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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K; potential plus-plus fastball; curveball with plus potential; changeup will be at least average. I’ve never been the leader on the Barnes bandwagon; I think he is a very nice pitcher, but not a top-of-the-line stud.

Position Prospect of the Day: Jacob Wilson, 2B, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 3-5, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI; four-year college player; limited room for progression; right-side-of-the-infield player; forced to prove himself step by step; .280/.340/.610 with 4 2B, 3B, and 7 HR in 82 Low-A at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances from May 1: 

“The Good”

  • Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Low-A Lexington): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K; fastball up to 95; changeup comes in at 82-85 and is thrown with really good arm speed and fade, which gives it easy plus potential; well-below-average curveball which may end up getting scrapped; slider at 81-83 has small break and is more of a weak-contact-creator than a bat-misser.
  • Tyler Collins, OF, Tigers (Double-A Erie): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, K; advanced hitter; short swing; loud contact; gap power; average runner; high baseball IQ; tough to profile him as an everyday player.
  • Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants (High-A San Jose): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K; fastball can touch plus velocity; changeup with solid-average potential; developing breaking ball; shoving in the California league thus far; 25.0 IP, 14 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 37 K in five starts.
  • Drew Gagnon, RHP, Brewers (High-A Brevard County): 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K; fastball sits in the low 90s; curveball has average potential; changeup has solid-average potential; plus pitchability.
  • Eric Haase, C, Indians (Low-A Lake County): 3-5, HR, 3 R, RBI, K; work in progress defensively; solid-average raw power; bat speed only average; will be forced to prove himself at every level.
  • Bruce Maxwell, C, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 4-4, 2 2B, RBI, BB; plus power potential; compact swing; raw defensively; wait-and-see type of prospect; .284/.369/.419 with 7 2B and 1 HR in 74 Low-A at-bats.
  • Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 3-5, 3 2B, R, RBI, K; polished; excellent bat-to-ball skills; solid-average power potential; defense still a work in progress; .402/.462/.696 with 15 2B and 4 HR in 92 Low-A at-bats.
  • Jose Ramirez, RHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; plus-plus fastball; easy plus slider; solid-average changeup potential; injury history; will need to prove he can handle the rigor of starting.
  • Chad Rogers, RHP, Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; low-90s fastball with sink; short-breaking slider; fringy changeup; small frame; may be better served as a reliever long term.
  • Seth Streich, RHP, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; four-pitch mix (fastball/changeup/curveball/cutter); fastball can touch plus velocity; changeup has plus potential; curveball and slider are currently works in progress.
  • Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K; plus-plus fastball; cutter with plus-plus potential; curveball with plus potential; may eventually have to develop a splitter; front-line potential; 35.0 IP, 18 H, 6 ER, 20 BB, 39 K in six starts this season.
  • Mason Williams, CF, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB; toolsy outfielder; plus-plus speed; plus defender; hit tool has solid-average potential; below-average power; major makeup questions; not a blue-chip prospect for me.
  • Julian Yan, OF, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 4-5, 3 2B, 3 RBI, SB; plus raw power; good bat speed; has a tendency to speed the game up unnecessarily; plus arm; toolsy; very far from a finished product.

“The Bad”

  • Adrian Marin, SS, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva): 0-4, 2 K, throwing error; unimpressive at the plate and in the field on the first night of the series that I’m watching.
  • Gregory Polanco, CF, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 0-3, 3 K; working to shorten load in swing; plenty of natural ability; gaining polish with every at-bat.

“The Ugly”

Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians (High-A Carolina): 0-4, 3 K; very deep load; has bat speed; mechanics do not allow him to get to any pitch on the inner half; be very cautious about him going forward.

