Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 4-5, R, K. For every prospect, there are things that he needs to work on in order to reach his ceiling. Perhaps no single prospect has taken a bigger step towards fixing his singular biggest issue this season than Williams has with his approach. His physical skills as a hitter have never been in question, but his ultra-aggressive approach has held him back. By not expanding the strike zone as often, he's given his pure abilities a chance to be more effective, and the results have been promising.
Javier Guerra, SS, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR. Guerra is known mostly for his glove, but he does have surprising pop for a young, skinny player. He has strong wrists and his swing has a little whip to it, generating hard contact when he connects. His approach is still in need of refinement, and some length to his swing leads to more than his fair share of strike outs, but both have already taken steps in the right direction this year and are fixable holes in his game. At 19 and with a glove that will stay at short, there's a lot to like with Guerra.
Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 3-5, R, 3B, K. The Rangers have been extremely aggressive with Mazara, but the 20-year-old Dominican native has handled every challenge the Rangers, and Texas League pitchers, have thrown at him this season. The right fielder offers a rare combination of power, feel for the barrel, and plate discipline, a combination which will serve him well and has allowed him to handle advanced pitching despite jumping over the Carolina League.
Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays (Bowling Green, A-): 7 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 11 K. Honeywell offers an above-average fastball and a unique screwball that has kept the Midwest League off-balance this season. The rest of this game, however, is still a work in progress. His other secondary pitches—a curveball and a changeup—are inconsistent, both in their movement and in his arm action delivering them. Two strong pitches will be enough to get him to the big leagues, especially if he is able to maintain his velocity as he develops physically, but he’ll need the rest of his arsenal to come along if he wants to remain a starter.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, K. There's a lot of pressure on Reed’s bat, given that he's already a first baseman and he doesn't flash the loud tools that scouts tend to gravitate towards. He does, however, hit the baseball hard frequently and draw a ton of walks thanks to a patient approach at the plate. Those two skills—above-average power and good plate discipline—have created solid careers out of less athletic players than Reed, who was an outstanding college pitcher as well. There are holes in his swing that he’ll need to overcome, but the power should be enough to do it.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 2-5, R, HR. The big, powerful first baseman has put himself on the prospect map this season with a strong start to the year, showing good power and an advanced approached. Of course, he should be advanced, given that he's 22 and still in the Sally League. Given how he's handled his first taste of full-season ball and that he's old for his league, a mid-season promotion could be in order.
Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP, Cubs (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K. For a player who was advertised as being advanced for his age, Tseng has struggled more this season than had been expected. He still has room for his stuff to get better, but it's already good enough to be more effective than he’s been this season. When his curveball is on, it has the potential to miss bats, but his strikeout rate has dropped precipitously low this season in spite of its presence.
Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 4-4, R, 2B. Unlike the hot stretch he went through last year, Smith has kept this streak going for longer than two weeks, now going on a full month. His big day on Sunday has his average up to .298 and he's leading the league in doubles. It's good to see power in any form from Smith, who was notoriously without it for all of last year, but until he begins pulling the ball with more authority and consistency, it's likely that his power will remain in doubles form, as he lacks enough raw power to leave the yard the other way consistently. Still, it's a very promising turn around for a player who was batting under .200 a little over a month ago.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 4-4, 2 R, 3 2B, SB. When Cozens is on, he's a potential impact power bat in a big, prototypical power hitter’s frame. Much like his barrel on the baseball, however, he's just not on enough. Cozens’ raw power is a legitimate weapon, and he’ll have days like this when he does a lot of damage, but the impact is generally too few and far between thanks to a long swing path that can get beat on the inner third of the plate.
Jorge Mateo, SS, Yankees (Charleston, A-): 2-4, R, BB, K, 2 SB. What Mateo has done this season, by holding his own in full-season ball at such a young age against older competition, has gone overlooked by many because he's not a power hitter, but it's an impressive achievement nonetheless. Additionally, he's been a force on the basepaths. What he’ll need to show over the next few years is more consistent on-base ability, either by finding the barrel of the bat more consistently or by improving his patience, so that he can use his speed as a weapon more frequently.
Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 7 K. Never known as a control artist, Owens has taken his tight-rope act of getting away with extra base runners to new levels this year. No one is doubting the stuff, nor have they ever, but he won't able to get away with this lack of command in the big leagues. He's still in line to be called up whenever the Red Sox need another starter, but he’s taken a step back this year.
Connor Joe, 1B, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B. Despite being held back in extended spring training, Joe has struggled in his first taste of pro ball since being assigned to West Virginia. The 39th overall pick in last year's draft, Joe has shown no power whatsoever to this point, with the lone bright spot coming in the form of some plate discipline and a few more walks than strikeouts here in the very early going.
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