keyboard_arrow_uptop

With action underway (if not postponed) throughout the minor leagues, we bring you guide to the players you should be watching throughout the minor league seasons. Throughout the week the Prospect Team will bring you a league or three per day, with every team covered, and every Top 10 prospect noted. We'll also provide reports on guys who couldn't crack the Top 10s, but are well worth your time anyway. Other pieces in this series:

The Midwest League
The South Atlantic League
The California League
The Florida State League
The Carolina League
The Eastern League
The Southern League
The Pacific Coast League

Buffalo Bisons – Toronto Blue Jays

Keep an eye on:

OF Dalton Pompey
Pompey technically isn’t a prospect anymore, but beggars can’t be choosers. He’s still one of the best young outfielders in the system with plus speed and a chance for two above-average tools in glove and hit, respectively. He struggled at both levels in 2015, so this could be a last chance situation, at least in Toronto.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs – Philadelphia Phillies

#2 OF Nick Williams
#3 RHP Jake Thompson
#7 RHP Mark Appel
#9 C Andrew Knapp

Keep an eye on:

RHP Zach Eflin
Eflin has the stuff to be a groundball machine, starting with a sinking fastball in the low 90s and a change that will miss barrels—if not bats—with late tail. He also throws all four of his pitches for strikes, but neither his slider or curve show a lick of consistency. If either pitch can get to average, he could pitch in the middle of a rotation someday.

OF/2B Darnell Sweeney
Sweeney is exactly what you’re looking for from a super-utility player; versatile with the glove, enough speed to make an impact on the bases, and just enough punch in the bat to keep hitters honest. The days of him becoming a regular are said and done, but there’s nothing wrong with a guy who can help you all over the field.

Pawtucket Red Sox – Boston Red Sox

#7 1B Sam Travis
#8 LHP Brian Johnson
#9 SS Deven Marrero

Keep an eye on:

2B/SS Marco Hernandez
Hernandez has surprising strength in his bat. He’ll never be a big power guy, but he’s strong enough with enough bat speed to put the ball into the gaps and put his above-average speed to work. He has just enough athleticism to give you decent defense at shortstop, and he’d likely be plus if he moved to the other side of the keystone.

Henry Owens, LHP
Like Pompey, Owens is no longer technically a prospect and struggled to live up to expectations in 2015. There’s just too much talent here to not include him in this group. When he’s at his best, he’ll show top of the rotation stuff when his best, but he doesn’t hit his spots and sometimes just doesn’t throw strikes. 2016 is a massive season for his development.

Rochester Red Wings – Minnesota Twins

#2 RHP Jose Berrios
#6 SS Jorge Polanco

Keep an eye on:

RHP Alex Meyer
Speaking of not throwing strikes, it’s Alex Meyer! It’s too bad, because there are two swing-and-miss pitches here in his fastball/slider combination. The dream of him becoming a starter is essentially dead, but with those two pitches, he has a chance to be a dominant reliever.

LF Adam Brett Walker
Walker has exactly one tool that’s above-average. Fortunately for him, that tool is power, and he’s got plenty of it; capable of hitting monster shots to any part of the park. He’s a poor defender who is going to be among the league leader in strikeouts in whatever lead he plays in, but hey, dingers are fun.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders – New York Yankees

#1 RF Aaron Judge
#3 C Gary Sanchez
#6 2B Rob Refsnyder

Keep an eye on:

OF Ben Gamel
Gamel is not only one of the more underrated outfield prospects in the International League, but all of baseball. The approach has seen significant improvement, and he now projects to have an above-average hit tool. When you combine that with fringe-average pop, above-average speed, and a decent enough arm, he very well could be a starting center fielder, with a floor of fourth outfielder if that doesn’t come to fruition.

Syracuse Chiefs – Washington Nationals

#2 SS Trea Turner
#8 RHP A.J. Cole
#9 RHP Austin Voth
#10 C Pedro Severino

Keep an eye on:

Lucas Giolito, hopefully. Otherwise, nope.

Charlotte Knights – Chicago White Sox

#1 SS Tim Anderson

Keep an eye on:

OF Jacob May
If you like your outfielders to have plus-plus speed and the ability to make the spectacular look routine with the glove, May is your kind of guy. If you like them to have more than a 45 hit tool and/or a semblance of power, you should probably look elsewhere. The former gives May a chance to be a big leaguer, the latter makes it unlikely he becomes a regular; but he’s absolutely worth a gander.

Durham Bulls – Tampa Bay Rays

#1 LHP Blake Snell
#7 3B/SS Daniel Robertson
#9 1B/3B Richie Shaffer

Keep an eye on:

2B Ryan Brett
Brett has had the “can’t stay on the field” blues from both injury and suspension, but when he has played, he’s shown potential. He’s a plus runner who uses the whole park, and while he doesn’t have a ton of power, he can put the ball into the gaps for his fair share of doubles. He’s also a competent defender at second base, so if he can stay healthy and out of trouble, he may just surprise some folks.

