For me, a sleeper prospect is simply a player that is flying a bit under the radar or a player that is on the verge of breaking out as a prospect but still has a few things to iron out. Here are a few “sleepers” in the Orioles system.
Jordan posted some sleeper prospects earlier this season.
Talk about a lightning arm. The RHP Guzman has touched 95 MPH with his fastball, although it generally sits around 91-93. He started out the year in the NYPL, where I was able to catch him pitch a few times. While a little old for the league at 21, he was absolutely dominant.
When I say dominant, I mean he was literally untouchable at times. He struck out 11 batters in one game, while the only run he gave up came on a HR. He finished his time at Aberdeen with a 1.66 ERA with 43 K’s in 38.0 innings.
While everyone knew he had a good fastball, the primary concern was his secondary arsenal. This is where I think Guzman has made some strides. His curve has shown much better break, and was baffling NYPL hitters. He has now been promoted to Delmarva and currently they have him working in the bullpen. I think Guzman eventually lands in there, although they may move him back to the rotation next season. He has dominated at each level in his career, and it’s worth noting until he falters.
Even when he does, that arm is electric and could be a nice piece to the bullpen down the road. Guzman ranked 27 overall on our Combined 2012 Mid-Season Top 30 Prospects List.
The 21 year old may not be the flashiest ball-player in the world, but he has some tools that I really like. He is a speedy Dominican with a solid athletic frame. He has the ability to be a productive player if he can calm down his swing. He’s always been all over the place with his mechanics at the plate.
However, it seems that something clicked in 2012. He’s certainly calmed down his hips enough where he is not completely stepping out at the plate. He still is showing wasted motion, but it’s been encouraging to see some form of improvement.
Lorenzo is a sleeper because if he ever learns to calm the swing down entirely, he could provide solid value. He has some ways to go, but I’ve seen worse talents come to light. The main issue is that it took him a while to get out of the DSL, so his game has some catching up to do with the rest of the field. However, Lorenzo has earned his promotions this season and that’s pretty much all one can ask for.
Esquivel is another intriguing but raw arm in the Orioles system. He has a fastball which ranges anywhere from 88-92 from my experiences watching him. He still has some potential velocity to add on down the road with some natural growth. He also shows a good deal of deception on his delivery, which really seemed to fool some of the players in the NYPL.
He has a nice little curve ball that he works in-and-out, and from my experience it seems to be his best out pitch. He was able to throw it in the dirt quite a few times and miss bats. His change up sits around 80 and I would rate it average right now.
The best part about Esquivel is that he gets a lot of weird looking swings on his secondary stuff. It’s the main reason why I like him, and depending on how they develop I could see him being a nice find. He had an injury that put him on the shelf this season for a little bit, but he is a guy to keep an eye on. Esquivel ranked 31 overall on our Combined 2012 Mid-Season Top 30 Prospects List.
Nivar is a converted Outfielder. To put it plain and simple, he is the longest of long-shots in the system. He has a lot of work ahead of him. That does not mean he lacks talent. Besides Dylan Bundy, Nivar has one of the better arms in the system. He can consistently pump his fastball around 94-97, occasionally touching 99 (!) MPH. However, with an arm that electric, we often lose sight of command.
Nivar has trouble hitting the broadside of a barn. He is the epitome of wild. The arm keeps reeling us in though. His secondary pitches are not very good right now, although his slider showed me some potential. He’s 23 years old, but remember he has not been pitching long at all. Nivar may never find any command at all, but the potential live arm will keep me intrigued. He’s been maddening to watch in the NYPL, but sometimes flashes brilliance on the mound.