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April 7, 2014

Monday Morning Ten Pack

Prospects We're Most Excited to See This Year

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff


Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (Low-A Asheville)
Internet evaluators have a tendency to overcomplicate the scouting process, focusing too much of their attention on what players will do in the future rather than simplifying the explanations of what they actually can do in the present. We can dream on athletic bodies and cite physical projection to justify our fantasies about future accomplishment, and I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to attaching my name to body-beautiful types regardless of current skill level. But a good rule of thumb—in the particular context of evaluating position players—is that good hitters hit and bad hitters only project to hit.

Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia can hit. He accomplishes this with a combination of balance and bat speed at the plate, allowing him to consistently drive the baseball, but there is an innate component at play here that goes deeper than any breakdown of his setup or swing. He excels at putting the barrel of his bat on the baseball, recognizing the ball early out of the pitcher’s hand and using his excellent hand-eye coordination to finish the connection. This natural ability to hit has been evident at every stop in his professional career, and is likely to continue as he climbs toward the highest level. We can wax poetic—and I have—about his other physical gifts, like plus run, a plus arm, and the potential to stick up the middle with the glove, but the name of the game is bat-to-ball, and Tapia can hit. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. –Jason Parks

Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (High A Fort Myers)
I had a chance to get a good look at Buxton during his first Fall Instructional League and came away very impressed with the tools. They were as loud as advertised. However, I thought there would be some early growing pains and a learning curve at the plate before his hit tool started to show against pro arms. I was a bit off. Buxton not only proved to be ahead of the early curve, but spent about half of last season more than holding his own in High-A.

I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to zone in on the prospect this season as he progresses into the upper levels. It’s a chance to not only compare back to those early notes and learn from that initial assumption, but see the progress of those tools that stood out so much. I’ll also be very interested at how well Buxton controls the strike zone and shows against better secondary stuff. For an age-advanced prospect rapidly moving toward The Show, it’s a strong clue as to whether any potential speed bumps may be coming, and also how quickly things may take in the early stages at the highest level. –Chris Mellen

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

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timjrohr

Tapia's team is AshEville, FWIW.

Apr 07, 2014 05:33 AM
rating: 0
 
Kyle Matte

C.J. Wittman's comments on the Twitter had an entire nation "saluting".

Apr 07, 2014 05:42 AM
rating: 0
 
sreczek

High A Quad Cities for Correra? Don't think so

Apr 07, 2014 05:48 AM
rating: 0
 
MHaywood1025

I really thought Buxton would be in New Britain this year. How long do you think before he earns a promotion?

Apr 07, 2014 05:54 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

He might've been if not for his injured wrist.

Apr 07, 2014 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
Hammarschlagen

He's dealing with a minor wrist injury right now, and they're keeping him in Ft. Myers. He should be promoted by the end of the month.

Apr 07, 2014 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
NightmareRec0n

I hope so. I'm heading up to Portland to see them play New Britain.

I mean Buxton,Betts,Swihart,Owens, possibly Kohl Stewart or Morgot by then(wishful..I know)

Apr 07, 2014 11:23 AM
rating: 0
 
Gumby

Wondering what the takeaway for the reader is here. Does "excitement" imply you've seen very little of the player, and/or the player is still raw with room for big growth in 2014? Because, well, we know how much you guys love Lindor and Baez et al., and they're not on here.

Apr 07, 2014 06:50 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

For me, there is simply a limited number of space for write-ups and I wanted to touch on two guys that I expect to see early in the year in my neck of the woods.

Apr 07, 2014 06:53 AM
 
Gumby

Thanks Nick.

Apr 07, 2014 07:51 AM
rating: 0
 
jcutiger

The takeaway is the title.

Apr 07, 2014 07:42 AM
rating: 3
 
sitdancer

Sounds like Chris is even higher on Urias than some others on BP. Do you see the potential for a true #1 ceiling? The FB speed is definitely up a notch compared to the Top 10 article.

Apr 07, 2014 09:06 AM
rating: 0
 
Chris Rodriguez

His ceiling is whatever he wants it to be. He's only 17 and he doesn't turn 18 until August. It would be foolish to completely disregard the chance of him becoming an ace, but there's still a ton of risk, so a #2 or #3 pitcher is the safe bet.

Apr 07, 2014 11:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Ace Black

Surprised Lucas Giolito didn't make the list...

Apr 07, 2014 12:15 PM
rating: -1
 
delatopia

Guessing that people are waiting for the training wheels to come off after surgery. Until that point it's just interesting. After that, it'll be exciting.

Apr 08, 2014 07:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Kyle Matte

Three reports in two weeks from the Professor about Mr. Tapia. Francisco might be getting a little jealous... #scorn

Apr 07, 2014 12:43 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Lindor gets his love tomorrow.

Apr 07, 2014 14:20 PM
 
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