Deep Dynasty Fishing is a column on prospects who are likely unowned in dynasty leagues. I aim to highlight top prospects before they receive much national media recognition. Last year, players such as Michael Stanton, Logan Morrison, and Jhoulys Chacin became the first wave of deep dynasty players uncovered. This season, I hope to uncover more hot prospects before they get swiped up in your dynasty league!
Alex Avila, C – 1/29/1987, Double-A, Detroit Tigers: A 5th round pick in the 2008 draft (163rd overall), Avila has shown some offensive promise in his first full-season. Avila has spent his 2009 season at Double-A Eerie, where he has provided solid production as the youngest player on his team. Avila has shown legitimate power for a catcher (.174 isoP) and has good patience at the plate (11.8 BB%). One concern for the left-hand hitting Avila is his strikeouts. Although his 21.2% strikeout percentage on the season isn't terrible, the rate at which he whiffs has increased from month to month (16.7%, 20.0%, 28.1%). Still, the Tigers have no other catcher in their organization who can match Avila’s upside. If he continues to produce in Double-A, he may see the big leagues sooner than later and provide Detroit with a long-term solution behind the plate.
Jeremy Barfield, RF - 7/12/1988, Low-A, Oakland Athletics: The son of Jesse and brother of Josh, Jeremy Barfield was selected in the 8th round of the 2008 draft. Barfield’s first full season is taking place in the Midwest league, but don’t tell him that. A league normally known for suppressing a hitter’s power, the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder has shown that power is one of his best tools. Through 183 plate appearances, Barfield has a .173 isolated power, and has walked in 10.8% of the time. Barfield does have some red flags as well – 24.0 K% and his .396 BABIP may not be sustainable. You may remember reading about Barfield getting arrested following a fight with his father when he was in high school. All in all, Barfield is young enough that he can still improve upon his deficiencies and evolve into a solid all-around outfield prospect.
Dexter Carter, RHP, 2/5/1987, Low-A, Chicago White Sox: Despite a very unimpressive junior season at Old Dominion, Dexter Carter was selected in the 13th round of the 2008 draft. Carter made his way to the Pioneer League soon after and immediately looked like a steal. In 68.2 rookie ball innings, Carter walked 8.9% and struck out 31.8%. This year, Carter is continuing his success in Low-A. Through 78.0 innings, he has cut his walk rate all the way down to 6.1% -- it was 17.8% his junior season in college -- and is still striking batters out at a 28.7% clip. The 6-foot-6 righthander now has a 3.04 FIP on the season. Carter has touched 97 but works around 92, and also features a slider that could be a plus pitch. Command was the big issue with Carter coming out of college, so it’s encouraging to see him walking so few batters. He is relatively old for Low-A, though, so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this performance against more advanced hitters. He has the stuff to be an effective big league pitcher one day.
Chris Dennis, LF - 9/15/1988, Low-A, Milwaukee Brewers: Dennis’ path to pro ball is quite different from that of Jeremy Barfield, but their current situations contain many similarities. Following back-to-back seasons in rookie leagues where he showed power and discipline but struggled with contact, Dennis began 2009 in Low-A. Like Barfield, Dennis has had no problem hitting for power in the Midwest League. Through 134 plate appearances, A 13th rounder out of the 2007 draft has posted a .248 isoP. His walk rate sits at 11.2%, and even though he still strikes out at a 24.6% clip, this is an improvement from his previous seasons. His current .425 BABIP surely is inflating his production (.416 wOBA at the moment). Still, Dennis has real power that could become even more apparent when he gets out of the Midwest League – something that may happen in the near future.
Daniel Descalso, 2B - 10/19/1986, Double-A, St. Louis Cardinals: A 3rd rounder in the 2008 draft (112th overall) out of U.C. Davis (alma mater of our very own Adam Foster), Descalso has shown this season that he knows how to swing the lumber. Descalso struggled in his first full season in 2008. Descalso has really taken off this season. His most noticeable improvement comes in the power department, where his .194 isolated power is nearly exact to what Gordon Beckham had in Double-A. In fact, both Descalso’s walk (10.1%) and strikeout (12.6%) rates are better than what Beckham put up in Double-A this year. Descalso isn’t a speedster, and may not have the range to be more than an average second baseman, so his bat will have to carry him to the next level. If he keeps hitting this way, he could find himself in St. Louis before long.
Jeurys Familia, RHP - 10/10/1989, Low-A, New York Mets: While Jennry Mejia is the Mets pitcher out of the Dominican who is getting most of the hype right now, Familia is another live arm who deserves being noticed. Mike Newman, who scouts the South Atlantic League, has seen Familia pitch on several occasions has been impressed by his 91-93 MPH fastball and solid breaking ball. Familia followed last year’s GCL stint with first campaign in full season ball this year, and so far has been quite impressive. Familia has gotten much better over the course of the season, improving both his strikeout and walk rate each month. He currently has a 8.6 walk rate and 18.2 strikeout rate on the season (191 TBF), but in June he is walking 6.9% while striking out 22.2% (72 TBF). It’s still quite early to determine if this improvement is for real, but it’s definitely a great sign from the 19-year-old.
Daniel Hudson, RHP - 3/09/1987, High-A, Chicago White Sox: It appears the White Sox did pretty well drafting pitchers in the middle rounds of the 2008 draft. The Sox snagged Daniel Hudson in the 5th round last year. A teammate of Dexter Carter at Old Dominion, Hudson has already climbed to High-A. After striking out 31.8% in rookie ball in 2008, Hudson continued to dominate in Low-A before his High-A promotion. Over 22.0 innings, Hudson struck out 35.3% and walked only 2.4% for Low-A Kannapolis. Since his promotion to Winston-Salem, Hudson has remained effective, striking out 27.5% and walking 7.3%. The 6-foot-4 righty sits in the low-90s and has 3 off-speed offerings. Hudson is still a ways off from making an impact in the Major Leagues, but if he continues his mastery of the lower levels, he should see Double-A in the near future.
Thomas Neal, LF - 8/17/1987, High-A, San Francisco Giants: A 36nd rounder from the 2005 Draft, Neal is a bit of a sleeper in the Giants system. The 6-foot-1 righty was mediocre last year at Low-A Augusta, but he's breaking out in a huge way in the California League. Neal has cut his strikeout rate from 20.8% in 2008 to 17.2% this season. Suprisingly, he has increased his isoP from .166 to .278 over same time period. His .391 BABIP is surely influencing his monster production, but the power and discipline improvements appear to be real. Double-A will be a test for former Junior College talent. And as ex-teammate Brandon Crawford has experienced, the transition to Connecticut is not the easiest. Still, Neal’s breakout could very well carry over to the upper minors. Perhaps he could eventually provide San Francisco with a powerful bat that is ever so needed.
Wily Peralta, RHP - 5/08/1989, Low-A, Milwaukee Brewers: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Wily Peralta appears to be a high-upside righthander who could wind up as the Brewers top pitching prospect by year’s end. Peralta missed all of 2007 due to Tommy John surgery, and threw only 34.1 innings in 2008. So far in 2009, he has been nothing short of dominant, especially considering he just recently turned 20. Over 51.1 Low-A innings, Peralta has struck out 29.3% of opposing batters while walking only 7.0%. In May and June (154 TBF), Peralta has struck out 34.5% of opposing batters. He keeps the ball on the ground (51 GB%), resulting in only one homerun allowed so far. If Peralta can continue this type of success, he could soar up the prospect charts. At this pace he could wind up a top 100 prospect by seasons end.
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