Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prospect Countdown: 61-65

Since I have so many prospects to discuss, I figure it is important that when I am in the writing mood I need to knock out as many as possible. So a fair warning there will be no time table in between the Prospect Countdown posts.

65. Darian Sandford CF

Sandford was considered the fastest player selected in this year's first year player draft. He was selected in the 50th round, just like fellow speedster Jarrod Dyson. In his professional debut Sandford had a slash of .279/.364/.361 with 30 steals in just 38 games. Dyson in his professional debut in the Arizona League hit .273/.358/.373 with 19 steals in 51 games. The biggest difference is that Dyson did it at 21 while Sandford did it at 23.

Dyson basically progressed a level at a time which enabled him to reach the Majors at age twenty-five. Unfortunately if Sandford does the same he won't reach the upper levels until age twenty-five. So for Sandford to really have a shot at turning his speed into prospect status he needs to go to Kane County and do work from the start, so that he can warrant a midseason promotion to Northwest Arkansas. It is my belief that the Royals should be extremely aggressive with Sandford because if they aren't he'll never have a shot at being a Major Leaguer, however if they are he could respond positively and become a decent centerfield prospect.

64. Edgar Osuna LHP

Finally we get to the lefties that have everyone so excited. Well not exactly, but there was a time that many believe Osuna could break camp not just as the situational lefty but maybe even as the token lefty starter in Kansas City's rotation. Unfortunately for him he imploded the rest of spring and the Braves decided he wasn't worth the 25K to take him back.

Osuna was assigned to Northwest Arkansas and there he showed off his great control allowing just 1 walk per 9 innings pitched. He was also able to get 6 K's per 9 and these two things helped him to an ERA of just 2.95 during his time with the Naturals. Osuna then was promoted to Omaha where is walks per 9 innings went up to 5, and his homerun rate arose from 1.0 with Northwest Arkansas to 3.7 with Omaha.

As a soft tosser, there is a good chance that Osuna will simply never have the stuff to compete at the big league level. But if he can find his command in Omaha then there could be a point when we see his face in Kansas City.

63. Cole White RHP

White is a right handed relief prospect that was drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. White has a fastball that can touch the mid-90s that often can get a very good sinking action, but at this point his slider isn't much of a threat as a second offering. White needs to refine it in order to fulfill his potential as a set up man.

White has a career minor league era of 1.40 while averaging a K per inning. On the other side though he also is giving up 5 walks per 9 innings and he missed nearly all of the 2010 season due to injury. I expect White to start his season in the back end of Wilmington's bullpen and then after a good start receive a promotion to Northwest Arkansas.

62. Tim Smith OF

Smith came to Kansas City with Manuel Pina in a trade that sent Danny Gutierrez to Texas. Apparently the Royals didn't think that Smith's 2009 Texas League campaign when he posted a .309/.380/.439 slash in 36 games wasn't enough to warrant a promotion so the Royals elected to have him make a return trip. On his return Smith posted a nearly identical line of .306/.372/.453 slash. I would think that he begins 2011 in Omaha, because that is a fine minor league stat line.

After watching Smith for most of the summer I see Smith as more of a future fourth outfielder that provides a good bat off the bench. He has a good bat with average power and good plate discipline. But with Arvest Ballpark playing like it did in 2010 you have to be a bit curious how inflated all of these prospects numbers are. My point is that on most night's it was only the home team that was scoring all the runs so maybe the park's hitter friendliness has been a bit exaggerated.

Smith split time in the outfield and at DH for most of the season and I think he takes a back seat to similar Royals outfield prospects that I will later discuss. However, if he continues to hit he should get an opportunity at the Major League level at some point in time.

61. Willian Avinazar

I haven't seen Avinazar pitch and I haven't had much luck finding any scouting reports that discuss what kind of stuff he has, but he had a very good season in Rookie League Burlington as a twenty-one year old so he should break camp as a member of the Kane County rotation. Thus far in his professional career he has a K/9 of 8.3 a BB/9 of 1.4 and a HR/9 of 0.5, promising numbers for the Venezuelan.

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