Atlanta Sports Cards
Monday Nine Spot to Watch
“The 9 biggest Minor Leaguer call-ups to date”
By Jimmy Graham, ASC Contributor and MLB scout
Edited by James Kennedy
As the season continues into May, we took some time to reflect on minor leaguers who had already got the call up and how they have fared. We decided to include all players that either made a spot start, or were called up for depth purposes. Many rookies will make an impact this season and these few are the ones already given the chance in 2011.
Eric Hosmer D.O.B. 10/24/89 KC 1B
Hosmer was a player the Royals wanted to let simmer in AAA and work on his plate approach and try to add some pop to his swing. Hosmer was raking so immensely in AAA, they were forced to move him up, as he seemed out of his league in the PCL. With a .525 OBP, there was no denying that Hosmer was thriving in AAA. That brings us to the thing we like most about Hosmer’s game: his plate discipline. He forces pitchers to throw strikes and tries to take advantage. There is a slight hole in his swing however, as Hosmer has trouble with off speed pitches. His defense is above average, as he turned a great double play in MLB debut, and also was able to swipe a bag, with not so blazing speed. Hosmer’s baseball IQ is one thing you can not teach a prospect. He seems to understand the nuances and intricacies of being a smart baseball player and this is one quality ever star player should possess.
Best Card to Invest In: 2008 Upper Deck USA On-Card Auto ($25-$50)
Julio Teheran D.O.B. 1/27/91 ATL SP
At the tender age of 20, Teheran got the call Saturday to make a spot start for Atlanta. While he did not win, he showed promise, keeping his fastball in the mid 90′s and using all three of his pitches. He got a strikeout on his change up, which was great to see as most scouts consider that his 3rd best pitch. Teheran has been ripping through the International League in AAA Gwinnett, posting a 1.80 ERA in 5 starts while staying undefeated at 3-0. He draws many comparisons to Pedro Martinez, which I do see with his small stature and big hands. He still has not filled out yet, standing 6’2″ and weighing 175 lbs., he has room to grow, and power possibly to add to his fastball. Look for Teheran to be a future ace and potential all-star every year, as his upside is a big as any pitcher in the minors.
Card to invest in: 2010 Bowman Autograph ($50-$60)
Alex White D.O.B. 8/29/88 CLE SP
White almost made the roster out of spring, showing a great sinker, and I have heard more than one scout say “he has the best sinker I’ve ever seen.”. White was a college 1st rounder in the 2009 draft, selected 15th overall out of North Carolina. It seems like every year UNC has another great starting pitcher come out in the draft, as Matt Harvey pitched alongside White for 2 seasons and Harvey has been practically unhittable in the High A FSL. White, however, got the call a few weeks ago and has not looked overwhelmed; rather, quite composed. His fastball and sinker are defiantly plus pitches already and he just needs to refine his off speed stuff. White could be an intricate part of Cleveland making a push for the playoffs this season. Look for White to be followed by Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, both in AAA and both big time prospects.
Card to invest in: 2009 Bowman Draft Auto ($15-$25)
Tyler Chatwood D.O.B. 12/16/89 LAA SP
With a prospect rich system, and a boatload of 1st rounders in 2010, The Angels’ starter Chatwood has been severely overlooked. He technically started the season in AAA, pitching just 2 innings before he was called up to the Bigs. Chatwood had a great 2010 that put him on the map, as he paced the California League in ERA. The CAL League is known for hitters putting up amazing numbers that don’t always continue as they move through their respective systems, so for Chatwood to have an ERA under 2 in 13 starts there was amazing. In 6 major league starts, Chatwood has looked impressive with exception to his command. If he could get his control down, and throw more strikes, he would be much more efficient. Still just 21, Chatwood has youth on his side and time to learn to pitch more, rather than just throw.
Card to invest in: 2008 Contenders SP Auto ($15-$25)
Jose Iglesias D.O.B. 1/5/90 BOS SS
A wiz with the glove, Iglesias just got called up to help sure up Boston’s depth up the middle with an injury to Marco Scutaro. The biggest weakness in Iglesias’ game is his bat; as so far in 87 AB’s in AAA, he does not have an XBH! That is a somewhat disturbing stat, and illustrates the one doubt I have always had with him- Can he hit? I guess if you’re good enough with the glove (at shortstop) you can make up for it, but to this point in AAA his OPS is just .531, almost the same as Eric Hosmer’s OBP! If you can’t tell yet, I’m not a big Iglesias guy, but if he can manage to hit .270, and hold his defense, he could be a solid everyday player someday.
Card to invest in: 2010 Bowman Autograph ($15-$25)
Jerry Sands D.O.B. 9/28/87 LAD OF
After tearing through the Dodger’s system in 2010, Sands continued his dominance of the Minors in 2011. In 40 AAA AB’s, Sands was hitting .400 with 5 HR’s and an OPS of 1.297. Like Eric Hosmer, Sands slugged his way to the Bigs, but thus far has been less than impressive for the big club hitting a miniscule .189. Sands moved so fast through the organization in the last year and a half, he may have been rushed to help a powerless lineup in LA. (Maybe Treyvon Robinson would have been a better option to call up) Andre Eithier, Matt Kemp, and James Loney are all good hitters, but none have the power potential that Sands does. In the future, look for Sands to be a middle of the order slugger for the Dodgers, once he has matured a bit more, for a long time to come.
Card to invest in: 2010 Bowman Platinum On Card Auto RC ($20-$40)
Alex Cobb D.O.B. 10/7/87 TB SP
Cobb seemingly came out of nowhere; lost in the pitcher rich Tampa Bay system. Cobb was overlooked by writers and hobbyists alike. In the past two seasons, Cobb has held a high K/IP ratio and low ERA, but has allowed a marginally high BA against of around .250. He started 2011 in AAA Durham and showed much promise; enough for him to get a spot start a few weeks back. Cobb has been dominant in his return to AAA, as in 5 games he is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA. He has 33 strikeouts in just 28.1 IP, and he also has held opponents to a .218 average (a huge improvement over the last few years). This year you may not see Cobb again in the Majors, unless he continues to impress and play his way back to Tampa. Don’t count that scenario out, as Cobb is dominating at AAA and has little left to prove in the Minors.
Card to invest in: 2008 Donruss Threads Auto ($5-$15)
David Cooper D.O.B. 2/12/87 TOR 1B
Another ’08 1st rounder at 1B, to go along with Ike Davis, Justin Smoak and Brett Wallace, Cooper has been overlooked compared to those other 3, as they are all having impact seasons in MLB. Cooper, however, had to hit his way into MLB, hitting .395 in AAA to go along with 12 doubles in just 20 games. With the success of Adam Lind this season, Cooper is just a backup in Toronto as he only has played in 6 games. Look for Cooper most likely to be sent back down to get some at bats and regain his confidence, and then return to Toronto later this season. I’m a big Cooper fan as I think he has been overshadowed so far in his professional career.
Card to invest in: 2008 Razor Auto ($3-$5)
Alexia Amarista D.O.B. 4/6/89 LAA 2B
A middle infielder, Amarista was called up for depth up at second base. In AAA, Amarista was leading the league in average, hitting .455 which was good enough to earn a call up. In his first major league at bat, he doubled to left driving in 2. Since then, he has not hit much, with 1 hit in his next 10 ABs. He is not in the Bigs for his bat though, and will probably not be a long term solution with Howie Kendrick finally having a breakout season. However, second baseman who can hit are rare, and the .455 average at AAA opened eyes in the hobby.
Card to invest in: 2010 Bowman On Card Auto RC ($10-$15)
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