2023 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards: Voting Open Now!

Pitching Prospect of the Day: Alberto Cabrera, RHP, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K; plus-plus fastball with life; potential solid-average slider; potential average changeup. The problem with Cabrera is that he has been very inconsistent in his minor league career. Cabrera has performed well thus far in 2013 and will hope to stay as a starter moving forward; 91.2 IP, 88 H, 36 ER, 34 BB, 94 K in 15 starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Willy Garcia, OF, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 6-6, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Potential average hit tool; solid-average power potential; average runner; solid-average arm. After jumping onto the prospect radar in 2012, Garcia has shown some power in the Florida State League. Some scouts wonder if the hit tool will ever be good enough for him to play every day at the big league level; .378/.439/.622 with 3 2B and 2 HR in last 37 at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances on June 25:

“The Good”

  • Carlos Contreras, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K; plus-plus fastball; plus changeup; fringy curveball. Contreras has used his fastball/changeup combination to keep hitters off balance in the hitter-friendly California League. Contreras should be nearing a promotion to the much more pitcher-friendly confines in Pensacola.
  • Micah Johnson, 2B, White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, K, SB. I know Micah Johnson is not a good defender and needs to develop his skills on both sides of the ball. I know Joey Michele is a prospect that can also only play second base at High-A. I also know that Micah Johnson has nothing left to prove offensively at Low-A; .341/.422/.527 with 16 2B, 9 3B, 6HR, and 56 SB in 279 at-bats.
  • Robert Refsnyder, 2B, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 2-4, 2B, 3B, 3 R, BB, K. Only a year ago Mr. Refsnyder was tearing it up in Omaha. It has been a pleasant transition to the pro game for him as he continues to show off the ability to hit. Refsynder may never have much over-the-fence power, but he will spray it from gap to gap. He is emerging as a very high-quality utility-type prospect; .344/.475/.531 with 4 2B and 1 3B in last 32 at-bats.
  • Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB. Yankees have cleared the Double-A catching position of prospects, so I assume Sanchez will be heading north in the near future. He offers big power and the ability to hit for power. He has made improvements in 2013 behind the plate, but some still question whether he will be able to stick behind the plate long term; .269/.335/.478 with 18 2B and 11 HR in 245 at-bats.
  • Dwight Smith Jr., LF, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, HR, RBI, K. Smith has never been my guy. I’ve seen him many times and I question the ability to hit, and he does not offer big power and is not a burner; .259/.339/.352 with 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, and 13 SB in 193 at-bats.
  • Trayce Thompson, OF, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 3-6, 3 2B, 2 R, RBI, K; Trayce Thompson is my guy. He has a swing that can get long. The hit tool may never be more than a high-3 type, but he offers easy plus power and is a good athlete. He has a second gear that allows him to glide to cover ground in the outfield, and he has plenty of arm if he has to move to right. Trayce is very high risk, but I think at some point in his career if he can find the right fit he can be an everyday player.

“The Bad”

  • Kelly Dugan, OF, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 0-5, 4 K. Dugan has been able to stay on the field, and is performing well enough to put himself back on the prospect radar.
  • Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 0-4, 3 K. Gallo will always be a streaky hitter; when it goes wrong it will go wrong.
  • Matt Reynolds, SS, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 0-4, 3 K. Reynolds’ calling card is hitting, not defense, so he will need to avoid nights like this.

“Two Parting Thoughts”

The Update was a little thin tonight because the Texas League was off and a lot of prospects had minimally productive nights. I have two thoughts to leave you with.

First: Make sure you go check out the Midseason Top 50.

I know I may be biased, but the Prospect Team that Jason Parks has put together is second to none. I know the great deal of work that has gone into the development of this list and hope everyone enjoys it.

