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Salt River Rafters- Diamondbacks, Braves, Rockies, Tigers, Brewers

The Guys You Know

Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers – (#48 on Midseason Top 50) – Eyewitness Report

Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies – (#36 on Pre-Season 101) – Eyewitness Report

Jacob Nottingham, C, Milwaukee Brewers – (#66 on Pre-Season 101) – Eyewitness Report

The Guys You Don’t

Shane Carle, RHP, Colorado Rockies – A tall righty with a good fastball, but soft breaking stuff and an average-at-best change, Carle doesn’t have the arsenal to project as an impact big leaguer. —BG

Chris Ellis, RHP, Atlanta Braves – Ellis boasts a sturdy frame and deep-on-paper arsenal, headed by a three-way fastball he can move around. He struggled to keep all of his pitches in the zone this year, however, particularly following a June promotion to Triple-A. The command issues may presage a move to the bullpen. —WK

Rayan Gonzalez, RHP, Colorado Rockies – Gonzalez gets late life on his low-90s heater, and he likes to pound the lower part of the zone; there are worse skill sets for a Rockies farmhand to have. —BG

Artie Lewicki, RHP, Detroit Tigers – Lewicki is a classic, solid senior sign that offers quality stuff, a broad arsenal, and enough command to profile as a back-end starter. Lewicki’s pitching acumen took a step forward across two levels in 2016 and he could be in a position to help the Tigers late in the 2017 season. —MA

Jared Miller, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks – Miller pulled off the rare four-level climb in 2016, leaving him on the cusp of the big leagues in an organization desperate for help in the bullpen. Miller doesn’t have big-time velocity, but there’s some deception in his motion, and he can change speeds. At 6-foot-7’, he has trouble repeating his delivery. —BG

Akeel Morris, RHP, Atlanta Braves – A mid-season pickup from the Mets in the most recent of Kelly Johnson trades, Morris brings some velocity and a plus change, but very inconsistent command. He’ll probably get a few more chances to balance his big-league ledger, which currently sports and unsightly 67.50 ERA in two-thirds of an inning. —JS

Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Detroit Tigers – The Tigers love of SEC players, and Vanderbilt in particular, led them to Ravenelle who has finally begun to put things together out of the bullpen. Blessed with an electric arm that can push his fastball to the 98-99 mph range at times, Ravenelle has the heat to pitch in the late innings, but his slider and control lack consistency. —MA

Javier Salas, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers – Salas works in the low-to-mid 90s without much behind it. He’s had a rough go of it professionally and he doesn’t miss bats with consistency. Easy to hit without much in the way of secondaries is no way to go through life. —MR

Tayler Scott, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers – South African born, Arizona raised, Scott works in the low 90s and lacks a true secondary pitch. Marry that with well below-average command and there’s just not a lot of hope here. —MR

Gabe Speier, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks – A short left-hander, Speier works with a low-90s fastball and a low arm slot. Despite the physical profile, he’s not a budding LOOGY, as his best offspeed is a sinking changeup. His command is a work in progress, and he generally tries to pitch arm side. —BG

Tyler Spurlin, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers – Spurlin has more velo than one would expect from a submariner, sitting 90-92 and touching 93. His breaking ball lacks sharpness, and he’ll need to work on his command in order to develop into more than a curiosity. —SG

Josh Taylor, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks – Taylor can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, but his curve and change are fringy, and his long arm path will limit his ability to keep hitters off-balance. —BG

Jeff Thompson, RHP, Detroit Tigers – Not much has changed for Thompson these past three years. He is still a massive person, his fastball is very hard, and he lacks the control for a rotation spot. On a positive note a move to the bullpen had better success for him as he showed off a cutter/slider combination that was effective in short spurts. —SG

Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Detroit Tigers – A year removed from wowing Midwest League scouts with near triple digit heat late in his starts, Turnbull is trying to reclaim some of his prospect luster after a season marred by injury. As Turnbull continues to work his way back to full strength, his fastball should get back into the mid-90s, allowing his fringe command and secondary pitches to play at an acceptable level. —MA

Josh Uhen, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers – A local product from Milwaukee, Uhen has a little funk to him as his mid-90s FB and slider come from a low-three-quarters/sidearm slot. While he throws enough strikes, his overall command is lacking for a consistent bullpen role. —SG

Jerry Vasto, LHP Colorado Rockies – Vasto boasts an above-average fastball-slider combo from the left side, and both pitches can eventually play as true plus offerings if the command consistency can take a couple steps forward. —WK