RHP Jaime Schultz
Schultz might be one of the most frustrating pitchers in the league, showing big stuff but control that severely limits the effectiveness of that arsenal. The fastball is plus-plus and will touch 99 mph, and he’ll also show an above-average curveball and usable change. Because of his lack of size (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) and the 40 command, the future is very likely in his bullpen.

Gwinnett Braves – Atlanta Braves

#4 RHP Aaron Blair

Keep an eye on:

RHP Tyrell Jenkins
It’s amazing that Jenkins is still only 23 years old, because he’s been a prospect since right around 2004. Don’t look that up. He still toys with scouts hearts, showing two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but like quite a few names we’ve mentioned so far, the command just isn’t where it needs to be to stay in a rotation. He’s also battled health concerns, so you have to wonder if/when he’ll make his move to the bullpen.

RHP John Gant
Gant’s delivery scares the bejeezus out of me, but he’s seen his stock rise significantly the past few years as his stuff continues to get better. He throws three usable pitches, and despite the funky mechanics, he has a good idea where those pitches are going.

3B Rio Ruiz
Ruiz struggled for most of 2015, but keep in mind that he was a young 20-year-old, and that he was playing in a park that isn’t particularly kind to hitters. He has a good approach at the plate and has flashed above-average power and hit tools when everything is clicking. He’s a 30 runner at best, but his hands are soft enough, and it isn’t a lock that he will have to move across the diamond to first.

Norfolk Tides – Baltimore Orioles

#10 1B Christian Walker

Keep an eye on:

The big-league team. They’re doing okay.

Columbus Clippers – Cleveland

Keep an eye on:

RHP Mike Clevinger
It certainly wasn’t a case of poor stuff as to why Clevinger didn’t make the Cleveland top 10: He has two plus pitches in a 92-95 mph fastball and a slider with hard late bite. He’ll also show an average curveball and fringe-average change, so he has the arsenal you’re looking for in a starter. He’s also 25 years old and has only one year of throwing more than 100 innings, so there’s quite a bit of volatility here. It’s also important to point out he has good hair.

SS Erik Gonzalez
Francisco Lindor does not need a defensive replacement, but if he were to go down, they wouldn’t lose a thing in that area, as Gonzalez has a plus-plus arm and excellent actions in the field. At the plate, he makes consistent contact, and despite his lanky frame he will show “sneaky” pop from the right side. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was someone’s trade target, but you can’t blame Cleveland for hanging onto him.

Indianapolis – Pittsburgh Pirates

#1 RHP Tyler Glasnow
#3 RHP Jameson Tailon
#5 1B Josh Bell

Keep an eye on:

RHP Trevor Williams
It never was officially announced to be this way, but Williams was essentially traded from Miami for former Pirate pitching guru Jim Benedict, which is kinda fun. There are two above-average pitches in his arsenal in his fastball and slider, with a curveball and change that flash not far from that level. Consistency has been an issue since he was pitching for Arizona State, however, and he left his first start after retiring just one batter with a shoulder injury.

RHP Nick Kingham
You likely won’t see Kingham throwing for another month at minimum, as the talented right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery last May. When he has been healthy, he’s shown advanced stuff; with a plus change, above-average fastball, and command of all three pitches, including a curveball good enough to keep hitters from sitting on those two pitches. He was never overpowering, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of velocity he has upon his return this summer.

SS/2B Alen Hanson
If Jenkins has been in professional baseball since 2004, Hanson has been around since 1998. Again, please don’t look this up. His development has essentially gone backwards over the past few years, no longer showing a plus hit tool, and there are also the unfortunate questions about his “mental toughness.” He’s still a terrific athlete, however, and he’s still got a chance to be a big-league contributor.

Louisville Bats – Cincinnati Reds

#1 RHP Robert Stephenson
#2 LHP Cody Reed
#3 OF Jesse Winker
#5 SS/CF Jose Peraza

Keep an eye on:

RHP Jon Moscot
There is nothing sexy about Moscot’s stuff at all. His fastball, slider and change are all 50 pitches at best, and that might be too kind for the secondary offerings. What Moscot does do, however, is make the most of that stuff by throwing any of those pitches for strikes, in any count, and he’s generally within the margin of error with those strikes. What you see is what you get, and what you see is useful.

Toledo Mud Hens – Detroit Tigers

#1 RHP Michael Fulmer
#9 SS Dixon Machado

Keep an eye on:

OF/1B Stephen Moya
Moya was one of the toughest players to leave off the Tigers Top 10, with several members of the prospect team threatening me with pitchforks for both his inclusion and exclusion. Again, I implore you, do not look this up. There’s two plus tools in his power and arm, and despite being built like an edge rusher, he’s a pretty good athlete as well. There’s also a crapton of swing-and-miss, and he gives away too many at-bats by swinging at pitches outside of the zone. Super talented, even more frustrating.

You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
mikebarrett
4/18
I've really enjoyed this series and hope you'll be able to add in short-season teams in mid-June.