July 16, 2012
Monday Morning Ten Pack
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Baez was at it again over the weekend, going 7-for-12 with a double, two triples and a home run, lifting his season line to .331/.394/.586 since joining the Chiefs in late May. Expected to be awfully good, Baez has actually exceeded those expectations, earning 70 or higher scouting grades for both his hit and power tools. He's eclipsed Minnesota's Miguel Sano in the eyes of most as the top all-around offensive prospect in the Midwest League, and he's one of the top offensive prospects in any league.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Rookie-level AZL Athletics)
A supplemental first-round pick who arguably had more raw power than any player available, Gallo has certainly proved he can hit balls a long way; with two more home runs over the weekend and six in his last eight, he leads the Arizona League with 11 in just 63 at-bats as part of a total line that sits at .349/.528/.952. What does this all mean? Well, it means about as much as No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa's .169/.217/.277 line in 65 Gulf Coast League at-bats. These are complex leagues, and statistics mean nothing. Go look at what Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter did at this level, or Andrew D'alessio or Joseph Winkler. This is not to crush any dreams on Gallo, who has been nothing short of amazing, but his stock doesn't suddenly move after 20 games. He still has fantastic raw power, he still has a lot of swing and miss in his game, and he still has a long way to go defensively. He's very good, but three weeks doesn't make anyone great.
Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (Double-A Pensacola)
Hamilton moved up to Double-A this week, and while he went just 2-for-9 over the weekend, he's still providing plenty of excitement. He's stolen five bases in his five games for the Blue Wahoos (I swear, that's what they call themselves), and on Sunday afternoon he delivered an inside-the-park home run that Larry Granillo timed at a record-breaking 13.8 seconds. Along with Hamilton's off-the-charts speed, scouts, while still leaning towards wanting him to move to center field, have noted defensive improvements at shortstop, and either way, it's looking more likely than ever that he'll get to the big leagues at some point in 2013.
Alfredo Marte, OF, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile)
Marte was one of those players a lot of people wanted to get their eyes on at last Sunday's Futures Game. Most of the players were well known, with long-held reputations, but Marte came out of nowhere. Entering the year with little, if any, fanfare, Marte just keeps on hitting, as after going 6-for-13 over the weekend with his 16th and 17th home runs, he's now batting .303/.375/.602 in 71 games. Just six feet tall and well over his listed weight of 190 pounds, Marte is a squarely built slugger who is a bit too aggressive at the plate, but takes a huge swing while also showing a decent feel for hitting; while he's a below-average runner, he's a decent outfielder with enough arm for right. His ability to absolutely clobber left-handed pitching should lead to some kind of big league career, but he has some believers out there as a future everyday player.
Cody Martin, RHP, Braves (High-A Lynchburg)
Martin arguably had the best start of the weekend, striking out 14 during a two-hit shutout against Salem. And he's been good all year, as he now has a 2.80 ERA for the Hillcats with 101 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. Studly numbers to be sure, but Martin is not a top prospect. He sits at 87-91 mph with his fastball, and his changeup and curve are merely average. He succeeds on outstanding command and control, and when everything is on—as it was on Friday—he can be what one scout calls “surgical.” He's not a prospect getting a lot of attention, and he just doesn't have the stuff to be a impact big leaguer, but there's some value here.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (Short-season Brooklyn)
Nimmo was hitting just .188 heading into the weekend, with only three multi-hit games in 23 contests, but he reeled off three in a row, going 7-for-11 to raise his season line to .242/.391/.385. Scouts don't know what to make of him, other than really liking him. For such a raw player, he consistently puts together quality at-bats, but for every scout that thinks he's going to turn into a power hitter, you can find one who think he's going to be more of a high-average gap-to-gap type. The good news is nobody seems to think he's going to be bad, and we have plenty of time to figure out what kind of good player he has the potential to be.