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June 3, 2013

Monday Morning Ten Pack

June 3

by BP Prospect Staff


Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (High-A Daytona)

Of all the prospects in the minors, Baez’s status might have the most volatility, with the skill set to blossom into a superstar and the deficiencies that could terminate the dream before it begins. With elite bat speed and the type of raw power that can find a home in the middle of any major-league lineup, Baez could end up as the top prospect in the game. But his one-speed-fits-all approach on both sides of the ball can be limiting: His aggressive, see-ball-hit-ball mentality at the plate often puts him behind in counts and vulnerable to offerings out of the zone, and his tendency to rush the actions and the throws makes him error prone despite his exquisite hands at shortstop. Baez is warming up and is a good candidate to explode this summer, with a chance to sneak into the top 10 prospects in the game. But the Double-A test is looming on the horizon, and without more nuance to his game and a more refined approach, Baez could take a big step back against better competition. The talent is extreme. The risk is just as extreme. —Jason Parks

Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)

This year has seen Gray return to form from his days as one of the top arms in the country at Vanderbilt.  He’s improved his pacing through his motion, and has seen a sharp improvement in the command of each of his offerings, which took a step backward in 2012. His best weapon has been his big, hard 12-to-6 curve, which plays as a plus-or-better offering that he can drop in the zone or bury. It’s the very definition of a swing-and-miss pitch, and PCL hitters have had difficulty picking it up out of his hand. His off-speed offering is an average, straight change and he’ll mix in a quality slider on occasion that flashes above average. The fastball, while lacking great plane, is explosive, and he can dial it up as high as 97 mph. Gray works the bottom shelf without mercy, elevating later in counts and wielding his curve as a put-away hammer. At this point, there is very little left for him to work on at the minor-league level, and A’s fans should look forward to seeing him in Oakland in the not-too-distant future.  He’s a potential front-end arm and could realize that potential quickly upon arrival. —Nick Faleris

Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto)

The last time we checked in on Butler, he was tearing through the Low-A South Atlantic League with his power fastball-slider combination, leading a scout source to predict that he would finish this season in Double-A. After posting a 1.69 ERA and yielding just 25 hits in 54 1/3 Low-A innings, the 22-year-old righty recently made a step in that direction by earning a promotion to High-A Modesto.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Ridd... (06/03)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/28)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (06/10)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Yasiel Pu... (06/03)

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