Updates on Alex Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Brian Goodwin, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Joe Munoz, C, Diamondbacks (Kane County, A-): 4-4, 4 R, 2 HR, BB. Before Thursday, it's been a struggle for Munoz, a 2012 second-rounder, thanks to an overly aggressive approach that gets him in trouble. His power will have to carry him, and as our own Mauricio Rubio told me, “He's got solid average raw power but he won't tap into it much in game as he climbs the ladder.” It's the aggressiveness that gets in his way, a particularly bad sign for a hitter much older than his level of competition. Still, he has some power so he’ll get his chances.
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Updates on Lewis Brinson, Trevor Story, Raul Mondesi, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (High Desert, A+): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Brinson is the epitome of a scout-splitter, a player who you can ask five scouts about and get five different projections and five different opinions. Look no further than our own team for an example. There is little to doubt in Brinson’s raw tools, with the only real question being how the development of his hit tool will allow them to play in games. He’s making big strides in that regard, however, continuing to limit his strike-out rate (which was once off the charts) to a level where it will allow his power to play in games. If he can continue that trend after he makes the jump to Double-A, we’re talking about a legitimate impact prospect.
Updates on Byron Buxton, Kyle Schwarber, Frankie Montas, and more.
Hitter of the Day:Kyle Schwarber, C, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-7, 2 R, HR, K. This time last year, much of the baseball world was wondering if the Cubs had reached by taking Schwarber fourth overall. It turns out, they kind of know what they’re doing. Schwarber can flat out hit, and he’s yet to meet a challenge he can’t handle in the minors. There are questions about whether or not he can catch, a task to which he and the Cubs are committed. Schwarber won’t be a good defensive catcher, but he should be able to handle the position, at least on a part-time basis and possibly on a regular basis given the ability for his offensive potential to make up for some of his defensive deficiencies.
Updates on Austin Barnes, Dominic Smith, Brett Phillips, and more.
Hitter of the Day:Austin Barnes, C, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 4-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB. Barnes is one of my favorite prospects, not because he’s an elite level player, but because as scouts we all have preferences that we lean towards and Barnes fits two of mine: he can play multiple positions and he walks more than he strikes out. As a bonus, one of his positions is catcher. He’s already 25, and because he doesn’t flash elite tools, Barnes has moved slowly. He’s not overly impressive in a short viewing, but in longer looks (like I got while he was in Jupiter for parts of two seasons), you can really see what Barnes can do well on the field. That starts with his control of the strike zone and of his barrel, and that paired with his ability to catch, even part time, gives him tons of value on a major-league roster. I don’t know if he can handle the grind of catching every day, but he’s good enough back there to handle the position when called upon as well as play two other infield spots when needed. His versatility and contact skills are going to lead to a solid, late-blooming major-league career.
Updates on Derek Fisher, Chance Sisco, Jake Thompson, and more.
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster)
To say that Derek Fisher has taken the California League by storm since his debut last week would be a bit of an understatement; for those who missed it, he broke the league record with a 12 RBI game in his debut. The better news is that he actually looks the part of a potential impact-offensive prospect on the field.
He sports an impressively athletic frame with a strong base, high waist, and the shoulders to support a modest amount of additional muscle should the current experiment with him in centerfield eventually come to an end. In the box, he works from a quiet, upright stance, hands to his back ear and bat resting perpendicular just off his shoulder. His load is almost directly vertical at present, with a bob of his hands and modest leg kick launching his attack. The tight hands keep his swing path short into the zone, but it’s a steeper path and the bounce at the trigger point can lead to poor barrel delivery and the potential for ample swing-and-miss.
Updates from yesterday's games on Francisco Mejia, Robert Stephenson, Richard Urena, and more.
Hitter of the Day:Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (Lake County, A-): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. There’s so much to love about Mejia from a pure talent standpoint. The road to the majors from Low-A ball for an 18-year-old catching prospect is measured in years, not months, but Mejia is already showing signs of putting his potential to good use in games. The power will develop later as he grows into himself as a hitter, but he’s already showing glimpses of it, especially in the gaps. The glove is strong too, allowing him to remain behind the plate and make a potential two-way impact.
Updates on minor leaguers, including Matt Olson, Ozhaino Alies, J.P. Crawford, and more.
Hitter of the Day:Willy Garcia, OF, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, K. Garcia has big power and plenty of arm for right field, but his disaster of an approach at the plate is going to catch up to him sooner or later. There’s a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, and while the power is good, it won’t be enough to overcome it unless some progress is made around the strike zone.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Adam Brett Walker, Jorge Lopez, and Dominic Smith.
Hitter of the Day: Adam Brett Walker, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 K. Walker can still run into a fastball with the best of them, and even at the Double-A level, he’s going to do some damage. Of course, as the competition level increases, the amount of swings and misses that come along with his power increase as well, casting doubt on his ability to utilize his thump in games.