Prospect of the Weekend:
Vlad Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (Short-Season Bluefield): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K, SB. Guerrero’s talent was obvious, and the raw ability is why he was given $3.9 million last summer. What wasn’t obvious—because it can’t be obvious at that age/experience—is just how advanced of a player Guerrero is for a teenager. He works counts, and while he is a quality “bad-ball” hitter like daddy, he usually waits for a pitch he can drive in the zone. The defensive profile is a bit of a mess, but the hit and power tools both could be plus. He’s fun.
Others of Note
Michael Reed, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 4-for-4, R, 2B. Reed gets forgotten about largely because the Brewers have about 17 quality outfield prospects, but with a chance to provide everything but power, he’s an excellent fourth-outfielder candidate.
Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Take away the one disaster start, and De Leon has been sensational in 2016. I’m not surprised.
Andrew Moore, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. This one surprises me a little bit, however. Moore has always shown quality control, but all four of his pitches have been better than advertised, lea by the plus change.
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa): 3-for-5, R, 2B. I have no idea where Calhoun is gonna play, but wherever it is, the bat will show up.
Victor Reyes, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B, BB, K, CS. It’d be nice to see a little more power, if only because he’s going to be in a corner. The hit tool gives him a chance to be a big leaguer, though.
Fernando Romero, RHP, Minnesota Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. Had a pro scout with a division rival say that Romero was the guy he most “feared” would hurt his team in the long run of all their young pitchers. That’s high praise.
Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. With all due respect to Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley, Hearn is the most interesting left-handed pitching prospect in the Pirates system. He’s just a heck of a lot more volatile than those names.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 BB. THERE is the power we’ve been asking for. Sometimes we ask too much, by the way. We’re so greedy.
Desmond Lindsay, OF, New York Mets (Short-Season Brooklyn): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. The Mets knew they were getting a talented outfield prospect when they took Lindsay in the second round. I’m not sure they knew how advanced of a hitter they were getting, though, and I don’t think they’re complaining.
Alex Wells, LHP, Baltimore Orioles (Short-Season Aberdeen): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Wells is Australian, throws three pitches for strikes, and wears bifocals on the mound. Sign me up.
Jaime Schultz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K. I really hope the Rays give this kid a shot at some point in 2016. He deserves it.
Jordan Patterson, OF, Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-for-5, 2 HR, K. I really hope the Rockies give this kid a shot at some point in 2016. He deserves it.
Dustin Fowler, OF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 4-for-5, R, 2B, K. He’s been usurped by several outfield prospects now, but Fowler is still flashing three plus tools, and if the approach can improve, the hit tool has a chance to be above average.
Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants (Double-A Richmond): 6 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. Crick’s control has taken a positive step forward in 2016, but the stuff has backed up. Even at just 23 years old, I’d still say it’s time to give up the starting dream.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Boston Red Sox (High-A Salem): 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K. Dominant. Michael Kopech has been nothing short of dominant.
Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland (High-A Lynchburg): 2-for-4, 2 R, HR, BB. The strikeouts are frustrating, but there is some feel for the barrel here, and the walks/dingers make up for the swing-and-miss.
Stephen Wrenn, OF, Astros (Low-A Quad Cities): 4-for-7, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 2 K, SB. The Astros sixth-round pick this June, Wrenn is a double-plus runner who can make the spectacular look routine in center field, and he’s done a solid job as a pro of working counts—which he’ll need to keep doing since there’s very little power here.
Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Thirteen teams passed on Allard. I’d say about nine—maybe 10—should be kicking themselves.
Riley Pint, RHP, Rockies (Short-Season Grand Junction): 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K. Pint hasn’t been dominant in the Pioneer League, but he’s 18 and still showing three out pitches. The command has to get better, but there’s time.
Heath Quinn, OF, Giants (Short-Season Salem-Keizer): 4-for-4, R, 2B, BB. The Giants third-round pick, Quinn’s best tool is above-average power, but he’s impressed scouts with his ability to make adjustments at the plate, giving him a chance for at least an average hit tool.
Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 3-for-4, R, 2 2B, HR, K. It is amazing that Cowart still qualifies as a prospect despite being drafted in 2006. Don’t look that up.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. A source close to Hoffman told me that he’s frustrated to still be in the minors. More results like this will make it difficult to keep him in the PCL.
Dinelson Lamet, RHP, San Diego Padres (Double-A El Paso): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. It’d be easy to forget about Lamet with all of the quality prospects in the Padres system, but they love him, and he has a chance to be a part of their rotation at some point in 2017.
Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Yep. Yes. Yes indeed.
Yusniel Diaz, OF, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 4-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR. Wanna know what the difference between Diaz and the other high-priced failures from Cuba for the Dodgers is? Talent. There’s work to be done, of course, but in terms of pure baseball ability, Diaz wipes the floor with Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero.
Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. A terribly inconsistent year, to be sure, but here and there a start like this happens to remind you why he was the second-best pitching prospect in the system coming into the year.
Franklin Perez, RHP, Astros (Low-A Quad Cities): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. It’s one thing to have two plus pitches and a solid-average third, it’s another to throw them for strikes at the age of 18. Perez is 18 and does the thing I just described. Often.
Matt Thaiss, 1B, Angels (Low-A Burlington): 0-for-1, 3 BB. All Virginia hitters have a quality approach at the plate. How dare you accuse me of bias.
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