Earlier today, I took a look at Cody Decker and Vince Belnome, two sleepers in the San Diego system who get very little hype.
Of course, we can’t have an optimistic projection for everyone in the system. One player who I think gets more hype than he deserves in right-hander Anthony Bass, ranked as San Diego’s 19th best prospect by MadFriars.com.
It’s not hard to see why Bass is ranked so high. He went 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 18 starts for Low-A Fort Wayne, before going 3-0, 3.51 in 10 games (8 starts) for High-A Lake Elsinore. That’s pretty solid for a 21-year-old.
Still, there’s a lot of deception in those numbers. Bass’ FIP at Low-A was 3.32, and that rose to a troublesome 4.61 at High-A. Both marks are about 1.1 runs higher than his ERA, and take him from legit prospect to fringe sleeper arm.
Bass’ stuff does nothing to change this perception. He works in the high 80’s with a two-seam fastball that features modest sink, and mixes in a slider and changeup. He lacks an “out pitch,” and his strikeout rates have been very poor. When you whiff just 5.40 batters per nine in High-A, you aren’t likely to get many non-pitchers to whiff in the majors.
Heavily reliant on a deceptive delivery, Bass has gotten good BABIP, HR/FB and strand rate luck in his career, but not enough of any to show any real sustainable trend; I doubt he’ll keep beating his FIPs like this.
If he has any future, he’ll likely be a middle reliever or long man. At age 22, I suppose Bass has some time to fix his problems, but I think he’s probably the most overrated prospect in the Padres system (not counting guys like Donavan Tate, who have little or no experience; opinions on where to rank such players can vary widely just based on ranking principle).