keyboard_arrow_uptop

As with last year, the prospect team has come together to provide analysis of players they’ve seen that will be taking part in the Arizona Fall League. We’ve broken the players up into groupings of “The Guys You Know, The Guys You Don’t, and The Guys You Will.” For The Guys You Know, we will link to any eyewitness writeups we have on them, but by and large they get a ton of coverage on the site. The Guys You Don’t, we’ll cover as best we can, and write up a couple sentences to give you a feel for who they are. The Guys You Will is the thrust of the idea, and meant to give you the players to focus on in the AFL, as they have the potential to become more of a mainstay in our discussions or at least relevant to the major leagues in a short timeframe.

We hope you enjoy the hard work the team puts into these, and if you have any suggestions or things you’d like to see, let me know in the comments. —Craig Goldstein

The Guys You Know
Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT (#14 Midseason Top 50) (Eyewitness)
Francisco Mejia, C/IF, CLE (#3 Midseason Top 50)
Yusniel Diaz, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (#90 Top 101) (Eyewitness)

The Guys You Don’t
Shea Spitzbarth, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
An undrafted sign out of Molloy College back in 2015, Spitzbath thoroughly dominated the Cal League for a few weeks at the beginning of the year on the back of a mid-90’s heater and tight, hard curveball, before holding his own across 50 pretty solid Double-A innings. There’s some bullpen potential here. —Wilson Karaman

Andrew Sopko, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
He’s performed adequately as a starter since signing as a seventh-rounder in 2015, but a fairly straight heater and lack of a putaway pitch limits the profile to that of a No. 5/swingman type if he can get there. —WK

Jace Fry, LHP, Chicago White Sox
Got 10 MLB appearances in September. After two TJ surgeries, Fry is now a reliever. He has an interesting repertoire of a 92-94 fastball, a cut slider that gets some swing and miss and a curve that he uses effectively against lefties. He has a lot of command difficulties to remedy in order to become interesting. —Scott Delp

Daniel Mendick, INF, Chicago White Sox
Will take a walk, can steal a base, but a promotion to AA proved a bit more than he could handle. It’s hard to even see a utility player from here. —SD

Tyler Krieger, 2B, Cleveland Indians
Second base-only slap hitter who doesn’t offer everyday regular upside. —Greg Goldstein

Edgar Cabral, C, Philadelphia Phillies
Took a step-up with the bat from Low to High-A, but still projects as more org depth as he lacks the physicality in the box to be able to consistently deal with major league stuff. —GG

Argenis Angulo, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Touches the mid 90’s with a potential average breaking ball, command fades in-and-out because of the moving parts in his delivery —GG

Trevor Bettencourt, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
The “unheralded low-rounder college reliever blows A-ball away” plotline used to come associated with garbage stuff, but the increase in stuff around the game has pushed these guys into relevancy. The childhood friend of Eric Thames can run it up to 94 and spot it really well, and has shot to be a good middle-innings arm. —Jarrett Seidler

Michael Boyle, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Boyle worked as a swingman in Rancho Cucamonga this year, starting some games and working multi-inning relief in others. He’s a lefty with fringy velocity and a deuce that’ll flash solid if inconsistent downer action. Right-handed hitters took his lunch money on the regular in my looks. —WK

Isaac Anderson, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Anderson is a pitchability righty with a four-pitch mix who was converted to the mound in junior college before being drafted out of Wichita State. His fastball sits in the low-90s and while the secondaries aren’t much to speak of at the moment, he’s a good athlete on the bump. —Craig Goldstein

Ka'ai Tom, OF, Cleveland Indians
Plays all three outfield spots with a smooth swing and surprising gap power when looking at his small stature. He’s not a guy that stands out on the field, but just seems to produce in whatever spot he gets put in. There’s likely reserve outfield value here with more of a bat than you would expect given his lack of physicality.—GG