Grayson Greiner, C, Detroit Tigers – Greiner has put himself back on the map this year with solid performances at and behind the plate. While there’s still reason to be skeptical he’ll ever be much of a threat with the bat, his plus arm and average defensive skills suggest a plausible backup role. —SG

Kade Scivicque, C, Atlanta Braves – Acquired at the deadline for Erick Aybar, Scivicque lacks the defensive skills necessary for a role behind the plate, and the bat doesn’t offer much allure elsewhere. —SG

Kevin Cron, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks – A marginally larger facsimile of his older brother C.J., the younger Cron has a tick more power but several ticks less hit and glove. —WK

Dylan Moore, SS, Atlanta Braves – Fun fact: Moore gave up seven runs—none earned—in his only career outing on the mound. A shortstop by trade, he doesn’t have big tools, although he’s growing into some power and he could reach the majors in a utility role down the line. —BG

Pat Valaika, INF, Colorado Rockies – Valaika is capable of handling second, short, and third. He’ll run into a dinger every once in a while but he doesn’t have the stick to project as more than a utility infielder. —BG

Jamie Westbrook, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks – Westbrook has been pushed extremely aggressively since signing out of high school in 2013, spending all of this season as one of the youngest players in the Southern League. His strong contact skills held up, though his aggressive approach still has some maturing to do. He’s a solid defender with decent speed as well, and the package is that of an interesting hit-first keystoner. —WK

Noel Cuevas, OF, Colorado Rockies – Cuevas has teased evaluators with impressive raw power throughout his seven-year minor league career. That pop has never shown up in games though, and now that he’s 24, it’s probably time to stop hoping. —BG

Dustin Peterson, OF, Atlanta Braves – Peterson made big strides in Double-A this year to improve pitch recognition and his overall approach. It put him back on the map as a prospect with a knack for finding the barrel, but his in-game power needs to develop further to make up for being moved to left field with no carrying tool. —DL

Bradley Roney, RHP, Atlanta Braves – Roney has the stuff for a big-league bullpen and has the strong frame and intensity to match. His fastball can hit upper-90s with a hard breaker that misses upper-level bats. He also falls into bouts of wildness that will need correcting—or at least masking—to stick in the majors, but there's late-innings potential. —DL

Evan Phillips, RHP, Atlanta Braves – Phillips is another example of a hard thrower without the delivery or secondary pitch to take full advantage of the natural arm strength. He can hit upper-90s with some sink and a decent slider on the side, but his command wavers and his motion doesn't help. He's a good bet to get major-league time, but middle relief is more likely than late innings. —DL

Zach Jemiola, RHP, Colorado Rockies

The Guys You Will

JaCoby Jones, OF, Detroit Tigers – After missing the start of the 2016 season following a suspension for a drug of abuse, Jones wreaked havoc on the Double-A Eastern League before hitting some speed bumps in Triple-A and the big leagues. A quality athlete with defensive versatility and pop in his bat, Jones has an MLB future, but lacks the polish or projection to fill a full-time role. —MA

Isan Diaz, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers – His 2016 campaign started slowly as he struggled to a .227 batting average in April and May before exploding with two highly productive months in June and July. Diaz led the Midwest league in homeruns. He produces lofty fly balls with a leveraged swing and displays an acute awareness of the strike zone which allows him to tap into his raw power. He played shortstop all year but Diaz will move to second base soon. He has below average foot speed and doesn’t have the arm for short. Still, the bat plays and there’s a considerable amount of upside with the young second baseman. —MR

Christin Stewart, OF, Detroit Tigers – As I mentioned in our AFL Ten Pack , there are not many guys in all of minor league baseball with the kind of power he has from the left side. But as has been talked about before, the power needs to play because the rest of his game is below-average. While he has demonstrated some improvement, he is a defensive liability and won’t scare anyone with his foot speed or throwing arm. —SG

Travis Demeritte, 2B, Atlanta Braves – But how much will he actually hit? That is the one true question about Demeritte, whose strong wrists and swing-from-the-heels approach yields legitimate power to his pull-side, but whose aggressive approach and willingness to expand the zone drives an obscene amount of swing-and-miss. —WK

Dawel Lugo, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks – Lugo put together an impressive year across High-A and Double-A, with strong bat-to-ball skills and emerging power to all fields. He has begun sliding over from short to third, and while the hot-corner footwork was understandably raw in my looks he shows the kind of quickness and lateral agility to develop into a solid defender there. —WK

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