A look at seven prospects who need to step it up in 2017.
The 2016 “prospect” season was a fun one. It may not have been as star-studded as the bumper crop of 2015, but we saw plenty of high-end guys make an impact at the big-league level, and we saw quite a few players show the upside that suggests they could be the next Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant or Carlos Rodon.
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Anthony Alford is one of the more underrated prospects in baseball. Notes on him and more.
Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
It’s never been a question of athletic talent with Alford – the 2012 third-round selection was one of the most highly recruited dual-threat quarterbacks before he committed to Southern Miss. Unfortunately for Alford, the football career didn’t work out, and it hurt his baseball development before he gave up the “other” sport in 2014.
It appears the light has clicked for Alford in 2015 though, and several scouts have told me he’s looked like one of the most improved prospects of the summer. Alford has always been a plus-plus runner, but his swing has shortened and incorporates more of his strong lower half, which has allowed him to put the ball into the gaps and his speed to work. As he adds more loft to his swing, those doubles (20 this year) should go further, and 15 to 20 homer seasons are not out of the questions.
All the prospecty goodness from the past weekend, including notes on Rangers third base prospects Joey Gallo and Mike Olt.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: C.J. Edwards, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. Edwards, one of my favorite prospects, has an easy plus fastball that can touch 95 with life. In addition to the fastball, Edwards has a curveball with plus potential and a changeup that is still developing; 10.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 20 K in two April starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Jonathan Garcia, OF, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, K. Garcia has good bat speed with solid-average power potential. However, this is his second go-around in the California League so I would proceed with caution; .488/.500/1.000 with 3 2B, 2 3B, and 5 HR in last 43 at-bats.
The prospect staff goes through the players they want to get a look at this year.
Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem)
My appreciation of Courtney Hawkins is similar to my appreciation of Shiner Bock: it’s from Texas, I’m supposed to love it unconditionally, others love it unconditionally, I recognize some of the qualities that encourage others to love it unconditionally, but it just doesn’t tickle my fancy and I don’t freak out when it’s available. In 2013, my goal is to sit on a Winston-Salem series until the Courtney Hawkins buzz intoxicates me. I enjoy his approach and sturdy physical characteristics, but I’ve yet to witness the major-league flash, the high-end tool utility that separates good amateur prospects from good professional players. I’ve also yet to meet an amateur scout who wouldn’t walk a mile for a cooler full of Courtney Hawkins, and that fact alone makes me feel like I’m the one who is missing out, not the other way around. In 2013, I’m going to find out for sure. –Jason Parks
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
After I just missed Gausman at both Fall Instructs and spring training, catching the right-hander throw is a high point of interest. My appetite’s been whetted by reports from a couple of contacts: a 93-97 mph explosive fastball with late life, a hard, deep swing-and-miss slider, and a deceptive fading changeup that the 22-year-old shows excellent feel for. I love watching how pitchers with Gausman’s level of stuff go about executing it. Now that he’s in the upper minors, it comes down to pitchability. Does he know how to set a hitter up to utilize the secondary offerings? Can he pitch with his fastball? Or will Gausman just try to blow everyone away? These are aspects of his game that I’ll be looking over closely, while also zoning in deeply at his developmental progress over the course of the season. –Chris Mellen
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!