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August 7, 2013

Minor League Update

First Round Selections: National League

by Zach Mortimer

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Position Players

Christian Arroyo, SS, Giants (AZL Giants): .275/.349/.431 with 10 2B, 2 2B, 1 HR, 26 R, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 2 CS, 14 BB, and 19 K in 109 at-bats.

The Giants signed Arroyo for $1,866,500. They believe Arroyo can stay at shortstop, but some in the industry have questions about his ability to stick there. Offensively, Arroyo displays solid bat-to-ball ability, but has limited power potential. Arroyo is an average runner who will get by on his instincts rather than blazing speed. Overall, some believed that Arroyo was an overdraft, but the Giants have selected players who did not fit the mold and have turned them into useful assets.

Video: https://vimeo.com/71485256

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Short-Season Boise): .278/.352/.583 with 6 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 R, 13 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 4 BB, and 15 K in 54 at-bats.

The Cubs selected Bryant second overall and paid him $6.7 million. Bryant shows top-of-the-scale raw power and plenty of arm strength. He made changes to his swing mechanics in 2013 and hit more home runs than many Div. I teams. The Cubs have a fully stocked infield, and Bryant may ultimately end up in right field. The Cubs paid big-time money for Bryant, and he has the potential to hit in the middle of their lineup for years to come.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (GCL Phillies): .367/.456/.490 with 6 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 16 R, 11 RBI, 10 SB, 4 CS, 16 BB, and 17 K in 98 at-bats.

Crawford fits the mold of a typical Phillies draft pick; plenty of tools and plenty of projection. Defensively, Crawford looks the part at shortstop and has the ability to stay there going forward. Scouts that I have spoken with feel that Crawford needs to mature physically and think that he will be able to provide some power once that happens. The $2.3 million price tag is an expensive one, but if Crawford reaches his ceiling—a player who fields at a premium position and provides offensive value—it will be worthwhile.

Phillip Ervin, CF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): .329/.422/.570 with 10 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 29 R, 31 RBI, 13 SB, 1 CS, 21 BB, and 30 K in 149 at-bats.

Ervin has feel for hitting and solid-average power potential. He is a plus runner, but his routes in center field still need seasoning. The Reds signed Ervin for $1.8 million out of Samford, and believed he was one of the safer bets in this draft. Ervin has impressed scouts thus far in his short professional career, and has the chance to be one of the first position players to reach the majors. The ceiling may be a bit limited, as Ervin profiles as a solid player and not a potential superstar.

Reese McGuire, C, Pirates (GCL Pirates): .368/.429/.463 with 9 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 18 R, 13 RBI, 3 SB, 1 CS, 9 BB, and 10 K in 95 at-bats.

Since signing ,McGuire has done nothing but impress scouts. McGuire is an excellent defender who boasts solid catch-and-throw ability, and he’s a natural receiver who handles balls in the dirt very well. The Pirates gave McGuire $2.36 million and actually saved $200,000 on the pick. Offensively, McGuire has a quick bat with excellent bat-to-ball ability, and should provide average power as his body matures. McGuire has the potential to be an All-Star-level catcher who provides extreme defensive value.

Austin Meadows, CF, Pirates (GCL Pirates): .291/.384/.535 with 9 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 16 R, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS, 12 BB, and 21 K in 86 at-bats.

Meadows has received mixed reviews from the scouts that I’ve spoken to. The scouts that like Meadows believe in the prototypical 6-3, 210-pound athletic frame, and believe he will be able to provide power and stay in centerfield. However, some scouts I have spoken with aren’t enamored with the swing and wonder if Meadows will be forced to left field. The positive results early in his pro career portend good things, but some preach caution here.

Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): .232/.308/.339 with 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 7 BB, and 9 K in 56 at-bats.

Moran showed excellent plate discipline as an amateur and has natural hitting ability. Scouts believe that his power should develop as matures as a hitter. The Marlins paid Moran $3.51 million and believe that he can stay at third base. However, I’ve spoken to multiple people who believe that Moran ultimately ends up at first base. If Moran has to play first, a great deal of pressure will be placed on him to reach his offensive ceiling.

Hunter Renfroe, RF, Padres (Short-Season Eugene): .286/.309/.516 with 9 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 19 R, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 0 CS, 4 BB, 25 K in 91 at-bats.

