MMLN - Midseason Top 50 Review Part III

Ad. Rodriguez is having a big year in Kingsport

InsidePitchMagazine.com continues its review of last fall's Top 50 Prospects list. This time the focus is on prospects #30-#21. It is a part of the list that has been somewhat disappointing due to injury and rehab, but there is still projection to be had from these ten prospects including one who is making a case for a significant jump up next fall's list.

30. Francisco Pena (SLU) - N/A

Pena has not played a single game this season after beginning the year on the disabled list with a broken bone in his foot. It was originally expected that he would be back by early July. That date was pushed back until late July, and there has been little news coming out about Pena since. Pena is working out in the complex with the hope that he will return by early August.

STOCK: Steady. Pena will be 21 years old in the fall and the thinking that he is okay because of his age will soon go out the window. This was a bad time for him to suffer such a prolonged injury. The good news for him is that the organizational catching depth chart remains fairly shallow, but he must show positive signs if/when he does return this summer and give a reason to believe once the 2011 season gets underway.

29. Michael Antonini (BNG) - 6-8, 4.20 ERA, 20 GS, 115.2 IP, 91 K, 21 BB, .260 OBA

Antonini was pounded in his last start (8 ER in 3.2 IP), but was pitching consistently over the last two months before. Antonini looks like he has figured out the Eastern League and much of that has to do with his command. He is back to his very low walk ratio and comes off a month of June in which went 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA. His breaking ball is better than it was the last couple of seasons which is a significant reason why he has found a rhythm this year. His improved 2010 season has at least put a floor under his slipping stock coming out of the 2009 season.

STOCK: Steady. Chances are Antonini's spot in this fall's Top 50 list will slip based on improving and incoming talent in the organization. Nevertheless, Antonini has not broken out of his projection as a possible situational pitcher at the big league level. At the least, he's given the organization an option to keep at the higher levels of the farm.

28. Aderlin Rodriguez (KNG) - .306, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 23 R, 10 2B, 9 BB, .356 OBP, .976 OPS

The organization envisioned Rodriguez as another big piece in their recent run of big international free agent signings. Rodriguez, the lone IFA from the 2008 class, is proving the organization right with his red hot start in his second season. The 18-year-old third baseman has shown excellent bat speed and his plus raw power in Kingsport. Just 15 strikeouts in 105 at-bats offers a peek into his plate discipline. His swing can still get a little long at times and his defensive footwork needs refinement, but Rodriguez is a big, physical kid who should be in for a big summer.

STOCK: Up. Without question. A very talented player like Rodriguez should have a big season in rookie ball as an 18-year-old, but it isn't just the numbers. He is showing the projection in his tools that have scouts believeing he will be one of the organization's top prospects in another couple of seasons.

27. Robbie Shields (GCL) - .244, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R, 11 BB, .333 OBP, .679 OPS

Shields underwent Tommy John at the end of last season and was not expected to return until this summer. Therefore his 22 games in a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League is a positive sign. The statistics are not too important considering he is coming off major elbow surgery. Shields so far has only been in the lineup as a designated hitter, meaning the elbow is not yet ready for a return to shortstop.

STOCK: Steady. Shields made it back from elbow surgery without any significant setbacks which is a step in the right direction. Shields will be 23 years old next season and will likely face a big step wherever he is assigned.

26. Shawn Bowman (NH) - .286, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 51 R, 31 BB, .360 OBP, .902 OPS

Bowman cracked the Mets' 40-man roster at the end of last season and got reps with the big league team in Spring Training before he was designated for assignment. He was picked up by Toronto, sent to Double-A and is having one of the best seasons of his career.

At 25 years old, Bowman is old for Double-A but more importantly he is showing the raw power that was always there and he is finally cutting down on his strikeouts (64 K in 297 AB in Double-A). He's hitting for contact, power and his defense remains excellent.

STOCK: Up. One can knock Bowman for his age and level. Yet, from some seeing him in person twice this season it is obvious to see the bat is back to where it was before the injury and his entire offensive game stepped up. He had a minimal shot with the Mets, but is giving the Blue Jays a reason to watch.

25. Nick Carr (GCL/BRK/SLU) - 1-1, 1.74 ERA, 10 G, 10.1 IP, 12 K, 9 BB, .250 OBA

Carr too fought his way back from Tommy John surgery. He spent five games in the Gulf Coast League, three games with Brooklyn before returning to St. Lucie. Carr's velocity is on the rise after his rehab at the complex and return to the St. Lucie roster. He'll likely remain St. Lucie for a little while longer as the organization ensures his elbow is still healthy, but a move up to Binghamton later in the summer cannot be ruled out.

STOCK: Steady. The injury was certainly a setback for the 23-year-old right-hander. But when healthy, Carr sits in the mid-90s with his fastball. That is enough to at least keep him in the conversation because one doesn't just toss away a power arm coming out of the bullpen. Carr still needs better command of his slider to give him a viable second pitch, but he is still in discussion as a future bullpen option

24. Scott Moviel (SLU) - 2-6, 5.85 ERA, 18 G, 13 GS, 80 IP, 60 K, 43 BB, .297 OBA

It has been a difficult year for Moviel. The right-hander has battled inconsistent stretches and eventually went into the St. Lucie bullpen where the hope is he can get himself back on track. Moviel's breaking pitches and command have not be the same since before he went on the shelf due to knee injury.

STOCK: Down. It's simply been rough year for the 22-year-old. Moviel could return to St. Lucie next year with a later promotion if he can align his mechanics and rediscover the consistency of his repertoire.

23. Matt Bouchard (SLU) - .192 (5-for-26), 4 RBI, 2 R, BB, .222 OBP, .415 OPS

Yes, Bouchard is a guy we've continually stood behind even when the statistics said we shouldn't. Yet, Bouchard was going to be the everyday shortstop in St. Lucie before going down due to a second surgery on the hip labrum. That has knocked him out for the season and likely landed a finishing blow to his chances in this organization.

STOCK: Down. It wouldn't surprise me if Bouchard landed in another organization next season, nor would it surprise me to find him as the starting shortstop in St. Lucie (if healthy). I stand by Bouchard's defensive prowess and his abilities with the bat, but health has never been his strong suit and completely railroaded his chances at consistent playing time. Remember, this was a guy that jumped from Savannah to Binghamton in 2009. There was a positive reason why.

22. Cesar Puello (SAV) - .266, 0 HR, 25 RBI, 64 R, 27 BB, .355 OBP, .677 OPS

Puello's lack of power is one of the bigger disappointments this season, but following a slow start Puello is hitting .304 since the start of June. He has just 18 extra-base hits this season which is somewhat shocking given the raw power he demonstrated last summer in Kingsport. His strikeout rate (21.8%) is down from last season (26.0%), but the lack of power despite very good balance and the ability to drive the ball the other way has soured his year at the plate.

STOCK: Down. His stock is down because more was expected out of Puello this season, but his ranking in this fall's Top 50 list may not deviate far from this spot. We went conservative with Puello last fall in the event that he would hit a speed bump in full-season ball. It appears that was the right call.

21. Steven Matz (GCL) - N/A

Matz underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after signing with the organization last year and has not pitched since. Matz began throwing in late winter and has since continued his rehab. Matz may get a few innings before the end of the season, but his clock will restart for 2011.

STOCK: Steady. Matz's stock won't drop do to injury simply because he has yet to throw a professional inning. It is tough when a top overall pick misses entire season, but Matz will still be 19 years old when 2011 begins and hopefully healthy and ready to start his career.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories