Season 15 Potential ROY Candidates

Here is an analysis of the best of this year’s crop of rookies and ML ready upper level minor league prospects.

Todd Kennedy, SP, Charleston Season 12’s 5th overall selection in the amateur draft has been developing his skill set in the in the newly relocated Charleston minor league system, and he’s now ready to show that he can cut it in the big leagues. His 4-seam fastball has plenty of movement, and he has a decent curveball as a 2nd pitch. His other three pitches are all poorly rated, so they can be counted together as a weakness. Kennedy throws hard enough to earn his share of strikeouts, and his delivery is good enough to keep hitters on both sides of the plate off balance. He has adequate control for ML duty. Expect him to eat up innings for this rebuilding franchise. 230 IP this season is not out of the question. If he gets some solid run support, he could contend for the Rookie of the Year trophy. Scouting reports have him not having hit his ceiling yet, so even better things can be expected from him going forward.

Storm Patterson, 3B, Iowa City
Bearcats fans are excited to come to the ballpark to watch this multi-tool hitter in action. Patterson’s offensive numbers should be moderated by playing half of his games in the pitching friendly Principal park, but 30 home runs and a .275 batting average is not out of the question. He has good contact skills, a good eye at the plate and hits both right-handed and left-handed pitching well. This left handed hitting infielder has been playing shortstop throughout his minor league career, but is probably better suited to third base in the majors. The main drawback on this kid is his low durability. He will only be able to play in about four fifths of his potential plate appearances. When he does play, he will impress.

Ricardo Gonzales SP, Las Vegas This 23 year old right hander is ready for big league action, despite only signing his first pro contract last season. Although he could easily pitch in the majors this season, Las Vegas management might decide to let him develop one more year at the AAA level. When Gonzales does make it to the show, he will be a major inning eater for the franchise, capable of effectively pitching upwards of 225 IP. Two of his four pitches are very good, and he throws them especially well against right handed batters. He throws hard, keeps his pitches down and has good control. This guy has the potential to put up multiple 20 win seasons. Expect Gonzales to improve by leaps and bounds as this season progresses.

Ebenezer Caruso, RP, Los Angeles LA’s first round pick (ninth overall) from the season eleven draft is ready to join the National League’s stable of elite bullpen pitchers alongside D’Angelo Lopez of Montreal, Jimmy Parker of Vancouver, and Walter Milton of Kansas City. Caruso has the durability and stamina to be able to pitch one to two innings almost every day should he need to. He has above average control, very good splits, blistering velocity, and he can pull the string on his sinker unlike any other. His fastball makes for a good second pitch. A small drawback is that he doesn’t have a third pitch to throw but his two pitches used effectively should make him pretty un-hittable. A bullpen ace in the making.

Enrique Valdes, 1B, Montreal This big money international signing is ready for ML duty. If Montreal management can find a way to get this premier bat into the lineup, he will produce runs immediately. This switch hitting slugger has some elite hitting skills. He will be able to hit for a high batting average and slugging percentage, and will sport a good on-base percentage. He has the durability to play all 162 games per year, but his ability to stay healthy and maintain his abilities over his career might be the only small drawback that this player may have. We might have to wait one more season to see Valdes in the big leagues, since the big club’s first base and left field positions are occupied by some big name talent as it is.

Bailey Dykstra, LF, Montreal Although the left field position is filled quite adequately in Montreal by Miguel Jimenez, he is in the last year of his contract. On the other side of the outfield, it is expected that Montreal management might be letting Jackie Coppinger and Odalis De La Vega walk once they become free agents next season, in order to open up roster spots to accommodate Enrique Valdes and Dykstra. It is more than likely that Dykstra has reached his ceiling, so there is no use for him to spend any more time in the minors. He brings a good amount of pop with his bat, and should get on base often enough to use his speed and base-running skills to the team’s advantage. His stats might be hindered by his “super bench player” status this season, but if a permanent roster spot opens up for him, 30 home runs, 20 stolen bases, a .270 average and 90-100 runs batted in is not out of the question.

Vic Lopez, SP, Montreal Another one of Montreal’s big money IFA signings, Lopez is expected to log a heavy workload for the big league club starting this season. He has very good control and good splits versus right-handed batters, and adequate abilities against lefties. He has a large arsenal of pitches, such as a great four seam fastball, combined with good slider, cut fastball and changeup pitches, plus an average curveball. He has the durability/stamina combination to be able to pitch upwards of 230 innings per season. His drawbacks – he’s a fly-ball pitcher who doesn’t get much velocity on his pitches. He could give up his fair share of home runs, especially to left handed batters. He should be able to pitch out of most jams, and will be given the full support of Montreal’s management and fans.

Alex Ortiz, SP, Ottawa This right handed pitcher might have just enough stamina to start games, but he could be better suited to pitching important innings out of the bullpen. Wherever he pitches, he will dominate. He pitches extremely well against both lefties and righties, keeps the ball down, has very good control, and has very good movement on two of his four pitches. The only question mark for this guy if used as a starter is his ability to stay late in games. If he can do that, then Ortiz should put together double digit wins. As a setup man or as a two-inning closer, he could pitch 90-120 important innings effectively.

Cord Epstein, SP, Washington D.C. Season 12’s second overall draft pick is ML ready, and it’s up to Washington management to decide if he should play in the big leagues this year, or to give him another season of seasoning in the minors. This hard throwing rightie has good control, and has an excellent forkball and four-seam fastball. Add to that a good curveball and a couple of other junk pitches, and he has a good arsenal. Epstein pitches very well against right handed batting, but might get victimized by lefthanders here and there. Health shouldn’t be a concern, and he has the durability and stamina to pitch at least 200 effective innings for Washington. He has as good a shot as anyone to take home the NL’s ROY trophy if he makes his debut this season or next.

Honorable Mention:

Moe Stovall, RF, Boston
Ralph Hodges, 3B, Boston
Del Guerrero, SS, Cheyenne
Edgardo Seguignol, RF, Kansas City
Arthur Davis, 3B, Louisville
Max Gardel, RP, NY
Luis Lee, SS, Oklahoma City
Sal Rossy, SP, Tacoma
Oscar Pittinger RP, Toronto
Gregory Franklin, RP, Vancouver

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