Notes on Yadier Alvarez, Dillon Tate, Matt Thaiss, and more.
Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Complex Level AZL)
Alvarez was arguably the highest-profile international free agent last summer, signing with the Dodgers for $16 million out of Cuba. Los Angeles has decided to take their time developing him, with the 20-year-old working through some command issues in the Arizona League. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, though his lean, athletic, frame makes him look a bit taller.
The velocity is easy—almost effortless—with reports of him touching triple-digits this spring. He works primarily at 93-97 with the fastball, rushing it up to 98 a few times the night I saw him. He seems to be experimenting a bit, working almost in phases—occasionally sitting 91-93 for an entire at bat, and then 94-96 against the next hitter. While his four-seamer is pretty straight, he generates excellent downhill plane when he gets on top of it. He also works in a sharp slider with a similarly large velocity band to the fastball, ranging from softer, slurvy offerings at 82, to power-sliders which might even be classified as cutters, as hard as 90 mph. His changeup is a work in progress; he struggles to replicate the same arm speed as his fastball, but he throws it hard enough (85-89 MPH) to get away with some mistakes at this level. The development of his off-speed pitch will likely be the difference between him throwing every fifth day and being a high-leverage reliever at the big league level.
Notes on Angel Perdomo, Colin Moran, Wes Rogers, and more.
Carlos Ramirez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
An outfielder turned pitcher, Ramirez has a big arm and has taken well to the mound thus far. With a 6-foot-5, 205-pound body, Ramirez pitches from the stretch with a compact arm action, fair arm speed, and a three-quarters slot. His fastball comes in at 93-95 with some sink. His slider was his go-to secondary with good depth and moderate tilt at 85-87. He is still raw but has an intriguing arm and hasn't pitched for that long. —Steve Givarz
I was sitting on an Appalachian League game last week. The teams and players involved don't really matter for the purposes of this story. There were runners on first and second, two out. The batter lined a ball into short left field. Even with the head start, this was clearly a station-to-station to situation. The manager, coaching third, immediately pointed to the base. The throw came in about shoulder high to the catcher who came out from behind the plate to take it. And Fin, right?
10 prospects that received consideration but ultimately came up short.
It's common knowledge that no matter how big your list is the first question one will ask was "who was the next guy?" In an anticipatory effort, we bring you 10 additional names that received consideration but ultimately did not make the BP Top 50. They are not presented in order of "just missed-ness," nor do they necessarily represent the next 10 names on the board. Given the prospect landscape mentioned in the preface to the list though, it is reasonable to consider each of the following names in the same zip code as those on the back portion of the Top 50. —Craig Goldstein
Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves Why He'll Succeed: If the raw tools (speed, defense, and even some power) he flashes combine with the advanced approach—and not just for an 18-year-old in his full season debut—they'll create a Voltron-style prospect who people fall all over themselves just to see and/or talk about.
Notes on Andrew Benintendi, Tyler Glasnow, and others.
Edwin Rios, 3B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga)
When you go to a lot of minor league baseball games, like the lot of us here on the prospect team do, you watch a lot of unremarkable baseball. You watch a good bit of bad baseball too, and through it all you build up a callous to even the more generally well-executed plays you see because you’ve seen those plays get executed generally well by numerous players along the way. But every now and again a player does something that, to cop some of KRS-One’s flow, brings your fist to your face like “Ohhhh sh*t!” Rios did that last Thursday with a towering eighth-inning home run—his second of the game—that was among the more majestic balls I’ve seen struck in person.
A sixth-rounder last summer out of Florida International, Rios is a chip-on-his-shoulder player after going undrafted out of high school. He added a bunch of bulk during his college days, which culminated in an 18-homer outburst in his draft season and a tag for likely movement across the diamond from his third-base home. The Dodgers have hedged since signing him, working him out at the hot corner in about two-thirds of his starts in the field. The frame is large and hulking, and his movements, while fluid, take some time. He showed decent reactions and mobility to the ground in my one look at him over there, with smooth hands and plenty of arm for the position as well. But the lateral agility and quickness you look for in a third baseman isn’t there, and it’ll be an uphill battle for him to stick.
Meet the propsects who'll represent the United States in the contest at Petco Park next month.
The minors may be down, but they’re not empty. There are 11 days left until the biggest single prospect stage of the season and here’s a look at the roster the USA will trot out there in San Diego on All Star Futures Game Sunday.
Willy Adames, Eloy Jimenez, and Jorge Mateo are among the headliners on the international squad this year.
The minors may be down, but they’re not empty. There are 11 days left until the biggest single prospect stage of the season and here’s a look at the roster the World will trot out there in San Diego on All Star Futures Game Sunday.