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TCB Top 30 Prospect Week: Joe Sclafani will be a productive major leaguer

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Mark it down. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Call Joe Sclafani the Rodney Dangerfield of the TCB Top 30 prospect list.

(Is that too dated a reference? People still watch Caddyshack, right? RIGHT?)

The No. 22 player on this year's list doesn't get much respect. Yes, he rose 23 spots over last year. Yes, he's the second-oldest player on the list to be ranked. Yes, he got over a C ranking, which only 24 players accomplished this year.

But, Joe Sclafani could have a better career in the majors than all but a handful of people ahead of him on this list.

Sclafani should be much higher on the list. He should be the next great super sub on the Astros. He should be the first guy in the Top 30 to make an impact in the majors this season. We should all be excited about him.

But, how many people can muster excitement over Joe Sclafani?

Let me attempt to change that. Did you know that only four players in the Pacific Coast League had a higher on-base percentage in 200 or more plate appearances than Sclafani's .423 mark? One of those guys, Joc Pederson, is a top 10 prospect in the game. Another, Nick Evans of the Diamondbacks, is old.

In fact, most of the players to post an on-base percentage over .400 in the PCL last year were old. Just three were under 25 (Sclafani, Chicago's Kris Bryant and Atlanta's Jace Peterson).

Both Bryant and Peterson have significantly more prospect buzz than Sclafani. Peterson was a key part of the Justin Upton deal, heading from San Diego to the Braves. Can anyone see Sclafani being a key cog in a big-time Astros deal?

Maybe we should.

What are the knocks on Sclafani? Well, he doesn't have power and he doesn't have a set position. He doesn't strike out, though. He runs well. He played adequate defense. He hasn't had a wRC+ under 100 at any stop in his minor league career.

Yet, Sclafani was still hung with that C+ grade. He's still thought of as a less exciting prospect than Brett Phillips, who hasn't even played at Double-A yet.

We know why that is. Phillips has upside. Sclafani does not.

But, couldn't you envision a line line this for Sclafani in the near future?

.255/.298/.333 with four homers, 10 steals and a wRC+ of 78.

That's reachable this season for Sclafani. ZiPS projects Sclafani for a .245/.306/.319 line with three home runs and 10 steals in 14 attempts.

That first line? That was Bill Spiers in his rookie season with the Brewers.

That's right. I'm saying that Sclafani could be Bill Spiers for the Astros, a guy who can play everywhere, who never gets a ton of playing time, but can help a roster greatly. Spiers played for the Astros for six years and had a career line in Houston of .288/.375/.408. That was all after he turned 30.

Spiers had a career WAR total of 9.6. If Sclafani can produce like that, he'd be more successful than all but 10 guys from the 2002 draft.

Do I have a scientific basis for this? Nope. ZiPS top comp for Sclafani is Jonathan Herrerra, who has played in parts of six seasons in the major and has a grand total of 0.0 fWAR to show for it.

Those are all great reasons why Sclafani is on the list where he is. Just watch him, is all I'm saying. Watch him beat out all those guys ranked higher than he is in productivity. Watch him be active for 10 years, putting up solid on-base numbers and playing all over the field.

Watch him become the next Billy Spiers.