Notes on prospects who stood out during the long weekend.
Friday, August 29th
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-4, R, HR, 2 K. The Florida State League is a tough place to develop as a power hitter, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern that his home run total actually dropped from 19 last year to 16 this year. In fact, Vogelbach’s total tied for the league lead. Vogelbach’s raw power is very real, and he’s a good enough hitter to allow it to play in game action. He could explode next year, and that’s a comment on his power potential and not his waistline.
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In the prospect world, we like to use the term helium for a player whose fictitious stock is rising fast, and perhaps no player in the minors had more helium this year than Dilson Herrera. His promotion to the majors serves as the culmination of an incredibly fast journey through three levels in the Mets system (and skipping over one).
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera and Phillies lefty Yoel Mecias.
Hitter of the Night: Dilson Herrera, 2B, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3-4, 2 R, HR, K.
You’re getting a heavy dose of Herrera today, as he ended his minor-league season with a bang before receiving a surprising major-league call-up last night. Herrera has made tremendous progress this year in his development, both in his mechanics at the plate and in the resulting production. He’s being rushed to the majors and could struggle at first, but he has a solid future.
Pitcher of the Night: Yoel Mecias, LHP, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K.
Mecias missed the second half of 2013 and the first half of this year after having Tommy John surgery, so just the fact that he’s out there making his starts is a good sign. He wasn’t an overpowering pitcher before the injury, so it’s not surprising that he’s not missing a ton of bats at this point given the recovery period, but it’s a good sign to see him throwing strikes consistently. He should only get better as he regains the feel for his pitches and gains experience.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki and A's righty Dylan Covey.
Hitter of the Night: Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 4-4, 2 R, 2 HR.
Good seasons for hitters have a tendency to get even better when they end in Las Vegas, and Plawecki is putting a solid stamp on the end of a second straight solid minor-league year. If you’re looking for some power from your catcher, Plawecki may not be your guy, though he does offer some in the gap variety. What he does do well is control the strike zone and put the barrel of the bat on the baseball.
Pitcher of the Night: Dylan Covey, RHP, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 7 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
Covey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Wednesday, but it will go down as a rare highlight in an otherwise disappointing season. The stuff that once got him selected in the first round (in 2010 out of high school) is no longer there, though he does still throw a ton of strikes, which is something.
The densest concentration of prospect superpowers will offer plenty to watch for this autumn.
The Arizona Fall League is the Mecca of the prospect world, giving scouts and fans the most saturating collection of prospects gathered in any one spot at any point on the baseball calendar, save perhaps the one-day Future’s Game. Unlike that all-star exhibition, however, many of the game’s top prospects will ascend to the desert to play for something more than just national exposure and that third digit on the radar gun, with 32 games to refine their skills against fellow top prospects.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Astros righty Mark Appel.
Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB.
There’s not much left to say about Pederson, who should be in the majors at this point and would be with any of the other 29 organizations. Unlike some of the top prospects we’ve seen struggle lately, Pederson’s floor should be higher, given his power production and on-base skills.
Pitcher of the Night: Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 10 K.
I’ve been waiting all year to put Appel in this section of the Update. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Appel, who was as horrific as could be in the California League but has actually been pretty good in the Texas League, getting his ERA below the 4.00 mark. He’s even missing bats more frequently lately, signaling a return of the stuff that got him selected in the top 10 twice.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and Orioles righty Parker Bridwell.
Hitter of the Night: Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 4-6, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, BB, 2 K.
It’s been a big step back this year for DeShields, who hasn’t hit since leaving the California League and hasn’t seen his power translate to Double-A. This is a massive game for any prospect, though it should be noted that his team scored 23 runs in the game, so there may have been something in the air.
Pitcher of the Night: Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 8 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K.
This isn’t just the best-pitched game tonight, it’s one of the best of the minor league season. Bridwell is maddeningly inconsistent and has been his entire professional career, but it’s outings like this that keep people coming back to him as a prospect. He’s got a major-league arm, but there are still big questions about whether or not he’ll ever develop enough consistency to be a starter.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Joc Pederson, Tim Anderson, and Kyle Schwarber.
Friday, August 22nd
Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 BB, 2 K. This is the full monty from Pederson, with power, patience, and strikeouts all in one game. I’m not breaking new ground here: At this point, we know who Pederson is and what he can do, and he certainly has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. It’s just a matter of finding him at-bats in the majors.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Blue Jays lefty Daniel Norris.
Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB, K.
This is a pretty standard Pederson game, with everything he has to offer: power—both gap and over the fence—walks, and strikeouts. He’s going to hit for power, draw a ton of walks, and whiff a lot, too, but the final package should be an above-average offensive player at an up-the-middle position.
Pitcher of the Night: Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 5 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 9 K.
We’ve seen a little bit of everything from Norris this season. He dominated the Florida State League in the first half before a promotion to Double-A. In New Hampshire, he was less effective and threw fewer strikes yet missed more bats than ever. For the 21-year-old Norris, that would have been a fine stopping point on the season, yet the Blue Jays aggressively promoted him to Triple-A anyway. Through three starts for Buffalo, he’s allowed just two runs and has an ERA below 1.00. It’s been an incredible ascent for Norris, who could find himself in the majors by next year.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Cardinals righty Frederis Parra.
Hitter of the Night: Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR.
Judge continues to prove that he’s an all-around complete hitter rather than just a hulking slugger with holes in his swing. His combination of a plus eye at the plate and unforced power for which he doesn’t have to sell out allows him to attack pitchers with a balanced approach and let his natural size and strength do the work for him.
Pitcher of the Night: Frederis Parra, RHP, Cardinals (GCL, R): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
Parra has some of the best stuff I’ve seen all season, especially for an 18-year-old, though he’s still learning how to bring it to the park each time out. He has the stuff to miss bats, but he doesn’t always do it, though he’s remained effective even when he doesn’t. As soon as he learns to be more consistent from start to start, he’ll move quickly.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Mariners first baseman D.J. Peterson and Red Sox righty Anthony Ranaudo.
Hitter of the Night: D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR.
Peterson is looking every bit like the impact bat the Mariners were hoping he was when they selected him 12th overall last year. His production hasn't been quite the same since a promotion to Double-A, but that's to be expected after leaving the California League behind.
Pitcher of the Night: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K.
Ranaudo has had a cup of coffee this year helping to plug the holes in the Red Sox’ leaking starting rotation, but his iffy command profile will probably result in him spending more time in a big-league bullpen. When he throws strikes, however, he can be highly effective in any capacity. Command has always been an issue for the big right-hander, who struggles at times to repeat his delivery.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs shortstop Addison Russell and Astros righty Nick Tropeano.
Hitter of the Night: Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Cubs, who have more shortstop depth than any organization in recent memory. Starlin Castro’s reemergence has pushed Javier Baez to second base, but Russell could be a more complete (note that choice of words very carefully) player than either of them.
Pitcher of the Night: Nick Tropeano, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K.
Tropeano has done all he can to prove himself in the minors, which has included showing that he can continue to miss bats at the highest level despite a mediocre fastball. The key to that is a plus changeup, which can be the great equalizer for any pitcher. It’s not a high ceiling, but he’s going to be a major league pitcher, and there’s no reason he can’t stick at the back end of a rotation for a while.