Abdullah is 19 years old and had one full-season affiliate start to his resume at the time of my viewing (also against the SB Cubs). While his mechanics and repertoire belied his age, the advanced physical profile did not. Abdullah has similar build, though less present bulk, to Taijuan Walker. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds of good weight, Abdullah is a physical presence on the mound. He looked the part of a recent AZL graduate, but I wonder if the San Diego native is still growing, and can add strength to bolster his present velocity. Abdullah sat 90-92, and touched 94 once with his fastball, which, at times, was heavy and had some run, though he commanded it poorly. He often left the fastball up, which contributed to his early exit after 2 2/3 innings. He throws a slow, looping curveball at 72-75 with decent shape that lacks tight spin. His inconsistent curve does not have enough downward snap to miss bats in the zone. He seldom threw his changeup, but when he did, it was firm and out over the plate. Throughout the start, Abdullah—an extremely raw talent—seemed very careful, cautious even, in both his mechanics and approach to hitters. His motion is balanced but too stiff, and he plants his front foot early. If Abdullah were to get more extension with his front foot, it could help his perceived velocity play up, among other things. At times with the curveball, he deliberately slowed down his arm speed, as if attempting to guide it into the zone. From a physical standpoint, there is a lot to like with Abdullah. His broad frame and physique suggests big innings totals should he develop as a starter. Abdullah is clearly a raw project at 19 years old, especially considering he was an outfielder for the majority of his high school playing career at Madison HS in San Diego. —Will Siskel
Gonzalez is another arm the Cardinals discovered in Venezuela. The 21-year-old attacks hitters from a high-three-quarters slot and utilizes his solid frame with a thick lower half to generate above-average velocity from the right side. He does feature some crossfire in his delivery along with some blocking of the front hip that he struggles to get through at times. The fastball sits 90-93, topping out at 95 but lacks life. He utilizes his high arm slot to generate good downhill plane and can locate the pitch to both sides of the plate. The pitch generates weak contact from hitters with most of them rolling over the pitch to the opposite field. He does throw a two-seamer around 87-88 that features only slight arm-side run. Still a work in progress.
Gonzalez' main offspeed offering is a curveball with bite and solid shape. He can throw the pitch for strikes and bury it down in the zone. It iss a true weapon and flashes at least plus.
His changeup is well below average at this point, lacking quality arm speed and action to the pitch. —James Fisher
Jon Harris, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing)
There were some murmors in the South Bend crowd as Harris took the mound and began to warmup—have you seen this guy's ERA, a woman remarked sitting in front of me. The hushed compliments were warranted, as Harris entered his May 28th start versus the South Bend Cubs with a sparkling 0.83 ERA, and consecutive starts of seven innings and 11 strikeouts. Harris gets a lot of downward plane on his pitches and physically looks the part on the mound. The first-rounder from last year's draft, though, had yet to an encounter a lineup like South Bend's, and it showed, as he unraveled en route to an early exit. Harris came out in the first overthrowing his fastball (92-93), lacking any semblance of command. He seemed to short arm it at times, failing to follow through with the pitch, attempting for higher velo over fluidity and command. His curveball (77-79, T81) was the lone pitch Harris had a real feel for throughout the start, later throwing it for first pitch strikes. The curve, which flashed plus, was impressive, as he snaps his wrist well, and gets sharp, two-plane break on the pitch with good depth, to go along with his downward plane. Harris' fastball control, let alone command, eluded him in this start, and so too did his slider, which likely had been a major part of Harris' success in previous starts. The slider had cutter-like action, with short horizontal break and not much tilt, sitting at 87-88. It was hard to distinguish whether or not Harris was working on a cutter, or simply had no feel for the pitch on the night, as there were some sliders that did have more horizontal movement and tilt. This is a starter profile, with the ingredients for a mid-rotation arm. Harris was not able to get away with his stuff on an off-night, as even he must have been surprised that he was facing a Midwest League offense of South Bend's caliber. —Will Siskel
Max Pentecost, C, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing)
