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July 11, 2014

2014 Futures Game Preview

Scouting the U.S. Team

by Ron Shah

Welcome to part two of a two-part series on scouting the players involved in this Sunday's Futures Game showcase of prospect talent. The International roster preview ran on Thursday.


Christian Binford, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
Scouting Report (most recent)
Binford entered 2014 as a prospect on the rise in the Royals system, and his performance so far has earned him the chance to represent Kansas City in Minnesota for the Futures Game. Binford is more polish than projection, as neither the fastball nor slider projects to be a plus or better offering. Meanwhile, the changeup is lagging behind and will need to jump an entire grade before he can realistically profile in a rotation. Regardless, it appears Binford will provide the Royals with more than the expected value of a typical 30th round selection.

Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown)
Scouting Report (most recent)
2014 Mid-Season Ranking No. 7
Giolito possesses enormous risk with unparalleled upside, so a healthy 2014 season has allowed the big-framed righty to catapult himself atop the list of pitching prospects. As far as the tools go, there isn’t much to knock. The 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds Giolito is a power pitcher built like a potential ace with the stuff to match. The fastball and curveball might each develop into true 80-grade offerings, and the changeup is coming along just fine.

Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)*
Scouting Report (most recent)
Gonzales fits the mold of what the Cardinals seem to target in the draft: A polished college pitcher ready to move quickly through the minor-league ranks with a plus or better changeup. Gonzales is already contributing to the big-league club despite being just a year removed from being drafted. For that reason, he won’t get to showcase his talents at the Future’s Game.

Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva)
Scouting Report (most recent)
2014 Mid-Season Ranking No. 21
Ever since his professional debut, Harvey's potential-backing performance has led to his rapid ascension of prospect rankings. The righty possesses an excellent pitcher’s frame with incredible intensity and makeup on the mound. He’ll flash two double-plus offerings in the fastball and curveball, but the changeup lags in comparison. If Harvey can develop the third offering, his ceiling is top-of-the-rotation starter.

Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire)
2014 Mid-Season Ranking No. 33

Norris entered 2014 outside of the top 101, but now he’s one of the biggest individual risers, moving all the way up to no. 41 on the mid-season top 50. The athletic southpaw is showing a complete four-pitch mix, including a fastball that can run up to 97 mph on the radar gun. A dominant 2014 campaign has earned Norris a midseason promotion to Double-A, and he’s now quickly closing the gap on Aaron Sanchez as Toronto’s top prospect.

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Pebble Hunting: The Be... (07/11)
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