Originally posted on The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog  |  Last updated 2/15/12

 

As Spring Training rapidly approaches and speculation surrounding the future of baseball’s brightest prospects spreads like wildfire, The Golden Sombrero will highlight some of the notable and intriguing Spring Training invitees from each organization.

Kyle Skipworth, C:  Selected 6th overall by the Marlins in the 2008 draft, it’s hard not be optimistic about a 6-foot-4, left-handed hitting catcher.  After posting disappointing numbers in his first two professional seasons, Skipworth took a step in the right direction in 2010 as he slashed .249/.312/.426 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI in 397 at-bats.  However, he struck out 132 times compared to only 32 walks – a trend that intensified in Double-A in 2011.  Playing for Jacksonville of the Southern League, Skipworth fanned 143 times and coaxed just 34 walks in 396 at-bats and saw his slash line drop to .207/.273/.331.  Despite throwing out 23% of basestealers in 2011, he possesses sufficient arm strength and his game-calling abilities continue to improve.  Skipworth will likely repeat Double-A in 2012, which will be a make-or-break year for the former first-rounder.

Kevin Mattison*, OF:  Mattison enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011 for Double-A Jacksonville, slashing .260/.353/.406 with 17 doubles, 16 triples, eight home runs, and 38 stolen bases.  As one can infer from his stats, his best tool is his speed, which grades out as a legitimate double-plus and makes him an above-average defender in center.  Like Skipworth, though, the left-handed hitting Mattison strikes out too much (127 times in 503 at-bats in 2011) and hits too many flyouts.  And although he possesses tremendous speed he is far from a polished basestealer, as he was gunned down 16 times in 54 attempts last season.  But after raking (.349) in the Arizona Fall League, Mattison was added to the Marlins’ 40-man roster and could potentially serve as the team’s fourth outfielder at some point during the 2012 season.  A 28th round selection out of UNC Asheville in 2008, Mattison is entering his age 26 season.

Kyle Jensen, OF: Jensen was named the Class A Florida State League MVP in 2011 after posting slashes of .309/.385/.535 with 20 doubles, 22 home runs and 66 RBI in 391 at-bats while playing for Jupiter.  His performance garnered a late-season promotion to Double-A Jacksonville where he posted a .785 OPS with five bombs in 80 at-bats.  At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Jensen has a lot of power and isn’t afraid to cut it loose.  So the fact that he showed a more patient approach last season as well as an ability to drive the ball to all fields is encouraging. Like Ricky Henderson, Cody Ross, and Ryan Ludwick, Jensen hits right-handed but throws with his left.  If he turns in a strong performance at Double-A – and possibly Triple-A, too – Jenson’s stock could rise over the course of the 2012 season.

*On team’s 40-man roster


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