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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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<< Previous Article
Framing the Future (03/31)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (09/23)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (04/07)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Mike T... (03/31)

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