Wednesday, December 30th
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sure you all are getting sick of seeing his name in the MLU—either from me as a modest proponent of his skills, or others from a more critical stance. As the resident high man on Moya—and even as the high man, that still only constitutes believing he can be a bench bat or second-division player—I am obliged to point out a day when he pops two home runs. Moya is flawed, but he also offers one of the single most valued commodities in today’s game: power.
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (PRWL, Cangrejeros de Santucre): 2-4, R, HR, 2 K
There are a lot of questions swirling around Baez as we approach the 2016 season, and for good reason. He appears to be a bit of a man without a position in Chicago, and serious questions about his ability to actualize his many offensive talents during game action. On Wednesday, Baez did what he does best, strike out and drill a home run. There’s still a lot of excitement in Baez’s game and there is reason to believe he can still be an impact player in the big leagues; fans may just have to be a little more patient than they would like.
The Tigers have long been known for developing hard throwing pitchers and as a non-drafted free agent out of Puerto Rico, Jimenez is the next in a long line of flame throwers in the Tigers system. With a perfect inning including three strikeouts, Jimenez had his best stuff last week and he is poised to make a multi-level jump through High-A and Double-A in 2016; positioning himself for a big-league opportunity at the back of a bullpen in 2017.
Thursday, December 31st
Fans that have followed the continually loaded Rangers system know of Demeritte’s wealth of raw tools, and also of his difficulty in putting those tools to use consistently. Shipped off to Australia for some additional seasoning this winter, Demeritte has struggled to put together the type of off-season that would suggest he is figuring out how to use his physical gifts in game action. Thursday’s home run and walk are a nice break from the typically poor lines he has posted and give hope that his tools won’t be wasted.
Friday, January 1st
Travis Demeritte, SS, Rangers (ABL, Adelaide Bite): 2-3, 2 R, 3B, HR
Back-to-back strong games for Demeritte are certainly a sight for sore eyes. While his overall winter line is unimpressive, some observers in Australia have noted that he has put together many more high-quality at-bats over the last couple of weeks than earlier in the season. I’m not ready to call for a 2016 breakout, but I still like the raw potential in the player.
Saturday, January 2nd
Aaron Sayers, 3B, Tigers (ABL, Canberra Cavalry): 3-5, R, HR
An unheralded prospect in a terrible Tigers farm system, Sayers doesn’t jump off the page statistically or because of the tools described in his scouting report. What he does do is play the game with maximum effort, a high baseball IQ, and enough skill to get some things done on the field. Home runs are a rare part of Sayers’ game but he has a knack for contact and could end up having some interesting defensive versatility (SS, 2B, 3B, OF) down the line.
Greg Reynolds, RHP, Unaffiliated (DWL, Estrellas de Oriente): 1 IP, 2K
Previously the no. 2 pick in the draft (Rockies, 2006), Reynolds’ professional career has never lived up to that status, but he’s still kicking around in the winter leagues. His off-season debut in the Dominican Winter League playoffs was strong, and one scout noted the stuff “wasn’t the same as it was coming out of Stanford, but still solid.” A couple more performances like this down the stretch and Reynolds could find himself on an affiliated minor-league roster for the first time since 2013.
Greg Golson, OF, Unaffiliated (MPL, Caneros de los Machis): 1-4
This entry isn’t so much about what Golson did in this game as it is about the fact he is still playing professional baseball. Golson is one of the most tooled up prospects I have ever scouted and his scouting report was one of the most enjoyable I have ever written. He never panned out and is far from a prospect, but his type of tool package is instructive for any aspiring scout, and I’m glad I had the chance to see him many times early in my scouting career.
Sunday, January 3rd
Jesmuel Valentin, 2B, Phillies (PRWL, Indios de Mayaguez): 4-4
Valentin never panned out for the Dodgers after they selected him 51st overall in 2012 and he was included as a player to be named in the 2014 Roberto Hernandez trade. Back at High-A in 2015, Valentin played decently; a trend that has continued this winter in Puerto Rico. Few consider Valentin a serious MLB prospect at this point, but he could still find his way to the game’s highest level as a utility player.
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