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Grading the Minors: The Holds

Another day has arrived and another group of prospects is here. I have written about the ones with good seasons somewhat off the radar, and those that were on notice but have failed to impress. Here comes some who have fared better than the previous disappointing group, but are also unlikely to rocket up anyone's opinion chart. Instead, they are more treading water.

You can tread water for a little while and it's not a harmful thing. But if you make a career out of treading water, then that's bad because nobody is going to pay you to tread water. Water will tread on its own. Treading it only serves your own purpose. Eventually these guys will have to make a break for shore or build a raft or something. 

Dan Cortes, RP RH 24

Dan Cortes transitioned to the bullpen full time last year and while that lowered his best case scenario, it dramatically raised his median as he took to the relief role with relish. The strikeouts in Tacoma this year are still fine, but the walks (especially of late) have spiked back up to the level from his starting days. It's a step back this season because of the walks, but he remains a potential dynamite relief ace who's performing at the highest Minor League level.

Greg Halman, CF R/R 23

Greg Halman was liked for his defense and power, but questions surrounded his contact ability. In those ways he is a lot like Carlos Peguero and the two often found themselves near each other on prospect rankings. That I do not understand. Peguero has more raw power, but Halman's defense is a huge advantage and Halman actually has better home run per airborne ball rates at each step in the Minors. Peguero might hit them farther in batting practice, but Halman has a legitimate Major League skill and has been more proficient at hitting them over the wall when it actually counts. For 2011, Halman gets an incomplete because between his fractured wrist in April and his mostly backup role with the Mariners, he's only accumulated 112 plate appearances.

Alex Liddi, 3B R/R 22

Despite some stated concerns over Alex Liddi's defense by some writers, others, including Mike Curto, have offered praise so personally I'm calling it a draw until I get to see him with my own eyes. The power potential is turning into a reality in Tacoma, but watch out for those pesky new park effects in the renovated Cheney Stadium. The strikeouts are a concern, but have been better in July and are matched with a decent 10% walk rate. It's technically a down season for Liddi according to wOBA, but that's mostly driven by his batting average regressing to where I figured it should have been.

Esteilon Peguero, SS R/R 17


Rich Poythress, 1B R/R 23

Rich Poythress is sort of the better version of Dennis Raben. He had a desirable approach and good power, but didn't offer much positional value, but was a level ahead of Raben. He knocked 31 home runs and 33 doubles last season, but the High Desert creates a fog where anything goes and very little impresses. That power has lost 100 ISO points in Jackson. He's improved his contact though, with fewer strikeouts and it's not like he's fallen apart.

Jordan Shipers, SP LH 20

Kevin Goldstein tossed Jordan Shipers in as the last guy on his top 20 list and nobody else paid Shipers much attention. Shipers is a small but quote polished unquote starter taken in round 16 of the 2010 draft. That's not likely to garner much attention and it's a wonder why he was even on Goldstein's radar. Shipers, besides missing a ‘p' in his name, has six starts so far with Everett with 38 strikeouts, 15 free passes. That's solid, but it's Everett so I don't know. You need scouts on this one.

Carlos Triunfel, SS R/R 21

It was an underwhelming 2010 season for Carlos Triunfel. His 500 trips to the plate demonstrated little power (.075 ISOp) or walks (3% BB rate). He didn't strike out much, but no power or discipline makes his batting average empty. However, Triunfel is still quite young despite being an object of attention for quite a long while now. Repeating at Double-A this season, Triunfel has doubled his walk rate and hit for more power, but the strikeouts have spiked. Triunfel has about a league average batting line while being three years younger than the league average. The strikeouts and that he hasn't hit a home run since May is keeping him in this "meets expectations" group.