Prospect of the Weekend:
Brett Phillips, OF Milwaukee Brewers (Double-A Biloxi): 3-for-5, 3 HR.
One of the big question marks about Phillips after he was shipped to Milwaukee in the Carlos Gomez trade was whether or not he was going to hit for power. One game does not a power hitter make, but it does show you that there’s at least a semblance of pop in his left-handed bat. In all honesty, he doesn’t have to hit for a ton of power, as he draws walks, hits the ball all over the field, and plays above-average defense in center. If he can turn a few more of those hits into dingers, he’s a potential All-Star, but even without many homers, there’s an awful lot to like.
Others of Note
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-5, HR, E. The hit tool is what’s going to carry Contreras, but there’s at least solid-average power in his bat as well, which is why he’s the best catching prospect in baseball.
Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 3-for-4, R, 2 2B, K. There’s no elite tool here, outside of maybe his speed, but when you play a premium position and can do a little bit of everything, that’s good.
Josh Hader, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Double-A Biloxi): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Hader’s ERA is now under 1.00, and there aren’t many who are missing bats at his level. Even if he does end up in the bullpen, he’s going to be a very valuable part of the pitching staff.
Connor Sadzeck, RHP, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Sadzeck is massive, and he uses that size to get his fastball into the high 90s with a solid-average slider to complement it.
Dawel Lugo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia) 4-for-5, 3 R. All the physical tools are there for Lugo to be a competent shortstop. He just has to start taking more pitches (two walks in 122 trips).
Felix Jorge, RHP, Minnesota Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 7 IP 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Jorge pounds the strike zone with all three pitches, and his feel for pitching helps compensate for the fact that none of those pitches grades out as plus.
Roniel Raudes, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He gets overshadowed by that Espinoza guy, but Raudes is another quick mover from the 2014 IFA class, and he shows an above-average fastball/curveball combination.
Eddy Martinez, OF, Cubs (Low-A South Bend): 2-for-4, HR. It’s all very volatile, and he’s going to have some clunkers in his first professional season. The talent is exceptional, though, and there’s no reason to get too discouraged.
Jose Pujols, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 2-for-4, HR, 2 K. There’s entirely too much swing-and-miss in Pujols’ game, but there’s also plus raw power, and the feel for hitting is slowly but surely becoming competent.
Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees (Triple Scranton Wilkes-Barre): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR. If there’s anyone who can dispute my claims that Contreras is the best catching prospect in baseball, it’s this young man.
Willy Adames, SS, Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 4-for-4, 2 R, 3 2B, SB. See above.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford): 2-for-5, HR, K. Those who were calling him the next batting champion were crazy, but so are the people who are giving up on him. There’s plenty of time.
Roman Quinn, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2-for-4, 2 R, 3 BB, K, SB. They don’t get much faster than Quinn, and he’s developing the skills you want to see from a prototypical leadoff hitter.
Christian Arroyo, SS, Giants (Double-A Richmond): 3-for-7, 2 2B R, 2 K (Doubleheader). Is he the best prospect in the system? Perhaps. He’s still a shortstop who plays solid defense at a premium position with the potential for a plus hit tool.
Pedro Fernandez, RHP, Kansas City Royals (High-A Wilmington): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. If we were to an article on the fastest risers of 2016 season—and we just might—this guy would definitely make the list. Get excited, Kansas City fans.
Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees (High-A Tampa): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. I’m still not sure how this guy lasted until the fifth round this year. Adams has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and he throws enough strikes to start.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-for-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 K. Again, there’s nothing wrong with Rafael Devers.
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 3-for-6, 3 R, HR. Just stop it.
Nick Wells, LHP, Seattle (Low-A Clinton): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Wells came over in the Mark Lowe trade, and he’s one of the very few pitchers in the Seattle system who have anything resembling upside.
Jake Gatewood, SS, Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, K. The approach is abhorrent, and he’s not gonna play shortstop, but my goodness is there still a boatload of offensive potential here.
Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett):: 3-for-4, R, 2 2B. Whether it’s Swanson at shortstop and Albies at second or vice versa, this is going to be one heck of a middle infield.
German Marquez, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Hartford): 8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. I like Corey Dickerson a lot, and I understand that the Rays have a ton of pitching depth in the system. I still think they might come to regret that deal.
Luis Lugo, LHP, Cleveland (High-A Lynchburg): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Cleveland has taken things very slowly with Lugo, but with a plus curveball and three other average pitches, he has a chance to pitch in a rotation someday.
Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-for-4, R, 2B. If you ever have a chance to make a trip to Lake Elsinore, don’t. But if Lake Elsinore is playing somewhere else, Guerra is worth the price of admission.
Victor Reyes, OF, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 4-for-5, 4 R, 2B, HR, BB. Scouts are really torn on his upside, but Reyes keeps hitting, and at some point you can’t ignore these numbers even in the Cal League.
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-for-4, R, 2B. Remember what I said about Fernandez and the risers of 2016? Take that and quadruple it for Acuna.
Peter Lambert, RHP, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Seriously, the Rockies system is loaded, and Lambert might be the most underrated part of the group. You don’t see teenagers racking up a 26-to-2 K:BB ratio while showing two plus pitches very often.
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