We made you wait an extra day, so we put in an extra writeup.
Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State (2016 Draft Class) Lauer and the Kent State Flashes entered the MAC Tournament as the heavy favorites, however a loss to Western Michigan ended their run at post season play. Lauer started for the Flashes on Wednesday, going the distance with a complete-game shutout. He showed advanced pitchability throughout the game, and the stuff to match. While Lauer doesn’t currently have a pure out-pitch, his arsenal is still adequate. His fastball sat 93, hitting 94 a few times with a deceptive look from the left side, with some cutting action on it. His curveball will be an above-average pitch, showing 1-7 break across multiple planes at 76 mph. His slider is much improved since I last saw him in April; it usually sits 85-86 topping at 87 mph. His changeup also looked improved, and he threw it with much more confidence this game, featuring horizontal arm-side fade and a touch of tumble as it fell late at times.
Lauer won't be an ace, or even a number two in all likelihood, but what he is missing in ceiling he makes up for in floor. Even as someone who hates the term “high-floor player,” Lauer looks the part to be a fast-rising mid-to-back-end starter. He is as polished as anyone in the class currently, and if any of his off-speed pitches can improve into the plus range, his ceiling becomes even higher. His endurance has never been questioned, as his last two outings have been a no hitter at Bowling Green, and this shutout. His velocity held through all nine innings on Wednesday, and he maintained his delivery well. His delivery is extremely clean, but has a quirk with his left leg that needs to be timed correctly in order to hit his spots. But out of all of his outings that I have seen, he’s only lost his timing in a few. I would look for Lauer to go anywhere in the 25-40 range, but losing out on his ability to prove himself against post season competition is unfortunate. —Grant Jones
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In a relaunch of the Eyewitness Accounts series for 2014, the BP Prospect Staff profiles Jorge Alfaro, Bubba Starling, Josh Hader, Aaron Sanchez, Lucas Sims, Tim Anderson, Brandon Nimmo, and Anthony Kemp.
Notes on the prospects who stood out on the final weekend of Cactus and Grapefruit League play.
This is it, don’t get scared now.
It’s the final weekend before the regular season. Sure, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers took their adventure down under, but we all know the real regular season starts this Sunday and that the real Opening Day is one week from today. There may not be too many prospects left in camps, but the ones that are left are there for a reason.
Scouts' takes on Danny Duffy, Brett Lawrie, Bubba Starling, Zack Wheeler, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
All the prospecty goodness from the past weekend, including notes on Rangers third base prospects Joey Gallo and Mike Olt.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: C.J. Edwards, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. Edwards, one of my favorite prospects, has an easy plus fastball that can touch 95 with life. In addition to the fastball, Edwards has a curveball with plus potential and a changeup that is still developing; 10.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 20 K in two April starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Jonathan Garcia, OF, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, K. Garcia has good bat speed with solid-average power potential. However, this is his second go-around in the California League so I would proceed with caution; .488/.500/1.000 with 3 2B, 2 3B, and 5 HR in last 43 at-bats.
Bubba Starling has started slow. Is there legitimate cause for concern?
Throughout the 2013 season, we will be providing updates on the developmental ups and downs of the top prospects in the game, with a heavy focus on scouting reports and, when applicable, eyewitness takes. Knowing why a prospect is thriving, surviving, or dying is more important than just providing you with the status, free from explanation. With an unbalanced playing field in unbalanced environments, players will rise and fall for a variety of reasons, and cutting away the costume that can obscure the realities of a situation is the task we will willingly burden ourselves with.
As the minor-league season starts to find its legs, our eyes turn to daily box scores and Twitter blasts, hoping to see the stars of tomorrow flashing that promise on the smaller stages of today. We look for patterns in order to establish momentum or regression, and we cross our fingers that the slow starts are merely small sample sizes playing the villain and the fast starts are not only sustainable but the opening salvo of a monumental climb up the prospect ranks and the corporate ladder.
Kevin fields a team of players who might not be polished now, but nevertheless have the potential to be great.
Recently, an editor at ESPN told me he was taking his kid to a minor league game and asked which players he should keep an eye on. As he was seeing the Rangers' Low-A Hickory affiliate, one of the first players that came to mind was outfielder Jordan Akins, and I added a comment amount him possibly having the widest gap between the player he is now and the player he has the potential to be. That led to greater discussions about players to dream on, so what follows here is the All-Dream team currently in the minors. All of these players have the potential to be high-impact players in the big leagues, but every one of them has a long way to go and a lot of work to do to get there.
This year's amateur draft will see a weaker draft class subject to new financial rules, and not everyone--Scott Boras included--thinks that's a good thing.
The general consensus is that this year is a weak draft class, especially when compared to last year's monster collection of talent. For many, the most interesting aspect to this year's draft might not be the usual who is selected by whom, but rather what happens in terms of negotiations between the picks and the teams relative to the new July 13 signing deadline. That deadline isn't the only new rule, as with assigned bonus pools, strict penalties for exceeding them, and the removal of major-league contract offerings, we're entering uncharted waters.