Mitchell White, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
I wrote a good bit about White in our Dodgers Top Ten a few weeks back, but felt he warranted further advocacy in this here space as well. He’s a rare bird, in that he already has an arsenal capable of carving up left-handed hitters in spite of possessing very little in the way of a developed changeup. That’s because his cutter is an absolute weapon, holding plane effectively while it wanders to the glove side with well-above-average (and late) horizontal action. He can get in the kitchen as well as anybody I saw last year, and while the curve can lack for bite, it already shows quality depth that can generate field trips out of the zone. This all takes for granted a lively fastball that sits 91-93 right now, too. He generates quality extension to slot, and his velocity plays up a tick because of it. There’s some effort in the delivery, and it’s an up-tempo pace that can get too quick at times right now. The lack of a workload to date also makes him vulnerable to durability questions until he can build up some innings. But the frame is large and athletic, he controls it very well pitch to pitch, and I see a straight path to above-average command. Between White and the more-heralded Walker Buehler, the Dodgers have a couple very interesting post-surgery right-handers to monitor next year, and for my money there isn’t a ton of daylight between them. After crossing into triple-digit innings last year and looking no worse for the wear by the end of it, White has the potential to explode up prospect lists with 140-150 quality innings up into the high minors this season. —Wilson Karaman
Justin Dunn, SP, New York Mets
Honestly, Dunn would’ve fit in last week’s list of players who narrowly missed the 101 just as much as this week’s list. And on pure stuff, Dunn certainly belongs, with a plus fastball and the makings of a solid slider and change. Mostly a reliever at BC until midway through his junior season, the Mets were very careful with Dunn’s post-draft usage, using him for only two or three innings every six or seven days at short-season Brooklyn. Given that his track record as a starter is limited, he’s slight of frame, and there’s a touch of violence in his motion, we have just enough skepticism over Dunn’s long-term outlook starting, and the potential that he ends up in the pen kept him off the list this year. A couple dozen healthy starts and continued development of the offspeeds and command will easily put him pretty far up 2018’s 101, and you can dream on even more given the recent organizational track record with this sort of profile. —Jarrett Seidler
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The Prospect Team checks in with a look at the best tool they saw this year.
Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): Glove
Guerra’s prospect stock took a hit this year after a tough campaign in the Cal League, but his glove certainly wasn’t the culprit. In my looks Guerra showed as a heads-and-shoulders defender at the six spot, and the class of the league. He leverages lateral agility and quickness to offset notably unimpressive foot speed, and his range is an above-average asset in spite of the fringy speed tool. The hands are exquisitely soft, and the actions are as fluid as they get, highlighted by a quick and controlled transfer from tough body angles on the move. That transfer helps his plus arm strength play up even higher, and solidifies the profile as that of a potentially plus-plus defender at shortstop. —Wilson Karaman
Michael Gettys, OF, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): Arm
I find that recalibrating my eye and taking in some higher-level minor league or major-league games in person really helps my evaluations for Low-A. It's important to see players at all stages of development and it helps keep the mind sharp. One of the main differences that stands out is what the warm up procedure looks like in the majors versus what it looks like at Low-A. In the majors the throws are crisp, the actions are sharp, and it looks like a polished and finished product. Low-A provides a rawer look at defensive actions and tools, so when a major-league double-plus arm comes across during infield/outfield, it has a tendency to stand out. A lot. Gettys has a special arm, the kind of arm you share videos of on YouTube if you can find a good angle, the kind of arm that makes you twist in your seat in excitement as the complete story of the individual throw, from gather to release to carry to glove to tag, is played out in front of you. It's the kind of arm whose gif or video could end up as a twitter bio one day. It's a damn good arm and it helps complete a profile which, if the hit tool gains he showed throughout the year are real, can be a really fun and special player with power, speed, defensive chops and a damn cannon for an arm. —Mauricio Rubio Jr.
Notes on Mike Soroka, Alec Hansen, Magneuris Sierra, and more.
Mike Soroka, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome)
Perhaps calling Soroka a “positive surprise” is slightly misleading. After all, he was drafted 28th overall last year. First-round picks often succeed. It’s why they’re first-round picks.
But Soroka wasn’t exactly lighting up public draft boards in early June 2015. He was seen by many as a potential high-round pick, but 28th overall seemed like a bit of a surprise, at least to me. Leave it to the Braves to find the pitching talent.
