Monday, November 30th
Taken in the 33rd round by the Astros in 2013, all White has done in the minor leagues is hit, and he’s picked up right where he left off at Triple-A in the Dominican this fall. After crushing two stops in the high minors the 25-year-old now sits on a cumulative .311/.422/.489 line with more walks than strikeouts in over 1,200 professional plate appearances. It’s a legitimate 6 hit tool thanks to excellent barrel control, and it plays up on account of outstanding command of the zone. The problems with his profile, however, are thus: He’s a butcher in the field at third, where his awkward physicality and poor mobility limit his range, and it’s unclear whether he can develop the baseline of even a below-average first baseman at the highest level. He also doesn’t bring a ton of over-the-fence pop into games, which leaves him and his hit tool a razor thin path to justifying a big-league roster spot. He should have the opportunity to vie for one in Houston this spring, though, and he’ll bring the potential for limited if stellar offensive contribution off the bench.
Correlle Prime, 1B, Rockies (ABL Perth Heat): 3-5, R, 2B, K
A former 12th-rounder, Prime gave some reason for intrigue following a very strong showing in the hitters’ haven of Asheville in 2014, but the flaws in his swing and approach were exposed in spades by High-A arms this season. He showed some plate coverage and a feel for hitting the ball the other way at Modesto, but there’s length and a whole bunch of moving parts in the swing that he struggles to keep together. The power is above-average, and as one of the youngest players in the Cal League he showed enough potential to keep hopes for a big league future alive, but he’s got a long developmental road stretching forth before him.
Tuesday, December 1st
Kivlehan is one of the more difficult guys to peg in the upper minors at this point, as his football focus at Rutgers left him behind the learning curve of his peers. There’s a lot of athleticism here and makeup for days, and the Mariners haven’t been shy about plugging him into any spot on the field that requires a glove to try and find him a permanent defensive home. The bat is still very much a work in progress, as his swing is long and his pitch recognition remains in the development stages, but he shows bat speed and above-average raw power that already plays against mistakes. He’s a high-probability prospect to make the big leagues in some capacity, but the gamut of potential outcomes is wide
Henry Ramos, OF, Red Sox (PWL Criollos de Caguas): 1-4, K
Ramos didn’t do much yesterday except take the field, and sometimes that’s a victory in and of itself. A fifth-rounder in 2010, Ramos possesses solid if unspectacular tools across the board, though as a former soccer standout in Puerto Rico it took him a while to begin harnessing them. Things appeared to really start coming together for him at Double-A in 2014, but injury cut his breakout campaign short and he again lost a significant chunk of this season to a knee injury. There’s an average hit tool and fringe pop here, however, and he ran well enough before the injury to handle center. For the second straight year Boston left him unprotected for the Rule 5 draft, gambling that injury will preclude another team from taking a shot on him as a bench outfielder.
Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox (PWL Cangrejeros de Santurce): 0-3, K
Nothing to really see here except a glistening blossom of drool slithering down the corner of my mouth at the sight of Vazquez’s name in a box score once again. He’s limited to DH duties this winter as he continues to work his way back from just a huge bummer of a Tommy John surgery last summer.
I touched on Alberto a couple weeks ago, but yesterday was a monster game in what has been a fairly monstrous fall campaign. He’s up to .365 now in over a hundred AB’s, and the development of his hit tool more than anything else will ultimately determine whether he wiggles into second-division starter territory or not at the six-spot.
T.J. Rivera, IF, Mets (PWL Indios de Mayaguez): 2-3, BB
It’s hard not to root for a guy like Rivera, who went undrafted in 2011 and has clawed his way to the precipice of the big leagues by hitting everywhere he’s gone. He has 30 power at best, he doesn’t run particularly well, and while he can play all over the dirt he’s more of a fringe-average defender. But man, can this dude put bat on ball. Rivera followed up a .349 effort split between High-A and Double-A in 2014 by hitting .325 in over 400 at-bats in the high minors this year. At 27 his window will be about as wide as it’s ever likely to get heading into 2016.
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