Big Hype Prospects: Wood, Holliday, Williams, Rodriguez, Crow-Armstrong

The worldwide signing market is properly underway. We can consider these largely 16-year-old boys as transplanted seeds. Some of them will develop massive and robust over the subsequent half-decade. Others will sprout then later wither throughout a drought or chilly spell. Many will not take to the brand new soil through which they’re planted. Perhaps the soil is simply too fundamental or acidic. Or perhaps a group thought they had been shopping for one sort of seed and really obtained one other. The mistaken sort of nurturing can destroy a plant. As exterior observers, we are able to test again in a 12 months or three as soon as these children have taken to their new soil.

Plant metaphor apart, we’ve got a honking replace from Baseball America to chew upon this week. They’ve launched their preliminary 2023 Top 100 Prospects record. I’m happy to level out that Big Hype Prospects has accurately anticipated a number of notable surges up the prospect ranks, most notably primary total Gunnar Hendersonquantity three Jackson Chourioand quantity 5 Andrew Painter. Today, I’ll concentrate on a couple of names who’ve shot up the ranks.

For these of you who’ve been pissed off by the shortage of “Big Hype” in our offseason prospects protection, that is the episode for you.

Five BHPs In The News

James Wood, 20, OF, WSH (A)
(R/A) 348 PA, 12 HR, 20 SB, .313/.420/.536

Wood drew consideration because the principal return within the Juan Soto commerce. While he was joined by a number of promising younger gamers, Wood is now seen because the “massive get” within the deal. One concern from skilled evaluators is the shortage of successes from the Nationals growth pipeline. While they’ve had a couple of massive stars through the years (ie Soto), they’ve additionally seen various high prospects vastly underperform expectations (ie Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom).

If we assume the membership would not discover some solution to spoil Wood, there’s appreciable upside right here. Wood is constructed like a younger Oneil Cruz. He’s a lean, bodily large with above-average pace, gentle tower uncooked energy, a stunning really feel for contact, and pure plate self-discipline. Like many younger gamers, his contact profile continues to be geared in the direction of floor balls. He additionally has an all-fields strategy which has helped together with his BABIPs on the expense of residence runs. These would be the areas of his sport almost certainly to distinguish between a core performer or future celebrity. Wood ranks eleventh on the brand new Top 100 record.

Jackson Holliday, 19, 2B/SS, BAL (A)
(R/A) 90 PA, 1 HR, 4 SB, .297/.489/.422

The first total decide of the 2022 draft, Holliday checks in because the fifteenth prospect per Baseball America. In restricted publicity, he demonstrated pristine plate self-discipline and solely hardly ever whiffed. The Orioles have lately garnered a sterling repute on the subject of growing center infielders. Holliday continues to be constructed like a typical 19-year-old athlete. He’s anticipated so as to add weight within the coming years. Scouts imagine he’ll develop into 60-grade energy. “Grow” is the operative phrase. Holliday and the Orioles will need to watch out. Too a lot development may result in a future as a second baseman with common or worse pace. Too little development may go away him missing a thump.

Gavin Williams, 23, SP, CLE (AA)
(A+/AA) 115 IP, 11.7 Okay/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.96 ERA

Williams seems to be the a part of a future ace, combining an efficient upper-90s heater with a plus slider and curve. Like many energy pitchers, his changeup flashes as usable however lags behind the opposite choices sufficient that he’ll play fourth fiddle. A fly-ball pitcher with common command, Williams needs to be able to contribute in Cleveland this season – well being allowing. Williams is rated twentieth by Baseball America. Between him and fast-rising Daniel Espino (Nineteenth-ranked), the Cleveland rotation may function two deadly aces by the beginning of 2024.

Endy Rodriguez, 22, C, PIT (AAA)
(A+/AA/AAA) 531 PA, 25 HR, 2 SB, .323/.407/.590

Back in September, my sources had been speaking about bumping Rodriguez onto their Top 100 lists. I stated the next:

Acquired within the Joe Musgrove commerce, Rodriguez’s growth superior by leaps and bounds this season. He entered the 12 months as a utility man with some catching expertise. He now seems to be the a part of both a premium catcher or second baseman. His hitting, which has all the time been discipline-forward, took a giant step this season. Including all three ranges he is performed, Rodriguez hit 24 residence runs, 37 doubles, and three triples in 520 plate appearances. Not solely is he hitting for energy, he is making glorious swing selections and bettering at each degree. In a extra broadly applauded system, this efficiency may advantage inclusion among the many Top 25 prospects. As it stands, he is quietly leaping onto the Top 100 lists.

Rodriguez now ranks twenty third. Victory lap full, Rodriguez is on the cusp of reaching the Majors. The Pirates have quietly given their roster an opportunity to “shock contend.” One place they’ve finished little to resolve is catcher. They’re at present set to roll out a duo of defensive specialists Austin Hedges and perennial third-catcher Tyler Heineman.

Pete Crow-Armstrong, 20, OF, CHI (MLB)
(A/A+) 423 PA, 16 HR, 32 SB, .312/.376/.520

Crow-Armstrong is spoken of as a Kiermaierian defender, giving him one of many highest flooring in your entire minor leagues. On this power, Baseball America has ranked him twenty fifth. Concerns about his hit device have been alleviated following a profitable 2022 marketing campaign. It’s now believed he’ll settle in as an above-average hitter along with being the most effective defensive outfielder within the league. While that sounds just like the profile of a straightforward Top 10 prospect, there are nonetheless sufficient methods for his bat to stumble to advantage warning. The subsequent hurdle for him is to see how his bat reacts to higher-quality breaking balls within the higher minors.

Five More

Kodai Senga, NYM (29): This column usually avoids worldwide free brokers. Technically, Senga is a prospect and ranks sixteenth. From the attitude of quick contribution, solely Henderson and Corbin Carroll are in the identical stratosphere. Of course, Senga’s superior age reduces his “worth” as a prospect.

Evan Carter (20): Carter, one other man whose rise was anticipated by this column, is ceaselessly in comparison with Brandon Nimmo. The left-handed hitter is carried by plate self-discipline and a really feel for contact. His energy is not a complete zero, but it surely lags behind his different hitting traits. He may high out as a 20-homer menace, or he may not climb that far. Even so, he is a high-probability future core performer. He’s ranked twenty sixth. Teams worth these kinds of gamers – simply take a look at what Nimmo earned in free company.

Brandon Pfaadt, ARI (24): There is disagreement about which of the Diamondbacks younger pitchers will prove as the most effective performer. Baseball America has hitched its stakes to Pfaadt after his breakout 2022 marketing campaign. He ranks twenty seventh. We mentioned him final week.

Marco Luciano, SFG (21): At one level, Luciano was trending in the direction of high total prospect standing – a lot the way in which Chourio is now. Some of Luciano’s expertise have not developed as anticipated, and his meteoric rise has stalled to a extra gradual strategy to the Majors. Luciano, Thirty seventh-ranked, nonetheless tasks as a prodigious energy hitter, one with flaws and a future transfer down the defensive spectrum.

Kevin Parada, NYM (21): At fiftieth on the record, Parada’s was the primary identify to catch me solely abruptly. The eleventh total decide within the 2022 draft, Parada ranks the place he does attributable to promising offensive traits and roughly common protection. Parada was taken with the compensation decide for not signing Kumar Rocker in 2021. Rocker, you may observe, doesn’t rank within the Top 100.

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