Hitter of the Day: Chris Bostick, 2B, Washington Nationals (Salt River Rafters): 2-3, 3R, 2B, HR, BB.
Bostick has more power than the typical keystone prospect, and he’s capable of spraying line drives all over the field. He struggles with pitches on the outer half though, and often expands the zone too easily. If Bostick learns to control the zone, he could play his way into a big-league role as an offensive-minded backup capable of handling second base and left field.
Winter ball isn’t just for the game’s premier prospects. Younger players often have to head off the beaten path, whether to Australia, Mexico or, in Crismatt’s case, Colombia. The 20-year-old righty was dominant in his first winter outing of the year, picking up where he left off after a strong campaign in Kingsport. Crismatt is a big kid with a high-effort delivery that projects better out of the bullpen. He currently tops out in the low 90s, but a shift to relief work could help his fastball play up. He has good feel for the changeup and if he can develop his slider into a bat-misser, he could pitch in the big leagues some day.
Best of the Rest
Another dominating outing for Burdi, who’s allowed only two hits and a walk in eight AFL innings. He’s one of just three pitchers to hit triple digits in the AFL thus far, and he’s flashed the plus-plus slider that enticed Minnesota to draft him early in the second round back in 2014. More encouraging is the one walk: Control problems forced the Twins to briefly demote Burdi to the Florida State League earlier this season, and his occasional inability to find the strike zone is the one weakness in his game. As long as he’s throwing strikes, he has top-shelf stuff and should be on the fast track to the back end of Minnesota’s bullpen.
It’s been a quiet fall for Fisher, who established himself as one of Houston’s top offensive farmhands with a breakout season across two levels in 2015. As is the case with many 21-year-olds, Fisher’s ultimate role depends on how his hit tool develops. He can get pull happy at times and over-aggressive in RBI situations, but with above-average bat speed, plus raw power, and enough speed to handle center field, he has the tools of a big-league regular.
The jury is out on whether Scavuzzo will hit enough to have an extended big-league career. A plus-plus runner with a wiry frame, Scavuzzo is an excellent athlete. Strangely for a player with his athleticism, he’s bogged down at the plate by awkward and stiff mechanics. He uses an exaggerated, jerky leg kick that leaves him susceptible to offspeed pitches and to committing to swing too early. It didn’t hurt him much in 2015, but Double-A arms will be a big test.
The development of Asuaje’s power tool may be the difference between a nifty utility player and a starting infielder. Regardless, the trade was a boon to Asuaje’s immediate big-league future, as he’ll have a chance to earn a spot in San Diego’s porous infield sooner rather than later.
Stankiewicz isn’t the world’s most exciting prospect, but he’s done nothing but hit since the Phillies popped him in the 12th round in 2014. He has a good approach at the plate, and while he has 20-grade power, he’s capable of lining mistakes into the alleys. If he hits his ceiling, he’ll get some service time as a good clubhouse guy capable of playing up the middle and working a better at-bat than most players with his offensive profile. Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Fight Another Day
That makes five errors in 19 games for Smith, though this looks to be a case where a sure-handed gloveman just has a tough month. Long term, he projects as a utility infielder capable of handling short at the big-league level.
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