If you’re one of those people who likes prospects as I am, one of the fun things that you start looking for are the next sort of players. The next great ace, the next tools player that turns into skills, and all that. But the thing that interests me more than anything, is when a non-prospect turns into a prospect.
And last year? One of the great emergences you might not have heard of was when Vincent Catricala turned from professional hitter into a solid prospect. In fact? In the morass that is Seattle’s third base, Catricala has more than a punchers chance to come to Seattle as their starting third baseman. Because come on. Chone Figgins?
Now that being said? This sort of emergence is what scouts, and real fantasy baseball nerds have now found a reason to hunt for the next one. And as I am a real fantasy baseball nerd? I think I have what you need.
The name? Vince Belnome. He’s a second baseman in the Padres organization. And like Catricala before him, he’s going into the season with absolutely no hype. Here’s why it should come soon enough.
1) His 2011 was ridiculous.
Granted, he missed time due to injury last year. His slash line of .333/.432/.603 only happened in 75 games. But that being said? He hit like this in AA. And he had more home runs in these games than he did in the California league.
And the interesting part? San Antonio is a park that leans toward the pitcher. Especially on the matter of home runs. So if you’re asking about Vince Belnome? He has major league power. And it can translate to Petco.
2) One of the major questions? Defensive position.
While scouts never really liked their tools, there is on true thing that kept them from achieving prospect status. Defensive reputation. While Belnome generates a decent fielding percentage at second base, he’s not going to be the greatest of playmakers. And Catricala? The only thing that stops him is his glove.
3) There is no hype going in.
If you’re wondering why exactly Vince Belnome fits the Catricala archetype? It’s because very few of the self styled experts are on the Belnome train. In 2011, Catricala wasn’t in either of the two major prospect books readily available to the general public. This year? Vince Belnome’s not on the list.
But he will crash the party.