Edwin Rios, 3B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga)
When you go to a lot of minor league baseball games, like the lot of us here on the prospect team do, you watch a lot of unremarkable baseball. You watch a good bit of bad baseball too, and through it all you build up a callous to even the more generally well-executed plays you see because you’ve seen those plays get executed generally well by numerous players along the way. But every now and again a player does something that, to cop some of KRS-One’s flow, brings your fist to your face like “Ohhhh sh*t!” Rios did that last Thursday with a towering eighth-inning home run—his second of the game—that was among the more majestic balls I’ve seen struck in person.
A sixth-rounder last summer out of Florida International, Rios is a chip-on-his-shoulder player after going undrafted out of high school. He added a bunch of bulk during his college days, which culminated in an 18-homer outburst in his draft season and a tag for likely movement across the diamond from his third-base home. The Dodgers have hedged since signing him, working him out at the hot corner in about two-thirds of his starts in the field. The frame is large and hulking, and his movements, while fluid, take some time. He showed decent reactions and mobility to the ground in my one look at him over there, with smooth hands and plenty of arm for the position as well. But the lateral agility and quickness you look for in a third baseman isn’t there, and it’ll be an uphill battle for him to stick.
The bat is the attraction with Rios, as he boasts double-plus raw power to his pull side and enough strength to muscle it out to the opposite field. The load is quiet, the hands are loose, and he shows balance and fluidity through his stride. The length of his levers leaves him naturally vulnerable on the inner-third, and indeed he’s gotten himself sawed off a couple times in the 10 plate appearances I’ve seen so far. He’s flashed some glimpses of advanced barrel control, and the extension he generates isn’t something that grows on trees. The present approach is hyper-aggressive, and he’s going to need to get significantly more patient if he’s going to be able to reign in the strikeouts and continue to tap into the raw power in games. The raw material of an impact power bat is here though, and that ain’t bad for the sixth round. —Wilson Karaman
Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno)
Hitters gon’ hit, or so the saying goes, and Alex Bregman is definitely a hitter. Last year’s second overall pick, Bregman’s ascent through the minors has been quick, and he could see major league playing time as soon as this season. Taken as a shortstop, he definitely has the athleticism and glove to continue playing at that position, as well as almost any other position on the field. In fact, Bregman played third in a two-game double-A look and didn’t appear to be struggling with fielding there at all. He has good reflexes for his infield positions, reading the ball well off the bat, and while he’s not the fastest shortstop or third baseman, he puts himself in a position to make the play. He’s never going to be a top-level defender, but can acquit himself well almost anywhere the Astros decide to put him on the field.
On the other side of the game, Bregman looks like the extremely polished hitter he’s touted as being. A balanced swing and quick hands allows him to let the ball get deeper into the zone before needing to make a decision, and accordingly, he has more walks than strikeouts in his career to date. If having a stellar hit tool wasn’t enough, Bregman also hits for power, giving the Astros the potential for yet another strong young talent in their infield. —Kate Morrison
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)
Glasnow is the next name for the Pirates and their stable of pitching prospects, and the 6-foot-8 pitcher showed off why he has all the hype. Topping out at 97, his fastball sat in the mid 90s all night. It showed sink and run at times, and his tall frame and long arms gives his fastball an extra advantage of throwing downhill, and releasing much closer to the plate than others. He was able to locate his fastball for the most part, though he struggles immensely with runners on and will look out of his element.
The secondary offers are a deep, hard curveball and a hard change. The curve showed 11-5 movement most of the time, but exhibited the ability to back it up to 12-6 as well. It presents as a plus pitch, and he leans heavily on a fastball/curveball pitch mix, as his changeup is still a work in progress. His command can get away from him at times, especially with runners on base. He gets very uncomfortable on the mound and loses focus in these situations. As he gets more reps with the changeup it will eventually get into the average range, which will play with the other two pitches as his bread and butter. —Grant Jones
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
The first thing I noticed about Benintendi is that he’s a small dude. He’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, and well, he’s certainly not any bigger than that. It stands out more on the Portland Sea Dogs because his teammates include Nate Freiman, the tallest position player in major league history, and Yoan Moncada, whose physique wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a bodybuilding magazine. But even considering that, he’s small, and there was one other thing that surprised a little in my looks—I didn’t really like Benintendi’s defense in center. I only got a short look, and defense is one area that really takes a larger sampling to fairly judge, but I suspect the arm and range might ultimately conspire to put him in left long-term.
