By Nathaniel Stoltz | @stoltz_baseball
With prospect ranking season drawing to a close and spring training in full acceleration, it’s time to shift from the static world of the offseason to a look forward to 2013 performances. With that in mind, it’s time to go out on a limb and make a few projections as to how the prospect landscape will change in the coming months. Here are five players whose stock looks to rise in 2013, and five who may fall from their lofty preseason perches.
Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, Houston As great and high-profile as Billy Hamilton’s season was, there was little attention directed toward DeShields, the other player who broke the 100-steal barrier. In addition to going 101-for-120 across both A-ball levels, DeShields drew 83 walks, posting a .389 OBP, and showed some pop by hitting 12 home runs. He has some work to do defensively, but if he can maintain his 2012 gains, DeShields could easily turn into an All-Star, with on-base ability, 15-homer power, and game-changing speed. He could end the 2013 season as one of baseball’s top 10 position player prospects if he can carry his performance to Double-A.
Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay — Odorizzi made it to the big leagues last year, but his strikeout rate fell from 30.9% in Double-A to 19.1% in Triple-A while his walk rate rose from 6.6% to 8.7%. He is an extreme fly ball pitcher, and he likely will always struggle to keep the ball in the park in the majors. With a fastball that clocked in at a middling average of 90.5 mph in his two MLB starts, he may not have the arsenal to miss enough bats to compensate for his fly ball tendencies, especially against the stacked lineups of the AL East. He could run into a lot of trouble in his rookie season.
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