Re: 2012 Breakout minor leaguer
This is the year David Vidal enters the Red Top Ten prospect status. He'll go 320/370/500 and play a sparkling hot corner in A+ and AA combined. Consequently, Vidal will garner Top 100 status-- albeit lower level-- in many prospect lists by the end of the year.
This is the year JC Sulburan makes a case for himself as a viable starting prospect and a #3 starter in the big leagues, lowering his ERA to the mid 3s and raising his perception among scouts across the game. His stuff will be compared to current Red, Johnny Cueto and found as good. He, too, will garner consideration on many prospect lists.
This is the year that Henry Rodriguez will finally be noticed outside of Red country, as he will once again put up an 800+ OPS season, this time between AA and AAA. He'll be 22 this season and make his first foray into the major leagues. A Brandon Phillips extension will be debated with Rodriguez's ceiling and HRod will take Phillips' spot in Cincinnati in 2013 full time. He'll make the Top 50 lists of many prospect publications.
Most of all, this is the year that Billy Hamilton establishes himself as a bona fide star in the minor leagues, OPSing in the 800 range but adding power and learning how to bunt. His obp jumps 30 points as he flirts with a 400 obp for awhile until cooling off. His new-found power is more modest, but still ends up over 400 for the season. We continue to hear vague questions about his defense, his arm, even his range as a SS and grumblings about moving him to 2B or CF, but no one is ever named as the source. Simply an unnamed scout. As a result, Hamilton is on every prospect magazine's short list of outstanding prospects for 2013, but questions are still there.
Donald Lutz ends up with an OPS well over 900 in his short stint in Bakersfield and is then moved quickly to AA, where he doesn't hit quite as well. He still shows enough power and hit tool to be discussed as the possible heir apparent to Joey Votto should he decide to leave via free agency. Lutz could conceivably make a Top 100 list, but typically those lists aren't kind to 1B. He just misses, as a result.
But the one true darkhorse minor league riser is Dominic D'Anna. He'll play all year in Bakersfield and go absolutely bat-poop crazy offensively, with a line of 300+/ 400+/ 500+/ 900+. He'll play both DH and 1B, primarily 1B after Lutz is transitioned to AA. He will also be mentioned among the Votto replacement candidates for 1B (along with Soto at AAA, who will hit well and with power, Lutz, and Robwert Maddox, who will also hit well in Dayton).
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