Leandro Linares, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Connor Walsh, LHP, Chicago White Sox
Luke Eubank, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Sean Brady, LHP, Cleveland Indians
Zach Green, CI, Philadelphia Phillies
Logan Hill, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Guys You Will
Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (Eyewitness)
In true Dodger form, Smith is among the more athletic backstops you’ll see, with elasticity in his work behind the dish and good spring to his lateral movement. He’s still a bit raw with the blocking technique, but his transfer into throws with above-average raw arm strength pushes the throw tool to plus, and he shows the ingredients of an excellent defensive backstop – with occasional utility at second and third, to boot. He’ll look to gain some reps lost after a hit-by-pitch broke a bone in his wrist directly on the heels of his promotion to Double-A earlier in the year, and that’s good because the offensive profile is going to be a slower burn driven by contact and patience. —WK

Matt Beaty, CI/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Beaty showed some interesting improvement after an uninspiring start to the season in the Cal last year, and he carried over some swing adjustments to drive a really nice campaign at Tulsa this year. Derek Florko has a really nice, recommended write-up here; he’ll be an interesting guy to see in front of larger scouting galleries of the AFL. —WK

DJ Peters, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Eyewitness)
I’ve covered Peters at some length lately, first touching on his defensive improvements here, then getting into his power potential and the limits thereof in game situations here. —WK

Tito Polo, OF, Chicago White Sox
Polo has had an interesting career so far. Playing for his third organization, he has some tools that make him intriguing, but enough question marks to keep him under the radar. His baserunning and defense are close to MLB ready and give him a solid fourth outfielder floor. The questions are all about his hit tool. The hitch in his load became more problematic in the Southern League and he will need to adjust to have success as he moves up from here. The AFL will be a good showcase for him, whether it is for the Sox to get a longer look at what they have or for another organization to see if there is something there to work with. —SD

Kevin Kramer, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Eyewitness): It was really a lost 2017 campaign for Kramer as he sat out with an injured hand for much of the year. However, Kramer got back for the Eastern League playoffs and looks to try and make up for some lost time in the Fall League. The bat carries the profile as Kramer only works positionally at second base. He brings both some pop and natural hitting ability to the position. He’s got a strong, compact body that he uses to drive balls to the gaps. He’s capable of low double-digit homer power, but he’s more comfortable pounding the middle of the field rather than shifting his weight and pulling pitches down right field line. I don’t see him as a solid regular, even though he brings a better than usual bat projection for a middle infielder. —GG

Seby Zavala, C, Chicago White Sox: Sharing time behind the plate with 2016 first-rounder Zack Collins in the second half, Zavala had an under-the-radar 2017 season with the bat. The former 12th-round selection finished the year hitting over .280 with 21 bombs during his time in Low- and High-A. Zavala does a good job covering the plate, while also driving pitches all over the field. Mature for his age, Zavala just physically dominated Carolina League pitching. He’s still a work in progress as a catcher, seeing a lot of time at DH. Zavala lacks the athleticism and and premier raw power to be a true major-league regular at first base, but if he can take a jump defensively, he’s got enough smarts and bat to ball skills to be a reliable offensive option as a major league backstop. I expect him to open some eyes with his all around hitting ability in Arizona. —GG

Cornelius Randolph, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: The 10th pick in the 2015 Draft was supposed to hit, and instead he’s only hit a little. He’s still got the bat speed and he’s got a decent clue at the plate, but he hasn’t yet handled velocity well and it’s not like the pitchers throw slower when you get into the high-minors. The reason he has to hit is because there’s no secondary value here at all, although he’s not quite as bad an athlete as you’d expect for a guy already limited to being a bad left fielder. It’s not without hope, but it’s not what you’d like. —JS

Garrett Cleavinger, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Eyewitness)
As the prospect that went over to Philadelphia in the Jeremy Hellickson deal, Cleavinger failed to build upon a solid 2016 season. Control issues plagued the lefty reliever in both Bowie and Reading as Cleavinger walked over five per nine IP in 38 appearances out of the pen. The former 3rd round pick still has upside because he can still find ways to miss bats with a fastball that touches the mid 90s and a slider that can cause trouble for LHHs when he’s commanding glove-side. At the least, there’s some LOOGY value in his herky-jerky sidearm delivery. Cleavinger needs to use the Arizona League to help jump start what could be a bounceback 2018 campaign given that he has the arm talent to work his way into the Phillies long-term bullpen plans. —GG