In 2016, Pentecost has been a full-time DH, having recently come off the DL, now in his first go around in full-season ball. The long term question is if Pentecost—drafted as catcher in the first round in 2014—will work his way back from a right shoulder that has been subject to multiple operating tables. In batting practice, Pentecost showed a swing oriented for up-the-middle, gap power. Whether he was scaling it back or working specifically up-the-middle, a few of Pentecost's less-heralded teammates (with likely less injury-riddled careers) outshined his BP performance. Of course, a lot—if not all—of Pentecost's prospect profile comes down to his ability to stick behind the plate, as the bat likely will not profile in a corner outfield spot, or at first base. If he is moved off of catcher because of the shoulder, I would imagine a corner outfield spot would be out of the question because of the arm, though he doesn’t lack athleticism. Beginning the season on the DL, Pentecost has only been active since early/mid May, so this is a very raw hitter in terms of exposure to pro ball. A couple of caveats apply here: This was one look, and he is still getting into a rhythm post-surgery/lengthy DL-stint. In-game, Pentecost did not expand the zone much on offspeeds, but I would have liked a more aggressive approach. He seemed somewhat passive at the plate, but recognized spin well. The 23-year-old did not have a sturdy base at the plate, as his feet tended to shift around during and after his swings. Three of his plate appearances ended in weak grounders, as he struggled to drive the ball. There is an incredibly low bar for offensive production for major-league catchers, but it will be a testament to Pentecost's work ethic and rehabilitation if he can actually develop as a (quality defensive) catcher, which would make his present light bat profile less of a concern. —Will Siskel
There was some concern at the start of the year about the 22nd pick in last year’s amateur draft. Several scouts in attendance told of early spring starts where the 19-year-old struggled to reach 90 on the radar gun. However as warmer temperatures have returned so has the life to Burrow's fastball. On this date it sat 92-93 and once touched 95 with tilt generated by his high front-side delivery. Burrows also displayed two secondary pitches that showed potential to be above-average at the major league level. His high-three-quarters arm slot adds depth to the curve which showed nice break and sat 77-79. The changeup is still in development but showed deception and good velocity separation as it sat 80-82. —Nathan Graham
Chad Sobotka, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome)
It’s been a rough road for Sobotka just to stay healthy and on the mound every few days as a pro. The Braves are being cautious with him by limiting his appearances and innings this season, and he’s now coming out of the bullpen each time. Relief is likely his future, anyway. The big right-hander sits 92-95 and touches 96 with tremendous downhill ability and extension. He uses his lengthy frame and strong stature to get down the mound in an imposing way, and it makes his fastball jump deceptively. It’s also difficult to pick up because it comes so easy from average arm speed and an easy motion. Sobotka adds a below-average slider in the mid 80s that only flashes and needs reps, while his changeup is show-me material. The fastball alone should get Sobotka to the upper levels, and if he continues to thrive in short spurts and shores up his slider, a major-league bullpen is a possibility. —David Lee
Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
As the sixth-youngest regular in the Cal League Guerra has had a tough time with High-A pitching, and he's wearing his struggles at the plate right now. Back in April I noted his hyper-aggressiveness in the season's first series, and in my most recent looks the pendulum has swung completely to the other side. He showed passivity to a fault, working a little too hard to hone a more patient approach at the expense of several very hittable fastballs in the zone against Rancho Cucamonga last week. After experimenting with a toe tap in May he's back to the mild leg kick and drifting weight transfer he showed early in the season, but he's just plain stuck in-between with his timing right now. His swings were timid; he struggled to keep his hips and shoulders working together, and the result was a lack of the bat speed and hand explosion he'd shown previously. He did stay back longer, logging one particularly impressive at-bat in which he fouled off several tough two-strike pitching and spat on a quality chase slider before flying out. That was the one hopeful sign of progress, and although he still had the look of a hitter deep in it, that adjustment was at least pointing in the right direction. —Wilson Karaman
Brooks Pounders, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Triple-A Omaha)
Befitting a man from Temecula bearing the surname "Pounders," the right-hander battles on the mound. Although he doesn't have an above-average offering, he throws four credible pitches and can add/subtract with a couple of them. The effect is that it's tough for hitters to pick a pitch to sit on, as he's a good sequencer who rarely goes back to the same well twice in an at-bat. Pounders starts with the fastball, a fairly straight 90-92 mph offering with a bit of arm-side wiggle. His best offspeed pitch is the slider. It's flat, but he commands the pitch well and he can either throw a tight one with short break in the mid 80s or lengthen the movement and subtract a bit of velocity. He's also capable of using the pitch to backdoor lefties, as he did to Tacoma's predominantly left-handed lineup on several occasions. His curve and slider are both below average offerings: He throws both for strikes, but the change has limited drop and won't entice many whiffs, while he drops his arm slot on an 11-5 curve that isn't sharp. Ultimately, he has some feel for pitching, but as a 25-year-old without an out-pitch, it might be time to shift him to the bullpen and see if he can augment his offerings in shorter stints. —Brendan Gawlowski