A look at who we're keeping an eye on come October.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox)
Eloy Jimenez has earned himself a reputation with a highly productive 2016 and it’s come with a tool set that is awe-inspiring and tantalizing. The key to the profile is double-plus raw power which shows up in game thanks to a hit tool that allows for enough contact for his prodigious strength to actualize. Jimenez is a massive human already and he’s not quite done growing, so the raw strength could eventually get to the top of the scale. He’s visceral, exciting, and capable of putting up big time performances.
Notes on Touki Toussaint, Justus Sheffield, Anderson Tejeda, and more.
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome)
With the Rome Braves contending for the South Atlantic League title. its pitching staff's embarrassment of riches is on display. That includes using Touki Toussaint out of the bullpen to stay fresh in a Sept. 5 outing against Augusta that helped clinch the second-half division title. Imagine all of your wildest dreams coming true on a baseball field. Toussaint throwing gas in a one-inning stint is basically the same thing.
The 20-year-old consistently sat mid-90s and hit 97 twice with above-average run and sink. He located it arm side and it was devastating inside to right-handed batters. It didn't end there. Toussaint paired it with an impossible curveball, a true 70 pitch, with plus depth, very tight spin and hard bite. It fell off the table late with downward action that flashed 12-6. He tossed one changeup that dived under a right-hander's bat for good measure.
Notes on Matt Manning, Stephen Gonsalves, Cody Ponce, and more.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Minnesota Twins (Double-A Chattanooga)
Gonsalves has been putting up impressive numbers throughout his minor-league career, and that hasn’t changed in the Double-A jump this year. Does the stuff match the minor-league production? Somewhat. Most importantly, it’s enough to project a serviceable major-league starter.
Notes on 2014's biggest international bonus baby, a live arm that was traded for Jason Rogers, an intriguing 2016 draftee, and more.
Melvin Adon, RHP, San Francisco Giants (Short Season Salem-Keizer)
When I looked at the pitching matchup for the Everett-SK game on Friday, I wasn’t exactly intrigued. Everett’s Ljay Newsome, a righty thumber who throws strikes but lacks impact stuff, was set to oppose Adon, and while I didn’t know anything about the Dominican right-hander, his profile wasn’t all that exciting. He’s 22-years-old, didn’t sign until he was 19, had walked six in his last outing, and was running an ERA north of six through nine starts. I almost skipped the game. Instead, I got my first look at triple digits in the Northwest League.
Notes on first-rounders Will Benson, Dustin May, former first-rounder Cornelius Randolph, and more.
Will Benson, RF, Cleveland Indians (Complex Level AZL)
As I overheard one scout say, “That’s a big-league body.” Benson turned 18 just two months ago, but he’s 6-foot-5 and built like a defensive end. Taken 14th-overall out of a Georgia high school this year, Benson is already a premium physical specimen for the baseball diamond. He isn’t polished defensively, but he makes up for some of it with his athleticism. He uses his body well while throwing, and looks like he could have a plus arm in the future. Out of the box, he has a little bit of “great dane puppy” to him, but once he hits his stride, he moves well for someone his size and he typically displays the head-down hustle you hope to see.
Notes on Peter Lambert, Mitchell White, Thomas Szapucki and more.
Peter Lambert, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville)
If you frequent the lower levels, you’re watching 18-19-year-olds spotting every so often with stuff that flashes more than consistently hits a grade. Lambert is different. He stands out more for his polish as a 19-year-old prep product than his arsenal. He flashes a plus changeup that could reach 60 with time, but otherwise he’s working with a deep arsenal of average pitches that he utilizes with advanced command and control.
In his Padres debut, 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza displayed the precocious ability and projection that has driven his status as a nationally-celebrated prospect. Espinoza came out in the first inning with a toned-down fastball, working smoothly between 91 and 94. He lasted three innings, but in the latter two he worked 93-96, touching 97 twice, with natural though inconsistent running action and some sink. At higher velocities, the fastball run can be downright explosive. Espinoza works from a high 3/4 release point with a good arm action and an overall mechanical package that exudes premium fluidity and athleticism. His command and feel sometimes evaded him on this muggy night, and he impressed by remaining composed.