Authored by Andrew Perna - 6th May, 2012 - 2:14 pm
The two most-hyped prospects entering the 2012 season, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, are already in the Major Leagues.
But there are an abundance of potential difference-makers paying their dues at small ballparks around the country that may also soon earn a call-up.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves
The 21-year-old right-hander made five appearances and three starts for Atlanta last season. In 19-plus innings, Teheran struck out ten batters and walked eight. His ERA (5.03) was not impressive, but the body of work was small.
He has looked better pitching for Triple-A Gwinnett this year. Following a short outing on May 1, Teheran is 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in five starts. He has pitched less than 20 innings and averaged a little less than a strikeout per frame. He has pitched much better at home (2.40 ERA) than on the road (7.71) and has been inconsistent.
Teheran has allowed eight runs this season with four coming on April 23. He has two outings in which he did not allow a run. Those starts come in consecutive appearances.
Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
He is only 19-years-old and is not yet at the Triple-A level, but Profar has a dazzling future ahead of him even as Elvis Andrus mans shortstop up in Arlington. His frame is slight, but as an international free agent he also drew interest from Major League teams as a pitcher.
Profar was named the top Class A hitter in 2011, but it has taken him some time to acclimate to a higher level of pitching. In 25 games, he is hitting .253/.315/.485 but those numbers look much better over his last 10 contests. Since April 23, the switch-hitter is hitting .302/.362/.581 with two RBI and two stolen bases.
He does not have a ton of power and his speed is not elite, but Profar has displayed strong plate discipline for a player his age. He drew two more walks than strikeouts last season after striking out close to twice as often in his first professional season.
Gerritt Cole, RHP, Pirates
The top pick in the First-Year Player Draft last June, the first five starts Cole has made as a professional have drawn varying reviews. He has gone 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in the Class A Advanced Florida State League.
His command has been impressive, striking out 29 batters and walking just seven in 23 innings. The right-hander has a WHIP just a touch above 1.000 and averages 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings. The best start Cole made came on Monday when he lasted six innings, struck out six, walked one and allowed a single hit in a scoreless outing.
However, home runs have been an issue for Cole. He allowed a pair in just three innings in his second start and then another to go with three earned runs his third appearance. He may seem light-years away from Pittsburgh right now, but will likely contribute to the Major League club by late 2013.
Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays
Dealt twice in the summer of 2010, once by Philadelphia for Roy Oswalt and then again by Houston for Brett Wallace, the speedy outfielder was a second-round pick in 2008. Gose has never hit for a high average, but gets on base and flies on the base pads.
Last season, he hit .253/.349/.415 and stole 70 bases. Gose needs to cut down on his strikeouts but his ability to hit with power (16 home runs) entices him to swing and miss. With Triple-A Las Vegas this spring, Gose has looked much like he did in 2011.
He is hitting .223, but gets on base (.323) and steals them (9-for-12). He has yet to hit a ball out of the park through 112 at-bats, which is magnified by his 36 strikeouts. More patience will serve him at the Major League level so he can set the table as a No. 1 or No. 2 hitter for Toronto.
Jed Bradley, LHP, Brewers
Milwaukee selected Bradley with the 15th overall pick last June out of Georgia Tech. He finished his collegiate career, going 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts before beginning his professional career this spring.
He has looked good through six starts for Brevard County of the Class A Advanced Florida State League, with a 3-2 record and 3.34 ERA. He has 32 strikeouts (just eight walks) in 35 innings and has limited hitters to a .231 batting average. The Alabama native began his career with three shutout performances, totaling 19 innings of 10-hit, scoreless baseball before he hit a rough patch.
The left-hander has allowed 17 runs, 13 of them earned, in his last three appearances, a stretch that has spanned 16 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio since April 23 is 2.8, down from 6.0 in his first three starts.