Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AZL Top 20 Prospects

With Baseball America publishing their list of the top 20 prospects, I figured I would post mine.

Since I worked in the AZL for the Dodgers all year, I got a pretty decent feel for a number of prospects. 

Below are my reports with a brief writeup:

1) SS Addison Russell (Athletics) - Russell will stay at SS and has a very special bat that projects to hit for avg and power.  He is a future All-Star with the bat and the glove is advanced enough to play an above avg SS, as he showed gd arm strength with soft hands and only got in trouble from moving too fast. 

2) 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers) - Gallo features 2 tools that grade out as an 8 for me, his power and his throwing arm.  His throwing arm hasn't played like an 8 yet, mainly because he is still learning the position and how to move his feet and keep everything timed up.  I think he is going to advance enough to stay at 3B.  From an offensive perspective, he basically is going to try and be Adam Dunn.  He features great leverage in his swing with above avg bat speed and hit some long home runs.  He is somewhat patient, though he will expand his zone at times if he feels he has been pitched around too much.  Due to the length of his swing, he is also going to strike out.  With that being said, I am very high on Gallo and forsee a potential 40 HR hitter at a corner infield position.

3) OF Albert Almora (Cubs) - Almora was touched on earlier in this blog when I followed up with the Cubs, but he projects as a plus defensive CF (Gold-Glove worthy) with a .280 avg and 15-20 HR's (with more avg to possibly come in peak years).  Big time prospect.

4) OF Jorge Soler (Cubs) - Soler would not have ranked this highly based on his AZL season, but the adjustments I saw in the instructs game made me feel confident enough to put him here, and an argument could be made that he should be as high as # 2.  He features the best bat speed of any of the prospects listed here and projects to be a middle of the order RF.

5) OF Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - Brinson was said to have been a raw OF, but he was anything but raw here.  He showed big tools, featuring a swing that should hit for avg and provide some power.  He is a better athlete then Almora, but isn't the defender quite yet, as he takes some circuitous routes.  The 1st rounder should be an everyday CF.

6) SS Dorssys Paulino (Indians) - Paulino shows very good bat speed and a bat that profiles to hit for avg and power.  His ultimate question will be where he winds up defensively.  While he has the tools to play an average SS, it is rare for a team to employ an avg SS.  The bat will play at 3B or 2B, so it shouldn't be a problem moving him off.  Projects as a potential everyday player and a middle of the order bat is his best case.

7) C Clint Coulter (Brewers) - Coulter struggled like crazy against us until the last time we played the Brewers, where he went and hit a 430 foot HR and then pulled a ball foul that was about 360.  His swing is simple and repeatable and should hit for average, while he has the ability to hit 25+ homers as a catcher.  Defensively, he still has some work to do with his receiving and throwing, but he has the tools to stay behind the plate.

8) 1B Matt Olson (Athletics) - Olson is Adam LaRoche to me when all is said and done.  The 2 sport star is incredibly nimble around the bag and makes all the plays and can be projected as a plus defender.  At the plate, he profiles to hit for some avg and power, with the ability to top out as a .280 hitter w/ 25 HR's in his prime.

9) OF Nomar Mazara (Rangers) - While I don't have a love affair for him like a coworker does, he features near 80 raw power and his swing has gotten cleaner from extended spring to the AZL, topping it with a 400+ foot HR against us in the playoffs.  I am not sure where he profiles in the field or how much average he will hit for, but the 17 year old has true light tower power.

10) 3B Daniel Robertson (Athletics) - Robertson makes 3 Athletics in my Top 10 and, while I only got a 1 game look at him, he immediately stood out with his tools.  He features a simple repeatable swing that will for avg and power and he will move to 3B as his frame develops.  Projects as a solid avg regular.

11) 1B Ronald Guzman (Rangers) - I think Guzman will hit 20 HR's, but will struggle to hit for avg, which is the exact opposite of the numbers he is putting up now.  I think a little more loft will add to his power ability and will take away from the avg numbers he is putting up now.  He will never be more than an avg defender at the position and his bat will need to carry him.

12) OF Gabriel Guerrero (Mariners) - Another guy who helps make it on my list thanks to an instructs view, Guerrero features big time bat speed and the ensuing rawness.  He is a guy who will profile in an OF corner and could be a very special bat with the ability to hit for power and avg and the ability to draw almost zero walks.  One of the ultimate high risk/high reward players.

13) OF Nick Williams (Rangers) - Williams was one of my favorite prospects entering the AZL season and I will never understand how he fell so far in the draft.  He features above avg bat speed in a swing that will for avg and some power.  He is an above avg runner, though he is still learning to figure out how to use that speed in the field.  I think his bat will play enough to handle a corner outfield spot.

14) OF Henry Moreno (Padres) - Moreno just flat hit this year.  An above avg runner, he showed a short stroke that has some current pull power to it.  He is still a bit raw as a CF and the body is a concern for outgrowing the position, but he has the chance to stay there.  If he is forced to move to a corner, the bat will ready need to develop.  An intriguing prospect.

