The U.S. Team includes power arms, toolsy outfielders and a dazzling collection of infielders.
Welcome to part two of a two-part series on scouting the players involved in this Sunday's Futures Game showcase of prospect talent. The International roster preview ran on Thursday.
Christian Binford, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
Scouting Report (most recent) Link
Binford entered 2014 as a prospect on the rise in the Royals system, and his performance so far has earned him the chance to represent Kansas City in Minnesota for the Futures Game. Binford is more polish than projection, as neither the fastball nor slider projects to be a plus or better offering. Meanwhile, the changeup is lagging behind and will need to jump an entire grade before he can realistically profile in a rotation. Regardless, it appears Binford will provide the Royals with more than the expected value of a typical 30th round selection.
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Carlos Correa will not play, shifting the spotlight to Julio Urias, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and the rest of a talented, if somewhat raw, squad.
Welcome to part one of a two-part series on scouting the players involved in this Sunday's Futures Game showcase of prospect talent. The US roster preview will follow on Friday.
Alfonso Alcantara, RHP, Angels (Low-A Burlington)
Alcantara shows a three-pitch mix, with his bread and butter a mid-90s fastball that possesses movement anywhere from 93 to 96 mph. The slider and changeup are both well behind in development, with the slider showing some promise but the changeup looking unplayable too often.
Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Staff Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings of players who have been in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case as to why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.
The Astros call up the outfielder they stole from Philadelphia.
The Situation: On Sunday, Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow indicated that Domingo Santana (the no. 8-ranked prospect in the system entering 2014) still had some developing to do in Triple-A. But with outfielder Dexter Fowler finding himself on the 15-day disabled list, the Astros have a need for an outfielder already on the 40-man roster. Checking off both of those prerequisites, Santana was summoned to the big leagues from Triple-A Oklahoma City and debuted with a three-strikeout, 0-for-4 performance on Tuesday.
Background: Santana, acquired by the previous regime in Houston, came to the Astros as the fourth and final piece of the trade that sent outfielder Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies. Santana didn’t become a member of the Astros organization until two weeks after the trade went down, having originally been listed as player to be named later. But it's still puzzling that the Astros were able to acquire Santana, who has been tapping into his raw power since entering pro ball as a 16-year-old. It might have been a mistake on Philadelphia’s part, and not in the figurative sense, if you believe this report (and not this denial).
Who won, who lost, and who got left behind in the 2013 draft? Let's redraft and find out.
It's been a year since the 2013 draft, and we've gotten a good look at how the last crop of highly touted amateurs has has performed in the pros. To see how much perceptions of those players have changed, we decided to do the draft over again, assigning 27 picks to BP authors and re-drafting from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were picked last year. Here's how the first-round re-draft shook out.
1:1 Houston Astros
Actual Selection: Mark Appel
Re-Draft Selection: Kris Bryant (2013 no. 2 pick)
Reason: What has Bryant done in pro ball? Rake. In his first full season, Bryant has a slash line of .346/.453/.682 with 19 HR, plenty of strikeouts but also plenty of walks. His stock has risen because he's proven he's simply the best player from the draft by hitting for average, power and even stolen some bases. As long as Bryant continues to rake I'll continue my love for him, as will everyone else. – CJ Wittmann Analysis: Bryant moves up one spot from where he was actually taken, claiming the coveted no. 1 overall selection. The 22-year-old is terrorizing minor-league pitching and looks to be a cut above the rest of his peers from the 2013 draft class.
The Rockies demote Franklin Morales to their bullpen and bring up one of their top pitching prospects to fill his shoes.
The Situation:Franklin Morales continues to turn in uncompetitive outings, and the Rockies have now decided to pull the plug on the starter and move him into the team’s bullpen. Colorado will fill the rotation spot by tapping into their starting pitching depth at the minor-league level, specifically by summoning Eddie Butler—the no. 2-ranked prospect in the system entering 2014—to the big leagues from Double-A Tulsa.
Background: The Rockies took Butler with the second of their two first round choices in the 2012 amateur draft, popping the right-handed pitcher out of Radford University with the no. 46 overall selection. Given Colorado’s unique home field environment at Coors Field, the Rockies felt Butler’s groundball generating arsenal would not only play well at the major leagues, but at their home ballpark. Baseball Prospectus identified Butler as a prospect on the rise within the Rockies system entering 2013, and he responded with an ERA of 1.80 across three minor-league levels. Butler’s continued his dominance in 2014, posting a 2.49 ERA across 68 2/3 innings of work this season with Double-A Tulsa. While Butler’s strikeout rate in 2014 is significantly lower than it was in 2013, we can attribute that to player-specific developmental focuses that had Butler pocketing his best offerings in order to strengthen the weaker links.
The Angels' beleaguered bullpen gets some reinforcement in the form of a righty with eye-popping peripherals.
The Situation: In recent years, Angels manager Mike Scioscia hasn’t had many reliable bullpen options to work with, and that’s continued to be the case in 2014. Anaheim’s bullpen entered play on Wednesday with a 4.32 ERA, the fifth-highest mark in the majors. In search of setup assistance, the Angels have called up 22-year-old right-hander Cam Bedrosian from Double-A Arkansas, where he’d posted some eye-popping numbers. He saw his first action on Tuesday, setting down the Astros in order with one K.
The final draft Ten Pack of the season features end-of-year notes from the Midwest and Southern California.
Our last draft ten pack of the season contains end-of-year notes from the Midwest region (courtesy of myself) and Southern California (courtesy of Ron Shah). Make sure to check out Baseball Prospectus’s full draft content here, including in-depth scouting notes, prospect video, and links to more draft content from our partners at Perfect Game USA. We hope you enjoyed this series; see you again next February! –Nick J. Faleris
Is the Angels' newly promoted prospect worth your time, attention, and dynasty-league dollars?
The Situation: Key injuries and a lack of production have tested the Angels’ internal depth, and the team is now turning to C.J. Cron (the no. 3-ranked prospect in the system entering 2014) in hopes that he can fill the void.
Background: With their first-round selection (no. 17 overall) in the 2011 draft, the Angels opted to go the safe route, taking Cron, an advanced college bat with a history of performance. From the day Cron entered pro ball, talent evaluators labeled the Utah University product a designated hitter, alluding to his lack of defensive value while simultaneously putting enormous pressure on the bat. Despite his college polish, the Angels have taken it slowly with Cron, with annual promotions up the minor league ranks. He stumbled some in Double-A last year but put up a .319/.369/.602 slash line in 28 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.