Last week I wrote about some minor league sleepers for next year, players who I felt would step up their game. But how about the players that need a big year? Some other big name prospects need a bounce back year, or they may fall into non-prospect status.
Che-Hsuan Lin: This has been a topic of discussion last week. Lin did not take a step back, but he did not take a step foward. But being in the minor leagues, that is almost as bad as taking a step back. His defense is terrific and his OBP is through the roof, but once pitchers learn he really doesn't hit that well, they won't be as careful with him and that OBP will drop. Lin needs to step up to where he was before this year or it could get dangerous for him.
Alex Wilson: Wilson was one of my sleepers going into this season. He pitched terrific in Salem to get a callup to Portland and imploded. He had bad start after bad start. I must admit I have not seen him pitch, so I don't know where the issue lies. But I do know he is not a starting pitcher going foward. He is a bullpen pitcher, and will likely start off in Portland as that. If he continues to struggle I can see the Red Sox moving on.
Stephen Fife: Now Fife is a guy that I did see. He finished the season strong, but the weeks before he was awful. When I saw him he just didn't locate. His fastball had good life but he wasn't locating it. His curveball and changeup were horrendous. I know Fife was a top prospect, but if this continues they cannot move foward with him.
Mark Wagner: Technically, Wagner is not a prospect. But he was going into this season. Wagner, as a catcher, could fall back into prospect status if he can stay on the field. That's the problem. He was on the disabled list three different times this season. If Wagner can stay on the field he has a shot. But he needs a good season.
Some of you may be thinking that these guys can never fall out of prospect status. Really now? Well, I will give you three players who ranked in the top ten not too long ago. Kris Johnson, Aaron Bates, and Micheal Bowden. (I know Bowden is still ranked, but I do not consider him a prospect)
Johnson was ranked fourth, Bates eigth, and Bowden second all in recent memory. Now they are post prospects. This is where Lin, Wilson, Wagner and Fife will be soon if they don't have good years. Post-prospects.