Spring Training Reports On Top Major League Baseball Prospects
Champion Stadium- Lake Buena Vista, FL
Major League Baseball Spring Training can tells us a lot and nothing at the same time. It creates hype, legends, and builds false expectations for the regular season. A perfect example of this is St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras. He started out on fire and immediately Cardinals fans, bloggers, etc. wanted him to start.
A few weeks later, we were forced to pump the breaks a bit. This is not an atypical occurrence. Regardless of what a prospect may show in spring training, a player may suddenly be sent down for no reason other than the team is just not ready for them.
Yet the impact of top prospects can be a bit more telling than they can for the veterans or the baseball team as a whole.
Most rookies and/or farmhands will face as good or better talent than they normally face, which in turn gives us a little better idea as to what to expect when they arrive with our favorite big league club. Therefore I present to you a summary of what some of baseball's (expected) future stars have done thus far in spring training. To help me with my assessment, I've called upon a new stat made available through Baseball Reference called 'Opponent Quality'. 'OppQual' seeks to measure the level of talent the player has faced while pitching or hitting. In turn, this is expected to provide some sort of reality to what the players stats are actually showing.
Julio Teheran- Atlanta Braves
Teheran should make the Atlanta Braves rotation having thrown 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA
Mason Williams- New York Yankees
The New York Yankees top prospect has had a whopping four at bats in spring since 2012. Why aren't they letting him play?
Jurickson Profar- Texas Rangers
Profar isn't having the greatest spring with an OPS of .654, all the while facing talent not much greater than what he's faced in the minors.
Wil Myers- Tampa Bay Rays
Myers is doing fairly well hitting .286, but hasn't faced much MLB-level pitching this spring.
Zack Wheeler- New York Mets
Wheeler has seen very little action this spring, throwing just two innings with two strikeouts.
Taijuan Walker- Seattle Mariners
Walker has pitched seven innings with a WHIP of 1.71, which is a tad high for the still-developing starter.
Oscar Taveras- St. Louis Cardinals
Taveras is hitting near .300 with an .815 OPS, but isn't facing much competitive pitching this spring.
Jorge Soler- Chicago Cubs
Soler still has some developing to do, judging by his 13 strikeouts in 39 at bats to go with a .222 batting average.
Tyler Skaggs- Arizona Diamondbacks
Skaggs, holding an 11.00 ERA, has faced a higher level of talent than most of his contemporaries, which nonetheless proves he's not quite there yet.
Anthony Rendon- Washington Nationals
Rendon, holding a 1.287 OPS, might have the best numbers of all MLB prospects, but keep in mind he hasn't seen much competitive pitching.
Jose Fernandez- Miami Marlins
Fernandez has had little work, throwing just two innings with two strikeouts and a hit allowed.
Billy Hamilton- Cincinnati Reds
Considered the fastest man in the minors, Hamilton isn't making a case for himself outside of that. He's hitting a paltry .174 against mediocre pitching.
Gerrit Cole- Pittsburgh Pirates
The former No. 1 overall pick as pitched service-ably against pretty good hitters, posting a 3.60 ERA in two spring starts.
Dylan Bundy- Baltimore Orioles
Bundy has pitched eight innings — four games, one start — and held a 1.13 ERA against so-so hitting.
Trevor Bauer- Cleveland Indians
Bauer hasn't been too impressive with a 4.50 ERA along with a decent 1.28 WHIP through 14 innings, considering the level of hitters he's faced.