The importance of fringe prospects should be obvious for a rebuilding team. Players like Jason Rogers, Yhonathan Barrios, and Ariel Peña were fringe prospects prior to the 2015 season. All three could begin the 2016 season with the Big League club.
CF Omar Garcia
Age: 22 B/T: R/R
Garcia is the owner of 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. As many will argue, it’s the one tool you just cant teach. Unfortunately, Garcia’s other tools are still lagging, and his hit tool has lost traction every professional year.
In 2015, Garcia posted a .612 OPS with High-A Brevard County, while stealing 53 bases (77 percent success). Garcia has just one professional home run, and that appears to be par for the course.
Garcia obviously has age on his side, and it looks like it would be best for the speedster to give High-A another shot. A drop in walk rate and a sub-.300 SLG mean Garcia needs work to regain his previous form. His career .350 OBP still shows his excellent lead-off potential, given his burner mentality. His speed also gives him the chance to stick in center field.
Age: 26 B/T: R/R
Both Peña and Hellweg had high strikeout and walk numbers, but as Peña shaped up and reached the Majors, Hellweg entered a free fall.
While playing between High-A and AA, Hellweg struck out 39 batters in 61 innings, while walking 52 and hitting 11. Opponents slashed .261/.410./402 (.286 BABIP) against the tall righty. In the second half of his season, Hellweg allowed just a .234 opponent batting average, but his walks still far exceeded his strike outs, resulting in a 6.05 ERA on the year.
Age: 18 B/T: R/R
Segovia bares some resemblances to Garcia, while displaying a different standout tool. Like Garcia, Segovia shows virtually no pop in his bat. Like Garcia, Segovia’s ceiling is likely that of a top-of-the-order catalyst. Segovia’s main tool, however, isn’t his speed. His .384 batting average in the 2014 Dominican Summer League gives away his special talent.
Segovia was brought over to the states as a result of his potential, both offensively and defensively, where he comfortably roams center field. Between the Brewers’ rookie leagues in 2015, Segovia hit .331 and had a 9.3 BB%, but also displayed his lack of extra-base skills. The Venezuelan had 39 hits in his shortened season, and just two were of the extra-base variety, both doubles.
This left him with a .016 ISO, which, to my knowledge, is unheard-of at the Major League level. He also has a career BABIP north of .400.
Still, we’re talking about an 18-year-old in a 132 plate appearance season, and a 391 PA career, so judging him harshly on a “down year” would be brash. At this point, Segovia is simply a great curiosity, and I look forward to watching his skill set of extremes over longer seasons. He should begin the 2016 season with one of the team’s rookie leagues.
2B Nathan Orf
Age: 25 B/T: R/R
Orf looks like a future super utilityman, having played over 50 professional games in the outfield, as well as at third base, and his most natural position, second.
Orf’s production dropped slightly in 2015, largely due to a BABIP drop from .336 to .319. Otherwise, his ISO and walk rates were nearly identical to his career numbers. Orf slashed a solid .274/.378/.368.
While he consistently posts ISOs right around .100, his career walk rate is over 11%, nearly as often as he strikes out. Like our aforementioned center fielders, Orf could potentially make it as a lead-off hitter.
More likely, however, is that Orf makes it to the league in the next year or so, and sticks around as a utility man who can be an emergency catcher (he caught in college).
Age: 20 B/T: L/R
You may know Neuhaus as a shortstop or even third baseman, but as of this season, the second round draft pick played primarily at the keystone. A high school shortstop who outgrew the position, Neuhaus flashed above-average in range and arm strength at times at third. His move to second in Low-A appears to be due to his .907 career fielding percentage at third.
Hopefully this means Neuhaus displays at least average range at second, while certainly having plus arm strength for the position. Offensively, Neuhaus has improved every year, significantly cutting his strikeout rates and increasing his OPS since his first professional showing in 2013.
Neuhaus remains a work in progress, but a .249/.307/.355 slash line in the Midwest League is nearly league average. The Florida native looks to join the High-A Brevard County Manatees for 2016.