate as he has worked to fill some big holes in his swing. It can get long at times which leads to a lot of strikeouts. In fact a perfect comparison that I use with Stanton is that of Adam Dunn. Both fit into the same risk and reward categories with each at bat resulting in a homer, a walk or a strikeout. Since I’m a fan of Dunn, I am definitely a fan of Stanton and can’t wait to see him hitting behind Hanley Ramirez for years to come.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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Top Prospect #16: Andrew McCutchen

February 1, 2009

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NAME: Andrew McCutchen
POSITION: Center Field
AGE: 22 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Pittsburgh Pirates

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG
MiLB .283 75 9 50 .372 .398

Scouting Report: McCutchen is an exciting five tool player who has been unfortunately rushed through the Pirates system. He hasn’t been able to fully develop at each level and instead of staying put and working on his skills, he has been pushed through. McCutchen has a great glove in center and despite his great defensive prowess, his impact bat may be his best skill. McCutchen has quick hands, strong wrists and a compact swing which produces a surprising amount of power for someone of his stature. He is a line drive hitter thanks to his quick bat speed and is able to hit consistently to all fields. His power hasn’t fully developed as expected, but that still has time to grow. Still learning to use his speed effectively on the bases but once he does, look out. Hopefully they give him a chance to slow things down and get his feet under him before it’s too late.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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Top Prospect #17: Trevor Cahill

January 26, 2009

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NAME: Trevor Cahill
POSITION: Pitcher
AGE: 20 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Oakland Athletics

2008 STATISTICS
LVL G IP W-L ERA SO GO/AO
MiLB 21 124.1 11-5 2.61 136 2.43

Scouting Report: Cahill is a very talented athlete (former shortstop) who has a lot going for him on the mound. He has plus makeup, plus stuff and plus mound presence which all goes into making him as dominating as he is. A large part of that domination comes from his plus-fastball which has mind-blowing sink to it. It is incredibly heavy and causes most hitters to swing right over it. He counters his fastball with a slider, curve and change. While Cahill doesn’t have the best control or feel for any of these pitches, he has vastly improved on them, particularly his change. Cahill is a workhorse and I project him to be better than his counterpart, Brett Anderson, and should be a top of the rotation pitcher very soon for the Athletics.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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Top Prospect #18: Brett Anderson

January 25, 2009

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NAME: Brett Anderson
POSITION: Pitcher
AGE: 20 | BATS: L | THROWS: L
ORGANIZATION: Oakland Athletics

2008 STATISTICS
LVL G IP W-L ERA SO GO/AO
MiLB 20 105.0 11-5 3.69 118 1.92

Scouting Report: We saw an incredible improvement from Anderson from a year ago after showing a lot of growth on the mound. Anderson has always had superb command of his pitches and can work them on either side of the plate. His fastball saw a slight increase hitting as high as 95 mph but sitting more consistently in the low-90’s. What makes him even more effective is the fact that his secondary pitches – a curve, slider and change – can be used as both out pitches or thanks to his confidence in them, at any point in the count. At this point in time it’s difficult to project where he will fall in the rotation. Originally he looked to be a middle of the rotation guy, but thanks to his improvement in his fastball (and his command being his greatest asset) he is able reach higher as a top of the rotation starter.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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