A few notes on a few players who happened to force my pen to hit the pages of my roster sheet during the 2012 Futures Game. As usual, the notes are presented with minimal narrative interference.
2B Jean Segura: One of his legs is shorter than the other; struggles with physical health; quick swing; big/strong hands; good pop; uses opposite field well; actions for shortstop; better fit for second base; major league profile; depends on health/consistent reps; second-division type; role 5; should spell his name Gene or Jeans.
SS Jurickson Profar: Called home run before the game; near-elite pure hitter; remarkable bat speed; instincts for barrel-to-ball actions; recognizes pitches very well from both sides of the plate; ultra-competitive; followed Oscar Taveras in batting practice group; visible effort to match the insanely impressive BP session by Taveras; was talking to Peter Gammons during one of his cage cycles who opined that Profar was the top prospect in the game; I agreed; would have agreed regardless of which player he named because he’s Peter Gammons; Profar executed in game action; can shorten swing/alter approach; plays up to the level of competition around him; wouldn’t drown in majors now; shows easy power; 50/55 projection on tool at floor; role 7 player at peak; All-Star at major league level.
OF Oscar Taveras: The best pure hitter in the minors; Profar only ahead of him based on all-around game/defensive position; hit tool is easy plus, projects to be near elite; future batting title contender; swing is so fast that it’s difficult to follow the bat plane through the zone; it’s violent, but it’s violence with a plan and a director; power is near elite as well; could hit 30+ homers at the majors at his peak; excellent pull-side pop; hit most impressive BP home run I’ve seen in recent memory: dead center shot under the scoreboard; it had to be 450+; the ball just screamed in pain as Taveras assaulted it; my favorite hitter to watch at present; I wouldn’t be shocked if he becomes the rare .300 hitter/30 homer type; arm is much stronger than I originally graded; it’s a legit 6 arm; will play in RF without a problem; moves well, but lacks the necessary speed/quickness for center field; not a refined product, but the bat looks ready for better competition; future role 7 player; All-Star right fielder for a decade; future batting champion contender; complete three hole hitter.
3B Wilmer Flores: Gets better each time I see him; the bat is real; lots of raw power; good barrel-to-ball ability; not a great athlete, but physical; average at best defensive tools at 3B; not an ideal profile, but the bat is better than I realized and should play at position; role 5 type; not special, but solid stick and potential for more.
1B Jesus Aguilar: Big kid; tons of raw power; the numbers suggest I’m supposed to like this player; not a fan of the swing; it’s very strength driven; lots of room for exploitation in bat plane; upper-body strength is massive; doesn’t read balls well out of the hand; contact will be an issue against higher level pitching; body could get destructive; power of this level is rare in the minors, but I see a Four-A type rather than a middle-of-the-order masher at major league level.
C Christian Bethancourt: Athletic; looks good in a uniform; massive defensive skills; routinely pops in the sub-1.8 range; clocked at ~1.83 in game action putout; arm is elite, an easy 8; footwork was good/clean; can’t speak to game-calling/battery relationship; receiving skills were solid; bat is iffy; didn’t explode in batting practice; swing is very linear; lacks above-average bat control skills; instincts for hitting are underwhelming; raw power exists, but doesn’t make a lot of loud contact; could be well above-average backstop at the major league level with just a little bat; hit tool has fringe projections; I expect the bat to underwhelm; whispers of work ethic issues doesn’t encourage optimism; large range in future outcomes; could be first-division, could be backup catcher with a well below-average bat.
RF Oswaldo Arcia: Really liked the player; good bat; good bat speed; hands worked well; hips are fluid; power potential was evident; hit tool looked like future plus tool; power could be plus; moved well in the outfield; average speed; right field profile; arm is an easy 6/possible 7; could carry/accuracy; high 5/low 6 role player at the major league level; I’m a fan.
RHP Jose Fernandez: This kid is a monster in the making; tons of moxie; tons of confidence; the body appears longer than listed size; long arms; lots of arm strength; delivery was fluid and repeatable despite lots of movement; max effort fastball was 97-99 mph; said he could have touched higher if he “wanted to;” slider was overthrown at times, but tight at others at 82-85; good two-plane movement; knows how to miss bats with both pitches; pitches with athleticism and attitude; I really like the approach; long way to go and a lot to refine, but he has the combination of intangibles and stuff to pitch very high in a rotation.
SS Francisco Lindor: You know where I stand. He’s going to play 15 years at the major league level; high quality. Book it.
RHP Yordano Ventura: The body is slight; the delivery can get whippy; the stuff is electric; fastball was upper-90s, and touched over 100; the arm speed is special; flashes 6+ quality breaking ball; command of the offering is still a work in progress; likes to gas up and blow away; limited size leaves potential for flat-plane offerings when he elevates; needs to do a better job of staying over the ball and finishing the delivery; size/arm/electric short burst arsenal suggests late-inning reliever; frontline setup type.
3B/RF Xander Bogaerts: Excellent size; lots of raw strength; hands work very well at the plate; very loose swing, but controls bat in path and bat head in contact; explosive pop in the bat; shows plus raw to all fields; fires hips very well and generates excellent bat speed and torque; could be 30+ home run hitter at full maturity; will probably end up as 3B or RF; played game as DH; no report on defensive skill set; bat profiles as role 6 player at major league level; first-division.
RHP Lisalverto Bonilla: Was looking forward to seeing pitcher against plus completion; late scratch because of a swollen thumb that was the result of “clowning around with his teammates” in the hotel room the night before the game. When players hurt their hands, it’s usually because they punched something or someone, and not the result of a freak accident that occurred during a clowning around session. He has bat-missing stuff, so I hope the immaturity that caused the late scratch from the game was just an isolated incident and not indicative of his approach. He has legit major league potential, possibly as a frontline setup man or second-division closer.
RHP Bruce Rondon: Might be able to out eat Bartolo Colon; monster of a man; 6’3’’; listed at 260 lbs.; no doubt weighs more; legs are like kegs of beer; has elite fastball and rides it hard; sat upper-90s and was over 100 a few times; one gun had him at 102; some late vertical dip on offering; lots of effort; repeatability comes and goes; has an “I dare you to hit this pitch, it’s 100 miles per hour” type of approach; grip it and rip it; love the arm strength and the bulldog foam, but more thrower than pitcher; has fastball to miss bats at any level; feel for craft will determine ceiling; could be major league closer or hard throwing novelty that is up and down.