With Kris Bryant and Addison Russell nearing the 130 at-bats threshold for officially becoming a rookie, two spots are about to open up on our preseason Top 30. To update the list, we decided to add two players at #29 and #30 (an updated top 20 will be released during mid-season.) For now lets focus in on two prospects who just missed the cut at the beginning of the year, but have been performing well so far to warrant a spot on our list.
Bijan Rademacher: Drafted in the 13th round in 2012, Rademacher was seen as a possible pitcher who wanted to pursue his hitting career. He jumped on our radar last season, producing a .281/.363/.448 in a full season at High-A. He was promoted to the Smokies to start the year, and has struggled hitting for power with a .110 ISO (.150 tends to be average) and has suffered from a low BABIP to start the year. A positive from the season so far is he’s increased his walk rate to 12.7% and cut down on his strikeout rate (19%) compared to last year, showing his advanced approach will play in the high minors.
Radmacher is limited to a corner outfield position as he’s not the quickest, but he has a plus arm and could be an above-average defender in right. Due to his position, an increased stress is placed on his bat. Rademacher will have to hit for more power if he’s ever to be a major league starter, but with an advanced approach and good contact abilities, a role could easily be cut out for him as a 4th OF/platoon bat in the majors. Keep an eye on his power numbers this season, as if they increase, so does his value.
Jeremy Null: One of our sleepers to start the year, Null was picked by the Cubs in the 15th round last year out of Western Carolina University. Pitching in South Bend, he has been the hottest pitcher in the organization to start the year. Much of this has to do with his control, as he’s issued just one walk, compared to 30 strikeouts, in 36.2 innings this year. Those numbers lead to a sterling 0.74 ERA, and if he continues pitching well we see a promotion to Myrtle Beach in the near future for him.
What makes Null special is his downward plane, as he’s listed at 6’7”. Although his fastball velocity isn’t elite (89-93mph most days), it has the appearance of being so since he releases from such a high-slot. He has some room to grow and maybe add a little more velocity, which could easily make his fastball a plus pitch. Null also throws a change-up and a slider, both improving pitches as well. We’re hoping to get eyes on him in the upcoming month to see how the refinement of his secondaries are coming along. If everything comes together, Null’s ceiling is a #3 or #4 starter. If not, he could be valuable in a long-relief or 7th inning role, where his fastball velocity could hopefully play up.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.