Friday, October 30th
I wrote about Arroyo at greater length a couple weeks ago, but he earns a headline here for the monster game. He’s currently second in the league in OPS, up to .439/.478/.732 with just four whiffs in his first 44 plate appearances of the fall (SPOILER ALERT: he’s also currently featuring in heavy rotation in our rankings thread about the Giants’ system). He’s a solid player in a good spot, and his breakout this fall’s a good thing in that he’ll hopefully get some just deserved positive attention on his development.
I talked about Frazier a bit last week as well, and though he’s slowed down a bit since he’s still flashing plenty of that tantalizing power and speed combination. The big offensive questions to be answered relate to his pitch recognition and ability to make adjustments within an at-bat, and we probably won’t learn much about progress on that front until he hits Double-A next spring.
One of my favorite pitching prospects to grace a California League mound this year, I encourage you to read up on him if you’re unfamiliar. He’s been touched up a bit in the AFL after a long season, but don’t let the desert numbers fool you: dude’s an assassin out there. He’s got more slots than Vegas, and while there’s some octane in his delivery he repeats commendably in getting to each release point with consistency. He's like trying to hit against Vishnu if Vishnu hid the ball well and effectively executed like 8 different pitches.
Jacob Scavuzzo, OF, Dodgers (AFL Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K
Scavuzzo’s production to date suggests ample effort on his part to quell my concerns about his swing mechanics, but the evidence is still there under the hood in his less-than-stellar strikeout and walk rates.
Paxton continues to look healthy so far, which is good, but the results have been mixed. The heavy fastball and change with some dancin’ legs have both looked the part thus far, but his spin hasn’t shown quite the consistency he needs it to show.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (DWL Tigres del Licey): 0-4, K
Alcantara entered the spring riding high off an impressive performance in the Dominican last winter, but true to his 2015 form he’s struggled mightily to produce this time around and sits as of publication at a moribund .220/.283/.341 with a 14 strikeouts to just four walks. As Mauricio noted toward season’s end, Alcantara’s future in the organization depends on some rather stark adjustments to his approach, which he has not yet shown an ability to make.
Xavier Scruggs, 1B, Cardinals (DWL Gigantes del Cibao): 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
I had a soft spot for Scruggs in his younger days, but he’s hitting just .163 with this one dinger and 12 K’s through 43 winter league at-bats on the heels of an uninspiring season in the PCL. This line is pretty much on par with the kind of hitter he is, but it was telling of his standing in the organization that he didn’t warrant more of a shot after Matt Adams went down with a long-term injury last season. At 28 now he’s pretty much the definition of an org bat.
Saturday, October 31st
Nick Travieso, RHP, Reds (AFL Peoria Javelinas): 5 IP, ER, 3 H, 6 K
I’ve had what has turned out to be the good fortune of writing these updates after all three of Travieso’s starts, and he’s earned a shoutout with each. A ho-hum solid season got lost in the shuffle of the pitcher’s paradise that is the Florida State League, but he’s made people pay attention in Arizona thus far. He hit 97 in his last start, and this time out generated an impressive 11 swings and misses among his 68 pitches.
Connor Lien, CF, Braves (AFL Peoria Javelinas): 1-3, BB, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB, 2 K
The swing isn’t the prettiest, lowlighted by a metric ton of swing-and-miss, but Lien continues to produce decently in his climb up the ladder and he has the range to stick in center thanks to plus speed. He’s not quite to the point of being a notable prospect (his .534 desert OPS in spite of this game certainly ain’t helping), but a date with Double-A looms next spring and he’s a guy who could emerge as a nice piece of organizational depth for Atlanta.
Daniel Palka, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks (AFL Salt River Rafters): 1-3, BB, 2 R, HR, RBI
That Palka has managed to keep his whiffs in check thus far in Arizona is a promising development, as his whifftastic ways were really the only blight on an otherwise sublime breakout campaign in the California League. The league context is the rub for Palka, however, and will lead to some obvious skepticism, some of it warranted. He has an extremely deep load and bobbing hitch with his hands at the back of it, and he lacks consistency in his launch and barrel delivery. That leads to some ugly (and frequent) swing and miss, and he struggles to consistently control the inner-third. Still, there’s some draft pedigree for a reason here, as the plus-or-better raw power is legitimate and he boasts enough athleticism that the teams’ experiment moving him off of first to the corner outfield wasn’t a disaster last year. He’s more of a “wait and see” for now, but there’s a potentially useful big league bat here.
