Prospect of the Weekend:
Greg Allen, OF, Indians (AFL, Mesa): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. With two bombs on Friday night you might think Allen—an unheralded sixth-round pick in 2014—is a slugging corner outfielder, but that’s not the case. With a game built on plus speed that has enabled 120 bases in two-and-a-half seasons of pro ball, Allen is a prototypical top of the order hitter and center field defender.
Friday, October 28th
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (AFL, Mesa): 3-4, R, 2B, K. Much was made of Jimenez’s breakout 2016 campaign, and rightfully so. He’s continued to hit in the AFL and I have yet to find a scout that doesn’t see stardom as a reasonable outcome for the younger outfielder.
Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Tigers (AFL, Salt River): IP. It’s just an inning, a clean inning, but just an inning. The noteworthy development here is that Ravenelle’s velocity has bumped again. During the 2016 season he was sitting 96-97 during most outings, and I personally had him as high as 98 on a couple of occasions. In this outing, scouts reported Ravenelle sitting at 97-99 and reaching as high as 101 on some radar guns.
Nellie Rodriguez, 1B, Indians (DWL, Leones del Escogido): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 K. This game exemplifies everything that is both good and bad in Nellie’s game, featuring extra-base hits and strikeouts. He’s stuck at first base and there’s going to be a ton of swing-and-miss long term, but when he connects, he can drive the ball out of any yard.
Manuel Margot, OF, Padres (DWL, Toros del Este): 3-5, R, BB, K. Margot is a spectacular prospect with potential on both sides of the ball. He needs to find consistency at the plate and he will ultimately need to drive the ball with more regularity, but with just modest gains, he could be a table-setting center fielder.
Ariel Jurado, RHP, Rangers (VWL, Navegantes del Magallanes): 5 IP, 4 H, R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K. A low-slow right-hander, Jurado sits in the 89-92 mph range with tremendous sink on his two-seam fastball, and relies heavily on the pitch for his success. Jurado doesn’t boast an out-pitch and currently projects more as a back-end starter than something more.
Saturday, October 29th
Andrew Stevenson, OF, Nationals (AFL, Glendale): 3-4, R, 2 2B, SB. Stevenson is a high-quality defender in center field thanks to strong instincts and his above-average wheels. He makes plenty of contact to all fields and has enough strength to find the gaps as he did twice on Saturday.
Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals (AFL, Glendale): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, BB, 5 K. Gomber reached Double-A in his third season of professional ball and posted an exceptional four-start run with Springfield. Saturday’s start for Glendale is typical of his track record with few hits and few walks. Gomber is a back-end starter all the way with a fringy to average three-pitch mix and strong command.
Greg Allen, OF, Indians (AFL, Mesa): 2-5, R, HR, K. Allen uncharacteristically ripped another home run on Saturday, serving as your weekly reminder that AFL statistics can be exceptionally misleading.
Sunday, October 30th
Giovanny Urshela, 3B, Indians (VWL, Aguilas del Zulia): 3-4. Urshela’s glove gives him a big-league projection as a bench player at a minimum, and he’s developed enough of an offensive game to steal a second division starting role. A contact-oriented player, Urshela has the strength for power but he lacks the offensive approach to translate that strength to game situations.
Rangel Ravelo, 1B, Athletics (VWL, Cardenales de Lara): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B. If Ravelo could play anywhere but first base, he would draw more positive attention as a legitimate prospect. Even without that defensive projection, Ravelo is a gifted hitter that works line to line with hard line drives; he simply lacks the swing and lift to profile for classic first base power.
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