Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts headlines this batch of six intriguing minor leaguers.
It has been fun putting together prospect lists, organizational rankings, and the like this offseason, but I absolutely love getting out onto the field. There’s something about dissecting a handful of players on a given night, watching for certain trends over a series of games, or just deciding to put the isolated camera on one player.
Spring training served as a warm-up to sharpen the eyes, while getting in general scouting on a large group of players. Now, with the season underway, it’s time to start peeling back the onion on prospects, tracking their development, and getting down to business. I’ll cover multiple leagues this season and should get a chance to scout a wide array of players. So, expect some different flavors in these reports over the course of the year. Today’s article highlights some initial impressions on a handful of prospects in the Eastern League that I feel will be themes to continue to check back on during the season.
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Notes from around the AFL and Caribbean Winter Leagues.
There was a full slate of action in the Dominican Winter League, although not one player did anything interesting enough to make my list. Not that there wasn't anything interesting going on. For instance, thirty-seven year-old Vladimir Guerrero, a career .318 hitter with 449 HR in 16 big league seasons, went 2-for-4 for the Tigres del Licey. And then there was Manny being Manny, playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. The 40 year-old, who is stuck at 555 career HR, homered in his DWL debut off the first pitch he saw from former big leaguer Daniel Cabrera, who ended up pitching seven strong innings and only allowing a pair of solo homers to Ramirez and former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who was celebrating after I recently moved him into my Marlins' projected lineup after a certain blockbuster trade. See, I told you there were some good times being had in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Notes on 12 prospects playing in either the Arizona Fall League or the Venezuelan Winter League.
One of the good things about scouring minor league box scores this time of the year is finding familiar names still plugging away and hoping for another chance in the big leagues. And I am happy to announce that there's been a Runelvys Hernandez sighting in the Dominican Winter League! The 34 year-old former Royals and Astros starter, who has a career line of 25-36 with a 5.50 ERA in 82 big league starts (none since 2008), is currently pitching for the Leones del Escogido. Hey, Royals fans. Remember that one time when Runelvys was your Opening Day starter, and he threw like six shutout innings and beat Mark Buehrle and the White Sox? That was awesome. Here are some notable performances from Thursday:
A former first-round pick has a lot to learn about film.
Slade Heathcott was the Yankees' first-round pick in the 2009 draft. He's had trouble staying healthy since then, but he has plenty of talent: even though he'd played in only 129 minor-league games before the start of this season, Kevin Goldsteinranked him as the Yankees' 13th-best prospect. Kevin called him an "extreme athlete" who "remains raw."
One expert's educated guesstimate on how things will go down later today.
This one could be a mess folks, and it's all about bonus demands at this point. Right now, you have as many as four high school pitchers-Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, and Shelby Miller-looking for big, big money, with the first three all telling teams they're looking for Rick Porcello-level deals (or more). This has the potential to blow the first round wide open, and turn it into into a very college-oriented first 30 picks, with numerous top talents falling to later picks than initially expected. One team picking in the top ten I spoke to this morning said he still had very little idea of who was going to be picked ahead of his club's choice.