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Glendale Desert Dogs (Nationals, White Sox, Astros, Cardinals, Dodgers)


The Guys You Know

Francis Martes, RHP, Houston Astros (#33 on Midseason Top 50) – Eyewitness Report


The Guys You Don’t

Chris Anderson, RHP, Los Angeles DodgersIf you do know him it’s for his draft pedigree alone; the former first-rounder can still touch 94 with a slider that’ll flash above-average, but the command and control have never progressed, and nowadays he’s a fringe bullpen candidate. – WK


Joe Broussard, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers – Broussard is a burly right-hander who sat 88-90 with a slurvy low-80s slider when I saw him in April, but the 25-year-old put up numbers through Double-A before finishing the year in the PCL. – WK


Ralston Cash, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers – A former second-rounder, Cash hasn’t progressed as hoped out of high school, though he has the stuff to be effective enough against right-handed hitters with a solid cutter/slider combination that may be enough to get him to the majors. – SG


Brian Clark, LHP, Chicago White SoxA well-built lefty, Clark shows an above-average fastball and slider combination with enough command of each pitch to set a relatively high floor as a reliable option in the middle innings. – SG        


Corey Copping, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers – A two-pitch right-handed reliever with some projectability and above-average arm speed, Copping shows feel for spinning a slider to pair with his mid-90’s gas. Potential middle-relief arm. – WK


Jacob Dorris, RHP, Houston Astros – An undrafted, side-winding, right-handed reliever out of Texas A&M, Dorris can run it up to 87 with two pretty filthy slider variants that create gnarly at-bats for right-handed hitters. Potential situational arm at the highest level. – WK


Brad Goldberg, RHP, Chicago White Sox – A big righty with a sinker and a slider, Goldberg collected two saves for Team Israel in the WBC Qualifier, though he’s more likely to see up-and-down work in lower-leverage situations at the big league level on account of command woes. – SG


Austin Gomber, LHP, St. Louis CardinalsGomber looks the part of a workhorse starter, and he can throw strikes with all three potential above-average offerings in his arsenal. – SG


Danny Hayes, 1B, Chicago White Sox – Hayes’ calling card is moderate power projection wrapped up in a quintessential innocuous baseball-movie foil’s name. See that monocromatic jersey with the ambiguous “Hayes” moniker on the back billow out in slow motion as he swings in vein at the hardest fastball of the night. The pitch was elevated, right in his wheelhouse, even. But that game-on-the-line adrenalin gave our hero’s heater just that extra tick to get by the future journeyman’s barrel. – WK


Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox – A former 13th-overall pick, Hawkins was rushed up the ladder too quickly and left to smolder, and he hasn’t ever really gotten back on track after a disastrous 2013 campaign in High-A. Severe contact issues continue to leave his big-league potential in doubt, though he is still just approaching his 23rd birthday. – WK


Jake Johansen, RHP, Washington NationalsA big #Texan righty, Johansen can run it up there with the best of them, but his lack of secondary offerings have kept his development in check thus far. – SG


Nicholas Lee, LHP, Washington Nationals – It was a rough year for Lee; after being added to the 40-man last offseason, he found himself DFA’ed and unclaimed after losing his delivery and, with it, his control. While his above-average fastball and curveball can get batters out when he’s around the zone, but he’s still trying to recapture his consistency. – SG


Corey Littrell, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals – A move to the bullpen didn’t help Littrell’s value, as smarter hitters in Triple-A were able to wait out his off-speed offerings and attack his pedestrian fastball with abandon. – SG


Tim Locastro,            INF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Potential utility player with plus speed, some contact ability, and up-the-middle defensive utility. – WK


Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Chicago White Sox – Originally acquired for Adam Dunn back in 2014, Sanburn was more successful in his second attempt at Double-A, even joining the rotation for a spell at the tail end of the season. He lost a few ticks in the transition, however, and his overall command might suggest a move back to the bullpen, where the lost velocity may wander home and give him a nice cornerstone to pair with a solid slider. – SG  


