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.
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A look at whether four players with big-time helium can keep on soaring, or if they're balloons waiting to pop.
Normally, in this space, I explore one hitter or one pitcher in a more longform fashion. This week, though, I wanted to profile four specific players who have gotten a lot of helium in the second half. I’ll present my thoughts on each player and offer a buy/hold/sell recommendation on each, per usual.
The Situation: Brandon Barnes isn’t very good. The Rockies had a guy in Triple-A with an OPS above 1.400. Colorado will rectify the situation by sending Barnes out of town and calling up that prospect. His name is David Dahl.
Background: Dahl was a standout in high school, putting up big numbers at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, performing well at showcase events, and earning comparisons to Dustin Ackley. At the time, that was a compliment. The Rockies swooped him up with the tenth pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, and after hitting .379 in short-season Grand Junction, expectations were huge for his first professional season. Unfortunately, 2013 was a lost season, as he was suspended for missing a flight, and then missed all but ten games after tearing a hamstring. He came back strong in 2014 with a .827 OPS in stops at Asheville and Modesto. 2015 was another tough season for the young outfielder, as he suffered a ruptured spleen after a collision in the outfield, and posted a pedestrian .278/.304/.417 line in Double-A New Britain. Once again, Dahl bounced back beautifully, hitting .278 with 13 homers in Hartford, and then crushing Triple-A pitching to a borderline unrealistic tune of .484/.529/.887 in Albuquerque before earning his call-up.
“Sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”
The doyens of the baseball media will always tell you they have buried any vestige of youthful fandom. It’s a job. If pressed, they may confess that, okay, they have a rooting interest. They pull for two hour-and-thirty-seven-minute pitcher duels, or that their game story, 90 percent finished, isn’t blown up by a bad bullpen or a two-out rally.[i] And after watching a bevy of short-season bullpens over the years, I can empathize. There is not a worse feeling in the world then being a half-inning from the hotel bar—which closes in a half-hour because this is Tennessee on a Tuesday night—only to be immediately confronted by a four-pitch walk.
I root for predictable pitching rotations unmarred by rainouts,[ii] slow ground balls to short that elicit good home-to-first times, and this year, that they’d actually get the goddamn Hartford stadium built at some point.
David Dahl was a divisive figure in our Top 101, so we asked two Prospect Team members to explain what they see.
David Dahl’s inclusion on the Top 101 was a no-brainer. We all agree on that and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who could make a case otherwise. His standing within the Top 101, and his ultimate value at the ML level, however, are up for debate. There’s very little to quibble over when it comes to Dahl’s sparkling defensive ability, arm strength, and athleticism but as is the case with many prospects, what you think of the player as a whole is heavily dependent on what you make of his offensive projection. Further, there are some non-tool-related elements to evaluate here that may or may not play a role in Dahl’s development. Without further ado, Mark Anderson and Jeffrey Paternostro debate Colorado Rockies center fielder, David Dahl.
The industry, and prospect team members, weigh in on who they'd start a franchise with in center field.
A friendly reminder on how this works. I asked three scouts and two front-office members the following question: If you could start your franchise with one player at each position, who do you take? I then asked those scouts/front-office members to submit an MVP-style ballot at each position, with the first-place vote counting for five points, second place for four, etc.
Next up: center field. Everyone reading this knows how important center field is, so I won’t waste your time by telling you that many of the game’s best players play here. I guess I just did, though. The position isn’t as loaded as it once was, but there are plenty of talented options, and as you’ll see from the answers, those players draw a wide variety of opinions.
Notes on prospects who stood out during the past three days, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.
Friday, April 11
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K. It should tell us something about where Montgomery stands within the Rays organization that, even after two solid starts to begin this season and with a rash of injuries to their majo- league pitching staff, Montgomery is still in Triple-A. He’s off to a good start, missing bats and throwing strikes, but his inconsistent mechanics and fringy off-speed stuff still have him destined for a bullpen role.
Mookie Betts, Travis d'Arnaud, and Jorge Soler are among those who came off the board between picks 29 and 56.
In the first episode of the BP Mock Expert Draft, we went over the backstory and parameters of this draft, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Plus I know you’re all just going to skip past the intro anyway to see who else got picked and when. Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want.
So, without any further ado, here are the next two rounds (three and four) of the Baseball Prospectus Expert Mock Prospect Draft with analysis from the participants themselves:
A flashback to the high-school and college days of Archie Bradley, Eddie Butler, Austin Hedges, and many more top prospects.
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 National League West teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams: