Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday—plus a couple from Tuesday, too.
It’s playoff time, which means the talent pool is watered down and there are only a few games to work with each night. Never fear, however, as the Update carries on.
Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 3-4, R, 2 2B, BB. MLU mainstay Matt Olson is having far too much fun this season hitting in the California League to let things end. It should be noted also that despite his three-true-outcome tendencies, Olson also had 30 doubles on the season.
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Twenty big-league scouts and our own Jeff Moore watched Jozzen Cuesta and Misael Siverio try out in Florida last week.
There are innumerable adjustments players must make when defecting from Cuba in search of their major-league dream, but on Friday morning, on the back fields in the shadows of Roger Dean Stadium in south Florida, the weather was not one of them. The balmy heat and stifling humidity couldn’t have been much different from what Jozzen Cuesta and Misael Siverio were used to back in their native Cuba. The setting, however, was different, with more than 20 scouts in attendance who were eager to see the newest free agent talent but, after two hours, slightly disappointed by the pedestrian performances they saw.
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.
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.