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August 18, 2014

Monday Morning Ten Pack

August 18, 2014

by BP Prospect Staff


The Monday Morning Ten Pack is brought to you by Sidsgraphs.com. SidsGraphs specializes in memorabilia and game-used items from baseball's top prospects! Visit Sidsgraphs.com today or visit their retail store in the south suburbs of Chicago.

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Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
The Pirates snagged Tucker in the first round (24th overall) in this year's draft. Based on multiple viewings this season, he may be a steal. My first look left me wondering about his arm strength, as he was really struggling to throw on a line with any zip or carry, but I was later told he was dealing with arm soreness. Since then, those concerns have been put to rest. Tucker has plenty of arm from the left side, whether it's deep in the hole or off-balance and on the run going to his left. He has quick, fluid actions and soft hands. At times he loses concentration and rushes his feet, booting some routine plays, but that is fixable.

Tucker's 6-foot-3 frame is impressive. He has wide, broad shoulders that will be able support more mass as his body matures and fills out. This could also lead to a move to third base, but there is no rush. The switch-hitting shortstop has shown very strong bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate; while there isn't much power now, the projection left in his frame should allow that to come along. The swing is level and line drive–oriented right now, but as he gets stronger and the bat speed improves, he should be able to apply leverage, which will allow him to drive the ball more. While Tucker isn't a burner, he's still a 50 runner with long strides that allow him to make up ground after a mediocre first step. He shows strong baseball IQ and picks his spots wisely when stealing bases. Tucker is a well-rounded player in all aspects of the game who should provide the Pirates with a strong defender at short or third base, while contributing with a decent batting average and respectable power. —Chris King

Patrick Leonard, 1B, Rays (High-A Charlotte)
You probably know Leonard as the last guy in the James Shields/Wil Myers trade. He wasn't a throw-in, but he certainly wasn't the focal point of the deal. Almost two years removed, it's time to at least make note of Leonard in a weak Rays system. There were questions about his hit tool as a younger player, but the 21-year-old appears to have figured some things out at the plate. He stays tall and uses his 6-foot-4 frame well, and displays strong pitch recognition, identifying breaking balls well from same-side (right-handed) pitchers. His size helps him generate average power despite just average bat speed. He has a tendency to let his swing get long, but when he keeps it short he can get to inside pitches and generate backspin. The issue with Leonard is that he's now a first baseman, where his bat doesn't profile to have enough impact. If he could remain at third, where he played with the Royals, he would profile as a potential regular, but the Rays have already shifted him across the diamond. At first base his bat will be below average. Still, Leonard does enough things well to carve out a major-league career. —Jeff Moore

Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria)
Reyes entered the year with limited professional experience and an arsenal that was in the infancy stages of being refined, but the vision of where Reyes' arm could take him firmly placed him in the top half of our offseason Cardinals Top 10. While the 19-year-old had ups and downs this year, his recent performance is a strong clue that he's making developmental strides. Reyes’ strong finish down the stretch not only speaks to his high-octane stuff, but also the ability to lock in with continued repetition. A key strength is an easy, loose, repeatable delivery that may lead to improved command and control. Reyes is certainly still on the wild side, often overthrowing his fastball, and isn’t there yet with spotting on the corners, but flashes of more consistency in both areas to close out the season have been encouraging. This is the type of developmental momentum that can be a launching point, and when it comes to candidates to bust out in a big way in 2015, Reyes is at the top of my list. —Chris Mellen

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article The Buyer's Guide: Jon... (08/18)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (08/11)
Next Column >>
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Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (08/19)

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