Ryan Sherriff, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals – An older lefty, Sheriff is up to 94 with quality sink, but his secondaries are lacking. He’s a Cardinal, though, so he’ll probably be closing out the NLCS by this time next year. – SG          


Nick Tanielu, 2B/3B, Houston Astros – Tanielu is a solid hitter with quality barrel skills, nascent pop, and defensive versatility on the infield dirt. – WK


Connor Walsh, RHP, Chicago White Sox – Walsh sits 94-95 and can touch 97, with an average curveball behind it. He has a stiff arm action, and while he throws strikes his command is lacking. Possible bullpen piece. – SG


Rowan Wick, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals – Converted outfielder dominated the Florida State League in a late-innings role before running into control issues after a promotion to Double-A. – WK


Ryan Brinley, RHP, Washington Nationals – Brinley effectively controlled a fringe-average three-pitch mix at High-A before an extremely rude eight-game welcome to the high minors at mid-season. He pitched moderately better after an August demotion back down to Potomac, and will head to the desert with some work to do. – WK


The Guys You Will

Osvaldo Abreu, SS, Washington Nationals – Abreu posted fairly pedestrian numbers in the Carolina League, but the tools flash louder than the production. He has taken some steps forward as he has matured physically, with a notable work ethic drawing the most out of his solid, across-the-board skill set. There’s a fringe-average offensive profile buoyed by plus speed, and while the defensive growth has been slow and steady, there’s enough physicality and arm strength to suggest a potential left-side future. It’s likely more of a utility profile, but a strong fall campaign could put him more prominently on the radar heading into 2017. – WK


Rogelio Armenteros, RHP, Houston Astros – An unheralded Cuban signee last year, Armenteros impressed in one of the worst pitching environments in the minors this year with an entertaining delivery, solid spin, and surprising velocity. If the changeup gets where I think it can, there’s very real mid-rotation potential here. – WK


Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals –             Bader posted eye-popping numbers in the Midwest League last year; he hit .301, carried a .505 slugging percentage and stole 15 bases in 54 games at Peoria. The production continued into 2016 on the back of a strong season in Double-A before he finally stalled out a bit at Triple-A. Bader is a well-rounded player with five average-or better tools. There’s some flair to his playing style, and he runs and hustles hard after fly balls in center. The upside isn’t as extreme as the production has suggested, but there’s a solid player here. – MR


Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – I harbored some skepticism about the development of his approach last year in the high-octane Cal League, but he’s laid most of those doubts to rest with a strong showing as the youngest regular in the Texas League this season. The hit and power tools look like they’ll both play to at least average, with potential for the latter to creep higher. He boasts some of the best athleticism of any first baseman in the minors, with doors to playing time all over the outfield grass still wide open. He’s one of the best prospects in a still-loaded Dodger system. – WK


Willie Calhoun, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers – If you like smaller hitters with big swings and outsized power, Calhoun’s your dude. He boasts outstanding hand-eye coordination, plus bat speed, and a delightfully leveraged swing that lets him crush balls to his pull-side. He hit the second-most homers in the Texas League as one of its younger regulars, with a miniscule whiff rate to boot. The jury remains far out on the question of his defensive home, but he has the bat that can play just about anywhere. – WK


Zack Collins,C, Chicago White Sox – The White Sox selected Collins 10th overall in the 2016 draft because of his power projection and batting eye. He showed both skills in 264 plate appearances spread across Rookie and High-A ball. There’s a considerable amount of swing-and-miss in his game, and he’s a catcher in name only, so there is a ton of pressure on the bat to perform. There’s a lot of power and natural lift in his swing, and he projects to hit enough to tap into his raw power in games. The upside is still considerable in spite of the risks. – MR


Paul DeJong, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals – In the vast sea of advanced college hitters who raked against younger competition, DeJong managed to stick out because his advanced approach looks like it can translate to the uppermost levels. DeJong has some strength and lift in the swing, but his strikeout rate jumped considerably at Double-A, and he profiles on the fringy side with the leather. – MR


