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April 11, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, April 10

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K; Bradley has a potential plus-plus fastball-curveball tandem, and he could eventually develop a solid-average changeup. The righty is a physical monster (he could have played Div. I college football) and throws on a steep downhill plane. He is one of the few pitching prospects with the package to potentially blossom into a number-one starter. For more on Bradley, including a scouting video, see this post by Jason Cole from earlier this week.

Position Prospect of the Day: Courtney Hawkins, CF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K; Hawkins, the back-flipping 2012 first-round pick, offers easy plus power with the potential to be an average hitter. He is only a solid-average runner at the moment, and his body type is one that could pack on bad weight, which leads me to believe that he will eventually move to right field, where his plus arm would profile well.

 “The Good”

  • Josh Bell, RF, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K; Bell was a highly touted amateur, received $5 million after being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. I recommend that anyone that does not know the story on how Scott Boras got Josh Bell his bonus money to look it up. Anyway, Bell had a knee injury in 2012 that caused him to miss a majority of the season. When I saw him this spring, he looked rough and lacked the necessary bat speed. He struggled to start the season, but numbers like these may be a sign that he is finally ready to right his ship.
  • Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB; Betts has a short stroke that will provide gap power, and he combines it with solid-average speed and good baseball instincts.
  • Brian Flynn, LHP, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K; Flynn, a throw-in prospect in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade, has a heavy fastball, a solid-average slider, a fringy curveball, and an improving changeup.
  • Nolan Fontana, SS, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K; Fontana is a grinder type that gets the most out of his tools. He has a solid-average hit tool and could provide gap power, projecting as a future utility man.
  • Isaac Galloway, CF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI; Galloway has a quick bat, but may lack the necessary plate discipline to compete at the highest level.
  • Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers, (Double-A Chattanooga): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; Lee, another player on this list who got $5 million to sign, has a three-pitch arsenal (fastball/slider/changeup). The slider is Lee’s only potential plus pitch. He will use his athleticism and pitchability to make his way to the big leagues, with a ceiling that now lies in the third- or fourth-starter range, as opposed to the ace-level projection he had when the Dodgers drafted him.
  • Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-6, 3B, 2 R, RBI; Lindor has always offered a plus-plus defensive profile, and he has started the 2013 red hot at the plate; 11-for-24 with a double, two triples, and five stolen bases thus far.  
  • Bryson Myles, OF, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI; With plus power and speed, Myles may have one of the more intriguing toolsets that you have never heard about. He is 23 and still in High-A, so he will need to show he can make enough contact to use these tools if he is going to jump onto the prospect radar; 8-for-19 with two doubles, a homerun, six runs scored, and seven RBI.
  • Gustavo Pierre, 3B, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K, SB; The Blue Jays sent Pierre, who has a plus-plus arm but was forced to move off of shortstop because of inadequate defensive actions, back to the Midwest League. At the plate, Pierre offers good bat speed and average power potential, but he may never realize his talent because of a deficiency in plate discipline.
  • Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 3-5, 3 2B, R, RBI; Plawecki, who is a 2012 draftee from Purdue, has not been challenged by Low-A pitching so far; 12-for-27 with three doubles, a home run, and seven RBI to start the season.
  • Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K; After a shaky first start, Snell got it together in his second outing. Snell’s fastball can touch 94, his slider and changeup have plus potential, and his curveball could be average. Snell also has the benefit of pitching in a system known for churning out quality big-league arms. If you would like my two cents, which I hope you do, Snell could be the breakout pitching prospect of 2013.
  • Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox (Double-A Portland):  2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Vazquez, an excellent defender behind the plate, has really improved his production in the box after making a mechanical change to shorten his swing. For me, Vazquez is at worst a major-league backup with a chance to develop into a second-division starter.

“The ‘I’m not sure but I thought I would include it’”

Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K; May, the prospect that the Twins received in the Ben Revere trade, offers one of the most bewildering arsenals in the minors. He has nasty stuff—a potential plus-plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a usable changeup—but he may never be a starter because he has not been able to harness the stuff to throw enough quality strikes and may project better as a late-inning reliever. He can flash brilliance, and then walk the next three batters. My guess is as good as yours, but I’ll say the Twins let May begin as a starter, and let his command problems surface before moving him to the bullpen.

“The Bad”

  • Tyler Austin, RF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 0-4, BB, 3 K; An aggressive assignment from the Yankees could force Austin to take some lumps and learn on the job.
  • Lewis Brinson, CF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 0-5, 3 K; The 19-year-old Brinson has plenty of tools but remains very raw.
  • Brian Goodwin, CF, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 1-4, 3 K;  A scout that was in attendance called Goodwin “a little passive on the inner half,” but the tools are there for him to develop offensively.
  • Carlos Tocci, CF, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 0-4, 2 K; The 17-year-old’s overly aggressive approach has been exposed in the early going; 6-for-26 with four strikeouts so far.
  • Nik Turley, LHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 6.0, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; Turley has a solid three-pitch mix (fastball/curveball/changeup), but a scout pointed out that he has a tendency to “grip it too tight” in pressure situations.

“The Ugly”

Brandon Jacobs, LF, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 0-4, 3 K; This is sort of a make-or-break year for Jacobs, who struggled in 2012 after a hamate injury. Jacobs still struggles to recognize spin, and pitchers regularly attack him with soft stuff.

Zach Mortimer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zach's other articles. You can contact Zach by clicking here

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