Williamson is not a particularly exciting prospect, even in a barren Giants system, but he may be the incumbent left fielder now after the Giants declined team options on both Nori Aoki and Marlon Byrd (okay, I guess it's probably Gregor Blanco). Williamson's never shown enough power for a corner outside of the Cal League, and it's a bench outfield profile at this point, but he suddenly looks like a guy on the right team to get some major-league opportunities.
It's been really hard to find a bust in the Cuban market recently. Even Yoan Moncada, who was handed over $30 million despite being far away from the majors, will be a top-five prospect pretty much everywhere people rank prospects after his first professional season. Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Jose Abreu, have all performed at levels that far outpace their bonuses. Then there is Miguel Gonzalez. It could have been worse, (the initial deal could have been worth over $50 million), but the Phillies probably did not anticipate him throwing just five major-league innings in the first two years of his deal. There will be opportunities to pitch for the still-rebuilding Phillies in 2016, but it seems unlikely that Gonzalez will be taking the team up on those.
Other Names of Note
I am a big fan of Margot, but I think some of the avalanche of enthusiasm around him this year might be a bit over the top. The glove/speed combo does give him a higher floor than your average good 20-year-old prospect getting his first taste of Double-A, but I still wonder how the bat will hold up long term against more advanced pitching. Still, plus-glove/plus-run center fielders are a rara avis, and in a down year across the minors, he is an easy top-50 prospect.
It's rare to see a 26-year-old with 165 major-league innings under his belt pop up in the Arizona Fall League, but Paxton is still eligible and could really use the reps. He has thrown more than 110 innings once in his professional career (169 in 2013), A lat issue in 2014 and a finger tendon in 2015 limited him to just 141 major-league innings over the last two seasons, and this fall he is reportedly still not throwing many breaking balls to protect the finger. The stuff here is obvious and tantalizing, and the M's could really use him healthy and productive in 2015 to bolster their starting rotation, it's hard to bet on that at this point.
The actual performance isn't noteworthy here (though also not surprising given Sano's prodigious swing-and-miss), but what is interesting is Sano getting reps at third base. The Twins weren't inclined to play him there much after poor reports on his play there in Chattanooga coming off Tommy John surgery, but when I saw Sano at 3B in 2013, he looked like a guy who could handle the position. He's always been athletic for his size, and the arm was an easy 7 pre-surgery. If Sano can show enough to even play there a couple of times a week in the majors, it would be a big boon to his overall profile.
It was less than two years ago that Puello showed up at no. 7 on the BP Mets prospect list with a role 6 OFP. It was high risk even then, but the tools were loud, and even if the approach never quite improved enough, Puello seemed likely to carve out a role as a bench outfielder with power and speed who could mash against lefties. 2014 was close to a lost season, as he struggled in Las Vegas with both injury and performance. He entered 2015 out of options and without a clear path to the 25-man after the Mets signed John Mayberry Jr. (It sure doesn't seem like this happened less than a year ago, but it was.) Puello was the last cut out of spring, but got pulled back and put on the 60-day DL after a mysterious back injury appeared. The next time I saw him he was sitting on some bleachers in the complex eating sunflower seeds while I watched a GCL game. This was July. He got into one rehab game down there, then nothing. He was finally and unceremoniously cut from the roster in August. You can probably read between the lines here. Puello still has some tantalizing tools and is still only 24. The timing of the cut made it unlikely any other team would bother finding a spot for him, but a good winter ball performance could get him a minor-league contract for next season. Someone will likely take a chance on the tools, but it has been a precipitous fall.
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