Renfroe led Mississippi State to Omaha in 2013. He profiles as a prototypical right fielder with a plus throwing arm and plus power potential. Renfroe has a lot of swing and miss in his swing, which some scouts believe will be exploited as progresses through the minors. The Padres paid $2.67 million for Renfroe’s services, and believe he could be a potential 20/20 player if he is able to reach his ceiling.

Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (GCL Mets): .238/.360/.356 with 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 4 CS, 19 BB, and 30 K in 101 at-bats.

I have expressed many questions about the Mets selecting Smith so high in the draft based solely on my aversion to players who are locked into first base so soon. However, everyone that I’ve spoken with believes in Smith, and believes that he will hit for both average and power. Smith profiles as a potential middle-of-the-order bat who will be a staple in the Mets organization going forward.

Pitchers

Chris Anderson, RHP, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 27.0 IP, 19 H, 5 ER, 14 BB, and 29 K in seven starts.

The Dodgers selected Anderson from Jacksonville University and paid him $2.1 million. Anderson features a fastball that works in the low-to-mid 90s, and has touched 96 in the past. He adds a slider that flashes plus, and an improving changeup. Anderson has a mid-rotation ceiling, and should be able to navigate his way through the lower minors relatively easily.

Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks (Short-Season Hillsboro): 23.0 IP, 16 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, and 20 K in six starts.

Blair offers a fastball that has inconsistent velocity, working in the upper 80s, but touching the mid 90s at times. Scouts believe that if he is able to shore up his mechanics, he will be able to keep his fastball at its top velocities. Blair’s secondary offerings are led by his plus changeup and inconsistent breaking ball. The Diamondbacks paid him $1.43 million forgo his senior year at Marshall, and believe he can eat innings at the back-end of a rotation.

Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach) 9.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, and 12 K in five appearances.

The southpaw out of Gonzaga offered the best changeup in the draft. His fastball works 88-91 with average life and plus command. Gonzalez is still tinkering with what type of breaking ball he wants to use going forward. The Cardinals paid him $2.05 million, and believe that Gonzalez should be on the fast track to the big leagues as a back-end starter.

Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 18.1 IP, 17 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, and 22 K in five starts.

Entering the draft some believed that Gray was the top talent in the pool. Gray offers a fastball that works in the upper 90s and can touch triple digits, a plus-plus slider with wipeout potential, and a developing changeup. Gray’s frame is built to log innings, and a lot of them at that. The Rockies gave Gray $4.8 million and believe he has true front-end-starter potential.

Jason Hursh, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 18.0 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 7 BB, and 14 K in six starts.

Hursh relies on his fastball, which has touched triple digits in the past. He has already had Tommy John surgery, and needs to continue to make changes to his delivery and arm action. Hursh shows a slider and changeup, but both of them only flash and lack consistency. In a perfect world, Hursh develops into a mid-rotation starter, but some feel that ultimately he will be a high-leverage reliever.

Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, and 11 K in four appearances.

The small framed left-hander out of a New Jersey high school offered one of the best curveballs in the draft. Scouts graded his hook as a present plus pitch with even greater potential; he combines that with a fastball that works in the low 90s and a developing changeup. Kaminsky has great feel for the fastball and commands it to both sides of the plate. Scouts believe Kaminsky profiles as a mid-rotation starter and with his great work ethic and feel for the game. The Cardinals gave Kaminsky $1.78 million to keep him away from the University of North Carolina.

Matt Krook, LHP, Selected by Marlins: Will attend University of Oregon.

Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield) 11.0 IP,9 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, and 9 K in 12 appearances.

The Reds selected Lorenzen out of Cal State Fullerton and planned on using him on the mound right away. Some teams saw an opportunity to let Lorenzen play as a position player. Lorenzen offers a fastball that works in the mid-to-upper 90s and a curveball that still needs polish. The Reds gave Lorenzen $1.47 million and hope that his excellent athleticism helps him overcome his crudeness on the mound and become a high-end reliever.

Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Short-Season Hillsboro): 15.0 IP, 24 H, 13 ER, 4 BB, and 18 K in seven starts.

Shipley offers a mid-90s fastball that can touch higher when needed, a plus changeup, and a developing curveball. The initial struggles should not pose any concerns because scouts that I’ve spoken with believe that Shipley has bat-missing ability. The Diamondbacks signed Shipley for $2.25 million and believe he can either be a solid mid-rotation starter or a high-impact reliever.

Zach Mortimer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zach's other articles. You can contact Zach by clicking here

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