Meet The Young Prospects Who Are Breaking Out In 2013
Around this time of year, top-rated prospects begin to surface at the Major League level, and some of them make an immediate impact. These young stars weren’t always slated for greatness (aside from stud five-tool guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper), but one way or another, they found they’re way to the show and could be here to stay. These are their stories.
Tony Cingrani (SP, Cincinnati Reds)
Anthony Cingrani is actually not from North New Jersey. He’s from a small Illinois town called New Lenox off the coast of Lake Michigan. The young left-handed pitcher enrolled at South Suburban Junior College in Illinois, before transferring to Rice University his Junior year.However Cingrani wasn’t exactly a phenom at Rice. He struggled his way to an 8.59 ERA in six starts, and walked more batters (16) than he struck out (13). After the season Cingrani asked the coaches if they wanted him off the team. Instead of giving up on the lefty, they worked with him on his mechanics during the offseason, adding 8 mph to Cingrani’s fastball, and transforming him into a great reliever.
The next season Cingrani tied the school record with 12 saves, posted a 1.74 ERA, and struck out 66 while walking only 10 batters.
He was ready for the bigtime, and after the Cincinnati Reds selected him with the 114th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Cingrani excelled as a starting pitcher at every minor league level. When opportunity knocked, in the form of a minor injury to Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto, Cingrani answered the bell. He’s now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 28 strikeouts through three starts for the Reds.
Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies)
Arenado was always a highly touted prospect. While attending El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California, the young slugger hit around .500 in his junior and senior years, and earned a full scholarship to Arizona State University.
He was so major-league ready that he elected to go straight to the professional ranks after being drafted by the Rockies in the second round of the 2009 draft. Arenado made his debut with the Casper Ghosts in the Rookie-Level Pioneer League, before moving up to Single A ball in 2010.
Eventually he made it up to the Rockies Spring Training camp in 2013, but failed to make the opening day roster. Again, opportunity knocked when veteran first baseman Todd Helton hit the DL, and the Rockies decided to fill that roster spot with their young prospect. So far Arenado hasn’t made too many waves, but he appears to be a part of Colorado’s future plans.
Matt Adams (1B, St. Louis Cardinals)
Adams should have been one of those highly touted prospects, but Major League teams glossed over him until the Cardinals took a chance on the lefty slugger in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft.
Big Matt grew up in Pennsylvania, went to college at Slippery Rock University, and set a school record by hitting .473 in his collegiate career. Yet somehow Adams watched on his computer as 698 players were selected before him in the draft. Standing 6-foot-3 inches tall, and weighing 260 pounds, with a quick, powerful swing and good eye at the plate, it’s hard to believe that so many clubs didn’t believe Adams could help them.
The Cardinals were willing to take a chance on the first baseman, and now they’re reaping the rewards. Even though he’s currently on the DL with an oblique strain, and wasn’t an everyday player before his injury, Adams leads the team with an absurd batting average of .542 in 24 official at bats. The MLB draft is always long and usually unpredictable, and you never know which prospects will break out once they make it to The Show.