Prospect of the Weekend:
Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading): 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR
There were rumors that Alfaro was on his way to the big leagues a couple of months ago. Selfishly, it would have been fun to see him face that level of competition, but it was the right call to leave him in Double-A. You could argue that every tool but the power and arm improved (okay, so you can argue that three of his five tools have improved), but those other two tools were already plus-plus. The Phillies got a handful of interesting pieces in return for Cole Hamels, and I think Alfaro has the highest upside of them. That’s saying quite a bit.
Others of Note
Chris Ellis, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The “other” arm acquired in the Andrelton Simmons deal has had his ups and downs, but Ellis still looks like a future back-end starter—or useful reliever—more often than not.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (Triple-A Nashville): 1-for-3, R, 3B. You know how sometimes movies have those previews that aren’t even really previews? I think they call them teasers? Barreto’s appearances in Triple-A are like a really fun, inexpensive movie teaser.
Mike Papi, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron): 3-for-5, 2 R, HR. Papi is going to have to hit to have any value at all, but he draws a ton of walks, and there’s above-average raw power in his left-handed bat.
Max Povse, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 4.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. For the last time in 2016: The Braves killed the 2016 Draft. Killed it. In a good way.
Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Without much fanfare, all Garcia did was strike out nearly a hitter an inning while showing a double-plus fastball and solid-average slider.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. Tucker showed he was more than ready for the California League, and in turn showed he deserves to be ranked as the top prospect in the Houston system. Sorry, Francis Martes.
Mariano Rivera, RHP, Washington Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown): 1.2, 1 H, 0 ER. It’s a slow day, so now’s a good time to talk about relievers. Why not talk about the son of the best reliever ever? No, there’s no cutter, but he has a plus fastball and two solid breaking pitches.
Jose Azocar, OF, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 2-for-4, K. If Azocar can start showing just a semblance of patience, he has a chance to be a leadoff hitter. I feel like I’ve said that before. That’s okay. I’ve written like 60 of these. I’m sure I’ve repeated myself a lot.
Jacob Rhame, RHP, Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. I’m surprised the Dodgers haven’t given Rhame a shot, particularly with all the injuries. He can really bring the heat, and the slider and split should be just good enough to allow him to pitch in medium-leverage situations.
Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-for-5, 2B, K. I am not surprised that we haven’t seen Andujar in New York, because he’s 21 and has a lot of work to do. With above-average power potential and a cannon for an arm, I won’t be surprised if he’s manning the hot corner at some point in the summer of 2017.
Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. In Triple-A, Sims walked 37 hitters in 50 innings. In Double-A, that number “drops” to 55 in 91. Neither number is good, but with Sims’ stuff, you really have to hope he can be closer to the latter number than the former. Otherwise, it’s bullpen time.
Justin Seager, 1B, Mariners (High-A Bakersfield): 3-for-3, R, 2 BB. Yep. He’s their brother. Good genes.
Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland (HIgh-A Lynchburg): 3-for-5, R. Is Mejia the minor-league player of the year? Even if you aren’t impressed with the hit streak—and you should be—I think he’s as deserving as most. Probably gonna go to Dylan Cozens, though.
Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K. Walker is still building up his arm strength, but it’s nice to see him out there throwing. There are four above-average pitches when everything is clicking, and he throws them all for strikes. The upside and floor here are very intriguing.
Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (Low-A Rome): 2-for-4, R, 2B, K. I get a lot of questions from Braves fans about the minor-league players, because, well, why would you wanna talk about the actual Braves? Riley’s name comes up a lot, and it should. The offensive potential here is palpable for someone who won’t be 20 for another seven months.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics (Triple-A Nashville): 1-for-2, R, HR, BB. Starting to really enjoy this preview, folks. Can’t wait to see the movie in 2017.
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Waddell dominated the Florida State League in a handful of starts, and while he hasn’t had near that level of success in Double-A, he’s shown three average pitches, and when everything is clicking, he throws those three pitches for strikes.
Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. If Mejia and Cozens are the position players are in the “player of the year” discussion, Keller certainly is one of the pitchers who deserve said recognition.
Tyler Krieger, 2B, Cleveland (High-A Lynchburg): 2-for-4, 2 R, K. Krieger has shown impressive feel for the barrel from both sides of the plate, and though he won’t provide any power, he does help compensate by having plus speed.