Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (Lake County, Low-A): 2-3, HR, 5 TB. Mejia has scuffled a bit out of the gate in the unforgiving Midwest League climate. Catchers are risky propositions and catchers with Mejia's profile are doubly so. There's clear talent here, he's an athletic player who can switch hit and he has power. He also has a tendency to over swing in order to tap into his plus raw power in game. He's unrefined and at this point is a highly volatile player who needs to temper his approach if he wants to advance.
Cy Sneed, RHP, Brewers (Wisconsin, Low-A): 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Touki Toussaint was the main attraction in Kane County on Friday, but Cy Sneed showed some interesting stuff as well. Sneed has the size and first name to be a starter. His overhand deliver creates good plane, but it also reduces the margin for error on his fastball as the natural run that is normally present with three-quarters deliveries is reduced. His curve is a big 11-5 bender and he has a split change. Advanced hitters will be able to recognize the big hump his curve has out of his hand, however, and the split won't be a bat-misser, so the command will have to continue to develop for Sneed to reach the majors.
Bradley Zimmer OF, Indians (Lynchburg, High-A): 2-3, HR, 5 TB. Zimmer has attempted 20 stolen bases and he's been caught once. He's also hitting for some power and showing signs that things are starting to click. Zimmer didn't have any difficulty transitioning to pro ball right out of college and the Indians felt comfortable enough to push him to High-A ball, completely bypassing Low-A Lake County. That kind of maturity is a rare commodity, especially when it comes with the type of skill set Zimmer brings to the table.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 3-6, 2B, 3B. Byron Buxton has played in 46 games this year and he has 11 triples. Buxton is unique and he's had a long path to recovery over the past year. He's also making the second toughest jump in organized baseball as he tries to figure out Double-A at 21. He is starting to hit for extra bases and appears to be tapping into his insane tools, which is a pretty fun thought to dwell on.
Chad Pinder, SS, Athletics (Midland, AA): 4-5, HR, 2 R. Prospects with a broad skill set and no carrying tool are easy to overlook, but Pinder is a player worth keeping track of. Here's Tucker Blair on Pinder:
"Pinder is rarely talked about in the prospect world, but the Virginia Tech alum has displayed a consistent stroke at the plate with surprising pop. While he lacks a standout tool and could still use slight refinements at the plate, Pinder could potentially see time in the show within the next calendar year. However, there are strong concerns about the swing and miss in his game."
Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K. Normally we don't note things like ERA for minor leaguers unless they are exceptional, and right now you need a microscope to find Snell's 0.17 ERA. Snell has three potential plus pitches and has been up to 95-96 this year. He's bounced back from walk issues quite well and the command continues to improve.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3-5 2B, HR, 7 TB. Once considered a top Mets prospect, Cecchini fell on hard times in 2014 and fell off the prospect radar a bit. He has earned praise for his feel and instincts, but the main concern with him was the lack of a carrying tool to get him to the majors. He's not the ideal shortstop and although he's having an offensive resurgence at Double-A he profiles as a solid middle infielder with good baseball skills and no standout tools.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 11K. Stephenson has a big fastball-curveball combination and enough of a changeup to tease at a top-of-the-rotation future. Stephenson still hasn't made enough progress in the pitching-IQ department however, as he continues to try to throw through his mistakes and it leads to some lines like the one you see above. He's scuffled so far in Double-A, but he shows an ability to miss bats and flash dominance.
Yairo Munoz, SS, Athletics (Beloit, Low-A): 3-5, 2 HR, 9 TB. Munoz has plus raw power and good hand-eye coordination, so he's capable of having big nights at the plate. He gets overly aggressive however, and he can get fooled badly on spin and off-speed stuff. Munoz is destined for third as his hands and footwork get too loose for short.
Joe Musgrove, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, High-A): 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Musgrove has a 54-1 K-BB ratio thanks to an impressive repertoire that features a cutter/slider hybrid, a fastball that hits 95 and a curve that shows bat-missing potential. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, he has a strong, starter body, and if the change comes around he can work his way into a mid-rotation profile. He's likely not long for Lancaster.
Trey Ball, LHP, Red Sox (Salem, High-A): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K. The development of this first-round selection has been slow, with only flashes of his talent evident in his first three seasons of pro ball. The Sox have pushed Ball aggressively, which is one reason that the box score may not always tell us the entire story. Luckily, CJ Wittmann was in attendance on Sunday:
"Project of a player, but has skills; Avg FB w quality deception; Sharp CB at mid-upper 70s—12/6 shape w/ quality depth; CH plays well off the FB w/ arm side fade and comfortable separation; Work in progress but I saw the necessary skills/adjustments to project a potential backend SP."
