5 Under the Radar Prospects Who Will Impact 2014

03 Mar

There are always those rookies every year who show up and snag a job right out Spring Training or pop up from the minors after an injury or a monstrous April/May in the minors and surprise us because they weren't really hyped up like the higher ranked prospects.

1. Stephen Piscotty - St. Louis Cardinals - OF

When Albert Pujols left the Cardinals they received two compensation picks, one was used on 2013 postseason hero Michael Wacha and the other on Piscotty. He fits the profile of the kind of hitter the Cardinals love, a guy who hits for average and teases a little when it comes to power. He has the potential but hasn't quite developed that tool yet. The Cardinals outfield could be in flux. If Holliday or Craig get injured or are forced to play DH (or if Matt Adams plays DH forcing Craig to play 1B) in interleague games then they will need an outfielder. Most think it could be Taveras but he has had trouble staying healthy and has a history of off the field problems requiring returns to the Dominican Republic. That leaves Piscotty as the next option. I believe he will show his ability to consistently get on base for the Cardinals.

2. David Hale - Atlanta Braves - RHP

Hale fits the Braves' new profile for the draft as a power arm with low mileage. He has already pitched in 2013 in 11 innings for the Braves. His ERA in those innings? 0.82. I know that is a ridiculously small sample size but still, to do that right out of the gates in your major league career is pretty legit. The Braves won't be afraid to plug him into the bullpen with their former bullpen stalwart Eric O'Flaherty off in Oakland now. He will be just another great weapon for the Braves in the late innings along with Venters and Kimbrel. 

3.Andrew Lambo - Pittsburgh Pirates - OF

Despite playing in 18 games for a contender in 2014, Lambo has stayed off the radar.  Lambo has a fighting chance at snagging the starting RF spot going into the 2014 season. Tabata has just not ran away with it, and this team might be looking for more power to provide instant offense compared to Tabata's style which was getting on base. Despite his speed though, he only had 3 SB's in 106 games last year. The Pirates might lose a little of the consistent production from Tabata but the overall production from Lambo no matter how streaky will be worth it. Tabata got on base at a clip around .340, Lambo only drops down to .304 but will drive in more runs behind the likes of Cutch and El Toro. 

4. Enny Romero - Tampa Bay Rays - LHP

Enny dominated Double-A last year, and pitched 5 innings of 0.00 ERA ball for the Rays out of the bullpen. His main demon is his mechanics, but if he can conquer it than he is projected to be an elite pitcher. If Heath Bell or another reliever flames out Romero will most likely be next in line as he hasn't given up a run at the Majors yet and the Rays will see if can continue the dominance. 

5. Nick Martinez - Texas Rangers - RHP 

Nick Martinez will have a plethora of opportunities in one of the most injury prone pitching staffs in 2014. He projects as #4 starter. He is a Ron Washington type of guy who throws strikes and lets the defense do work for him behind him. He has a solid three-pitch mix and could prove to be invaluable like Martin Perez was for the Rangers in 2013. The Rangers need to keep their strong relievers as relievers and pull up a guy like Martinez, especially with a such a strong defense like the Rangers have to back him up.