Prospect of the Day:
Tim Locastro, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 4-5, 4 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI.
That’s a proper cycle, for those of you scoring at home – the first one I’ve seen live in about three years.
Bought Acquired from the Blue Jays last July, Locastro just hits. He gets early, subtle rhythm through his setup into a fluid weight transfer, consistently keeping his hands back and attacking the ball with his wrists and arms. He shows an advanced ability to adjust in-swing, he handles velocity, and there’s enough pull-side pop to keep pitchers honest. He posts plus run times with good instincts on the bases, and the defensive projection is that of a fundamentally sound, solid-if-unspectacular glove at the keystone. So how come he doesn’t get more attention, you may ask? Well, he was a D3 player in college who’s been age-appropriate for each level, and he toils in the Dodgers’ system, where he’s approximately the 412th-best prospect, give or take. He can play, though.
Others of Note:
Harrison Bader, CF, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 4-5, 2 R, 3B, 2 HR, K, CS. Oh, nothing, just another polished college outfielder raking away at Double-A for the Cardinals. What’s that? There’s also a chance he can competently handle center field in the big leagues? Oh.
Austin Voth, RHP, Washington Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 6 IP, 6 H, 7 K. Voth has now pitched shutout ball in four of his six starts this spring (don’t ask about the other two), and his deception and tough pickup of a quality three-pitch mix has produced an outstanding 36-to-5 ratio of strikeouts to walks in the early going. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Nats turn to him or Giolito if and when another rotation arm is needed.
Austin Dean, LF, Miami Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Dean has had himself a strong start to the season, showing off the quality bat-to-ball and zone control skills that give him a chance to play big league baseball. Yesterday’s power explosion should be understand as significant exception to his rule to date, but the former fourth-rounder is showing capably against tough competition thus far.
Tyler O’Neill, RF, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 3-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, K, SB. O’Neill continues to shred Double-A pitching with his Canadian moose strength, and his frame has not yet become so large as to preclude him from thieving the occasional base either. He’s still striking out at an uncomfortable clip, but he’s showing thus far that last year’s production wasn’t just a Mojave mirage.
Chris Ellis, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 7 IP, 3 H, BB, 5 K. Ellis has struggled with his control this spring, but batters have struggled more with his three-headed monster of a fastball.
Austin Slater, CF, San Francisco Giants (Double-A Richmond): 5-5, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI. Stop me if this sounds familiar, but Slater is a solid hitter with some defensive versatility in the Giants’ system. After spending most of last season at the keystone he has migrated to center field this spring, and the transition hasn’t hurt his bat. His linear swing doesn’t offer a ton of over-the-fence projection despite some size and strength, but he can square velocity and he’s showing early signs of an improved approach.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 3-4, R, 3B, RBI, CS. Dansby Swanson at High-A this spring: .333/.441/.526. Dansby Swanson at Double-A this spring: .324/.432/.541. He is good at playing baseball.
Dinelson Lamet, RHP, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 6 IP, 4 H, BB, 7 K. I wrote up Lamet’s first start of the season, in which he showed a strong fastball-slider combination that looked the part of high-leverage material. He’s since begun working his changeup into the mix with greater regularity, and given the athleticism in his clean delivery there’s still an open path to a big-league rotation down the line if he can hone that offering.
Edwin Diaz, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): IP, 2 K. Just last week in our Ten Pack Brendan Gawlowski expressed cautious optimism about the idea of Diaz as a starter, but then the Mariners up and converted him to a permanent relief role a few days later. Questions about his durability and stagnant third pitch—the latter of which general manager Jerry DiPoto cited—appear to have won the day, and Diaz will look to fast-track his big-league debut in short bursts.
Yeyson Yrizarri, SS, Texas Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 3-6, 2 R, RBI, 2 K, SB, CS. The approach remains extremely aggressive, and he glove ahead of the bat, but progress is progress, and Yrizarri has shown some in the season’s first few weeks.
Phillip Ervin, CF, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 2-5, BB, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, SB, K. Ervin hasn’t quite lived up to his first-round draft hype, but he’s quietly put together an extended stretch of solid power-and-speed offensive production in spite of a still-raw hit tool.
Conner Greene, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 5.2 IP, ER, 6 H, 3 K, 6 BB. Greene continues to give up his share of baserunners—55 now in 37-plus innings—yet has made his pitches and limited the damage thus far. Will Haines noted Greene’s big fastball a couple weeks back, but the secondaries still appear too raw for prime time.
Hoy Jun Park, SS, New York Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 3-5, 3 2B, RBI, K, SB. The Yankees gave Park $1 million during their most recent international spending spree, and so far he’s made the investment look well-founded. A graceful defender with the speed and arm to stay at short, he’s demonstrated signs of an approach at the plate and some gap power in the low minors.
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