The Mets' top pick in this June's amateur draft, Lindsay impressed me over a couple games last week. He's a standout athlete and it's apparent in all his actions both at the plate and in the field. New to the outfield, his routes and reads need to improve, but he's a plus runner and certainly capable of making the adjustments. At the plate the right-handed hitter shows a very quick bat and his loose hands explode through the zone. Although he's well built for a teenager, there's still room on his frame to get stronger. With his strength, bat speed and feel, it's easy to see Lindsay hitting for at least 40-grade future power – and quite possibly more. Despite being four years younger than much of Brooklyn's roster, Lindsay also handled himself like a mature veteran and fit right in. Poised but loose, the young Met played hard and kept his focus in a meaningless, end of the season game for the last place Cyclones. He put together strong at-bats and made some in game adjustments to pitchers. Off this look I'm looking at Lindsay as an everyday player in the big leagues, but I'd like to see some more before committing to what kind of starter he'll be. The potential is here for a five-tool first-division centerfielder. – Al Skorupa
David Paulino, RHP, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster)
Acquired after the 2013 season as a PTBNL from Detroit in the immediate aftermath of Tommy John surgery, Paulino has logged 67 innings across three levels this year. Listed at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, the 21-year-old has to be at least two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. He’s athletic and relatively well-proportioned, yet the limbs just seem like they stretch out forever. The body type is one that yearns for a “bad command” tag, and while there is still a lot of inconsistency in his execution, Paulino demonstrated a surprising feel for the zone in this look.
It’s an easy motion with good cadence and rhythm in the takeaway through the leg kick, and the arm action to a high three-quarter slot is clean. The high arm angle is key, as Paulino leverages his height very effectively to generate excellent plane on his pitches. Where he gets into some trouble right now is at the drive stage of the delivery, where he showed a repeated tendency to decelerate into his push forward. The slow-down compromised his balance and led to him flying open and repeatedly leaving his arm behind and wasting pitches.
His fastball worked 92-95 all night, hitting 96 four times and topping out at 97 to the last batter he faced in the seventh inning. The pitch has late life and plus-or-better boring action, and when the delivery is on time he can really bury it to the bottom of the zone. He held the velocity and movement out of the stretch and through the duration of the start. He was particularly effective working the heater to his arm side, struggling some to control it to the glove side. Still, the overall command showed well enough that it works as a plus pitch already, and there’s room for more with further refinement.
The curveball is very much a work in progress, but there were flashes of plus potential for that offering as well. He really struggled to snap the pitch off consistently, often getting underneath it and either rolling it or losing it out of the zone, up and to the arm-side. It came in as a mid-70s cement-mixer in those cases, but when he got on top of the pitch it showed nasty two-plane movement with late bite in the 78-81 range. The inconsistency in this start had the pitch playing fringe-average at present, but there’s a ton of projection to dream on a solid complement. He also worked in a mid-80s change, going to it increasingly as his preferred secondary as the outing wore on and his feel for the deuce lagged. It’s a relatively straight change, but he showed an ability to bury it and keep it out of the danger zone, as well as the confidence to work it right-on-right. His length and plane on the pitch is outstanding, leaving ample room for the 40 present version of the pitch to pick up a grade as he develops.– Wilson Karaman
Harrison Bader, CF, St. Louis Cardinals (Low-A Peoria)
From his broad-shouldered physique that has room to add muscle, to his high-socks and try-hard mentality, Harrison Bader is a sight out on the Low-A fields. Bader's calling card is his bat speed, which grades out as plus, and he melds the bat speed with his natural strength to produce plus raw power. To this point the 2015 third-round pick hasn't had much of an issue tapping into that power in-game, as he's had a productive pro debut. There are warning signs with the swing, however. Bader has a moderate load and bat wrap, and his swing can get long. He can jump all over a fastball—Bader hit a first pitch fastball for a screaming wall-banger double in my viewing, but he got unbalanced against breaking balls and he was out in front of off-speed offerings. In the field Bader read the ball well and took efficient routes. On the routine plays he likes to swag it out with a swanky back peddle routine.
