Breakout Prospect Prediction Review

Clayton Blackburn

The Giants' No. 8 prospect's season was shortened by an injury, causing him to miss more than a month and a half's time from mid-May through early July. The downward movement on his pitches has helped him in 2014, as his strikeout numbers have gone down since 2013 but his ground ball averages have gone up. Other than Ty Blach, Blackburn has been the most consistent top prospect pitching in Richmond. No reason to think he won't be a Fresno Grizzly next season.

  • My Prediction: 11-4, 23 starts, 2.61 ERA, 131.0 IP, 102 H, 50 R, 38 ER, 30 BB, 140 K
  • Current Stats: 3-5, 10 starts, 3.10 ERA, 52.1 IP, 58 H, 22 R, 18 ER, 12 BB, 41 K
  • Season Pace: 4-7, 14 starts, 3.10 ERA, 71.2 IP, 81 H, 31 R, 25 ER, 17 BB, 53 K

Andrew Susac

Another player who lost the chance at a full season due to injury (concussion, hamstring), Susac has still done okay for himself considering he made the Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. His current .265/.376/.456 line could be in the .300/.400/.500 range with a consistent, injury-free finish to the 2014 season, which would be right in line with my prediction. The only question is, will be get a September call-up?

  • My Prediction: 110 G, 385 AB, 115 H, 25 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 67 BB, 95 K
  • Current Stats: 60 G, 204 AB, 54 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 33 BB, 50 K
  • Season Pace: 84 G, 286 AB, 76 H, 13 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 46 BB, 70 K

Keury Mella

Continuing the injury-shortened season trend, Mella suffered an undisclosed injury and was placed on the disabled list July 4, though he has not pitched since a 10-strikeout performance on June 20. On that night, GreenJackets beat writer David Lee had this to say, among other things, about Mella:

"He hit 96 a couple times in the first inning and settled into 92-95 afterward...Mella's curveball was easily the best I've seen from him, definitely in plus range...It had good three-quarters break with solid bite and depth. He showed enough command to place it to either side of the plate. I've leaned toward Mella's changeup as his better secondary in the past, but the curve was the better pitch in this outing."

So what the Giants have here is a 6'2", 200-pound 20-year-old that throws a 92-96 mile per hour sinker, with possibly a plus changeup and plus curveball. He's currently the No. 19 ranked prospect in the Giants' system, and I would shocked if he doesn't crack the top-10 by next year.

  • My Prediction: 9-5, 22 starts, 2.98 ERA, 130.0 IP, 117 H, 56 R, 43 ER, 31 BB, 148 K
  • Current Stats: 3-3, 12 starts, 3.93 ERA, 66.1 IP, 69 H, 36 R, 29 ER, 13 BB, 63 K
  • Season Pace: 4-4, 17 starts, 3.93 ERA, 94.0 IP, 98 H, 51 R, 41 ER, 18 BB, 89 K

Christian Arroyo

Yes, another injury. Arroyo hyperextended his thumb while playing for Augusta in May. He was also struggling to find his groove, so the injury and subsequent rehabilitation came at a good time for the 19-year-old, who told me in June when he joined the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes that the injury was "a blessing in disguise." Considering he will likely finish the season in Salem-Keizer, playing far fewer games than he would have with Augusta, I added an "adjusted pace" to show what his numbers might have looked like expanded over a full season.

  • My Prediction: 130 G, 520 AB, 155 H, 45 2B, 9 3B, 16 HR, 80 RBI, 60 BB, 90 K
  • Current Stats: 27 G, 109 AB, 32 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 10 BB, 11 K
  • Season Pace: 55 G, 222 AB, 65 H, 6 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 20 BB, 22 K
  • Adjusted Pace: 124 G, 500 AB, 146 H, 13 2B, 9 3B, 9 HR, 65 RBI, 45 BB, 49 K

So, yeah. I probably expected too much of the kid, especially in the power department. I also didn't anticipate an injury rehab turned demotion. Still, I think Arroyo is capable of an MVP-caliber season at some point in his minor league career.