Carson Kelly, C, St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals’ illustrious “Catcher of the Future,” Kelly’s a bigger backstop with plenty of athleticism to support an above-average defensive profile behind the dish. He shows natural fluidity to the ball as a receiver, along with the physicality to block balls and handle the rigors of the position. Offensively he has some raw power, though the swing plane is geared more to in-house line drives. – WK


Ramon Laureano, OF, Houston Astros – Excluding Kyle Tucker’s late promotion, Laureano emerged as the best outfielder of a moderately interesting Lancaster bunch this summer before jumping up to Double-A and continuing to rake over the final six weeks of the season. The swing efficiency improved significantly during his time in the Antelope Valley, and a mature approach helped him tap into fringe-average power to spray balls all over the yard. His plus speed plays well both on the bases and in the outfield, and he’ll offer versatility anywhere on the grass. – WK


Jason Martin, OF, Houston Astros – While he may have been the single greatest beneficiary of calling Lancaster home this season, Martin shows a nice, balanced skill set that is legitimately big league-caliber. His solid-average speed and route efficiency helps him cover enough ground to handle all three outfield positions adequately, though fringe-average arm strength probably keeps him out of right on the regular. Offensively he pounded out 23 homers this year, and made some legitimate adjustments to tap into some nascent power in so doing, but realistically he’s more of an average hitter with occasional pop. There’s ostensible second-division potential here if the power managed to play on the higher end of that projection, but more likely he’s a steady extra-outfielder prospect (and a nice one at that). – WK


Trey Michalczewski, 3B, Chicago White Sox – Michalczewski has a smooth stroke from both sides of the plate and shows a willingness to take walks, which is good! He also strikes out a ton – a hallmark of White Sox draft picks – and his play at third base can be an adventure at times, which is bad! He’s never quite put it together for a full season at the minor league level, and while there’s still some power and a solid approach in the profile, the black marks are numerous enough to limit the profile considerably. – MR


Andrew Stevenson, OF, Washington Nationals – A second-rounder in 2015 out of LSU, Stevenson has performed well at age-appropriate stops up the developmental ladder so far. That’s particularly noteworthy in the batter’s box, as how his slap-and-dash style holds up against more advanced sequencing will be the biggest factor in sorting out his eventual role. The speed and defense are both there for a starting centerfielder at the big-league level. – WK


Garrett Stubbs, C, Houston Astros – An undersized backstop out of USC, Stubbs has continued to thrive in pro ball with a combination of athleticism and intelligence driving the train. He’s a solid hitter with good situational awareness and contact abilities, and there’s sneaky power and speed in the package as well. Durability may be a question mark, but he’s done pretty much everything Houston could’ve asked in his career to date, and will be one of the more interesting backstops in the high minors next year. – WK


Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Here, go watch this. I’ll wait. That’s double-plus arm strength, and the accuracy that goes with it is equally impressive. Verdugo was a two-way player coming out of the draft, and his early struggles in 2015 had some scouts wondering if he was better served trying to make it work on the mound. He made adjustments to smooth out his swing, and his stock has been ascending steadily since he hit .365 in June of 2015. There’s plus hit potential with average power production in the profile, and that’ll work just fine with his weaponized arm in right field. – MR


Austin Voth, RHP, Washington Nationals – A sum-of-his-parts pitcher, Voth boasts above-average control of a solid three-pitch arsenal, which he delivers from a high arm slot with deception to help the raw stuff play up. The former fifth-rounder came this close to a big-league cameo this season, but he’ll likely earn that honor instead when Washington’s rotation depth is tested in 2017. – WK


Drew Ward, 3B, Washington Nationals – Ward posted some numbers at High-A, but struggled badly after an aggressive second-half promotion to Double-A. He offers ample left-handed power, but open questions remain as to how much he’ll get to in games – or where he’ll play in them. The actions are stiff, and he lacks great quickness or agility at the hot corner. He has the raw power and patience profile to make it work at first, but either way there’s going to be plenty of pressure on his bat to max out if he’s to carve out a big-league role. – WK


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