Bubba Starling, OF, Royals (AFL Surprise Saguaros): 2-3, 2B, RBI, 2 SB
I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’ that Starling now has a 1.026 OPS with three homers and bags apiece. I’m not saying nothin’, though, I’m just sayin.
Sam Travis, 1B, Red Sox (AFL Scottsdale Scorpions): 4-5, R
Travis continues to collect hits in bunches, and it should be noted that his lone out in this game was a scorched liner. It’s an open question as to whether his feel for the barrel will be enough to overcome a lack of leverage and homerun pop to justify first base playing time at the highest level, but make no mistake: this kid can hit.
Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Giants (AFL Scottsdale Scorpions): 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 2 K
As someone with a soft spot for, well, soft southpaws, I’ve enjoyed Mejia’s recent “physical development” to infinity beyond his listed weight of 195. He sat 91-93 on Saturday, taking a no-hitter going into the fifth before tiring and leaving a couple runner aboard after departing. The deuce and change still show enough that, coupled with a low-effort delivery that he repeats well, the package still suggests a starting future.
Joey Rickard, CF, Rays (DWL Leones del Escogido): 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Don’t let this stat line fool you, as this game’s homerun total matches his entire three-level output during the 2015 season. A former ninth-rounder out of Arizona, Rickard suffered through a lost 2014 after a super-aggressive assignment to Double-A followed by a season-ending ankle injury in July. He put himself back on the organizational map this year, though, and his outstanding command of the zone combines with above-average speed and defensive versatility in the outfield to give him a legitimate chance at developing into a useful piece of backup outfield depth. He’s a Rays player, after all, and he’s a Rays player.
Socrates Brito, OF, Diamondbacks (DWL Estrellas de Oriente): 2-4, R, HR, RBI, K, SB
Brito certainly doesn’t look like a man who can push is under four seconds out of the box – his 6’1” frame is chiseled fully to his listed 200 pounds. But he boasts impressive raw speed and athleticism, and it’s helped him graduate all the way to big league at-bats despite an aggressive approach that remains unrefined at the plate. He can play a quality corner and fake it in center, though, and there’s enough of a power-speed combination here to generate some excitement. The hit tool still doesn’t look quite big league quality, but the rest of the package should guarantee he’s afforded every opportunity to try and get it there.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics (VWL Aguilas del Zulia): 0-5, K
Saturday’s oh-fer isn’t particularly interesting, nor is his cumulative .170/.216/.255 line through 13 games. He’s getting reps working his way back from a wrist injury that cost him a month and a half down the stretch, and that’s important. What’s interesting, however, is that Barreto is getting those reps in the outfield; he’s suited up in both center and left for Zulia. It may very well just be a team-ordered directive from the team to protect his wrist, but then again if this were just about AB’s the league does have a DH slot, so…for now, just something to note.
Sunday, November 1st
Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, Cardinals (VWL Caribes de Anzoategui): 4-4, R, 2B, SB
On the other end of the Cardinals’ PCL production scale, Hazelbaker flat raked at AAA this year, and he’s continued to hit this fall. He’s the kind of guy where scouting the statline can be especially dangerous however, as Ezra painted a rather bleak picture of the underlying skills and feel for the game that lie underneath the gaudy numbers.
Brian Goodwin, CF, Nationals (VWL Bravos de Margarita): 0-5, K
Goodwin appeared on the fringes of a Nationals’ prospect list as recently as last winter when we named him a “Factor on the Farm,” but it’s looking increasingly like even the kind of marginal ceiling we discussed may not materialize. A quintessential tools guy who’s never quite gotten there with the talent development, he’s now buried pretty far down in the organization after seeing the bat regress further after a full-season demotion to AA this season.
Thank you for reading
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