Drew Dosch, 3B, Orioles (Frederick, High-A): 3-5, 3B, HR, BB. The third baseman is having a fine year in the Carolina League, currently at the top of the leaderboards in a few categories. I have seen him multiple times this season, and have concerns regarding his ability to make contact against stronger competition, as he has not shown an ability to recognize spin and has been feasting on below-average pitching. Read my full scouting report, which will explain my concerns in more detail.
Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Pirates (West Virginia, Low-A): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. The Dominican arm is an interesting case, as he jumped straight from the DSL to the Low-A level in a year, and has put up stellar numbers throughout the first quarter of the season for West Virginia. I've seen him in person and have filled a full scouting report. The overall arsenal and profile likely leads to a relief role, but this is an intriguing arm that is a little old for the level. It goes to show that talent can be found at any level, and sometimes in the places you would never expect.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Rays (Charlotte, High-A): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Stanek's first season of pro ball was hindered by various injuries, including hip surgery and shoulder soreness. This season has been different, as Stanek looks to be healthy and is beginning to perform well. He mostly throws his two-seam fastball, which has been sitting low 90s and touching mid-90s at times. Stanek also throws both a curveball and slider, and has displayed a developing changeup. The ingredients are all here for a starting pitcher. While it's only a small sample, Stanek could be on the rebound after a slow start to his professional career.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers, (Great Lakes, High-A): 3-6, K. To put it bluntly, it has been a rough start to the season for Verdugo. The raw—but talented—player is now showing the rough side of development. It's important to keep in mind that player development is rarely linear, and sometimes it takes time for things to click for a 19-year-old. Games like this will help, but Verdugo has not shown the consistency he displayed last year in his professional debut. It's likely a little early to panic, but the first portion of the season has certainly been a tough one for the former two-way standout.
Brett Phillips, OF, Astros (Lancaster, High-A): 4-5, 2B, HR, K. The former sixth-round selection continues his demolition of the California League, currently riding a seven-game hit streak. It's likely that he will see some time at Double-A this season, where his tools will finally be tested. Phillips has potential to flash multiple tools, including a double-plus arm and the potential for an average hit tool and power. There is a lot of development left with the outfielder, but the buzz and reports are encouraging.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics (Stockton, High-A): 3-4. The Venezuelan shortstop was given one of the most aggressive assignments in baseball, starting the season as a 19-year-old in High-A. As the prospect staff have said many times, including with Raul Mondesi, it's important to keep aggressive assignments in perspective when evaluating the progression and talent of a player. With Barreto, we have a player holding his own at an advanced level, and reports have him displaying barrel control and some of the raw power. There is a long development path ahead, but let's take a look at Barreto from a different lens, where he is playing with older competition and performing.
Cody Reed, LHP, Royals (Wilmington, High-A): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K. I have seen Reed this season and was impressed, but wanted to see him pitch again. After hearing reports from other members on our team (CJ Wittmann), I think it's about time we talk about the 2013 second-rounder. Reed stands tall with broad shoulders and a solid pitching frame, displaying a lower three-quarters delivery with moderate exertion. He has a long extension on the mound and hard drive, leading to the ball exploding out of his hand. Lefties had a difficult time picking up the 92-94 mph fastball, and he trickled in an 83-85 mph slider with sweeping action. Reed was moved to the rotation shortly after my viewing in late April, and the reports have improved since then. I thought Reed was a middle relief/LOOGY profile for the most part, but he is a player worth keeping an eye on.
Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Red Sox (Salem, High-A): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. The former second-rounder has pitched well at times, flashing an average to above-average arsenal. While he has pitchability, the command has wavered to the sense that he does not miss enough barrels. On this night, it sure seems that the righty had everything working. He's an interesting arm to keep an eye on moving forward, with the chance to fill in the back end of a rotation in the long run if he can continue the progression of his command and secondary arsenal.
Jace Fry, LHP, White Sox, (Winston-Salem, High-A): 6 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. The 21-year-old Fry has pitched well this year in his first full season of pro ball. Our own CJ Wittmann has seen him in person:
"LHP with advanced pitchability; college polished arm; Avg FB will generate ground balls; Will mix and match—work in and out—w/ short, tight fringe SL; Avg fading CH; Pitches backwards often and understands craft; Potential Backend SP."
Jorge Mateo, SS, Yankees (Charleston, Low-A): 3-5, HR, 3 SB, K. Speed as usual, Mateo has tallied over 30 swipes already this season. He's showing flashes with the bat and glove, and the overall profile is certainly enticing. It's still a long development path, but Mateo has gotten off to a fast start in the SALLY for teenager. He will need to continue marinating the approach and fluidity of his game.
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