15) 1B Stryker Trahan (Diamondbacks) - Trahan generates special bat speed, but I have a lot of concerns with his swing.  He gets out on his front foot too quickly and I think he is going to be in trouble against quality breaking stuff.  I also don't think he is going to be able to handle C.  He makes this list however because he gets plus power from that special bat speed and has a chance to hit for a little avg.  Just going to be at a corner instead of catcher.

16) RHP Zach Bird (Dodgers) - Due to the fact I work for the Dodgers, I will not be posting a writeup on him.

17) RHP Mitch Brown (Indians) - Brown showed a 4 pitch mix in a close to mature body, which I have questions about how much growth there is left to his frame and stuff.  He comps to a pitcher that I will not name.  Overall, he worked 89-92 w/ a developing 4 pitch repetoire featuring a gd 2 plane CB, a developing 3/4 tilt SL and a CH that he throws with gd armspeed.  Profiles nicely as a potential middle of the rotation starter.

18) 1B Dan Vogelbach (Cubs) - Vogelbach has a bad body that will limit him to 1B and will be, at best, a below avg defender.  The bat is potentially special, as his barrel stays in the zone for a long time and he shows the ability to square pitches up.  He has big time power and it showed itself at times.  With that being said, he really struggled against lefty breaking balls against us and he will need to work real hard to be an everyday player.

19) OF Jonathan Reynoso (Reds) - Reynoso ran a bit hot and cold against us, but shows avg bat speed from a short, simple swing.  He needs to get some better separation so his power will play better, but he has the potential for 5 tools, although possibly no better then avg across the board.  Projects as a potential everyday OF that will hit in the bottom third of the lineup.

20) OF Alexis Rivera (Royals) - The big bodied OF showed avg ability and developing power in a mature body that will be limited to LF.  I felt he had one of the better present bats in the AZL and there is potential for a league avg bat at the position. 

* I did not see C.J. Edwards pitch

Notable Prospects Not On Top 20
RHS Nick Travieso (Reds) - Reported to camp a bit out of shape and just didn't throw the ball well against us.  Having seen him, I need to catch him later on in instructs or next season to see if it is a big concern.
3B Renato Nunez (Athletics) - I just flat hate the swing.  There is a lot going on that I think will be exposed at higher levels and he is just an org guy.
LHS Tyler Pike (Mariners) - Dotted FB's against us and showed feel for 2 breaking pitches, though he didn't throw them much against us.  I question how much projection is left to his frame and I think his upside (back of the rotation starter) is lower then the players ranked ahead of him.
3B Joe DeCarlo (Mariners) - DeCarlo is probably # 21 and he was helped by a quality look during instructs.
2B Timmy Lopes (Mariners) - Lopes profiles as a utility IF to 2nd division regular at 2B.
RHS Collin Wiles (Rangers) - The supplemental 1st rounder doesn't have near the present tools of any players ranked above him and is a pure projectability guy.
RHR Ben Eckels (Diamondbacks) - If you believe relievers are valuable, Eckels probably should have made the list, as he will likely have his future in the pen and was one of the more impressive pitchers I saw this year.

SS Andrew Velazquez (Diamondbacks) - Velazquez showed bat speed, but concerns about his size and future power potential lead me to more of a utility IF ceiling.

SS Joe Munoz (Diamondbacks) - Too raw at this time, but I am very intrigued by his frame and swing.

RHP Keiran Lovegrove (Indians) - Lovegrove showed tools, including a projectable body with a FB up to 94, but didn't show a lot of present stuff to be rated ahead of some of these other pitchers.

C Christian Carmichael (Mariners) - One of my favorite prospects, but there are doubts to his ability to stay behind the plate.  Bat should play at 2B if they choose to move him there.

OF Jose Pena (Brewers) - Showed power and a plus arm and was one of the players in contention with Rivera, DeCarlo, etc. for that # 20 spot.

2B Janluis Castro (Rangers) - Hit .350, but is short w/ a massive platoon split and lacks the power to profile as anything more then a utility IF.

2B/3B Tanner Rahier (Reds) - Lacked size and was overwhelmed by facing quality pitching.  Has the upside of a utility IF.
Angels - SS Jose Rondon (UR) - One of the least talented teams out here, Rondon stood out for having above avg bat speed, but little idea of how to use it.  Has a chance to profile as a utility IF.
Athletics - SS Addison Russell (# 1)
Brewers - C Clint Coulter (# 7)
Cubs - OF Albert Almora (# 3)
Diamondbacks - 1B Stryker Trahan (# 15)
Dodgers - RHP Zach Bird (# 16)
Giants - LHR Zach Edgington (UR) - Another team that had minimal talent, I will say Edgington is the best prospect based on his ability to mix 3 pitches from the left side and features an above avg CB and CH at times, which may allow him to profile in a pen.  This assumes that E.J. Encinosa is ineligible for the list.
Indians - SS Dorssys Paulino (# 6)
Mariners - OF Gabriel Guerrero (# 12)
Padres - OF Henry Moreno (# 14)
Rangers - 3B Joey Gallo (# 2)
Reds - OF Jonathan Reynoso (# 19)
Royals - OF Alexis Rivera (# 20)

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