First off, a hearty "congratulations" to Todd Frazier for winning the WorldCom Award for Biggest Plunge in Prospect Status. I think you might've gotten a bit of a raw deal, Todd, and hope to see you next year on the podium for Comeback Player of the Year. J.C. Sulbaran was the runner up, and after the announcement was quoted as saying, "It was just a kick in the junk to be nominated."
So today we have the opposite award:
The Google Award for Greatest Rise in Prospect Stock
Here are your nominees (ed. note: in order to be eligible for this award a player had to have been in the organization in 2009):
Dave "Warren" Sappelt didn't make the community top-25 last year, nor did he make my personal top 25. The only RRer sage enough to include him was BK, who put him at #25. His season kind of defined "coming out of nowhere" and now some are hoping he can start in LF for the Reds in 2011. That may be a bit premature, but by posting a .902 OPS over three levels, Sappelt certainly did a whole lot to insert himself into the prospect discussion.
Many had given up on Mesoraco prior to this season, but after his ridiculous power display and improved defense behind the plate in 2010, he is seriously in the top prospect discussion. Whether his stock rose much or not depends on how you viewed him prior to 2010, but by pretty much any measure he had a tremendous season, and is still only 22.
Negron was considered a 'throw-in' player in 2009's Alex Gonzalez Salary Dump. But after playing good SS defense and OPSing .770 in AA with 37 XBH, and earning a trip to the Arizona Fall League, some think he has passed Zack Cozart on the organizational SS depth chart. He'll be 25 by opening day next year and really only has the one decent offensive season to his credit, but considering that this time last year many didn't know or care that he existed, his status has certainly climbed considerably.
Another "came from nowhere" prospect. Well, actually, he came from the Dominican Republic, where he spent 08-09 dominating the summer league there. He spent 2010 as an 18 year old splitting time between Billings and the AZL team, and was unbelievably good. In 14 starts totaling 66.1 IP, he struck out 83(!), walked only 19, and gave up only 4 homers. He has a 93 mph fastball, a good offspeed pitch, and an advanced feel for pitching that has many comparing him to Johnny Cueto.
H-Rod was signed in 2007 out of Venezuela and spent his first two years playing there and in the DR. Last year he played in the GCL league, and in each season posted an OPS in the mid to upper .700s. As a good middle infielder that's not bad, but by no means standout. This year he took a major step forward, knocking 14 HR and 37 doubles en route to an .810 OPS. That's surprising power for a 20 year old who's only listed at 5'10", 150, and enters him into the prospect discussion.