J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
A big kid with a big fastball. Brubaker was sitting 96-98 with run early in the Eastern League Championship Series, and held into the mid-90s into the late innings of a dominant performance. The change and slider are both more works-in-progress, and he’s yet to strike out nearly as many as he should. He’s in the right organization for a tall fellow with a fastball, but he turns 24 during the fall and there’s a lot of projection that needs to come home to hit as a good starter. —JS

Dylan Covey, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Covey can hump it up into the mid-90s out of the pen, where his slider plays better too. Every time he’s trotted out in the rotation the stuff drops a tick and his lack of an effective third offering, as well as command, is exposed. He’s a reliever presently, it’s just a question of if the White Sox want to keep running him out as a starter. Already 26 years old, he mostly is what he is. —CG

Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Eyewitness)
Acquired from Washington last season as part of the return for Mark Melancon, Hearn checks off a lot of boxes. Left-handed, big velocity, height, athleticism. Hearn has a 7 fastball, that while it can be inconsistent life-wise, can still be hard to square up. With his 6-foot-5 frame and long levers, the ball seems to get on guys quicker than the velocity suggests. Which is good, because he throws in the mid-90s. The off-speed can be inconsistent, but the slider shows the most promise, flashing plus at times, but is inconsistent at others. While Hearn might be better off as a reliever, the promise of a starter with his stuff is too much to ignore at this juncture. —Steve Givarz

Elniery Garcia, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies: Added to the 40 before the season as a lefty with a live arm, Garcia was popped for 80 games for PEDs coming out of spring. He never really got on track, walking more than he struck out upon his return to Double-A Reading. More than anything, he’s here because he needs innings after most of his season got wiped out. When he’s right, he can show you a low-to-mid-90s heater with life and a useful breaking ball, but Garcia was inconsistent even before the lost season. —JS

J.D. Hammer, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies: Like Bettencourt, Hammer came out of nowhere as a college reliever to put up one of the minors’ most dominant seasons. Hammer throws a bit harder and is thus the better prospect, but the real trick to getting good MLB relievers is to get a whole bunch of these types and let things work themselves out. Hammer also has a better origin story than most: an off-season eye exam led to him wearing some of the minors’ most distinctive glasses, and perhaps even some of his improvement. —JS

Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Indians (Eyewitness)
Known for his power and BIG body, Bradley can launch balls in ways that most prospects can’t. However, a full season in Double-A continued to expose his high strikeout tendencies and problems at first base. The 21 year-old struck out a glaring 170 times in 131 games, while also not showing the improvement needed to calm concerns about his DH only future. Bradley’s swing gets choppy when he’s fooled and noticeably struggles when he’s worked away from his power zone. The good news is that he walks a ton, as many power hitters do, but I’m skeptical whether he develops his hit tool enough to avoid his long-term projection of becoming a left-handed Chris Carter. With that being said, the raw power is something to behold, hopefully he gets a few pitches in his wheelhouse to show it off in ‘Zona.—GG

Cole Tucker, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (Eyewitness)
Still younger than you think, and leaner than you would expect, Tucker is still a “baby giraffe” as I recall that phrase being used in his draft year. Like a giraffe, he has long legs, strides well, and is a plus runner, which is surprising given his size. He uses his footwork well in the field, has quality range, and the instincts necessary to play the six-spot. This gives him a high floor as we wait for the bat to develop, especially the strength. While he can still pull a ball out if you lay one in for him, he doesn’t have the loft or wrist strength necessary for 15+ home runs. Tucker will be given a chance to play shortstop at every opportunity, but could expand his versatility by playing some other infield spots as well. —SG