The Nationals have pushed Severino aggressively, with less than 100 games played at any level. The carrying card for the Dominican catcher has always been defense, which is likely the reason behind his quick ascension through the ranks. While the defense is solid, my viewings this season have left more skepticism than optimism in his future game.
Severino displays below-average bat speed, and lacks feel for the barrel. His swing lacks fluidity and ease. I rarely see him make hard contact, as he is mostly a slap- or punch-hitter. Severino does not hit enough to play every day in the majors, and I haven't seen anything this season to indicate otherwise. Behind the plate, I do think Severino has the ability to at least provide value in some capacity. His footwork and blocking has improved since last season, and strong wrists and forearms allow him to frame and move the glove around well enough. He isn't a plus defender, but there is certainly value. Overall, Severino is underwhelming due to the bat and the questionable makeup that I have routinely seen over the past few years. I haven't seen enough positive to get excited about him. – Tucker Blair
Selected in the eighth round of the 2013 draft out of Notre Dame, Mancini has cruised through the minors. While there continues to be skepticism regarding his future value, Mancini has shaken some of these reports off and continues his expedition towards the majors.
Watching Mancini for the past few years, one common theme has always been the length of his swing. Looking as far back as his days with Notre Dame, Mancini has always been known for an elongated swing with plus raw power. In his first professional stint with Aberdeen, Mancini did cut down the length of his swing. However, he was still easy to beat inside and up with velocity. At this stage of his development with Bowie, Mancini has shortened his swing even more, and is generating a little more contact than before. While I still do not believe he will be able to consistently hit enough to provide everyday value in the majors, Mancini has shown enough to at least force his way to the majors at some point within the next year or two. His plus raw power and an efficient approach at the plate are two secondary skills that will help boost his value. At the end of the day, Mancini is a first basemen that lacks defensive value and will need to really hit to provide value in the majors. There have been improvements, but I am not sold on this being an everyday regular. – Tucker Blair
After proving that he needed more of a challenge by slicing and dicing his way through nine Midwest League starts, Gonsalves navigating the more advanced waters of the Florida State League. Despite being a league on the pitcher friendly side, the 21-year-old left-hander will definitely be pushed to be finer with his arsenal, especially when it comes to the crispness of his breaking stuff. Gonsalves feels his changeup well. The lefty is more than capable of turning over a change with quality parachuting action, and when paired with his downward moving low-90s fastball, it’s difficult for low minors’ hitters to make much solid contact. But, as the pitcher continues to progress the importance of sharpening his breaking ball will come to the forefront.
Gonsalves is still working on finding an identity with his breaking ball which – to go along with continued progression honing his fastball command – is what to watch for when it comes to assessing developmental progress. The peak-season potential is pretty high here. This is an arm who could emerge as a mid-rotation starter, but it won’t happen without a consistent breaker to change eye levels and speed up bats. It’s been a solid season for Gonsalves thus far, with the focus now on finishing strong and showing that a jump up to Double-A isn’t too far off. If the breaking ball is showing signs of further sharpening, the transition into the Southern League may end up seamless. – Chris Mellen
Trahan was the Diamondbacks first round pick in 2013, and while it’s too early to call the former Louisiana high school star a bust, there’s an awful lot of work to be done if he’s ever going to be more than organizational fodder. There’s still plus power potential from the left side, but his swing has added length and too often he tries to crush everything to the pull side. He’s also become a much more aggressive hitter; and looked more concerned with murdering the baseball than working counts into his favor on Friday.
Trahan’s defensive development was messed with when the Diamondbacks tried to turn him into an outfielder, and it shows. He has plus arm strength and is a good athlete, but his footwork is a mess, and he was stabbing at the ball most of the night. What once looked like a potential above-average regular behind the plate now looks like a Sunday catcher. Sometimes baseball is cruel. – Christopher Crawford
Note: An earlier version of this report misstated the date of the game in question. It has been corrected.
The tools are evident right off the bat with the 19-year-old shortstop, the most evident of which is his natural bat speed. Driven by strong wrists and quick hands, his bat speed gives him above-average pop despite not having great size. Despite his hitting tools, however, the in-game application still leaves something to be desired. He's extremely raw, and while he seems to have some understanding of the strike zone, he's operating without a plan and struggles to pick up breaking balls. Part of this may be due to my look at him coming just two weeks after a promotion to High-A, so I can't write off his ability to recognize spin just yet, but it's definitely an area in desperate need of improvement.
In the field, Urena's best asset is a plus arm that will keep him on the left side of the infield. His actions are smooth at shortstop and while his hands aren't the most natural, they will work in the infield. The only question is where. Urena's range is only average, especially to his left. It will be enough if he's able to maintain it but any loss in range could precipitate a move to third base.