Bader is an interesting prospect with obvious tools. There's the possibility that the body matures to be too muscle-bound, which could hurt his swing and push him to a corner. Bader will have to temper his swing mechanics some, but there's talent here. – Mauricio Rubio
Henry Castillo, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A Kane County)
Castillo has been productive all season at Low-A after graduating from a two-year stint at Rookie Ball. He has plus bat speed and moderate feel for the barrel. Castillo shows an ability to cover the plate well against fastballs, and can do so from both sides, as a switch-hitter. Castillo shows more leverage as a righty, as his swing gets a touch more linear from the left side, but the bat speed remains consistent. Castillo can wait back on changeups but breaking balls give him fits. He swings over the top of curveballs and will chase bad sliders, showing an inability to recognize good spin from bad. Defensively Castillo has his lapses at second base. The physical tools are present but his execution is inconsistent. His hands get away from him, and his arm loses accuracy from time to time. Castillo is an interesting player in that he shows some semblance of competence at the plate, but he has a lot of work to do regarding his pitch recognition and defense. – Mauricio Rubio
Margot has taken steps forward throughout the 2015 season. Despite some offensive inconsistencies in the middle of the summer, the 20-year-old center fielder has found a late season groove highlighted by showing a better ability to consistently slow sequences down, and work himself into favorable counts. Margot possesses strong bat control, which enables him to get the barrel on a lot of offerings, though it can also lead to situations of the right-handed hitter creating too much weak contact when he’s either chasing offerings off the plate or being too passive in stretches.
Margot’s time with Portland has served as solid seasoning for the youngster’s secondary skills, and also given him the outline for how he needs to approach plate appearances to be successful. The natural offensive skills are certainly here. Look for those skills to continue to translate into game action in the upper levels as the outfielder hones his batting eye, which has been showing the necessary forward progress to close out the year – Chris Mellen
While he’s far from the big leagues, 19-year-old Enyel De Los Santos’ present stuff offers plenty to dream on. A solidly built right-hander, he sits 90-93 with a tailing fastball, and hit 94 in the seventh inning in my most recent viewing. He has a quick, loose arm, and he keeps hitters off balance by working quickly and hiding the ball with a slight crossfire. He also induced several whiffs with his slider: the pitch features long, two-plane break, though his best ones are a little sharper with tight, sweeping action.
Still, there are concerns in the profile. De Los Santos’ upper and lower halves can get out of synch, and his command wobbled over the course of my viewing. His changeup is a clear third offering, a pitch with limited velocity separation and variable depth. His good ones have a bit of arm-side fade but he also threw a couple of 88 MPH clunkers without any movement — Chris Shaw, the Giants first-rounder this year, deposited one of them halfway to the Space Station.
The safe bet is that De Los Santos eventually settles in as a reliever where, if it all plays up, he can stifle righties with a mid-90s fastball and an above-average slider. There’s a chance for more though: if he can streamline his delivery, his command profile jumps a grade, and he has good enough raw stuff to potentially pitch in a big league rotation. There’s work to do, but De Los Santos is a name for Mariners fans to tuck away for the future. – Brendan Gawlowski
After spending most of 2015 in High Desert, Lewis Brinson jumped through two levels in a month of games without it seeming to phase him at all. The tall center fielder seems to have finally put some of the pieces together, finding his power outside of the California League, and has demonstrated an improved feel for the zone throughout the season. Concerns about Brinson’s ability to hit reliably began with in Hickory in 2013, where he struck out 191 times (503 PA), but he’s regularly improved in the years since, striking out only 96 times across two levels in 2014 (albeit, in only 385 PA), and 98 times (452 PA) across three levels in 2015. While this isn’t ideal, it does show that Brinson has the ability to make adjustments across time. Visually, Brinson appears calmer, and more in control of his swing, able to access his power more frequently, to the tune of 15 extra-base hits in his short Double-A stint. Defensively, Brinson glides in the outfield. He’s quick at reading and adjusting to the path of the ball, and while his best position is center field, he can handle the corners just as well.
