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July 17, 2012

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

Futures Game: US Roster

by Jason Parks

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After hitting the World players last week, here are a few notes on the US players who happened to force my pen to hit the pages of my roster sheet during the 2012 Futures Game. As usual, the notes are presented with minimal narrative interference.

SS Billy Hamilton: Slight frame, but improved strength; impressive in cage; hit opposite field home run (RH/LF); loose swing; excellent coverage; shows a knack for contact; can sting live pitching; can catch up to velocity; a little noisy in the box; premature swing trigger; could run into trouble against good secondary stuff/sequence; was impressed with actual swing; continues to take steps forward; hit tool should be plus; shows pop, but raw power is below average; speed is clearly best attribute; best singular tool in baseball; elite; base running is loose, but quickness/speed disguises minor footwork/awareness issues; not a fan of defensive skill set at shortstop; arm is average; accuracy is below; actions are fringy; athleticism makes it look better; profile could improve through repetition; impact player at major league level thanks to elite speed, contact ability; needs to continue to add strength and improve approach at the plate; first-division player; must-see talent.

2B Kolten Wong: Small package, big punch; I love the swing; quick to the ball but not weak to the ball; serious sting in the bat; loud contact to all fields; excellent bat control; tracks ball well; smooth weight shift/transfer; easy mechanics; fluid and pretty; looks like easy plus hitter; lots of gap pop; doubles machine; fielding mechanics are solid; clean actions; strong arm; looks like plus defender at 2B; quick player; good first step; not crazy speed, but everything plays up; gamer with actual tools; number two hitter profile; lots of average/doubles; situational hitter; first-division talent.

OF Wil Myers: Great size and strength; swing is easy; bat speed is well above-average; shows good loft without losing contact ability; commands the swing; hips and hands work well; power is easy plus; hit tool is easy plus (6/6); has approach; good pitch recognition skills; has plan of attack; good athlete; runs well for size; very strong arm; prototypical RF profile; plays with instincts; first-division talent; top ten prospect in baseball.

3B Mike Olt: Major league body; good athlete; very strong; swing has length, but bat speed is well above average; power display in batting practice forced observers to have audible reactions; raw power is 7; mature approach; soft and spinning stuff can get him out on the front foot; leveraged swing can open up hole on inner half; hit tool is average; consistent contact could be issue; glove is solid; actions are good; arm is very strong; footwork can get a little clumsy; defensive profile is really good at present with potential to be great; speed is below average, but plays with purpose and doesn’t clog; bat will play at any position; could be ~.270 hitter with on-base ability, 25+ home run pop; above average defense at third; skill set to handle a corner outfield spot/first base; has first-division projection; major league regular floor.

1B Jonathan Singleton: Huge raw power; batting practice was showcase; pull-side pop is plus-plus; very fluid hip rotation and weight transfer; bat speed is impressive; controls the bat well; excellent approach; tracks very well; good pitch recognition skills; good hit tool/approach with middle-of-the-order power potential; big body; not overly athletic; has first-division profile at 1B, but big pressure on the bat to have value at position; most likely second-division at highest level.

3B Nick Castellanos: Very impressive in cage; drew the attention and subsequent praise from George Brett; very tall and lanky, but strong with plenty of room to fill out frame; baseball rat; no batting gloves; has swagger; gamer with middle-of-the-order potential; swing is extremely loose and easy; very natural; swing doesn’t have a lot of loft, but the power is present; lots of torque; I really love the swing; knack for barrel-to-ball ability; uses all fields; just a pure hitter; power will arrive in profile eventually; hit tool is easy plus and possible plus-plus; power could reach those levels at maturity;  approach will need work; very aggressive; not the biggest fan of defensive profile at 3B; arm is strong; actions are fringy; footwork a bit awkward; skills will play in RF; bat will play anywhere; impact offensive talent at highest level; first-division potential.

CF Anthony Gose: One of the top toolsheds in the minors; athletic and wiry; swing is loose and easy; some length, but good coverage; power is big in batting practice; looks to be easy plus; explosive hips/hands; bat speed is very present; hit tool continues to improve; will always have some miss because of approach and swing length; speed is plus-plus; quickness/instincts give him plus-plus range in CF; made nice diving catch in game; arm is easy plus-plus as well; made strong throw in game; overall defensive profile in center is well above-average; tools are very loud; power is sleeping giant in skill set; development of hit tool and approach refinement is difference between 4th/5th outfielder and All-Star. That’s the range for Gose.

