Prospect of the Weekend:
Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees (Double-A, Trenton): 6-9, 4 R, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, CS.
Andujar went 0-5 with two strikeouts on Opening Day but then torched his opposition with a massive performance in Sunday’s double-header. Six hits, four of which went for extra bases, spurred a huge day that included two bombs and driving in six runs. Andujar remains one of the more intriguing prospects in a loaded Yankees system, and he could be the long-term answer at the hot corner in New York, furthering the Yankees rebuilding effort.
Friday, April 7th
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., 3B, Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 2-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2BB, K (Double-Header)
Our own Jeffrey Paternostro has already taken some crap for not including “Vladito” in the BP Top 101, and he looked the part of a guy that should have been included during opening weekend. With his first home run of the season and a couple of walks to go along with it across the double-header, the young Vlad quickly showed his offensive gifts.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics (Triple-A, Nashville): 3-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K.
Barreto should be in Oakland before the year is out and he should be one of the Athletics premier players on their next contending club. Blessed with defensive gifts, speed, and hitting ability, adding power like he showed Friday would be yet another dimension to an already outstanding profile.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Triple-A, Iowa): 2-4, R, 3B, HR, 5 RBI.
Often overshadowed in a Cubs system that continues to produce star players at an alarming rate, Candelario may not find his big league success at Wrigley Field, but he’s looking more and more like a solid player at either infield corner.
Bo Bichette, OF, Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI.
Oh, look at that, another talented teenaged hitter in the Blue Jays system. After appearing absent high-end talent throughout much of last season, the Blue Jays may just have some elite young talents at the lower levels in Bichette and Guerrero.
Jairo Beras, OF, Rangers (High-A, Down East): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, BB, 2 K.
It seems like so long ago that Beras was a controversial Latin American signing that got the Rangers in a bit of trouble, and during that time he has seemingly disappointed prospect hounds. Blessed with impressive physicality and incredible raw power, Beras still has considerable development remaining to figure out how to use those traits in games. A double, a home run, and a walk are a heck of a way to kick off his High-A season.
Saturday, April 8th
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Triple-A, Columbus): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, K.
Cleveland fans are looking for Zimmer to bounce back in 2017 and he got off on the right foot this weekend with two extra-base hits. Still a potential high-impact outfielder in spite of his 2016 struggles, Zimmer could arrive in Cleveland later this year if he continues to hit like this.
Franklin Baretto, SS, Athletics (Triple-A, Nashville): 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, K.
Another night, three more hits, and another home run for Oakland’s top prospect….
Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies (Low-A, Lakewood): 3-5, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, K, SB.
The Phillies top pick last summer, Moniak has seamlessly jumped to full-season ball and is putting all of his tools on display, making frequent contact, driving it to the gaps, and using his speed to steal bases. He’s a long way from the big leagues, but Moniak is an exciting talent worth watching this summer.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Triple-A, Iowa): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 K.
Two-for-five with five driven in on Friday, and then the same thing again on Saturday, swapping out his triple for a double. Candelario could be a nice trade chip in July or good insurance in case of injury.
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays (Triple-A, Buffalo): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, K.
After seeing Tellez in approximately 15 games last summer, I remain unconvinced that he has what it takes to be a big-league regular at first base. That said, he keeps on raking and the more times he drives the ball over the fence, the more likely he is to get an extended look in Toronto this year or next.
Daniel Johnson, OF, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, K. (Double header)
A fifth-round pick of the Nationals last summer, Johnson is a tooled up athlete that runs at a double-plus rate and even flashes raw power at times. Despite his college pedigree, Johnson is extremely raw and could take a more traditional development path where he spends time at each stop to develop his skills.
Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox (Double-A, Birmingham): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 10 K, HRA.
There may not be a more electric arm in the minor leagues, and while Kopech has elite raw stuff, there are enormous risks that may prevent him from reaching his considerable potential. Whether he continues to start or shifts to the bullpen at the big league level doesn’t really matter; he’s going to be an impact player either way.
Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Padres (Double-A, San Antonio): 6 IP, 2 H, R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
Word from scouts in attendance at this start suggest De Los Santos flashed the mid-90s heat he has quickly become known for, and even showed some improved curveballs that flashed above-average. If the curveball can remain consistent and he maintains his potentially plus changeup, De Los Santos could be a quality big league starter in the #2 or #3 range.
Sunday, April 9th
Nick Gordon, SS, Twins (Double-A, Chattanooga): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K.
Gordon had a nice opening weekend as he debuted in Double-A, picking up seven hits in 16 at-bats, including his first home run and stolen base of the 2017 campaign. Gordon clearly represents the Twins shortstop of the future, a future that should come in 2018.
Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (High-A Potomac): 3-4, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
It’s no secret that I adore Robles as a prospect, at least not for anyone that has been reading BP since he came through the NYPL a couple of years ago. He should be in Double-A later this summer, and with his feel for the game, tantalizing raw tools, and electric athleticism, Robles may just blossom into one of the game’s bright young stars by the time he reaches his mid-20s.
Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees (Triple-A, Scranton-Wilkes Barre): 2-6, 4 R, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Frazier’s development has been anything but linear, but despite that, he still looks like an everyday big leaguer. Much of his story tends to be more about his hair and the Yankees making him chop it off, but Frazier continues to develop his hitting ability to tap into his plus raw power.
Blake Rutherford, OF, Yankees (Low-A, Charleston): 3-5, R, 3 2B, 2 RBI, K.
Popped in the first round last summer, Rutherford is a promising outfielder with power potential and a hint of a chance to stick in center field long term. Rutherford doesn’t have the same remaining projections as other prep bats in last year’s class, but his present ability, physicality, and potential remaining power development make him one of the Yankees most interesting young players.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (Triple-A, Albuquerque): 3-4, 2 R, 3 2B, RBI, BB, K.
After making his professional debut last summer, Tapia returns to the minor leagues in an attempt to polish the rough edges in his game, including his approach and defense. Owning preternatural contact ability, Tapia is a gifted hitter that some scouts project as a .300 hitter in the big leagues. Combining him with the dynamic talents of fellow youngster David Dahl could give the Rockies one of the more promising outfields in baseball.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 3-7, 3 R, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K.
A contender for “Prospect of the Weekend” after ripping three bombs on Sunday—at least until I saw what Miguel Andujar did in his own Eastern League experience—Stewart is one of the few Tigers position prospects with a chance to play every day in the big leagues. If his above-average hitting ability and plus raw power end up playing to that level as he finalizes his development, Stewart could be a quality middle of the order bat, regardless of his massive defensive limitations.
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