At this point, Brinson is one of Texas’ top prospects, and 2016 will be an important year in his development. He should start his age 22 season back with Double-A Frisco, where he’ll look to continue honing his hitting ability. The tools are all there for an all-star centerfielder with above-average pop for his position, but now more than ever, he has to continue to show that he’s able to use them. – Kate Morrison
Williams Jerez, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
When the Red Sox popped Jerez in the second round in 2011 they thought they were getting a raw but tooled-up outfielder with impact potential; hence the reason they handed him a bonus approaching $500,000 to sign out of Grand Street High School in Brooklyn. Three rough offensive seasons later—career .529 OPS in three seasons, all shy of full-season ball, and a career high .285 OBP in his debut rookie-league season in 2011—and Jerez was moved to the mound to take advantage of his strong left arm. After translating his impressive athleticism to the mound in 2014, Jerez has rocketed from Low-A Greenville all the way to Double-A in 2015, refining his ability at each stop. In several viewings this summer, Jerez has shown consistent 93-94 mph velocity from the left side, peaking as high as 97 mph when he needs a little extra. He generates his velocity with a strong 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame that is complemented by excellent arm speed and a repeatable delivery. He gets down the mound with ease and generates plane despite a low-3/4 arm slot. His delivery provides some deception, at least in part from his extension out front that gets the ball on hitters quicker than they expect. Behind the plus fastball, Jerez offers an above-average (potentially plus) slider that features tight rotation, two-plane break, and very good depth. He mixes his two-pitch arsenal well, showing a willingness to throw either pitch in any count. On top of the raw ability, Jerez displays excellent makeup on the field, moving with confidence and swagger that gives him an impressive presence on the mound. With continued refinement of his fastball command, Jerez has all the ingredients to develop into a late-inning lefty that pitches when the game is on the line; marking a heck of a turnaround from failed outfield prospect to potential impact reliever. – Mark Anderson
Reese McGuire, C, Pirates (High-A Bradenton)
McGuire is generally considered the top catching prospect in the game, and rightly so. Thanks to his defensive prowess and the lack of quality candidates at the position, it’s really not much of a competition, especially considering the importance of defense over offense at catcher.
That importance is the key to McGuire’s future, as he’s unlike most catching prospects in that his glove is actually well ahead of his bat at present. I discussed McGuire in a Ten Pack early in the season, commending his defense and expecting the bat to progress. Having seen him a number of times this year, he was as advertised, but the development of the bat is coming along slower than expected.
His swing is fundamentally sound, and built for line drives up the middle and to the gaps. If that’s all it ever becomes, that’ll be fine because he’s an elite defender. But he should be capable of more, and his approach and swing aren’t conducive to more production. He’s aggressive, and because of his contact skills, it leads to as much poor contact as good. His bat speed isn’t elite, but it’s enough to keep from getting beat repeatedly, assuming he continues to keep himself in good hitter’s counts.
I originally thought that McGuire’s offense had the potential to be major-league average, which would make it well above average for his position, given his glove. But after further views, it projects more towards being average for a catcher. That still makes him a heck of a prospect, but unless he shows a little more aptitude in terms of driving the ball and making better contact, it limits his elite-level ceiling and keeps him more in line of becoming a major-league regular. – Jeff Moore
Danny Diekroeger, 3B, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach)
Diekroeger is a case study in the context of draft status. On the general prospect landscape, he doesn’t offer a ton of projectability unless you believe in the ability of a 23-year-old to still develop significantly physically. As a senior sign in the 10th round, however, he offers considerable potential, much more than most players in that genre.
What gives Diekroeger a chance is a strong approach at the plate, which helps his average set of physical offensive tools to play to the best of their abilities. He also has enough athleticism and arm strength to play a number of positions, including second and third base, as well as right field should the Cardinals decide to send him to the outfield. What he doesn’t offer is a ton of impact potential with the bat, the kind that would be needed to be an everyday player.
That being the case, Diekroeger is in the right system. The Cardinals have a history of getting significant utility out of players with a limited but specific skill set. Diekroeger fits into that mold quite well, and is a “get the most out of his ability” type of player. He struggled to adjust to a promotion to the Florida State League, but he could be the type of player who moves quickly through the Cardinals system, spending about a half-season at each level and eventually fills in a role on the Cardinals bench. – Jeff Moore
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