Second: I had a conversation tonight with my girlfriend, a college softball coach, on what type of talent we would like to acquire for our team. She went for the high-floor/low-ceiling type, and I could not have disagreed more because as we all know I am a high-ceiling/low-floor type all the way. I know the third option is to acquire a variety, which is most likely the best way, but what way do you want your team to acquire talent? I will look forward to reading and responding the responses.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
You cannot teach natural ability. You can help Gallo cut his swing down, let the ball get deeper, plate awareness, etc...but no one can teach his raw. That's why PEDs are prevelant. Players master fundamentals, but still lack the natural ability. Who is Paul Blackburn? GBs + Ks + 19 + 3 pitches = me likey
It looks like you might be onto something with Blackburn. I would imagine he gets the bump up to Kane County quickly.
NW League Pitcher of the Week, Paul Blackburn! Cubs took him 56th overall, after they snagged Pierce Johnson in 2012 draft.
Variety: early in draft high ceiling no doubt, you need to find those superstars/difference makers and as the draft progresses move towards higher floor talent to increase odds of making a contribution. Although, really, there are easily defendable and justifiable scenarios where both ways are appropriate, I guess it depends on the state of your team, farm system and the talent in the draft too.
I agree with Scheidt above that you need to try and get superstars into your system early in the draft. Every pick has risk and even the supposedly "are what they are guys" have a good degree of flameout.

I think go best player available in the early rounds based on a balance of risk and upside switching more to high floor guys in the mid rounds (college seniors) and then picking up some riskier over slot guys in rounds 11-13
High school and college ball are much different than the professional game. I coach high school softball and at those levels, you simply want people to make the basic plays. Polish and smarts go much further than they do at the highest level. I'm not saying either of you are wrong, but understand her side.
Right. She's not building an organization, she's fielding a team.

And her point of reference isn't theoretical. She's actually fielding an actual team. That plays actual games. Her job is to win games now, not cultivate players who might or might not win more impressively later.
For MLB, high ceiling, especially in first round.

For D-1 & D-2 college softball, I totally see your girlfriends POV. They have limited scholarships in softball and can't afford to have a total bust consuming any of them. Unlike MLB, college softball looking for almost immediate impact from its players. You aren't going give scholarship $ to a kid and take three years to develop her so she "might" help as a senior. A couple of those bets go wrong and the coach is done. Also, because girls hit physical maturity quicker than boys there is less upside for women due to "physical maturity" development between ages 18-22 as there is in men. At the same time, there could certainly be skill advancement due to coaching quality at the college level.
I agree with you here. Scouting for the pro leagues is a different animal than scouting players for a college program. It's all about window of opportunity since a high ceiling prospect typically needs at least a few years to achieve that potential.
For MLB, I want guys with high ceiling but I want major league tools.

Give me a guy who is going to be a 6+ in CF even if his hit tool ends up a 4.

Give me a guy who is going to be a high-5 or 6 hit, even if his power and glove may never develop.

Give me a pitcher with a 7 fastball even if his secondaries don't pan out.

At least those guys will be cheap role players and save me a million bucks each if they don't turn into stars.
This is exactly what I wanted to create. I totally agree with everyone's point in different ways. I will continue to keep pumping all of the goodness that is the #MLU, but don't be surprised if a thought provoking question is included more regularly.
My stance on this has always been that if you are able to develop a role 6+ type player than his value before he hits arb/FA is very high. This is why I really like what teams like the Blue Jays have done. All in all, I think the mixture of risk and safe is the best strategy. Go big early and follow it up with people likely to reach their ceiling.
What's her take on that running/slapping style of hitting? I hate it. I don't care how small or fast you are - keep your weight back, let the ball get there and then smoke it:

Ya I'd have to say I'm going for the high upside/high risk, I might miss a fee guys but hopefully my scouting dept is legit so that doesn't happen a lot ;) but the satisfaction from when you hit on those guys will be more then satisfactory in my opinion. A player like Buxton has the ability to turn franchises around. Going with the safe guy might get you a .500 season..
I'd much rather have high ceiling guys, plenty of whom will make it to the majors even if they are busts than draft someone I'm confident will reach a lower ceiling. Lets be honest - how many guys even have a major league ceiling in any given year, let alone an ML floor. Sure you can save a lot if your bench and pen are home-grown, but it take a lot of Juan Lagareses to make up for a single Matt Kemp.
To play devil's advocate for a second, there are other considerations too - developmental resources, for one - how good can you be with each guy when you have too many struggling toolboxes? Teams are another factor - get a bunch of talented raw players on the same team and you might have a strong tidal effect with the struggles of the many pulling back against the success of the few. I don't know either of those things are certain to get in the way, but they might be considerations. Take a smart, driven player so he can set a good example and help along the raw guys.
Boom or bust, baby