You might be thinking that I’m about to tell you Benintendi is the latest overhyped Red Sox prospect. He’s not, and if anything he’s being undersold because of their overall system strength. Benintendi doesn’t need to be a center fielder because the Red Sox already have Jackie Bradley. One needn’t look further than Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia to find the virtues of small dudes who can hit.
And boy, can Andrew Benintendi hit the baseball. Here’s the best way I know to explain it: When you watch enough baseball from the same angle, you develop a cognitive sense for where the ball “should” go given the actions on the field. Everything Benintendi made contact on was hit way harder and farther than I thought coming off the bat. When I thought he hit a medium-deep fly off the bat, it was actually a very long home run. When I thought he hit a short pop behind short, it was actually a medium-deep fly. The swing is compact, quick, and violent, and he shows a very good plan of attack at the plate. The stats back it all up. It might be an odd profile and background, but at the end of the day, the ball just jumps off his bat, and that’s a whole lot of what matters in evaluating hitters. —Jarrett Seidler
Lachlan Wells, LHP, Minnesota Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids)
Signed out of Australia in 2013 , Wells represents a push by the Twins to emphasize new markets in their international scouting efforts. The Cedar Rapids Kernels currently have three players out of Australia including Sam Gibbons, Lewis Thorpe and Wells. While Wells may not be a household name for Twins fans like Miguel Sano is, he represents an important part of their system.
Standing 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Wells does not look like the prototypical pitcher but, the frame does have strength throughout and broad shoulders leading you to believe that he will hold up for the long term. He pitches from a semi-windup and a three-quarters slot that wanders a little higher at times. He hides the ball well on the back side along with a high front shoulder that adds to the deception. At the lowest point of his arm circle he does have a small pause that adds uncertainty to his command profile. Out front he finishes the delivery on-line, with proper follow through although when he reaches back for the higher velocities he does have a slight head whack.
The fastball does not blow you away sitting 88-92 mph with some sink but he does a solid job of mixing his spots with the fastball and elevating it when he needs a strikeout. While you can’t call the command plus, at his best he will have average command of the fastball. The breaking ball is an 2/7 curveball with slightly below-average rotation that sits 75-80 mph. He shows some feel for the pitch but it presently is a below-average offering. The more intriguing pitch is his changeup that he throws at 81-84 mph with solid-average fade when the arm speed is right.
While the profile described above does not scream big-league starter, there are ingredients here that make me believe that he has a role in the bullpen as a long-man or spot starter. The jury is still out on the 19-year-old left-hander but there are some things to like here. —James Fisher
Max Moroff, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)
Drafted in the 16th round out of high school in 2012, Moroff has made a name for himself as a valuable middle-infield prospect for the Pirates. Since his debut, he has advanced a level every year and was even named Pittsburgh's minor league player of the year in 2015.
Versatility is Moroff's strength. He is a capable defender at second, shortstop, and third, showing an above-average arm, good instincts, and soft hands. He has shown 70 grade speed and has stolen-base ability but needs to continue to learn to get better jumps. At the plate, Moroff is a switch-hitter who starts with a balanced stance and his hands close to his shoulders. There is a minimal load and leg kick to begin the swing and he shows line-drive power to all fields.
There has been an adjustment period as he has advanced to Triple-A, with a current slash line of .247/.375/.404. Once he learns to hit the advanced secondary pitches that more developed pitchers possess, he has the potential to become a valuable utility player for the Pirates. —Nathan Graham
Richard Urena, SS, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
Originally signed for $750,000 back in 2012, Urena has thus far flown through the system, as he is one of the youngest regulars in the FSL the past two seasons. Playing the 6-spot everyday as a 20-year-old is no easy task, especially considering how advanced he has looked thus far. He features a leg kick with above-average to plus bat speed from both sides of the plate, although the swing did get long from the right side. An aggressive hitter, Urena was attacking early in the count, looking for fastballs to drive. After a few plate appearances, pitchers adjusted, throwing more off-speed, getting him out in front for weak contact. While he may always be an aggressive hitter, given his age, you hope he can tone it down and have better at-bats, but the road will only get tougher from here on out.
