Prospect of the Weekend:
Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 4-for-6, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K. As many of you know, I am a fan of one Dominic David Rene Smith. As many of you also know, Mr. Smith has not exactly produced the kind of stats that you expect to see from a first-division first baseman. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I love the swing, and he’s certainly shown enough flashes of brilliance—particularly in the AFL last fall—to suggest he’ll be a middle-of-the-order guy in the coming years. It’s taken a little longer than I thought it would, but he’s still just 21 years old, and I’m still (pretty) sure he’s going to reach that level.
Others of Note
Jharel Cotton, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Los Angeles): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. As a starter, opponents have an OPS of .614 against Cotton. As a reliever? 1.014. That’s a weird split that probably isn’t sustainable, but it’s interesting.
Alex Bregman, SS, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno): 1-for-3, HR, BB, K. One of the reasons Bregman was so highly thought of was because of how advanced he was offensively, but no one can tell me that they thought he was THIS advanced.
Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 3-for-6, HR, 2 BB, K. Yes. Yes I like this. Yes.
Richie Martin, SS, Oakland Athletics (High-A Stockton): 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB. The month of June was not kind to Martin, but the good news is his approach has stayed solid, and the hits should start dropping again soon.
Riley Pint, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Short-Season Grand Junction): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Welcome to professional baseball, Mr. Pint.
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Seattle Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 4-for-5, 2 R, 3B. Whether this is real or not, it’s fun to see Peterson tear the cover off the baseball for the last couple of weeks when you consider just how dreadful he was for most (all) of 2015.
Ty Blach, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Triple-A Sacramento): 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. Blach is a strike-thrower, and with an above-average change and two other fringe-average pitches, there’s a nonzero chance he starts someday.
Clay Holmes, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. Holmes’ recovery from Tommy John hasn’t gone quite as well as Jameson Taillon’s, but he still shows a plus fastball, solid-average change, and just enough control of both to project as a starter someday.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa): 3-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB. I’m not predicting it, but it wouldn’t shock me if Verdugo saw some time with the Dodgers this year. There’s really not much development left.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS, Yankees (Short-season Pulaski): 2-for-6, HR. Garcia has become the top prospect of the Yankees’ ridiculous 2014 spending spree, showing three plus tools and a chance for a solid-average hit tool.
Jeff Degano, LHP, Yankees (Short-season Pulaski): 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 BB, 4 K. We normally focus on just the positive, but Degano’s line is too interesting to not mention. He’ll show two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, but the command is, umm, lacking.
Bubba Starling, OF, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB, 2 SB. You can argue about whether or not he deserved a promotion, but he’s here, so, here’s hoping he hits.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Double-A Chattanooga): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Sunday was fine—and again, I like to keep it positive on the MLU—but he’s still not missing bats at a level where he should with his kind of stuff.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford): 4-for-5, 2 R. Remember that terrible April Tapia had? Me neither.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. It’s really a toss-up as to who the best pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system is, but right now, I’d probably have to go with Reid-Foley.
Domingo Leyba, IF, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 4-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B. It is not toss-up as to whether or not Leyba is the best middle-infield prospect in the Diamondbacks system. That’s partially due to Leyba being a potential regular, and partially because there just isn’t anything else in the system.
Omar Estevez, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 3-for-4, R, 3 2B. Estevez has struggled considerably in the Midwest League, but he’s still just a teenager, and he’ll flash five average tools.
Nick Neidert, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. The Mariners first selection of the 2015 draft, Neidert has shown four pitches, and two of them—the fastball and curve—flash plus.
Triston McKenzie, RHP, Cleveland (Short-Season Mahoning Valley): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. He’s light-years away from contributing to the rotation, but McKenzie flashes three plus pitches, and he’s thrown them for strikes as a professional. My goodness gracious is he skinny, though.
Travis Blankenhorn, 3B, Twins (Short-Season Elizabethton): 2-for-6, 2 R, HR. The Twins took two prep third basemen early in last year’s draft, and Blankenhorn is the “high-floor” version, a player with four average tools and a quality approach at the plate.
Henry Ramos, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2B HR, K, SB. Ramos is probably nothing more than a fourth outfielder—especially if he stays in Boston—but he’s an asset with the glove with a plus throwing arm, and both the hit and power tools are close to average.
Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Not fair. Reyes’ stuff against minor-league hitters is not fair.
Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 7.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. That’s back-to-back quality starts for Guerrieri, which is certainly a positive development when you consider how much he struggled early on. Obvious point is obvious, but obvious point is still the truth, dang it.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 3-for-4, CS. Do you know how many teams would kill to have a prospect playing defense at a premium position with a line of .267/.347/.412 in his first full professional year? All of them.
Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (High-A Potomac): 2-for-4, 2B, HR. Do you know how many teams would kill to have Victor Robles? All of them.
Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach): 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. A scout recently told me that he believes Gomber has the highest floor of any pitching prospect in the St. Louis system, and that’s saying a lot.
Isan Diaz, SS, Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 2-for-4, 3B, BB, K, CS. The approach stayed strong even when the hits weren’t dropping. The hits are now dropping.
Luis Martinez, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. The command and consistency are borderline non-existent, but on the good days, Martinez flashes stuff that suggests mid-rotation starter or high-leverage reliever.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, New York Mets (Short-Season Kingsport): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. Szapucki has advanced stuff for a 20-year-old, with two above-average pitches and a solid-average third for good measure.
Gareth Morgan, OF, Mariners (Short-Season AZL): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 3B, 2 K. He’s been a pretty substantial disappointment since being taken 74th in the 2014 draft, but there’s still plus raw power in his right-handed bat, and the arm is plus, too. Sometimes these things just take time.
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