Minors Only - Disappointments

August 26, 2009

With only a few weeks left to go in the minor league regular season, players are running out of time to leave a positive impression. Some players need to do this more than others as their seasons have not gone as expected.

Among the prospects who have had disappointing seasons:

Lars Anderson - 1B - Boston Red Sox

Preseason Ranks: PP 18th/200, Kevin Goldstein: 17th/100, Baseball America: 17th/100, Jonathan Mayo: 25th/50

Anderson was widely hailed as the top prospect in the organization entering the year, but chances are that honor won't be duplicated next season. The 21-year-old had a successful 41 game stint in Double-A last year (.316/.436/.526) and that makes his poor follow-up (.240/.336/.357) all the more perplexing. He has just eight homers on the year and none since the end of June all the while slugging .181 since the All-Star break. Anderson's saving grace is that he is still taking walks at a good clip (12.4%). It's possible that Anderson hasn't been healthy this year -- there have been whispers of a back injury -- and that could explain some of the struggles. If his season had gone according to plan, he likely would have been in Triple-A by now, but he could open next year back in Double-A. He's still a promising prospect, but his stock has taken a blow.

J.P. Arencibia - C - Toronto Blue Jays

Preseason Ranks: PP: 171st, Kevin Goldstein: 41st, Baseball America: 43rd, Jonathan Mayo: NR

Arencibia was a bat-first catcher in college and he continued to sock the ball last year in Double-A by hitting 27 homers and 36 doubles. He was able to skate around awful plate discipline (18 BB/101 K) but that looks to have caught up with him this year at the Triple-A level. His power numbers are down, his BB/K is a weak 23/98, and his wOBA and IsoP have been in steady decline since High-A. With the Blue Jays not having much in his way at catcher, Arencibia could have used this year to put himself in position to compete for the big league job next spring. Instead, it looks like he'll be heading back to Triple-A. The 23-year-old will struggle to maximize his potential with such an unselective approach at the plate.

Greg Halman - OF - Seattle Mariners

Preseason Ranks: PP 97th, Baseball America 57th, Kevin Goldstein: 42nd, Jonathan Mayo: NR

Halman tantalized with his power-speed package last year, when he hit 28 doubles, 5 triples, and 29 homers while going 31-for-38 in steals between High-A and Double-A. That was the good news. The bad news is that any shred of plate discipline was nowhere to be found as he didn't take many walks (5.9%) while racking up the whiffs (27.2%). The lack of plate discipline has been even more evident this year in his second-tour of duty in Double-A. His walk rate is nearly identical to what it was last year (5.7%) but his strikeout rate has risen to 36.2%. While he has made some strides with his K% as the season has gone on, it's been at least 30.5% in every month. He hasn't been as much of a threat on the basepaths. After going 23-for-24 in stolen bases last year in High-A, he has gone a combined 15-for-28 since moving up to Double-A last season.

Jefry Marte - 3B - New York Mets

Preseason Ranks: PP: 107th, Kevin Goldstein: 94th, Baseball America: NR, Jonathan Mayo: NR

After going .324/.393/.538 in the Gulf Coast League last summer, Marte entered the year with loads of helium as someone who could vault into an elite-level prospect. But much of that optimism has hit the skids as Marte has had a miserable season in Low-A. He's not walking often (4.8%), he strikes out a good deal (22.3%), he's not showing much power (.107 IsoP), and his wOBA is a paltry .269. Marte is tough to judge because he didn't turn 18 years old until June and is the same age as many high school picks from this year's draft. He appears to be the victim of the ultra-aggressive Mets, an organization that isn't afraid to push its young prospects, especially its Latin imports. In reterospect, he probably should have been held back until the New York-Penn League, with an eye on a promotion to Low-A to start 2010. Common sense says he'll repeat Low-A next year, but nothing can be ruled out with the Mets.

Mike Moustakas - 3B - Kansas City Royals

Preseason Ranks: PP: 11th, Kevin Goldstein: 21st, Baseball America: 13th, Jonathan Mayo: 11th

The second overall pick in the 2007 draft, Moustakas is viewed as a future cornerstone of the franchise. He got off to a slow start last year but ramped it up after the break by hitting .321/.392/.557. Any momentum generated in the second half of last year has not carried over to 2009. Moustakas has never gotten on the right track for any significant amount of time this year -- he has had an 800 or better OPS in only two of the first five months of the season while being at 699 or lower in the other three. Moustakas has been held back by a low BABIP (.229) at home and while his road numbers are markedly better, they aren't special. He hasn't struck out too much (17.0%) but the walks are low at 5.6% and the latter is a figure that has dropped at each stop along the way. His .252/.296/.422 line simply doesn't scream top prospect and the Royals have to be disappointed.

Discussion Question: Which of these prospects have the best chance to bounce back in 2010?

(Discuss here.)


Contact Ryan Fay at rfay@projectprospect.com