Top 15 Prospects Lists… A Teaser

The annual Top 10 prospects lists are set to arrive at FanGraphs at the beginning of November. This year the lists will be even bigger with 15 prospects ranked for each team, along with a “sleeper player” to watch. This week we’re giving you a sneak peek with six player profiles (three today, and three more on Friday) for prospects that failed to make their respective teams’ Top 15 lists. FanGraphs is the only site where you can receive more than 450 detailed player reports – at no cost.

  • Washington Nationals: Matt Skole, 3B
    BORN: July 30, 1989
    EXPERIENCE: 1 season (Short Season Ball)
    ACQUIRED: 2011 5th round (Georgia Tech)
    2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

    SCOUTING REPORT: Skole was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft after a so-so junior year at Georgia Tech that saw his power output plummet. He did show good gap power in his pro debut, and his eventual success or fail as a big leaguer will hinge on how much usable, in-game pop he displays. He is a fringe defender at the hot corner and may have to move to first base down the road. His brother, Jake Skole, is a former first round pick of the Texas Rangers.

    YEAR IN REVIEW: In short-season ball, Skole had a solid debut by hitting for both average (.290) and gap power (23 doubles in 272 at-bats). He also showed a good eye at the plate with a walk rate of 13.2%. The left-handed hitter will have to improve against southpaws (.581 OPS) if he’s going to continue to play every day. His defense was inconsistent at third base and he needs to improve on his foot work.

    YEAR AHEAD: Skole will probably move up to low-A ball in 2012 but there is a chance, with a strong spring (and depending on where Anthony Rendon plays), that he could begin the year in high-A ball. His bat could allow him to move quickly, especially if he shows move over-the-fence strength.

    CAREER OUTLOOK: The third baseman’s future in the organization is a little muddled with the likes of Ryan Zimmerman and Rendon ahead of him. If he can hit, though, the club will find a place for Skole or use him as a trading chip. An increased ability to handle the hot corner will also help his overall value.

  • Los Angeles Angels: Chevez Clarke, OF
    BORN: Jan. 9, 1992
    EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons (Rookie Ball)
    ACQUIRED: 2010 1st round (30th overall)
    2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

    SCOUTING REPORT: The third of the club’s three first round draft picks in 2010, Clarke has been slow to develop. He was a high profile amateur but he continues to be haunted by poor pitch recognition. Clarke has impressive offensive and defensive tools but he’ll struggle to realize his potential if he cannot make consistent contact.

    YEAR IN REVIEW: Despite repeating the rookie Arizona League, Clarke put forth another disappointing season. His strikeout rate of 30% is far too high for a serious prospect – especially one that knocked out just three home runs in 195 at-bats. Defensively, he had poor reads on balls off the bat but he shows decent range and a strong arm.

    YEAR AHEAD: Clarke will be 20 when the 2012 season begins and a third year in short-season ball will certainly be a significant blow to his development – but not a nail in the coffin. He needs to identify pitches better and he has to show better pitch selection.

    CAREER OUTLOOK: A switch-hitter, Clarke may want to abandon hitting from the right side unless he can show some improvements in 2012; he posted a measly .229 OPS in 30 at-bats against southpaws. Consistent at-bats from the left side could help accelerate his development. He still has a high ceiling but he’s a long, long way from realizing it.

  • San Francisco Giants: Jesus Galindo, OF
    BORN: Aug. 23, 1990
    EXPERIENCE: 3 seasons (Short Season Ball)
    ACQUIRED: 2009 international free agent (Venezuela)
    2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

    SCOUTING REPORT: The organization has spent some serious coin on international free agent outfielders, including Francisco Peguero and Rafael Rodriguez, but Galindo could have a strong impact on the big league club, as well. His base running ability is his strongest tool right now. His hitting skills need a lot of work and his outfield instincts are still developing.

    YEAR IN REVIEW: Galindo made his North American debut in 2011 after two undistiguished seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He was jumped over the rookie Arizona League and placed in the college-graduate-heavy Northwest League. Galindo stole 47 bases in 55 tries. He showed decent patience for a raw player with a walk rate of 9.1% and he kept his strikeout rate below 20%, which is important because he has little or no power (.088 ISO).

    YEAR AHEAD: Galindo should move up to low-A ball in 2012 and will look to add some polish to his game. A switch-hitter, and natural right-handed batter, he needs to get stronger from the left side after posting a .662 OPS. To be successful, he has to keep hitting the ball on the ground to take advantage of his plus speed. Galindo will never hit for power but a little more line-drive pop (His line-drive rate was 12% in ’11) will help him rack up the doubles and triples.

    CAREER OUTLOOK: Galindo could be a solid big league center-fielder, along the lines of Juan Pierre in his prime, or he could also provide value as a fourth outfielder and pinch runner. He’s a long way from the Majors and the organization will no doubt be patient with him.

  • We hoped you liked reading Top 15 Prospects Lists… A Teaser by Marc Hulet!

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    Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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    Nice summary on Galindo. He’s a guy I’m watching closely next season. He seemed to suddenly put something together right at the end of his second DSL season then held his own against mostly older competition in the NWL. Somewhat of a sleeper CF prospect. Nicely done!