Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including third basemen Kris Bryant and Ryan McMahon.
Friday, April 25
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, 1B): 3-5, R, HR, 2 K. Aguilar’s power has come in streaks this season, as he followed his home run on Friday with another on Saturday, giving him seven on the young season. He’s still striking out in bunches, too, but he’s also walking at a higher rate, making it an acceptable tradeoff.
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Scouts' takes on Bryce Harper, Justin Upton, Courtney Hawkins, 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.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including outfielders Courtney Hawkins, Billy McKinney, and Joc Pederson.
Best of the Day
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The general consensus on Aguilar over the years has been that his hit tool is going to hold his power back enough to keep him from being an everyday player, and that as a right-handed-hitting first-base-only player, he doesn’t fit well on the bench. If that’s going to be wrong, he needs to put up really great offensive numbers, because his defense and baserunning will provide little to no value. If Aguilar keeps hitting like he did this winter and is thus far this season (now hitting .563), he’s going to prove us all wrong.
Notes on prospects who stood out in Cactus and Grapefruit League play, including Marlins outfieler Jake Marisnick and Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty.
Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins: 2-4, 2B. Even rain in Jupiter and a delayed start to the afternoon couldn’t slow down Marisnick, who is now hitting .442 this spring. I’ll still argue that both he and Marcell Ozuna belong in Triple-A to start the season, but if he really was invited to camp to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster, it’s hard to do much better than Marisnick has this month.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals: 1-3, R. Piscotty finished strong in Double-A last season and is off to a hot start this spring before likely returning to Springfield. Piscotty is just a flat-out good hitter who controls the strike zone incredibly well. If the power develops, he could be extremely productive. Just don’t get caught in the group of people who think he’s better than Oscar Taveras. At least not yet.
A look back at the teenage years of Byron Buxton, Courtney Hawkins, Francisco, Lindor, and other prospects in the division.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
We continue by looking at select top prospects from American League Central teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams: White Sox | Twins | Royals | Indians | Tigers
Notes on 15 prospects, including the Nats' Nathan Karns and the ChiSox' Courtney Hawkins.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Nathan Karns, RHP, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. Karns has a plus fastball and an easy plus curveball. The changeup is developing. I would not be surprised if the Nationals call him up if the need arises.
Position Prospect of the Day: Courtney Hawkins, OF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, K. As everyone that reads this knows, I rated Courtney Hawkins as an organizational player, though I recognize that he has plenty of raw power. My reasoning for that assessment is I do not believe he will be able to hit quality pitching, and he will not make enough contact to tap into his raw power; .205/.239/.455 2 2B, 3 HR, and 17 K in last 44 at-bats.
While most eyes were on the Home Run Derby, these prospects stole the minor-league show.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Sean Nolin, LHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. My thoughts on Nolin are pretty clear: I believe he is a surefire starter and I think he slots in perfectly as a good number-four. Nolin has been on his game recently, and if the opportunity were to arise, I’m sure the Blue Jays would consider putting him back on the major-league mound; 19.2 IP, 11 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 23 K in last 3 starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Now that Buxton has left Cedar Rapids, ABW is the big show in town. Power has always been his calling card, and he is showing the ability to make consistent solid contact. Defensively, he has transitioned from playing primarily first base in college to the outfield as a professional. The reports I’ve received lead me to believe that he has plenty of arm to stay in right, and he is working on taking the correct routes to the ball; .351/.419/.838 with 3 2B and 5 HR in last 37 at-bats.
The prospect staff goes through the players they want to get a look at this year.
Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem)
My appreciation of Courtney Hawkins is similar to my appreciation of Shiner Bock: it’s from Texas, I’m supposed to love it unconditionally, others love it unconditionally, I recognize some of the qualities that encourage others to love it unconditionally, but it just doesn’t tickle my fancy and I don’t freak out when it’s available. In 2013, my goal is to sit on a Winston-Salem series until the Courtney Hawkins buzz intoxicates me. I enjoy his approach and sturdy physical characteristics, but I’ve yet to witness the major-league flash, the high-end tool utility that separates good amateur prospects from good professional players. I’ve also yet to meet an amateur scout who wouldn’t walk a mile for a cooler full of Courtney Hawkins, and that fact alone makes me feel like I’m the one who is missing out, not the other way around. In 2013, I’m going to find out for sure. –Jason Parks
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
After I just missed Gausman at both Fall Instructs and spring training, catching the right-hander throw is a high point of interest. My appetite’s been whetted by reports from a couple of contacts: a 93-97 mph explosive fastball with late life, a hard, deep swing-and-miss slider, and a deceptive fading changeup that the 22-year-old shows excellent feel for. I love watching how pitchers with Gausman’s level of stuff go about executing it. Now that he’s in the upper minors, it comes down to pitchability. Does he know how to set a hitter up to utilize the secondary offerings? Can he pitch with his fastball? Or will Gausman just try to blow everyone away? These are aspects of his game that I’ll be looking over closely, while also zoning in deeply at his developmental progress over the course of the season. –Chris Mellen