It was just another ordinary Tuesday until the Blue Jays and Marlins decided to make things a little more interesting with a 12-player blockbuster trade that totally revamped each team's roster (see Blue Jays offseason page HERE and Marlins offseason page HERE). Amongst all the excitement was a bevy of baseball games featuring some very interesting prospects …
- Jose De Paula, LHP, Padres (Cibao-DWL): 4 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K. After missing the 2012 season due to visa issues, De Paula is back on the mound in the Dominican Winter League. The 22 year-old, who was added to the Padres' 40-man roster last offseason, tossed four shutout innings in his first start with Cibao after six relief appearances.
- Freddy Galvis, IF, Phillies (Zulia-VWL): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI. Playing at his natural position of shortstop, Galvis had three hits to push his batting average to .330 in 26 games. Barring an injury to Jimmy Rollins, the 23 year-old switch-hitter won't see much time at shortstop with the Phillies, although there's a chance he's in the mix for the third base job next spring if they fail to land an upgrade over Galvis and Kevin Frandsen.
- Bobby LaFromboise, LHP, Mariners (Peoria): IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 2 K. The Mariners already have three pretty good lefty relievers on their roster (Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, Oliver Perez) and LaFromboise could very well be on his way to becoming one himself. The 26 year-old had a few rough outings early on but he hasn't allowed a hit or run in his last 5.1 IP. Overall, he's faced 19 left-handed hitters and has allowed just one hit, no walks, and struck out 11. Can you say LOOGY?
- Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers (Licey-DWL): 2-for-4, HR (3), RBI, BB, K, 2 CS (3). Currently penciled into the starting center field spot in Texas, there's no guarantee that will be the case by the time Opening Day rolls around. The 24 year-old, who signed a five-year major league contract in May 2011 after defecting from Cuba, put up huge numbers in Triple-A last season (1.033 OPS in 55 games) but went just 8-for-46 in the majors. He has his batting average up to .293 with 3 HR in 21 DWL games.
- Cesar Puello, OF, Mets (Surprise): 2-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB (10). Despite putting up solid numbers in 2011, the 21 year-old Puello repeated Hi-A ball in 2012. It may have been for good reason. Even though his OPS jumped from .710 to .751, his ugly BB/K ratio of 7/58 reminds us that he has a terrible approach at the plate and likely would've been eaten up by Double-A pitchers. He's managed a .400 OBP in 21 AFL games but it's the 25 K with only two extra-base hits that stand out more than anything.
- Travis Witherspoon, OF, Angels (Scottsdale): 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI. The Halos have little talent in the upper minors unless you include Witherspoon, who played 54 games in Double-A in 2012. He didn't exactly light the Texas League on fire, which explains why he wasn't a prospect we were discussing much in the 2nd half of the season. The 23 year-old has also struggled in the AFL, although his three-hit game on Tuesday pushed him over the Mendoza Line.
- Steven Wright, RHP, Red Sox (Escogido-DWL): 6 IP, ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K. At 28 years of age, it's been years since Wright could be called a prospect. Now consider that he's been throwing a knuckleball for the past two seasons and making terrific progress with the pitch. All of a sudden, he's a young prospect all over again with the potential to pitch for the next 15 years if he can continue to get hitters out. In 25 starts during the 2012 regular season, Wright had a 2.54 ERA between Triple-A and Double-A while limiting hitters to a .213 batting average. His two starts in the DWL have also been impressive (12 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, BB, 12 K). The Red Sox, who acquired Wright from the Indians for Lars Anderson in July, are very familiar with knuckleballers, having employed Tim Wakefield for 17 years.
- Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (Peoria): 3-for-5, RBI, K. The 3rd pick in the 2012 draft, Zunino is not expected to spend much time in the minors. He reached Double-A late in the season and has more than held his own in the AFL. The 21 year-old has a six-game hitting streak after his three-hit game on Tuesday. John Jaso will be the starting catcher in Seattle until Zunino is ready to take over, possibly by mid-season.
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