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March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Ten Pack

10 Prospects Who Turned Heads in Spring Training

by Jason Parks


LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers)
A 16-year-old pitching in the Midwest League can turn heads, and when that pitcher can pump a fastball in the 91-96 range in each start, backed up by multiple breaking ball looks and a quality changeup, the heads start spinning. I watched two spring starts from the now 17-year-old southpaw, and I came away knowing that this was the most polished young arm I have ever seen.

From a smooth and repeatable delivery, Urias worked his fastball in the 91-95 range, touching 96 in his first backfield outing. The feel for command was very strong, as was his situational understanding; he would pitch backwards against hitters with fastball appetites, manipulating his breaking ball to drop for strikes or to force chase swings. The slider was his money pitch this spring, showing a curveball break in the low-80s and true slider tilt in the 85 mph range. Along with the fastball, the slider gives Urias a true plus offering that he can execute whenever he needs it, and when the changeup is working, he has a full major league quality arsenal at his disposal. Urias needs to log innings and stay healthy, but his combination of present stuff and polish could push him to the major league level before his 19th birthday. Prepare the marketing campaign.

C Jorge Alfaro (Rangers)
Alfaro is starting to blossom into the player his tool-based profile suggested was possible, with a near-elite combination of impact ability on all sides of the ball. Alfaro is a physical beast, with grown-man size and strength and the speed of a middle infielder; he’s routinely clocked in the 4.1 range from home to first, and his second gear confirms his standing as a plus runner. His receiving skills have taken a step forward behind the plate, as the hands are softer with less stabbing action toward the ball, and the overall focus is more about the pitcher and less about his own aggressiveness in controlling the running game.

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

BP Comment Quick Links

oakiegu007

Any thoughts on CJ Cron's spring?

Mar 31, 2014 05:55 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I didn't see him. I was never that high on him. Its a one-tool profile, so that power needs to play for him to bring anything to a 25-man.

Mar 31, 2014 06:04 AM
 
oakiegu007

Thanks Jason. You wouldn't put an average grade on his hitting, just his power?

Mar 31, 2014 06:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I wouldn't put an average grade on his hit tool; his raw power is well above-average. But I worry that he's more of a mistake hitter that will struggle against better arms and the game power will suffer.

Mar 31, 2014 06:08 AM
 
JoshC77

Brad Eldred part 2?

Mar 31, 2014 15:49 PM
rating: 0
 
smallflowers

Just the article I was waiting for. Thanks Prof!

Mar 31, 2014 06:57 AM
rating: 0
 
dantroy

Do you think Manaea could log some loogy time in the bullpen late in the season, if needed?

Mar 31, 2014 07:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I don't think that will be necessary. I think reaching AA is possible if he can stay healthy, but logging healthy innings at the minor league level is paramount this season. Take the training wheels off in 2015 if everything looks good.

Mar 31, 2014 08:52 AM
 
bwe206

Will there be an article for Florida based prospects who had a big spring?

Mar 31, 2014 07:41 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Not specifically.

Mar 31, 2014 08:52 AM
 
onegameref

Do you see any similarity between Anderson and Ray Durham? I see a little bit of Durham in his hitting stance and athletic profile. If the Sox could get a Durham out of Anderson I think they would be highly satisfied with the investment.

Mar 31, 2014 09:09 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I didn't see that comp, but I wasn't really looking for it (at the time). He's a very handsy hitter, and he just finds a way to put the barrel on the ball. It was very impressive. As smooth as his swing can look, I gave the credit to incredible hand/eye coordination and good/early recognition.

Mar 31, 2014 09:16 AM
 
eliyahu

Call me crazy, but I see a bit of Segura in Anderson.

Mar 31, 2014 10:53 AM
rating: 1
 
J. Eldred

Loved the closing paragraph on Van Meter, both because you've touched on something I've always wondered about in scouting (highlighting the things a lower-ranked prospect *can do* vs. what they *can't do*) and, well, your to the point observation that the kid can f'ing hit. Thanks Prof, for the chuckle!

Mar 31, 2014 12:13 PM
rating: 0
 
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