Between last week and today, three of the biggest names in the MLB prospect-grading game put out their appended and revised Top 50 prospect lists. The Angels, as you may or may not already know, are woefully underrepresented on these rankings, but perhaps instead of lamenting the fact that our minor league teams don't have a bevy of talent to write home about, we at least have one guy who is showing up middle of the pack. Well, on two out of three lists, that is.
Baseball Prospectus' mid-season prospect rankings were bereft of any love for Nuke(great nickname. Sounds tough and has Bull Durham references built in to it), but Newcomb did pop up on the lists of Keith Law and Baseball America. Baseball America had him at #37 on their Top 50, and had this little blurb to say:
A big, powerful lefthander, Newcomb has struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings as a pro
If the placement towards the bottom of the list seems a little off, then you're going to be excited to learn that Keith Law, in his rankings released today(via ESPN Insider), had him a bit higher at #25 of his Top 50. He also expounded on the young lefty more than BA did, and said the following:
Newcomb shows three above-average pitches now and has one of the lowest-effort deliveries in the minors, but he's still working on command and control, having succeeded at the University of Hartford by dominating bad hitters with pure stuff. I like his chances to develop into a No. 2 starter in time, given his size and stuff, although I think he's behind other pitching prospects his age in terms of refinement.
A chance to "develop into a No. 2 starter in time" isn't exactly barnburning, effusive praise, sure, but it's also pretty darn good and getting that out of a first round pick would be a posthumous feather in Jerry Dipoto's cap. It'll be fun to watch him climb the organizational ladder, as he's currently in High-A and seems to be finding a groove after a sluggish start. He also just came off of a nice 1-2-3 inning in the Future's Game, a chance to showoff his wares in front of a national audience, and he looked like you'd expect: a big, burly, talented youngster who has promise to spare but still needs a year or so of polishing before we can even begin to imagine him up with the big league club.