There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.
The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013’ will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’
The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.
The Graduate: Todd Redmond, RHP: It was a bad year to be a rookie in the Jays system as the club field one of its most veteran-heavy clubs in years. Redmond, a 28-year-old rookie, made an impression as a somewhat reliable injury fill-in for the starting rotation and could have pushed himself into consideration for a long reliever role on the 2014 squad.
The Riser: Franklin Barreto, SS: Barreto was considered to be one of the more advanced bats in the 2012 international free agent crop and he showed why in 2013. The diminutive shortstop — who stands 5’9” — was one of the most successful hitters in the Gulf Coast League despite being just 17 years old. He’s likely not a long-term shortstop but his bat would play at second base or in center field.
The Tumbler: Daniel Norris, LHP: Toronto handed Norris a bonus of more than $2 million to forego a scholarship to Clemson University but he wasn’t nearly as polished as advertised. After a poor debut season in 2012, the lefty’s struggles continued in ’13 thanks to poor command and control. He flashed his considerable talent with a second-half surge but he still has a long way to go to harness his stuff well enough to succeed against more advanced hitters in the upper levels of the minors.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Clinton Hollon, RHP: To call Toronto’s 2013 draft a disappointment would be an understatement when the organization failed to sign its first round draft pick. Hollon was the club’s highest pick that actually signed but he comes with makeup questions and his bonus was reduced after concerns were raised with his post-draft physical. Despite those concerns, he had a strong debut in Rookie ball.
The Sleeper: Ryan Borucki, RHP: I heard some impressive things about Borucki during the ’12 offseason but he blew out his elbow before seeing any game action in 2013 and won’t return until midway through the ’14 season. The right-hander narrowly edged Shane Dawson for the sleeper designation so perhaps I should have chosen him after all. He dominated the low minors thanks to his deceptive delivery and above-average control. Unfortunately, his fastball is underwhelming in the mid-to-high-80s range
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.