Cubs Prospect Monthly Review: Falling June 2013

This is the 2nd installment of our monthly prospect review. This time, I'll be taking the prospects that have been falling over the last month or so, and dmick89 will take the Rising prospects (and have our Top 15-ish list). 

Honorable Mention

Brett Jackson is technically a prospect, but I feel like we pretty much know what we're going to get. He's going to struggle to start on a good team, and might have 2 or 3 years as a starter on a team like the Cubs or Astros. He might find work for half a decade as a 4th OF, and if things break right he could be slightly better than that. The days of being a considerable part of the next contending Cubs day are essentially over, though. His development hasn't just stalled, it's gone in reverse. The Cubs said they changed his swing, which didn't solve his K% rate but instead sapped his power. He sits at 85 wRC+ in the PCL.

Juan Carlos Paniagua has essentially lost another year of development when time is already of the essence with him. He's had the world's worst visa issues which had essentially robbed him (and the Cubs) of the whole year. When he finally reaches the states, the "undetermined"-year old might start to define his value; until then, it's hard even calling him a prospect.

#3 Zeke DeVoss

It looked at the end of the first month this year that DeVoss was going to reclaim his spot on the fringes of the Top 10 lists. Then May came, and with it, a .198/.323/.198 month. He's started to turn it on June  (.308/.424/.577), essentially as soon as I starting righting this, but even his recent surge puts him under his wRC+ from last season.

It's not all bad with DeVoss. He's got an excellent walk rate and a manageable strikeout rate (15.4% and 18.3%, respectively). The probably is his absolutely anemic power. An ISO of .106 doesn't look that bad, but when it's attached to a player with the contact issues of DeVoss (as far as putting the ball in play for hits), it's going to get really hairy at higher levels. His line right now is .233/.386/.339 against A+ pitching. When he climbs the ladder, pitchers are going to attack DeVoss and he hasn't really shown the power to stop them from doing so. 

DeVoss plays 2B and is mega-blocked at that position. At second, he has to compete with Alcantara/Torreyes/Watkins/Amaya. At CF, he has to compete with Almora and Silva. Where does DeVoss fit?

He's not doing terribly as a prospect, and his inclusion on this list can be seen as a good thing. I just thought that DeVoss had a shot at reclaiming some of his past luster and he really hasn't.

#2 Dillon Maples

I'm not going to focus on the fact that Maples is probably not the most PC person on the planet. I'm just going to focus on the fact that Maples has been injured for the majority of his career, and not looking good in his return.

In 23.2 innings, he's walked 19 people. He was wild in Extended Spring Training, also. As a 19-year old, that would be understandable. As a 21-year old, it's a little sad. Hopefully he embarasses me and this is the king of all small sample sizes. I'm just afraid that an age-21 pitcher who has battled injury for parts of every season since 2011 that can't throw strikes is a really bad sign.

#1 Gioskar Amaya

This is the one that is clearly most disconcerting. Maples and DeVoss are slightly worrying, but Amaya has imploded completely. In 2012, his line was .298/.381/.496 at Boise, and a darkhorse candidate to really, really break out in 2013. 

Instead, he collapsed completely, to the tune of .243/.311/.358. That's an OPS drop of 208 points over a single year. His ISO dropped from .199 to .115. His walk rate went from 10.4 to 8.1, while his K rate climbed from 20.5 to 25.9. His BABIP is .329 and he STILL only gets on base 31.1% of the time. He went from curious power from the center of the field to fringe-prospect status in an awful hurry.

Part of it might be nerves. When the bases are empty, his OPS is .808. With runners on, it crashes to .475. RISP? .360. 

Whatever it is, it needs to change. Amaya's chances at being a good prospect are very reliant on speed and power, since even in the best of days he had swing-and-miss to his game. With his power eroded and his patience worse than ever, it's been a terrible, terrible year for him.