Notes on 15 prospects, including Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and Dodgers lefty Jarret Martin.
Hitter of the Day: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Alfaro is quickly becoming the second-best catching prospect in the game (behind only Austin Hedges). With plus power and a plus-plus arm, the only real flaw in his game is his plate discipline, but when you hit .409 like he is this fall, no one cares.
Pitcher of the Day: Jarret Martin, LHP, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1 IP, H, 3 K. Lefties with 97-mph fastballs get lots of chances for reasons like this. Martin sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has been mostly 92-93 this fall, but it hasn’t helped him throw strikes more often, having walked 16 batters in 14 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Martin isn’t a more well-known prospect because he generally has no idea how to throw strikes or use his velocity, but when he does, it’s pretty awesome.
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Reds righty Robert Stephenson kept carving up Low-A hitters with Walt Jocketty in attendance last night.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K; elite fastball; plus curveball; developing changeup that has a solid-average ceiling; athletic frame; carving up Low-A competition; frontline starter potential; 59.2 IP, 49 H, 22 ER, 16 BB, 77 K in 11 starts.
We got a look at the Rangers' prospect-heavy intrasquad game in Surprise.
After minor-league camp’s first pitcher/catcher salvo and before the legitimate backfield games commence in mid-March, teams often schedule prospect-heavy intrasquad games to put eyes on the talent and get the players back in the groove of live action. On the morning of March 10th, the Rangers occupied fields 5 and 6 on the backfields in Surprise; two lower-level minor-league squads on one field, and two upper-minors squads on the other. For a prospect lover, this was like a team-specific Futures Game, only stripped of all the fanfare and pageantry. This is a barebones scouting experience and the notes will reflect that. Jason Cole saddled up to field 5 while I took a seat behind the plate at field 6, where my radar gun almost melted onto my flesh and my phone got so hot that it decided to commit suicide when I asked it to function. Also, Jorge Alfaro hit a home rune and I giggled like a child.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Notes from the Dominican Winter League, Venezuelan Winter League, and Puerto Rico Baseball League.
What I learned while scouring the Caribbean League box scores on Tuesday evening is that teams can actually have more than 50 players on their roster. In a 16-inning game between los Estrellas de Oriente and los Gigantes del Cibao, a combined 24 pitchers and 31 position players were used. Only two players, however (Todd Linden and Jean Segura), had more than one hit and only five of the 31 pitchers allowed a run in the 4-3 victory for Cibao.
Jurickson Profar was eight years old when future Licey teammate Jesus Colome made his major league debut in 2001 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. More than 11 years later, Profar was directly responsible for the 34 year-old Colome winning his first game of the 2012 DWL season. Details below ...
While lot of what Jason sees in Arizona doesn't matter, and some of it's just shadows, there's still a lot to report from Surprise.
Day 8: 10:40 PM
It’s late, Patricia, and I’m sorry for not putting fingers to these keys earlier. The sun was magnificent today, like a big, glowing ball of headaches, disorientation, and fire. My eyes starting stinging early, and by noon I realized I was nearing collapse. After the morning workouts and the 1PM game at the big boy stadium–which I will tell you about in a minute–I bypassed a late lunch in order to cool my thoughts in a long shower. I rushed through step three of the showering process because the symptoms of heat stroke were still present and I didn’t feel confident standing in a slippery basin with my eyes closed while negotiating bouts of dizziness. It’s important to avoid cracking your head open.
Day 8: 11:00 PM
I had to drink a glass of flat water with a slice of cucumber gently floating on top. I would have preferred sparkling, but I’ve become particular about my sparkling water and I’m not about to rush into a sloppy water consumption decision just because the selection is limited and my body needs to fight off dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, with style when possible. I watched the Royals earlier today, as I tend to do out here in Surprise, and one player in particular caught my eye, as he has every spring since he was drafted. I sat in the scout section behind home plate, allowing the waves of Americana blasting from the stadium P.A. system to crash into my eardrums, waiting to have my eyes opened by a spectacular play or a spectacular player, when from the sky a heroic figure emerged and slowly lowered his human form onto the playing field and picked up a baseball bat. It was Eric Hosmer, and his face was bronze, and his body draped with the cloth of kings, and his skin was wet with the tears of innumerable virgins. His swing was delicious, with a robust finish that was assertive and aggressive, yet tender and passionate.
#TheLegend is alive and well in a crop of talented youngsters who don the tools of ignorance.
Leader of the Pack (Present):Devin Mesoraco (Reds) The Case For: Mesoraco is showing a middle-of-the-order bat from a premium defensive position, which basically makes him one of the most valuable prospects in the minors. At the plate, the soon-to-be 23-year-old has plus power, with a leveraged swing and plus-plus raw strength. Seriously, Mesoraco is an incredibly strong man. He can sell out a bit when looking for the power stroke, but his contact ability hasn’t suffered this season; in fact, he is barreling the ball like a plus-plus hitter. The hit tool itself is sound, meaning I think he can hit for average, but I don’t foresee a .300 hitter at the major-league level. Mesoraco is aggressive at the plate, and he likes to take cuts, but he isn’t immune to working the count in his favor or taking the free pass, which adds another dimension to his offensive game.
Behind the plate, Mesoraco is slowly improving, but he’s never going to be a special defender. His arm is in the 60/65 range, and his release and accuracy make him a good weapon in controlling the running game. With enough athleticism to become a solid-average defender, and the ability to stick in the middle of a batting order, Mesoraco is the current Leader of the Pack among his catching brethren, and given the value attached to his position on the field, you can make a case that Mesoraco is one of the top-tier talents in the minors. He’s ready for the next challenge.
I write about what I see, and so far this year I’ve seen the Rangers’ farm system more often than I’ve seen my own face. Like I didwith the Royals, I want to highlight some of the under-the-radar talent, talent that has a chance to emerge on the prospect landscape during the season. For this exercise you will be provided a meat and a starch, so unless I can find a way to sneak in a meth reference or two, this article will be straight-up meat-and-potatoes scouting. I know, I’m disappointed as well. Take a deep breath. We will get through this together.