Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 4-5, 3 R, 2 2B. Cecchini is coming on strong, but his strong performance this season does not match the desperation within the Mets farm system for a shortstop. Or in other words, the Mets need does not make Cecchini the answer. He does have a good swing, makes consistent contact, and controls the strike zone well, all aspects of a good hitter. But there’s not a lot of impact there. The bar is low for shortstops, offensively, but I’m not completely sold on Cecchini as a strong defensive player at the game’s premier non-catcher position. He’s a good player who, for the first time as a professional, is seeing the manifestation of his athleticism on the field, but he’s not a guy we can pencil in as the Mets’ shortstop of the future just yet.
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 3-5, 2 2B. Winker has all the tools to be a middle-of-the-order hitter, most specifically raw power and a strong command of the strike zone, but those have not translated into production in Double-A, either in last year’s stint or in the start of this season. There’s no need to worry just yet, as the tools are still quite evident, but the lack of power has been somewhat troublesome. Winker will need to come close to his ceiling offensively in order to be an everyday player, as he offers little defensively or with his legs. It’s a left-field profile, but still a very good one if he reaches his potential.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. The Double-A debut for Beede couldn’t have gone much better, and it creates a noticeable dichotomy between himself and the previous top pitching prospect in the system, Kyle Crick, who has likely been overtaken. For all of Crick’s potential, Beede trumps him in polish, reaffirming his strike-throwing capabilities early this season in the California League, where pitchers often fear throwing the ball where hitters can reach it. He’s not missing bats at the rate you’d expect from a player with his stuff, but the profile is still strong and he should be able to continue to move quickly.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 2-4, 2 2B, K. Hoskins has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies, handling his first taste of full-season ball as well as could be expected. He’s not a .344 hitter, as big hitters without speed don’t post .411 BABIPs, but he is hitting for some power without a significant amount of swing and miss, which is a terrific sign.
J.D. Davis, 3B, Astris (Lancaster, A+): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 K. Davis has big power and a big arm, and he’s getting to show off the former in between a plethora of swings and misses in his first test in full-season baseball. He’ll need to refine his approach in order to let the power play in games.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 2-4, R, 2 K, 3 SB. We’re still getting more glimpses of Buxton’s full ability than the day-in/day-out performance we took for granted in 2013, but those glimpses are getting closer and closer together. One thing is for certain—with 11 triples and now 19 stolen bases on the season, his legs are working just fine.
Travis Jankowski, OF, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 3 SB. After breaking his way out of the America East conference and into the back end of an extended 2012 first round, Jankowski is re-breaking out this season. He’s making consistent contact and putting his speed to good use, playing to his strengths as a hitter and making the most of his limited offensive profile.
Manny Banuelos, LHP, Braves (Gwinnett County, AAA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K. It’s been a long road back for Banuelos from young, untouchable prospect to the player the Braves received this winter, but he’s re-established himself as a legitimate young pitcher. He’s not the elite bat-misser he once was, but he’s doing a better job of pitching rather than throwing, giving him a chance to be effective.
Wuilmer Becerra, OF, Mets (Savannah, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B. The all-or-nothing approach at the plate continues to work at relative levels against Low-A pitching, where the fastballs aren’t commanded as well and the breaking balls aren’t thrown for strikes as often. Becerra’s raw power is legitimate, and its in-game utility is working at this level, but without some adjustments, he’ll battle swing-and-miss issues at higher levels. Still, the raw tools, specifically the power, will be able to play.
Richard Urena, SS, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 4-4, R, 2 2B, HR. Urena is becoming something of a regular in these parts, but in case you missed the primer on him, he’s 19, has better power than most shortstop prospects, and a chance to stick at the position. That’s a good way to start building your career.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Reading, AA): 4-6, R, 2 2B, HR, SB. When we hear about all of the great shortstop prospects in the minors right now, mentioned are names like the recently promoted Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager. Crawford isn’t included in that discussion nearly often enough, but he is absolutely in that class of players.
Roman Quinn, OF, Phillies (Reading, AA): 2-5, 3 R, 3B, BB, 2 SB. With little power, a below-average walk rate, and a moderate but still higher than a non-power hitter should be strikeout rate, Quinn will have to hit in the .280-.300 range to be an effective offensive player. His top of the charts speed, however, allows for that possibility, given that he has the chance to post high ball-in-play averages if he puts the ball on the ground. Even if he doesn’t reach his offensive ceiling, he’s taken to center field well enough to provide plenty of value with his glove.
Touki Toussant, RHP, Diamondbacks (Kane County, A-): 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 4 K. This wasn’t a great start for Touki, but any time he’s not walking guys it’s a step in the right direction. He features two potential plus pitches, but is extremely raw and doesn’t command either well at this point. Still, the ability is there and he’s generally holding his own against older competition in the early going.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 2-5, R, HR, 2 K. Cecchini isn’t your standard third-base prospect, but he is a good hitter. He’s proved that over his developmental years as a professional, despite what this year’s performances is saying. Power has never been his calling card, but he’s made up for it with a good hit tool and strong on-base skills. Those have wavered at the Triple-A level and now he’s blocked in the big leagues. Still, there’s enough here to like if he can get a chance for regular at-bats somewhere outside of the International League.
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