We are ranking 100 prospects this year: the Top 40; the 26intheMix; and 34 More (The Watch List). The first six members of The Watch List were the outfielders, and you can find them here.
This time we move on to corner infielders and catchers. (The catchers had to go somewhere.)
Taylor Ard | 2014 Age: 24 | RH
Ard came out of Washington State and made a bit of a splash in Everett with a low-strikeout, high-ISO combo in 2012. Catnip for me.
But, if he were going to make it, age 23 at Low-A Clinton was the place to make his move. Instead, he went the wrong direction. I’m not dropping him all the way out, but his path to the majors is (oh, no, I’m groaning before I even type it …) arduous.
Kristian Brito | 2014 age: 19 | RH
Brito is going to be somewhere on the list for awhile, just because of his size (6-foot-5, 240) and power potential. He went from awful in 2012 (probably the worst-rated hitter to get 100 PAs that year) to interesting in 2013.
He got interesting because the power showed up, and he cranked out 14 doubles and 10 HR in 56 games for a very nice .210 ISO. That being said, the plate skills still completely lacking, and even big sluggers need to figure out how to draw walks and avoid the occasional strikeout.
Rich Poythress | 2014 age: 26 | RH
|2009||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-Rk||SEA||32||130||107||15||26||2||0||2||15||1||0||20||30||.243||.362||.318||.679|
|2012||24||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-Rk||SEA||91||377||316||46||97||22||1||9||52||4||0||57||36||.307||.415||.468||.883|
|2013||25||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AAA-AA||SEA||104||434||379||51||96||25||1||15||61||3||1||50||78||.253||.341||.443||.784|
The Mayor (he’s the “mayor” of Jackson, Tennessee because he’s been assigned to the AA team for so much of his career) will always be a favorite, and we kinda wish he’d go to Japan because he’d probably be a star over there. His plate skills are unquestioned (check out that 2012 line: only 36 strikeouts in 377 PAs), and he’s shown flashes of combining that with the power he needs to be an impact 1b/DH. But he’s never really been close to a serious shot at the MLB roster, and it’s not likely to come at age 26 and up, especially with Ji-Man Choi and D.J. Peterson zooming past him.
Steven Proscia | 2014 age: 24 | RH
|2012||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||SEA||127||554||512||98||161||26||3||28||103||12||4||29||113||.314||.352||.541||.893|
|2013||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||SEA||111||436||399||52||89||17||2||14||46||16||5||24||107||.223||.276||.381||.657|
Proscia is sort of the reverse of Poythress. He’s always shown the power, but he’s had a big problem with strikeouts and he has an aversion to walks. But they’re in the same boat in terms of Choi and Peterson pushing them the wrong direction on the depth chart. Proscia once had the advantage of being able to play third, but in 2013 he only showed up there seven times. His prospects as a first baseman are not favorable.
Nate Tenbrink | 2014 age: 27 | LH
|2010||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||SEA||116||485||409||75||130||21||10||14||70||26||3||60||87||.318||.409||.521||.930|
|2012||25||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-Rk||SEA||47||189||156||31||47||9||4||8||25||5||3||23||56||.301||.409||.564||.973|
Yes, we know. Our favorite Kansas State Wildcat has some power, plays all around the diamond and knows how to draw walks. And he can mash against RH pitching.
We also know that guys who strike out well over 20% of the time in the minors (22.3% for Tenbrink) aren’t likely to make it unless they have serious power, and we know that he’s not really a second baseman (though he played there in Tacoma when Nick Franklin wasn’t around). And, mostly, we know that guys who are still in AAA at 26 are massive longshots to ever have MLB success.
Like The Mayor, he could make an interesting addition to a Japanese team, but I don’t see a career in Seattle.
Christian Carmichael | 2014 age: 22 | RH
|2012||20||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk-A-||SEA||39||163||142||21||43||11||2||2||23||4||0||16||28||.303||.387||.451||.837|
Carmichael was actually a 6th-round draft pick out of high school, but he fell off the radar after injuries and a PED suspension. He resurfaced in 2012 with a strong season in rookie league, but he was also older than the usual Arizona type, so it was hard to figure out what it meant. His 2013 season was not particularly noteworthy, but it was enough to keep him on the list.
Luke Guarnaccia | 2014 age: 21 | SH
The Mariners liked Guarnaccia enough to draft him out of high school and draft him again the next year out of junior college. But he must have been pretty raw since, even after three pro seasons, he still hasn’t advanced beyond rookie-level leagues.
That being said, he started to show a bit of promise at the plate in 2013. His walk rate is ugly, and his overall numbers are inflated by a high BABIP (batting average on balls in play), but there’s some upside in there.