Friday, November 13th
Aside from owning a fun name that fits with the raw power in his bat, Kieboom is an excellent defensive prospect who has the tools behind the dish to play every day. The bat needs to gain consistency, allowing him to hit for average and for his raw power to play in game situations. More than likely, Kieboom ends up a platoon or reserve catcher, but one with enough tools to contribute to a competitive club.
Last week Manaea drew attention for an electric performance in the AFL Fall Stars game, and while that was a dynamic performance, his turn in the rotation on Friday epitomizes just how good he could be at his peak. Manaea has always had electric stuff from the left side, including a plus fastball that can reach higher at times, and his ability to miss bats could land him in Oakland’s rotation in the very near future.
Manuel Margot, OF, Padres (DWL, Toros del Este): 1-3, HR, R, BB, 2 K
On the day Margot headlined the package heading to San Diego in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel, he went yard to tie the game in the fifth inning for his winter league club. Margot does not project for significant over the fence power, but he will be able to drive the ball, and he should hit for average and steal bases. Combine all that with his outstanding defense in center field, and Margot could be a centerpiece player for the Padres for years to come.
Saturday, November 14th
Justin Williams, OF, Rays (ABL, Brisbane Bandits): 2-4, 2B
The highest-rated prospect dealt to the Rays last winter when they sent right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to the Diamondbacks, Williams put together a strong season in the Midwest League before struggling in a cameo with High-A Charlotte. Williams has the hitting ability, natural strength, and bat speed to be a significant offensive contributor, and he continues to develop into a competent corner outfielder, meaning he has a chance to find a regular role in the big leagues. He’s doing his part in the ABL, ripping opposing pitching to the tune of .412/.483/.608 line in his first 14 games.
Johan Camargo, 3B (SS), Braves (AFL, Peoria Javelinas): 3-4, R, BB
A shortstop by trade, and a damn good one at that, Camargo filled in at third base on Saturday, but that’s not what stands out here. Known more for his glove than his bat, Camargo picked up three hits and a walk, and word from one scout in attendance indicated he “put together some really strong at-bats.” Camargo has a chance for an above-average glove and already shows a plus arm, but he needs to consistently demonstrate the ability to hit the ball hard against advanced pitching to allow him to profile as more than a utility player.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays (AFL, Salt River Rafters): 3-4, R, 2B, BB, K
After a bit of a breakout campaign in the Midwest and Florida State Leagues last season, Tellez has continued to hit well during the AFL, piling up a strong .303/.349/.500 line in 19 games. Tellez has the type of raw power that can play in the middle of the lineup, and he’s made some tweaks to his swing to allow him to make more contact without sacrificing his power. The road to the big leagues as a bat-only first base prospect is a daunting one, but Tellez has already made some of the necessary adjustments to navigate that journey.
Sunday, November 15th
Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (DWL, Tigres del Licey): 0-4, 3 K
At this stage of his development, Liriano cannot afford to struggle in any environment, let alone a winter league season that could be the springboard to a strong spring training and a shot in San Diego. On the heels of a solid season in the Pacific Coast League, Liriano is hitting below the Mendoza line in 18 games in the Dominican.
A high-ceiling prospect who has been simmering on the back burner for the last two years, Fargas has a chance to be an impact player at the top of a big-league lineup once his development is complete, but that development is still going to take plenty of time. Aside from hitting .412 in his first eight games this winter, he swiped his fifth base without being caught after stealing 59 bases last season. Fargas is lined up for a trip to High-A in 2016 and he could begin to make more noise within prospect circles with a strong showing in the California League.
Joe Jimenez, RHP, Tigers (PRWL, Gigantes de Carolina): 1 IP, 2 K
One of the fastest rising Tigers prospects—yes, there are in fact a few prospects in that system—Jimenez offers an absolutely electric fastball with velocity and life from a low-3/4 arm slot and a high-effort delivery. His slider is hit or miss but can be an above-average pitch at times, giving him a chance to become a high-leverage reliever. Jimenez is not going to help revamp Detroit’s bullpen for 2016, but he should reach Double-A next season and will be on the radar in 2017.
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