LHP Tyler Skaggs: One of my favorite arms in minors; has solid-average to plus stuff and good pitchability; worked fastball in the low-90s; gets good angle to plate; good arm speed; located; curveball looked like a future plus offering, with a tight rotation and lots of depth; showed command of the pitch; changeup looks like another plus offering; good fading action to the arm side and good deception from fastball; attacks hitters; works fast; can miss bats with three pitches against both lefties and righties; looks like a solid-average mid-rotation starter in the making.

RHP Jameson Taillon: Large frame; long limbs; long arm action; shorter stride length with lots of upper body in the delivery; falls off to 1B in follow through; fastball is easy 7 offering, working (in bursts) in the 96-97 range, and touched 98; it’s a big pitch; impressive angles and plane to plate; showed good arm side movement; curveball was only secondary, working at 83-85; quality offering; good two-plane break and slider velocity; lots to like with Taillon: big size, throws downhill, crazy arm strength, easy velocity, shows feel for secondaries; people are ready to see him dominate; I think it will be a slow burn; monster potential; I’m very much on board; top 10-15 prospect in baseball.

RHP Dylan Bundy: Thick build; lacks prototypical height, but creates good angle and throws down; arm strength is elite; arm speed is very quick; fastball should be a 7 offering; pitch worked (in bursts) in 94-96 range, and touched 97; command was fringy during inning of work; was aiming a bit; gave up hard contact by leaving ball up and over the plate; didn’t have quality curveball in outing; pitch was breaking early and arrived flat; cutter missed spots, but showed good velocity at 86-87 and a little late jump from the glove side; looked a young pitcher during his inning; I love the arm; I love the approach; wasn’t a good inning; pitcher profiles as top-of-the-rotation arm; top five prospect in baseball.

RHP Gerrit Cole: Great size; great arm strength; great raw stuff; fastball worked in elite range (98-100 mph); pitched lacked great movement or late wiggle; not the biggest fan of the mechanics; doesn’t look especially easy; it works, so it’s just an aesthetic complaint and a minor one at that; delivery on slider a little more deliberate; pitch looked very good; worked in 88-89 range; sharp, late tilt; was elevating fastball; straight fastball and elevated plane resulted in some hard contact; hard to complain about raw stuff; has frontline profile, with three 7+ offerings; command has room to improve; has yet to put it all together; stuff creates big dreams; game performance leaves you wanting more.

RHP Taijuan Walker: Tall and athletic; limbs go on for days; lots of room to fill out; easy delivery with ultra-loose arm; repeats delivery; comfortable in slot and with release point; I like it a lot; fastball was easy plus pitch, working at 94-97 with late burst to the arm side; the pitch has a lot of natural explosion to it; it’s a bat-misser; curveball flashed its potential, a mid-70s breaker with a tight rotation and good depth; good feel for it; far from a finished product, but Walker has an electric arm and well above-average athleticism on the mound; command will take time, but I like the profile; still a month away from his 20th birthday, and holding his own in Double-A. Doesn’t get enough attention; could develop into number two starter on first-division team; give it time; needs to refine secondary offerings, especially changeup, add strength, etc., but future is bright.

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Futures Game

24 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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tim270

Any thoughts on Machado?

Jul 17, 2012 03:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think you can make a case that he's a top ten prospect in the minors. I watched his cage sessions, but I lost focus on him during the game because of the pitching. He did make a few plays in the field, and I think the defensive chops are more than sufficient for the position at the highest level. He has a very nice swing, one that will be able to produce batting average as well as plus power. The best thing about Machado is that he has learned to recover from failure. That shows m he has makeup. The ability to rebound from disappointment is vital to the developmental process.

Jul 17, 2012 08:41 AM
 
Behemoth

I think I asked you pre-season about Gose, and you felt he was unlikely to hit more than about .250 at the big league level. Would it be fair to say your view of his ceiling has changed?

