August 19, 2013
Monday Morning Ten Pack
August 19, 2013
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (Low-A Quad Cities)
The top pick in the 2012 draft started his full-season experience by hitting .221 in April, which didn’t raise any red flags because he was only 18 and playing at an advanced level. Because of a work ethic that pushes scouts to label his makeup as elite, Correa has taken huge developmental steps forward throughout the season, and has emerged as one of the premier prospects in the game. Finding comfort at the plate and learning to trust his hands and explode into the ball, Correa is showing the Midwest League his plus potential hit tool and maturing power. Once his timing clicked, the contact grew louder and louder, and the young prospect has produced an OPS near 1.000 in the second half. The glove has also been better than advertised, as the actions are clean and smooth, and several sources said he has the chops to stick at the position for the foreseeable future. Let’s break it down: Correa is still only 18, he’s hitting better than .330 in the Midwest League, he’s hitting lefties to the tune of .450-plus, he can play a premium defensive position, he has natural hitting instincts, the doubles will eventually turn into home runs, and the makeup is applauded by people who aren’t prone to applause. That’s a monster talent, the kind of player who can change the fortunes of a franchise. –Jason Parks
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee)
I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of radio hits in the Chicago market, and I’m usually asked about the positional depth in the Cubs’ org, and which prospect has the highest ceiling. Baez has long been my answer despite the fact that Baseball Prospectus ranked Almora higher on the pre-season and mid-season lists, mostly due to the fact that Baez was viewed by many to be a high-risk player. The tools are very loud, with elite bat speed at the plate and excellent hands in the field, but the aggressiveness and one-speed-at-all-times approach in all phases of the game painted the picture of an immature player, a prospect that might spoil his future before it has a chance to blossom. After an impressive run in the Florida State League, the blossoming we have eagerly anticipated has taken place after a promotion to Double-A, where Baez already has 26 extra-base hits in his first 40 games. Double-A is a test level, a separator level where pretenders are exposed and future major-league players are uncovered. It’s a small sample but a positive developmental step, and Baez is showing that he is not only prepared for the test but talented enough to excel against much older and wiser competition. He could be a star, a role 7 type with a middle-of-the-order bat and left-side chops in the field. Whatever his future role might be, the Cubs have an extremely valuable commodity in Baez.–-Jason Parks
Rookie Davis, RHP, Yankees (Short-Season A Staten Island)
Davis was a 14th round selection (449th overall) in the 2011 first-year player draft, signing with New York for $550,000 too late in the summer for meaningful innings (he logged no official innings in 2011 and just 17 innings in the Gulf Coast Rookie League last summer). Davis has remained largely off of the prospect map due in part to the Yankees’ careful handling of him, and due in part to the fact that his arsenal showed limited development when he was drafted. Two years later, New York is starting to see the potential for a return on its investment.
At 20, Davis is in the midst of completing his first season of Class-A ball with the short-season Staten Island Yankees, and finding a great deal of success through 10 starts thus far. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound righty is an imposing sight on the mound, pairing his intimidating physical presence with a stern visage. The stuff can be mean, as well, highlighted by a tough-to-lift low-90s fastball that can work comfortably at 94 mph on a downhill plane. The breaking ball is still a work in progress, but will flash above-average, and he has made progress with a low- to mid-80s off-speed, as well. Through 38 innings, Davis is averaging nearly a strikeout per inning while maintaining a 1.31 groundout to air-out ratio.
Davis is still learning to command his fastball, and will at times have difficulty putting hitters away due to his tendency to catch too much of the plate. The result can be elevated pitch counts early on – something he will need to address in order to stay afloat in full-season ball next year, where he could see his innings nearly double. Overall, 2013 has been a successful campaign for the former Sneads Ferry High standout, and he’ll be an interesting follow through fall instructs and spring training as he continues to build his innings, and his arsenal. –Nick J. Faleris
Dillon Maples, RHP, Cubs (Short-Season A Boise)
The oft-maligned 2011 bonus baby has just enjoyed perhaps his best month of professional baseball, following a mid-July demotion to short-season Boise. After a rocky three-walk performance in his Northwest League debut – a relief outing in which he recorded no outs – Maples has rattled off six solid starts, totaling 28 innings, 30 strikeouts, 21 hits, six walks, and just three runs. This past week, Maples put together his most impressive outing yet against Eugene, the Padres’ Northwest League affiliate.