Fringe Five Scoreboards: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013.
The Fringe Five is a weekly regular-season exercise, introduced a few years ago by the present author, wherein that same author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own fallible intuition to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.
Central to the exercise, of course, is a definition of the word fringe, a term which possesses different connotations for different sorts of readers. For the purposes of the column this year, a fringe prospect (and therefore one eligible for inclusion among the Five) is any rookie-eligible player at High-A or above who (a) was omitted from the preseason prospect lists produced by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, John Sickels*, and (most importantly) lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen and also who (b) is currently absent from a major-league roster. Players appearing on any updated list — such as the revised top 100 released last week by Baseball America — will also be excluded from eligibility.
*All 200 names!
In the final analysis, the basic idea is this: to recognize those prospects who are perhaps receiving less notoriety than their talents or performance might otherwise warrant.
Jose Miguel Fernandez, 2B, Los Angeles NL (Profile)
Like every player included among this edition of the Five (with the exception of Zack Granite, who has nowhere to go besides the majors), Fernandez received a promotion this week — in this case, from Double- to Triple-A. It was only temporary (he returned to Tulsa yesterday), but not irrelevant. While it’s almost too obvious even to render into print, these promotions serve as votes of confidence from the organizations to which the players belong. That’s relevant to the author’s decision-making insofar as clubs naturally possess much better information about their prospects than a weblogger sitting at a coffee shop in Maine.
Questions persist about Fernandez’s second-base defense. No questions appear to remain about his offensive profile, however. He possesses the lowest strikeout rate in the Texas League among qualified batters and a better-than-average isolated-power figure.
Here he is taking some pleasure in his work earlier this week:
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