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August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Ten Pack

August 25, 2014

by BP Prospect Staff


Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox (High-A Salem)
When we put together Boston’s Top 10 list last offseason, Margot was a player in the mix for one of the final slots, but we ultimately decided to place him in the “On the Rise” section. The thinking centered on the sizable gap between present product and future vision for the 19-year-old. Tack on that he had yet to be tested with a full-season assignment and the result was tabbing him as a possible future, but not necessarily present, top-10 player.

My experience with Margot runs deep. He has the loose hands I love to see in a hitter, especially one whose offensive game is going to focus on hard line drives into the gaps. Margot does surprise with more raw power than initially meets the eye, but my view is that his peak potential is a top-of-the-order type with a contact-oriented approach and doubles power. Reports and chatter have indicated increased comfort at the plate, which has driven more of his natural hitting ability to the surface. This season has been a step forward, enough of one that putting Margot’s name in the organization’s Top 10 is a foregone conclusion. —Chris Mellen

Eddie Rosario, INF/OF, Twins (Double-A New Britain)
Rosario entered the season firmly entrenched in a deep Minnesota system and his upward trajectory carried him to the no. 60 spot in our Top 101. I caught him after his promotion to the Eastern League last season and the feel for hitting, along with some legit thunder in his stick, stuck out. There was some swing-and-miss to his game, but the 22-year-old was confidently turning around fastballs with authority and attacking offerings with a fluid stroke that unfolds with some leverage. A 50-game suspension for a banned substance started this year off on the wrong foot and delayed what looked to be merely a brief follow-up in Double-A before a promotion. When I’ve seen Rosario this season, though, it’s been apparent that there is a need for major adjustments to his approach and mindset as a hitter. His strike zone selection has been poor, compounded by his thinking he’s a power guy instead of a gap-to-gap hitter who can muscle up in spots. Neglecting to cover the outer third of the plate has led to a lot of weak roll-overs, popups, and lazy fly balls. The defense is far from a carrying tool, so with his bat’s progression stalling, so have Rosario's major-league prospects. Failure can stimulate, and Rosario certainly has offensive talent. With adjustments, Rosario can quickly get back on track, but it’s going to come down to the recognition and commitment to do so. —Chris Mellen

Max Kepler, OF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers)
Kepler looks the part. If you were designing a ballplayer, Kepler could be the mold. At 6-foot-4 and well-built but not oversized, Kepler could sell jeans, as the old story goes. The swing looks as good as the build, starting with a lightly open, traditional left-handed stance, continuing with a slight uppercut and above-average bat speed, and ending with a nice, two-handed finish. Despite looking the part, Kepler simply doesn't square the ball up consistently, and when he does, he doesn't do so with the authority expected from a player his size. He doesn't swing and miss a ton and has a decent eye with a sound approach, but he feels for the ball (especially against left-handed pitching) and does not drive it. Kepler therefore fails to project as a regular. He's already limited to corner outfield positions and first base, which raises the bar even higher, but right now, he's nowhere close to displaying the power necessary to live up to the expectations of his defensive position. The profile is there for more, and he's still just 21, so it's far from a lost cause, but we've yet to see any kind of power production outside of the Appalachian League two years ago and there are few signs this year that he's turning the corner. —Jeff Moore

Brody Wofford, SS/OF, Model HS (Rome, GA)
Wofford wasn’t selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic, but the 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop and outfielder was my favorite bat of the Area Code Games tournament and should have received a lot more praise. In the cage, Wofford showed a nice, balanced stance and line-drive stroke from the left side; I circled his name in my roster sheet as a guy to keep an eye on. He carried that same approach to game action, consistently lining balls in the gaps with authority, hitting fastballs and off-speed pitches. He seemed to get stronger as he went on, and in the final game I witnessed he tripled to the opposite field on a ball hit at least 360 feet. The power potential is real for Wofford, with that great swing and a body that can easily carry 15 to 20 more pounds of good weight. Where he ends up on the diamond is the big question, as he has a good arm and decent hands, but lacks the horizontal range to play shortstop at the highest level. He’s played some outfield, but I’d like to see if he could play third base or even second this year at his high school. —Chris Rodriguez

Jose Adames, RHP, Marlins (Low-A Greensboro)
The Dominican hurler has a big arm, though it was easy to overlook while I spent a game watching Reynaldo Lopez touch 99 mph. Adames is a good example of how baseball can surprise us. My intent was to see how real the buzz on Lopez was, but I walked away seeing two interesting pitching prospects. Adames does not have elite velocity, but he still can reach back and touch 95 mph. His fastball is an explosive pitch, displaying hard arm-side run and even some boring action. It almost has a mind of its own, routinely showing terrific life and running in on the hands of hitters. However, Adames lacks sufficient command to work as a starter. His secondary arsenal also needs some work, as his curveball is currently inconsistent and the changeup is virtually nonexistent. The curve has a chance to be average, as it displays tight spin and mild depth at its best, but Adames will likely conclude his career in a bullpen. That often does not sound like a sexy profile, but remember that a 95 mph fastball with life and explosion has a place in the majors. If Adames can work on repeating his delivery and tightening up the curve, he could be a productive reliever. —Tucker Blair

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