Urena still has some room for physical growth, especially in his upper half, so while he does have some physical present strength to put a charge into balls, over the fence power isn’t his game. Most of his power will come from hard hit balls into the gaps as well as using his speed for taking extra bases. While only an average runner down the line, he has good acceleration and a pronounced second gear to help him take extra bases.
Defensively he still has room for improvement as he was very inconsistent in my viewing. Urena has plenty of arm for the position, grading out as plus, but his body control was lacking. His backhand was lacking, as he would routinely try and go with the bare hand, or run around the ball without much success. His footwork and actions all work, although they’re not always the prettiest, but he makes most of the plays at him and with his arm he can make the majority of throws.
Urena does have a major-league floor as a utility player because his plus arm will play all over the field while having enough feel to hit to get at-bats. He is getting better at the plate and during my viewings his actions at short did improve, but those two things have to improve to be an everyday player. —Steve Givarz
Blake Trahan, SS, Cincinnati Reds (High-A Daytona)
Although Trahan lacks the ceiling of most of the players detailed in the 10-Pack, his promising hit tool and double-plus speed at shortstop deserve a mention. A product of the University of Louisville at Lafayette, Trahan’s put together a solid campaign in his second year of professional ball, where he’s demonstrated his line-drive approach and proven his prowess at short. His speed gives him impressive range in the field, but a tendency to rush his throws has hindered his accuracy and effectiveness. At the dish, Trahan employs above-average bat speed and respectable plate discipline to limit strikeouts and spray the ball to all fields. A lack of in-game power limits his ceiling, but there’s still a solid floor of a utility infielder here with the upside of an average major-league shortstop. —Will Haines
Jack Reinheimer, SS, Arizona (Triple-A Reno)
Reinheimer lacks a standout tool, but he does several things well, and with a strong season in Triple-A, he’s put himself in line for a big-league callup. At the plate, Reinheimer stays balanced and works with a simple trigger and a short, compact stroke that he uses to spray the ball to all fields. There isn't much lower half in his swing, and he doesn't have the swing or the bat speed to hit for significant power, although he can drive mistakes left out over the plate. The bat probably isn't strong enough to let him play everyday, but he has the glove to handle short in a utility role.
Reinheimer is an average runner with an above-average throwing arm. His range is a tick below average for a shortstop, but he compensates by fielding everything he can get to, and with clean actions and a quick transfer, he gets the most out of his tools. He'll get a shot in the big leagues sooner rather than later: whether he's an up-and-down guy or a utility infielder who plays ten years in the big leagues will depend on how his contact-driven offensive profile holds up against big league offspeed pitches and elite command. —Brendan Gawlowski
Richie Martin, SS, Oakland Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Martin was injured for Stockton’s first go-‘round in my backyard, so this past weekend’s series was my first look at him. His frame is well filled-out, with a solid, compact build and notable strength throughout. He’s an athletic player with extremely quick initial bursts in his movements, and that physicality is the backbone of what projects to be a very strong defensive toolkit at shortstop. He shows soft hands and a fluid fielding motion out in front of his body, utilizing his lateral quickness to get his body in front of balls to either side. The first step is explosive, and he demonstrated absurd body control to the ground and plus range on multiple plays to either side. The arm strength is another clear asset, with a quick transfer and short delivery helping what is at least above-average raw arm strength to play up. He’s the type of player where a couple groundballs is really all it takes to see the gap between his ability and that of an average shortstop. He’ll be a quality defender at the six-spot.
Less clear is whether he’ll hit enough to warrant a starting role at the position. His setup is quiet, with a mild drift in his hand load that drags the bat head down early and removes much of any torque or separation from the equation right away. His front foot bails out consistently, opening his hips up very early and robbing him of extension to handle pitches down low or to the outer third. The barrel control is inconsistent, and he’s highly vulnerable to weak groundball contact at present. He showed some tracking ability and signs of an approach in the box, but even when he worked his way into quality hitting counts there were enough exploitable coverage holes for High-A pitchers to get him out. There’s enough fluidity, athleticism, and baseline approach here to project some improvement, but the swing’s core structure really has a ways to go before the hit tool can approach even below-average range. He ran a 4.33 with a step or two of check-up on my only clock, and while the stride is efficient and the raw footspeed somewhere in the range of above-average, it looks to show up more in quickness than straight-line speed with any more than average baserunning utility. —Wilson Karaman