Notes on the prospects who stood out in a limited slate.
With the AFL season over, the lone Dominican Winter League game postponed, and just one game each in the Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues, the bar wasn’t set real high to get on today’s update. There are no fancy categories—good, bad, or indifferent. Basically, just be a prospect and you got mentioned below.
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Scouts' takes on Xander Bogaerts, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, 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.
Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia and Dodgers lefty Chris Reed led the way on Sunday, earning the top spots in today's update.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Reed has a fastball that can touch 96 with good life, a slider in the mid 80s that is a bat-missing offering, and a fringy changeup. Some believe a lack of fastball command and an underdeveloped changeup will push him to the bullpen at some point before he reaches The Show. When I heard the Dodgers had traded for Ricky Nolasco, but that a front-end prospect was not included, I thought that Reed might be involved in the deal; 38.1 IP, 26 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 38 K in last seven outings.
Position Prospect of the Day: Avisail Garcia, OF, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, K, SB. Garcia, a player I’ve liked since the moment I saw him, has all sorts of ability. The nickname “Little Miggy” comes from his physical appearance, but he’s no slouch on the field. Garcia has the potential to be a solid-average hitter with solid-average power, an average runner, and solid-average defender who can play center currently, but could have to move to a corner as his body matures. I would not expect the Tigers to trade him at the deadline, but we all know what happens when teams reach points of desperation.
Prospect #1: RHP Garrett Gould Background with Player: Industry sources Who: After being drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 and signing for an above-slot bonus of $900k, Gould was in short-season ball for two years before finally breaking out in his full-season debut in 2011. The 20-year-old righty looks the part of a prototypical major league starter, with excellent size and improving strength, and an arsenal that can find the zone and miss bats. With an athletic and repeatable delivery, Gould can pump an easy low-90s fastball into the zone, showing a little sink and grading out as a future plus pitch. His deadliest weapon is a tight, tumbling curveball that every source referred to as a plus pitch. Gould has good command of it, showing no fear of using it early in sequence or as an out pitch against lefties. His changeup continues to improve, showing some arm-side action and projecting as an average offering at maturity. The control is ahead of the command, but the delivery is clean and he shows strike-throwing ability and feel for the mound, so solid-average-to-plus command is possible down the line. The total package is a big, athletic pitcher with a good, table-setting fastball, an above-average table-clearing curveball, and good feel for sequence and situation. The ceiling isn’t crazy, but Gould could develop into a solid-average innings chewer at the major league level.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Gould has the profile of a strike-thrower with good stuff, but not the kind of stuff that can survive in the zone against quality hitters. In order to find sustainable success, Gould will need to refine his command to the point where he can hit spots in and out of the zone, and develop his arsenal to the point where he can mix his pitches with efficiency and keep bats off the fastball. When you see a 20-year-old that stands 6’4’’ and weighs 190 with a steep low-90s fastball and plus curve, you assume the sky is the limit and the margin for error is as broad as the shoulders of the pitcher in question. The problem with Gould is that despite having good stuff and a good vessel by which to deliver that stuff, the stuff in question just isn’t all that special and therefore even minor mistakes are magnified. Every source I spoke with thought Gould was a major league arm, the safest bet among the arms in the low-minors to reach the highest level. But they were realistic about his ultimate ceiling, which is more chewer than champion, with little chance of frontline development. You might be asking, how can a prospect with a proletarian profile rank number one in a system like includes a high-profile name like Zach Lee? The easy answer is that I couldn’t find one source that preferred Lee to Gould.
Addison Reed is joined by the cast of Real Genius, who collectively probably have a higher upside than Chicago's actual system.
Prospect #1: C Chris Knight Background with Player: Video analysis. Who: Catcher Chris Knight, the former top pick in the draft who many consider the best prospect in recent memory, has let his off-field issues and indiscretions affect his on-field focus. As a result, his overall production hasn’t lived up to his enormous ceiling. His raw tools are so electric that boredom has become an intrinsic byproduct; the developmental staff takes the brunt of Knight’s ennui, which usually forces the former prodigy to seek attention through histrionics. When he’s on point, there isn’t a prospect that can match his combination of tools and feel for the game.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Professor Jerry Hathaway, director of player development and de facto mentor to the future star, has been adamant that Chris Knight won’t graduate to the majors until he finishes what he started in the minors. Knight lacks the motivation to achieve for the reductive sake of achievement, so the extra pressure being applied to the promising backstop will either propel the prospect to the heights his tools suggest are possible, or the immature talent will withdraw from the forced responsibility, and instead choose to live in the frenzied moments of his own arrested development.