June Future Forty
The Future Forty has been updated for the month of June. Mostly minimal changes this time around, with two additions (Rob Johnson and Sabastian Boucher) replacing two players who are underperforming and running out of time (Rich Dorman and Jon Nelson).
The biggest move up the charts belongs to Adam Jones, who moved from Project to Future Prospect and saw his reward rating bumped up from a 6 to a 7. He hasn’t gotten a ton of recognition, but Jones has been on fire the past month, raising his season batting line to .313/.388/.548. 28 of his 65 hits–43 percent!–have gone for extra bases. He’s still a free swinger (19 walks, 49 strikeouts) and has a lot of work to do on breaking balls, but the offensive surge Jones has seen is a very good sign for his future. I’ve been publicly critical of the Jones selection and postulated that he may end up on the mound at some point in his career, but he’s making those comments look quite foolish. Jones’ defense at short is still fairly poor, however, as he’s on pace to make nearly 50 errors on the year. However, the M’s continue to remain committed to him as a shortstop, and it’s not a bad idea to try to get as much value out of a young player as possible. With his offensive surge at age 19 in high-A ball, Jones has moved himself into legitimate prospect status, and now ranks fairly evenly in my eyes with Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt Tuiasasopo.
Also flying under the radar a bit, but having an encouraging start to 2005, is personal favorite Oswaldo Navarro. He’s hitting .274/.361/.371 in Wisconsin, which doesn’t sound like much, but is a huge improvement over his disastrous affair in full season ball last year (.211/.295/.248). Navarro is posting a 22/24 walk to strikeout ratio, showing improved contact ability and discipline at the plate, and despite his underwhelming power, has knocked 13 extra base hits. He’s always going to be a defense first player, but if his bat continues to develop, there is still an outside chance that he could turn into an Omar Vizquel type of player. It’s a longshot, and he’s going to remain in the project category until he shows some offensive potential at higher levels, but he’s one of the few players in the Project category who has the potential to become a regular major league player at some point.
Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, the M’s organizational pitching is a disaster, almost from the top down. It’s absolutely amazing how poorly the pitching staffs are, from the big league club all the way to Wisconsin. Trying to find a legitimate pitching prospect to get excited about in the low minors is nearly impossible.
The next update will come at the beginning of July, and hopefully, the third overall pick will have already signed and we’ll get to add another name to the line of legitimate prospects in the organization. Feel free to use this thread as a prospect/draft catch all, as pretty much anything minor league related fits in well here.