This post would have been a bit easier to do a couple of years ago back when we had very little depth in the system, but now it is quite deep, so there are a number of sleepers in our system who could up their status significantly in 2013.
Here are my five:
1) Aaron West, RHP - This is probably the one no-brainer when you think of sleeper prospects in our system. West put up spectacular numbers at Tri-City last season, posting a 2.04 ERA in 61.2 innings pitched to go along with 59 strikeouts and just 9 walks. He doesn't have the frame of a workhorse, as he is just 6'1", but he's well built at 195 pounds. It's kind of a mystery how he fell to the 17th round, because his fastball sits in the low to mid 90s, and then his secondary stuff is also quite good. The main thing, I think, that led to his tremendous 2012 season, though, was his excellent command. 9 walks in 61.2 innings pitched is scary good. I'm skeptical that he can repeat that kind of control in 2013 where he'll either start out at High-A or AA, but his arsenal is impressive, so I expect him to have a solid year at the very least.
2) Preston Tucker, OF - When Tucker was selected in the 7th round, he had Luhnow written all over him. He takes walks, and he doesn't strike out very often. Furthermore, Tucker hits for both average and power. He only had 165 ABs at Tri-City last year, but they were a stellar 165 ABs nonetheless. He finished with a .321/.390/.509 line while walking 18 times and striking out just 16 (!!!) times. He's nothing special defensively, but the bat could get him some recognition. He'll start out at either High-A or AA in April, and it seems like he's very ready to make that big jump. He doesn't have a lot of upside, if any at all, but he could still become a legitimate prospect if he has a good 2013 season in the upper levels.
3) Carlos Perez, C - Perez isn't your typical top prospect catcher that has plus power potential, but he possesses a lot of skills that could make him an intriguing prospect to watch in 2013. His best attribute is his offensive game. He has good contact skills and a solid approach at the plate, plus he doesn't strike out very much. He has gap power right now and may even have double digit HR potential once he fully matures, but that may be awhile. He's one of the more athletic catchers in the minors, as he's very mobile behind the plate, and he has a solid arm that could develop into an above-average one. Since we have no depth at catcher outside of him and perhaps Tyler Heineman, he'll have my attention this season.
4) Joe Musgrove, RHP - Musgrove isn't exactly a sleeper prospect, as he'll be on some radars this season, but he hasn't done a whole lot since he was drafted in the 1st (or 2nd) round back in 2011. He's got a big frame at 6'5" 230, and his fastball could be a plus one. The reason I say could is because he's had injury problems, and those injuries probably limited his velocity. Now that he'll be healthy in 2013, I think it's reasonable to expect his fastball to sit in the 93-95 range again, like it did when he was in high school. His secondaries are still in the developmental phase, as is his command, but with that frame and that fastball, he could do some damage in Low-A this season.
5) Colton Cain, LHP - This might be a bit too bold, but I'm relatively optimistic that Cain can still live up to his talent. He was drafted a few years ago in the 8th round, but he was considered a 2nd or perhaps even a 1st round talent at the time. His fastball is a good one, as it sits in the 92-93 range, and some people think he can throw even harder. He got hit hard at Lancaster, but just about everyone does. His secondaries are pretty undeveloped, unfortunately, but he does have a breaking ball that could be a useful pitch for him. The thing that he has going for him outside of his fastball is his frame, as he's 6'3" 250. His command isn't bad, but he'll need to improve it, along with his secondaries, if he wants to have a successful 2013 season, and I think he is capable of having one.
Any feedback would be appreciated.