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rodg12
5/02
What brought about the 'major makeup questions' comment about Mason Williams? Haven't heard that anywhere else?
peterhun
5/02
Being charged with DUI?
GFunk911
5/02
Yes, because nothing says makeup problems like being charged for DUI when the test shows that you're 20% BELOW the legal limit -- meaning that there's no chance whatsoever that the charge will stick. If being wrongly charged with a crime of which you're clearly innocent is a "makeup problem", then we're really defining "major makeup questions" downward.
chabels
5/02
There's a difference between being wrongly charged and being released with insufficient evidence. Moreover, you don't need to exceed the legal limit to be guilty of DUI, which is why he was charged with a misdemeanor. He was observed driving at least 10 over the speed limit at 2:45am. He had alcohol in his system and decided to drive an automobile. He may have been below the legal limit, but unless he has a personal breathalizer or is otherwise privy to knowledge of his personal BAC, made a terrible and potentially lethal decision. Lots of young people do, so I'm not saying that a guy who had a beer and drove a car can't be a baseball player, but the legal case is only tangential to the actions that lead to the concerns about makeup.
GFunk911
5/02
I don't disagree with you that he made a bad decision, and that it was, in theory, potentially lethal (insofar as driving with any sort of impairment, from weather to tiredness, is potentially lethal). But you're simply incorrect that he was "released with insufficient evidence" -- that's what would have happened if he never had a BAC test, or for some reason the results were lost or spoiled. Rather, he DID have a BAC test, and the results of that test conclusively proved that he was not driving under the influence as the law defines it (i.e., at least .08% BAC) You're also flat-out incorrect about the DUI laws. The general rule is that any DUI in Florida, absent aggravating factors (such as manslaughter, serious bodily injury, or at least 2 prior DUI arrests), is a misdemeanor. And in order to *BE* a DUI, you have to have at least .08 BAC. There's no charge for adults over 21 driving non-commercial vehicles for misdemeanor "slightly impaired but not DUI". Your assertion that "you don't need to exceed the legal limit to be guilty of DUI" is just not true as it applies to alcohol in Florida.
mort10
5/02
Trust and believe he has them. Lets hope they will disapate as he matures. The DUI factors in minimally.
chabels
5/02
Baseball America (well before the DUI): “He reportedly caused a few headaches for the Charleston staff and turned off observers with the way he carried himself on the field,” they wrote, while one NL scout said he has “got tools but needs to be humbled.” http://riveraveblues.com/2012/10/yanks-place-three-on-baseball-americas-top-20-sally-league-prospects-list-76956/
APV2600
5/02
This is the second time you have mentioned Naquin's "deep load" problem. Presumably this is a fairly simple mechanical adjustment though, right?
mort10
5/02
No; saw naquin for 12 at-bats + batting practice every day; a lot of wrist/hand movement in load; present hand speed; will need a pretty major swing overhaul to iron out the swing.
APV2600
5/02
Thanks
delatopia
5/02
SSS, but is there a takeaway from TWalker's crazy h/ip and wild bb/ip numbers? There have been quite a few effective, hard to hit pitchers with iffy control, but is that kind of thing mechanical in this case, or a question of harnessing wild stuff?
LoneStarDugout
5/02
I don't think there's much of a takeaway aside from the fact that he has very good stuff (with the FB/CT being the very good present pitches) and iffy command. I think harnessing wild stuff often ties into mechanics, and it does here as well. In theory, Walker should be able to repeat because he has a decent delivery and is a great athlete. But I do wonder about the general feel for command there. Either way it'll be one of the deciders in whether he's a legit 1/2 starter or more of a mid-rotation guy with very good stuff.
owgreen
5/02
Zach, what is the bigger concern with respect to Williams not being a blue-chipper? Make-up or lack of power?
mrenick
5/02
I would think that when it comes to discussing prospects a tools deficiency would almost always outweigh makeup concerns.
mort10
5/02
The tools are always the first thing I focus on when looking at a prospect. I observed Williams during roughly 10 games this spring. During this observation I saw some things that made me question his makeup. I do not believe it would be right for me to talk about specifics on this platform. The DUI really does not factor in on what I think of Williams makeup. For me, analyzing a players makeup is solely looking at his baseball makeup. I want to see how he approaches the game, how he communicates with teammates, what his attitude is like while receiving instruction, and what his overall attitude is like.
APV2600
5/02
Probably more appropriate for tomorrow's column, but Danny Salazar K'ed 12 in 6 innings today for Akron, giving him 30 Ks to just 4 walks in his last three appearances (16 IP). Reports say his fastball is back following last season's surgery. Aside from staying healthy, what is the biggest hurdle between him and the majors at this point?
BobcatBaseball
5/02