Prospect of the Weekend:
Jacob Faria, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K.
Command has been an issue for Faria in 2016, but it certainly wasn’t an issue on Saturday. When everything is clicking, he’ll show two plus pitches in his fastball and change, and the curveball is a fringe-average offering with enough depth to keep hitters honest. He doesn’t have the upside of some of the other big names in the Rays’ system, but assuming he throws enough strikes, he has a great chance of pitching in the back of someone’s rotation for a long time.
Others of Note
Yandy Diaz, 3B, Cleveland (Triple-A Columbus): 4-for-5, R, 2 2B. Diaz hasn’t lit up Triple-A pitching like he did Double-A, but the sample is small, and he’s playing quality defense at the hot corner.
Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. This is the first time I’ve typed his name in the update and not had to delete “Ian” and type in Blake. Be proud of me, Baseball Prospectus readers.
Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. People talk about the limited innings, but let’s talk about the pitch count. He still hasn’t thrown more than 82 pitches in a game, and until he gets into that 90-100 range, it’s tough to see him pitching in a big-league game. Side note: My goodness he’s good.
Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR. After a so-so April, Frazier is hitting .356/.472/.603 in May, and walking nearly as often as he is striking out, which is awesome.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (Double-A Midland): 3-for-5, R, 2B. It’s been mostly struggles for Barreto. It was mostly struggles for Barreto to start 2015, too. This stuff happens to guys who are young for the level at times.
Jake Esch, RHP, Miami Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. He’s one of the best pitching prospects in the system by default, but Esch does have a plus fastball and an above-average slider, with two other fringy pitches that give him a chance to start.
Daniel Gossett, RHP, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Everything said about Esch applies to Gossett, except main secondary offering is a cutter.
Brandon Downes, OF, Kansas City Royals (High-A Wilmington): 4-for-5, 2 R, HR. Downes frustrates the heck out of scouts, but he’ll show three above-average tools, and if he can just make enough contact, he could be a starting center fielder.
Kevin Newman SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 2-for-3, R, 2B, 2 BB. He gets on base, he runs, and he plays adequate defense at a premium position. I still don’t get why people aren’t jumping on board.
Jacob Nix, RHP, San Diego Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He’s been dominant in the Midwest League, and anyone who followed the draft shenanigans of 2013 has to be happy to see him pitching this well.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 2-for-5, R, 2B, K. Riley now has 13 doubles on the season, and if I were a betting man, I’d say some of those doubles will start turning into bombs pretty soon. The contact issues are concerning, however.
Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 3-for-5, 3 HR, 2 K. Dingers. We like dingers.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. He’s been dominant in Triple-A, and as frustrating as his struggles at the big-league level have been, he’s still only 23.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Baltimore Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 3-for-4, 4, 2 2B, 2 SB. The only above-average tool here is the arm, but the grandson of Carl gets rave reviews for his instincts both at the plate and in the field.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 4-for-5, R, 2 2B, HR. The on-base percentage (.344) is 120 points higher than the batting average (.222), so stop asking me what’s wrong with Candelario. No one ever asks me what’s right with a prospect, by the way. Where’s the optimism?
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 3-for-6, 3 R, 3B. One of the underrated aspects of Swanson’s game is his wheels. He’ll steal bases, and he’ll take the extra base on anything hit into the outfield if you don’t get the ball in quickly.
Taylor Clarke, RHP, Diamondbacks (High-A Visailia): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. I know he’s given up earned runs because his ERA isn’t zero, but it sure seems like he pitches a shutout every time I do one of these thingies.
Keury Mella, RHP, Reds (High-A Daytona): Y IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. When he’s throwing strikes and using his change, Mella shows near top-of-the-rotation stuff. It’s just a matter of him doing that on a more consistent basis.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B. Kingery has a chance for a plus hit tool, and he can make an impact on the bases with his plus speed while playing adequate defense at second base.
Derek Hill, OF, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 3-for-4, 2B. These games have been too few and far between, but he’s still playing quality defense, and when he is on base, he’s a real weapon with that plus-plus speed.
Marcos Diplan, RHP, Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Diplan has seen his stock soar over these first two months, showing two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and throwing all three of his pitches for strikes.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Soon. Soon.
Nick Williams, OF, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 2-for-3, HR. A slow start to be sure, but don’t panic just yet. There’s too much talent here to panic.
Joe Gunkel, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Gunkel gets downhill with a 91-94 mph fastball, and he pounds the strike zone with it and two average secondary offerings.
Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. The command wasn’t great—which is understandable—but he still showed the stuff of an ace in his first four innings of work in 2016. We missed you.
Rob Whalen, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Whalen doesn’t get as much attention as fellow former Met John Gant, but with a more complete arsenal and comparable command, he might be more likely to start.
Dwight Smith, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K. His development hasn’t gone according to plan, but Smith still has a chance to be a competent bench player thanks to his approach at the plate and good-enough defense in the corner outfield.
Chris Shaw, 1B, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR*. Why the asterisk by the homers? Our own Wilson Karaman reports that the second home run was a ball that should have been a ground-rule double, as it got stuck under a bullpen chair but the umpire didn’t call it dead for some reason. Minor-league umpiring is, well, they’re doing their best. Oh, and Shaw has been and continues to be outstanding in the Cal League.
Ariel Jurado, RHP, Rangers (High-A High Desert): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. There’s a lot to like about Jurado, and I continue to get positive reports on the development of the slider, which was the big question mark coming into 2016.
Dawel Lugo, SS, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, BB. Keep in mind that this was one of the highest-profile international signings in 2011, so we really shouldn’t be that surprised that he’s beginning to tap into his impressive potential.
Jalen Miller, SS, San Francisco Giants (Low-A Augusta): 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB. Miller doesn’t have the same upside as his shortstop teammate (Lucius Fox), but he does have a chance for four average tools and the ability to stay at short.
Scott Blewett, RHP, Royals (Low-A Lexington): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. When everything is clicking, Blewett will show two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, and the change has shown some promise as well. We haven’t seen that version very often, but there’s plenty of time for the 2014 second-round pick to get there.
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