Jul 17, 2012 03:48 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

He still has a long way to go, but the bat has improved. I'm still not sure what the finished product will look like, but if he can manage to hit .250, with an approved approach and game pop, his defensive skill-set will make him a very good regular.

Jul 17, 2012 08:43 AM
 
BelongstotheReds

B-Ham wins over another skeptic! Exciting stuff all the way around.

Jul 17, 2012 07:19 AM
rating: 1
 
ttt

I saw a video of Hamilton when he was in his 2nd season in Rookie ball and he had a lot of movement getting ready to swing. He seems to have quieted down a lot. Do you think that accounts for some of his improvement (fewer Ks, etc.), or just maturity and skill improvement? (Or is the decrease in pre-swing movement a part of the improve maturity/skills?)

Jul 17, 2012 08:46 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think the added strength has helped the swing a ton. He can generate bat speed without selling out the mechanics to achieve it; he can barrel balls with more authority now; he can control the bat in the zone better. He's just improving. Its what you want to see in a player.

Jul 17, 2012 09:00 AM
 
Hoegaarden

Any thoughts on Michael Choice? Has struggled to adjust in AA, but heating up as of late.

Jul 17, 2012 08:54 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think he's in better physical shape now. The swing will always have miss, but Choice has monster power in the bat. Lots of Ks, lots of BB, lots of bombs.

Jul 17, 2012 08:57 AM
 
GoneTroutFishin

Any thoughts on Christian Yelich? Does he project to have hit and power tools that grade out as plus (6/6) with a chance for a plus-plus hit tool? Thanks for your insight, Jason!

Jul 17, 2012 09:20 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Yes. Yelich has an absolutely beautiful swing; he's balanced, the movements are fluid and easy, etc. He's going to hit for a high batting average. I'm not sure on the power, though. He might have to sellout some contact to put more balls over the fence at the highest level. A 6/6 hitter is possible, though. That's a monster player.

Jul 17, 2012 09:45 AM
 
Eddie Bajek

Thoughts on Rob Brantly? He impressed in the game and seems to be working his way onto the prospect map.

Jul 17, 2012 10:53 AM
rating: 1
 
asstarr1

Were there any players who surprised you, for better or worse, with their showing? Thoughts on Scooter Ginnett.

Jul 17, 2012 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
ddufourlogger

Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a MONSTER group of talent here. Almost like you could throw the group of them out there now and go .500 in the bigs.

Jul 17, 2012 12:33 PM
rating: 0
 
deckholm

Jason, Great stuff. Really enjoy all your work.

Jul 17, 2012 12:41 PM
rating: 0
 
Scott44

Jason - For you is Castellanos a future RF'er? Should we read much into the fact that the Tigers are giving him reps there?

Jul 17, 2012 13:19 PM
rating: 0
 
deberly

Didn't understand BH's BP oppo HR. Was it to RF or LF?

Jul 17, 2012 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BrettR

RH/LF = right-handed to left field I believe.

Jul 17, 2012 14:49 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Typo. It should say LH/LF. Hamilton was hitting from the left side and put one in the left field seats. Apologies.

Jul 17, 2012 15:02 PM
 
jfranco77

How deliberate is Cole on his slider? If his fastball is a little flat and his slider is a little telegraphed, that might explain a little bit of why he isn't translating his '7' pitches into results.

Jul 17, 2012 13:35 PM
rating: 1
 
rreading

Loved the form of these. Thanks.

Jul 17, 2012 13:37 PM
rating: 0
 
Gobroks

Any thoughts on Tommy Joseph? I know the box score looks good with a BB, opposite field 2B, and throwing a guy out.

Jul 17, 2012 23:05 PM
rating: 0
 
hyprvypr

Jason, is it fair to say that Walker, very new to his craft, has time to generate a third plus pitch(changeup) and that with improvement there he profiles as a #1 on a championship level team? Thanks for your work, these are excellent pieces, worthy of great praise.

Jul 18, 2012 10:45 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think that given his athleticism and his delivery, the CH has a very good chance of developing into something of value. A plus changeup could make him a very special pitcher; a top of the rotation force.

Jul 18, 2012 12:58 PM
 
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