On the eve of international signing day, a promising European-born prospect starred for Low-A Cedar Rapids.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. Sampson has really found his groove, piling up the strikeout numbers of late. He has relied on a fastball-changeup combination to dominate hitters at the Double-A level; 28.2 IP, 21 H, 7 ER, 12 BB, 32 K in six June outings.
Position Prospect of the Day: Max Kepler, CF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Well, it’s July 2, and we all know what that means—International signing day. Kepler has set the benchmark for players in Europe. Some believe that if he is able to succeed, it will change the game in Europe. Kepler’s skill set gives him star potential, but there is an extreme gap between current ability and his future ceiling. In a perfect world, Kepler is a five-tool monster, but let’s be thankful if he is able to stay on prospect radars; .317/.404/.707 with 5 2B, 1 3B, and 3 HR in last 41 at-bats.
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Things went well for Keyvius Sampson and Max Stassi, and not so well for Patrick Wisdom, in yesterday's action.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. potential plus fastball; potential solid-average changeup; fringy curveball. Sampson offers a major-league quality arsenal, but has yet to find consistent command. The stuff is more than enough to start, but he may land in the bullpen because of an inconsistent breaking ball and shaky fastball command; 59.1 IP, 18 ER, 24 BB, 60 K in 12 Double-A outings.
Position Prospect of the Day: Max Stassi, C, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 8 RBI. Offensively, Stassi has a few question marks. He will expand the zone, which may cause the hit tool to only have a below-average ceiling. Some teams believe he has enough thump to make up for his contact deficiencies, but opinions vary throughout the scouting community. Defensively, Stassi is a fantastic receiver and has average arm strength that will play up due to accuracy. He will need to show he can hit enough to be put on a major-league roster, and his future is most likely to be in a backup role; .212/.280/.327 with 10 2B and 1 HR in 113 at-bats before tonight’s game.
Of the notable prospects who didn't start the year in the majors, who got jumped ahead and who got left behind?
With Opening Day upon us, roster decisions have been made, and while most players continue to take the standard route up the minor league ladder, there are plenty of prospects either making a double jump, or being left behind to repeat a level. Last week's player of the year watch had three teenagers-- Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and Seattle righty Taijuan Walker--who are all beginning the year in Double-A; here are ten more players beginning the year somewhere other than where many expected.