Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 5/11/12

Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Current Level: AAA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 8th
Current Value: Nearly Ready

Barring injury, St. Louis probably won’t be looking to shake its roster up anytime soon given its success in 2012 despite the loss of Mr. Albert Pujols. Lance Berkman and Allen Craig, both capable of playing first base, are also getting healthy, which could mean an extended stint in Triple-A for the hot-hitting Adams. Despite his innocous entrance into pro ball as a 23rd round draft pick, the first base prospect has done nothing but hit since signing. He has a career batting average above .300 and has hit with power everywhere that he’s played during his four-year career. He’s currently hitting .310 with 12 extra base hits (five homers) in 30 Triple-A game. Adams is struggling with southpaws, though, and his walk rate (6.7%) is a tad low.

Chris Dwyer, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 11th
Current Value: Flat

Dwyer has not lived up to his lofty $1.45 million draft bonus as a draft-eligible freshman (yes, freshman) out of Clemson University. There have been some issues with maturity in the past so that may be part of what’s holding the lefty back at this point. He has good stuff for a southpaw with a low-90s fastball and good curveball but he’s probably better suited for bullpen work where he can focus on two pitches and his command issues aren’t as magnified. Dwyer is taking his third tour of duty in Double-A for the Royals – pitching out of the starting rotation – and he features an unsightly 5.91 ERA in seven appearances. And that comes even after his last start on May 10 that saw him throw the first 6.2 innings of a no-hitter.

Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 1st
Current Value: Improving

Just 19, this switch-hitting shortstop was given a significant challenge with a jumped from Low-A ball, where he posted a .397 wOBA in 2011, to Double-A ball to begin the 2012 season. Profar hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire so far but he’s held his own and the ball continues to jump off his bat with that special sound that makes scouts giggle like school girls in the stands. Close to 50% of his 33 hits have gone for extra bases and he’s showing decent patience at the plate, which has led to 11 walks in 31 games. Profar’s strikeout rate is up about 5% over 2011 and he’s whiffed 10 times in nine May games so he’s still in the process of making adjustments to the more advanced pitching. The Texas front office will have an interesting problem on its hands when Profar is ready for the Majors, likely in 2014.

Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Current Level: A-
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 5th
Current Value: Slight Improvement

With the trade of Jesus Montero there is definitely an opening for “Catcher of the Future” in the Yankees organization and Sanchez is doing everything in his power to lay claim to the title. Repeating Low-A in 2012, the 19-year-old backstop is currently hitting .359 with 12 extra base hits in 26 games. A word of caution, though. His strong start is aided by a .493 BABIP and he’s still striking out at a very high rate (25.9% compared to 27.1% in 2011). His power output is also way down (.136 ISO vs .229 in 2011). Sanchez is definitely showing some signs of improvement but there way also be some smoke and mirrors involved so tread carefully.

Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 2nd
Current Value: Nearly Ready

It’s been a despressing year for Brewers fans with the loss of Prince Fielder to free agency prior to the year and then a rash of injuries to the likes of Ryan Braun, Alex Gonzalez, and Mat Gamel. The good news, though, is that there is some high-ceiling talent nearing closing in on a big league promotion. Thornburg has defied the early scouting reports that pigeon-holed him as a future reliever because he was a short right-hander with a less-than-smooth delivery. Three years into his pro career he’s already reached Double-A and he just keeps getting better. Thornburg has made seven starts this season and has struck out 47 batters in 41.0 innings of work. He’s given up just 26 hits and has walked 11 batters. On the down side he doesn’t get a great downward plane on his pitches, in part because of his size, and he tends to leave pitches up in the zone, which leads to more fly-ball outs than one would like to see. With that said, he looks like he could become a successful No. 3 starter at the big league level.


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