Prospect of the Day:
Tyler O’Neill, OF, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B
This was a slow day, so it was fortunate that one of the best performers in minor-league baseball had a good day. O’Neill still has his share of doubters, but even they have to be impressed with what he’s done this year. The approach has taken a huge step forward, the power is plus (maybe even a tick above), and he’s just good enough with the glove to give him a chance to play in right every day. The Mariners corner outfield situation is not very good. Tyler O’Neill might change that in the middle of 2017.
Others of Note:
Andrew Moore, RHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Not a dominating start by any means, but this is what Moore is probably going to be as a big-leaguer: a guy who gives up some hits, doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but throws a lot of strikes and gets enough weak contact to be an effective starting pitcher. It’s not sexy, but it’s valuable.
Michael De Leon, IF, Texas Rangers (High-A High Desert): 2-for-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, K. The Rangers gave De Leon a little over $500,000 during the July 2 signing period in 2013, and it’s pretty amazing that at just 19 years of age he’s already playing reasonably well in the Cal League. He’s hit nine homers, but the power is closer to 30 than it is 40, so don’t expect big power totals when he’s out of this silly league. He does have some feel for the barrel and makes a lot of contact, and he’s an above-average defender with a 55-grade arm.
Nick Neidert, RHP, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. If you’re wondering why the Mariners have so many representatives in these, it’s because so many of them made the playoffs. Also don’t worry about it. Once again, Neidert was dominant, and he and Luiz Gohara give the Mariners two pitchers with mid-rotation—or better—upside. Considering how bad things looked last year, that’s a pretty positive development.
Josh Morgan, IF, Rangers (High-A High Desert): There was talk about moving Morgan to catcher (and I’m not positive if those discussions are over), but Morgan has shown enough with the bat that a switch isn’t “necessary” for him to have value. He’s an aggressive hitter, but he has excellent hand-eye coordination, and his line-drive stroke gives him a chance for an above-average hit tool. There’s not much power here, but double-digit-homer seasons aren’t completely out of the question, and he’s shown competence at third, second, and short defensively.
Sandy Baez, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 7.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Baez is a little old for the Midwest League (he’ll be 23 in November), but scouts were impressed with the right-hander’s 2016 campaign. He’ll touch the mid 90s and still offers some projection, and both his curve and change will flash average. He also throws strikes with all three pitches, and the command isn’t too far behind. Fifth starter is the ceiling, but some have argued that’s also the floor.
Victor Reyes, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 2-3, HR, 2R. All he does is hit. All Victor Reyes does is hit. Can he run? Not really. Can he throw? Eh. Is he a good defender? Meh. Can he hit? You bet. It’s time to take him seriously.
Jose Pujols, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 2-for-5, R. The Phillies have had a few hitters put up huge statistical years, and while Pujols’ numbers aren’t other-worldly (.244/.305/.440), he’s another guy who has shown big power potential (24 homers, 48 extra-base hits). There is entirely too much swing and miss and he’s still “learning” how to harness everything in, but there’s a lot of upside here, and if he can cut down the strikeouts (179(!)), he has a chance to be a really interesting player. You’re just going to have to be very patient until you see it in a big-league uniform.