The overall collection of tools and talent makes for an intriguing package. There's still a lot of boom or bust potential here, and despite the Blue Jays seeming desire to want to push Urena, he's a player who will require patience to reach his full potential. – Jeff Moore
Matt Dean, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
Dean doesn't have the most exciting profile. He's limited to first base defensively and has been losing time in the field since the promotion of Rowdy Tellez. He's not fast, and he doesn't have a great set of tools.
What he does have, however, is enough raw power to do some damage. There are pitch recognition issues present, particularly identifying spin from same-side (right-handed) breaking balls. That leads to a lot of swing-and-miss and some weak contact. He's also a little too aggressive for his own good, often getting himself out on the pitcher's pitch rather than his own. But when it comes together and he gets a fastball to square up, he has power to all fields, which from a right-handed hitter, is a rare commodity in today's game.
This isn't an everyday profile, but there are spots for guys with power in the big leagues, even in limited roles. – Jeff Moore
Projectable and athletic, Williams has two qualities that will help him attempt to harness his shaky command. At 6-foot-3 and high waisted, his build suggests the ability to put on good weight. He's a deceptive pitcher, working from a true-three-quarters delivery with a short arm circle. He has plus arm speed and while there is some effort in the delivery, it’s not enough to preclude him from starting.
Last year Williams would push the upper limits of his fastball velocity right out of the gate and get gassed by the fourth inning. This time around Williams held 90-92 while touching 93 on occasion with mild armside run. His secondaries are still more projection than actualization, as his slider operates in the 80-83 range and flashes plus bite. Williams will mix in a get-me-over offering that loses bite and tilt from time to time. The changeup is the better of the two offerings and it has bat-missing potential. There's plus fade and tumble and it comes with plus deception.
There is a sizeable gap between Williams’ current incarnation and his potential upside. He’s already shown significant growth from seasons prior, and continued refinement of his secondaries will push him along the developmental path. – Mauricio Rubio
Blake Allemand, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, both numbers seem generous for Allemand. He has a skinny, high-waisted frame so there is room for projection but any weight added might be the determining factor for moving him off short. Allemand is sure-handed but his foot speed limits his range, as his ability to cover ground to the glove side is poor. Allemand's arm doesn't have ideal carry for short, either. He's a switch-hitter but I only saw him from the right side. He has average bat speed, mild feel for the barrel, and a refined approach at the plate. His swing plane is linear, which, when coupled with his size and strength (or lack thereof), suggest poor power projection. Allemand isn't a shortstop long term but he might have a future as a utility guy if his hit tool can develop further. – Mauricio Rubio
The younger brother of occasional Major Leaguer Carlos Triunfel, Alberto received an aggressive assignment to High-A after an unremarkable stateside debut last season. He’s delivered the goods on both sides of the ball despite his age and inexperience. He shows an aggressive in-zone approach at the dish while displaying above-average command of the zone and plus pitch recognition. The swing is linear but short to the ball, featuring average bat speed from a quiet load and quick fire. He shows well above-average barrel control, and the combination limits the amount of swing-and-miss in his game. I’ve seen him work up the middle with line drives repeatedly, and hard groundballs aplenty – a game plan that pairs well with his above-average foot speed. He’s by no means a burner, and I’ve seen multiple mistakes of over-aggressiveness now.
In the field his feet and actions are quick, though his footwork through the collection, transfer, and throw remains quite raw. He sailed a couple balls to first with arm strength that is more average than asset. He showed the range and agility of a shortstop, but arm strength may limit him to a future at the keystone. – Wilson Karaman
Jose LeClerc, RHP, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
There are encouraging signs of progression for the 21-year-old RHP LeClerc. In 15 starts this year, he has battled to get into the fifth inning, only throwing six innings twice as a starter. He has had trouble commanding his fastball and with his mechanics, however it seems that something has clicked recently. His last outing vs. Corpus Christi, LeClerc attacked hitters aggressively with his fastball and kept them off balance with his varied changeups; one that cuts and one that sinks. What was more interesting was the infrequency that he mixed in his breaking ball (six for the game), only using it when absolutely necessary. Mechanically he was much smoother with his upper half, with a much less violent release. He was linear to the plate and showed a more controlled finish at the end. He seemed to have a focus of minimizing his pitch count and through four innings he sat at an efficient 49 pitches. He actually carried a no-hitter into the sixth and was removed after the first base hit. However, with a cut down on walks LeClerc could have easily gone 7 or 8 sharp innings. The dominance expected out of LeClerc’s plus tools was evident, and signs of maturation were there as well. If he can keep up this nice progression and cut down on the base on balls the ceiling still remains very high with LeClerc. – Colin Young
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