Prospect of the Weekend:
Tyler Mahle, RHP, Reds (Double-A, Pensacola): 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
This will probably be the most predictable “Prospect of the Weekend” selection I have all season, and for those that weren’t paying attention Saturday night, or Sunday morning, or even when you were reading the first line of this section above, Mahle tossed a perfect game in Pensacola’s Saturday victory. Mahle’s 89-pitch masterpiece was nothing short of remarkable, and represents his second no-hitter (in this case a perfect game) in less than twelve months, having tossed a no-no last June. Mahle’s fastball will pan a nearly 10-mph range from 88-97 mph, while complimenting it with plus command, and three quality secondary pitches. Mahle is quickly working his way up the Reds prospect rankings, and he should reach the big leagues in 2018.
Friday, April 21st
Leody Taveras, OF, Rangers (Low-A, Hickory): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB.
Still just 18-years old, Taveras’ low batting average to start the season can be excused considering he’s about 3.5 years younger than the average player in the South Atlantic League this season. Taveras is an exceptional talent that is expected to adjust to the stiff full-season competition and should end up with a quality line by the end of the year.
Lewis Brinson, OF, Brewers (Triple-A, Colorado Springs): 5-8, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 K, SB (Double-Header).
Brinson is on his way to Milwaukee at some point this summer, particularly if he keeps doing damage like this across two games on Friday. Brinson is one of the most athletic and tooled up prospects in the upper minors, and as he completes the refinement of his game, he could be an impact player at the big-league level.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 4-4, 2 R, 2B.
Tigers fans don’t have much to cheer about on the minor league front, but Stewart has given them reason for excitement early this year, including a four-hit night on Friday. Blessed with a potential plus hit, plus power offensive game, Stewart will need every ounce of that offensive production to make up for his well below-average glove in left field.
Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Orioles (High-A, Frederick): 3-7, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K (Double Header).
All of Mountcastle’s damage came in one game of the twin bill, but that doesn’t lessen the impressive show he offered. A double and two bombs in one game perfectly illustrates Mountcastle’s offensive potential, even if there’s almost zero chance he’s a shortstop long term.
Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox (Low-A, Greenville): 3-6, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB.
Personally, I’m not a big believer in Dalbec as a position player, believing persistent swing and miss issues will ultimately derail his offensive game. That said, Dalbec has performed admirably thus far in his professional career, and with ever solid performance like this he inches closer to shutting me up.
Luis Urias, 2B, Padres (Double-A, San Antonio): 4-5, 5 R, 2B, 2 3B, 2 RBI, BB, K.
There’s little doubt Urias can hit, ripping at a .350-plus clip so far this year in Double-A after hitting .330 in High-A in 2016, and with a career average in the .320 range. Given his innate bat-to-ball ability, Urias should continue to hit his way to the big leagues, even if he doesn’t slug and is merely a solid defender at second base.
Beau Burrows, RHP, Tigers (High-A, Lakeland): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 8 K.
With one of the best starts of his professional career, Burrows continued a strong start to the 2017 season, and making a case that he might be the Tigers best prospect; contending with the aforementioned Christin Stewart and right-hander Matt Manning, who is currently toiling in extended spring training. Burrows lacks sex appeal as a prospect, but has the ingredients to be a mid-rotation starter.
Steven Brault, LHP, Pirates (Triple-A, Indianapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, R/ER, BB, 9 K.
Brault made his major league debut last summer, but returned to Triple-A to await another big league chance to start the 2017 season, and he’s turning in some shining performances thus far. A three-pitch lefty with quality – if not overpowering – stuff, Brault has the look of a back end starter or bullpen lefty at the big league level.
Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves (High-A, Florida): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 7 K.
A high-octane lefty, Gohara is off to an electric start in the Florida State League this season, blowing away the competition with his mid-90s heat and wipeout slider. If his command continues to progress and his changeup remains at least a fringe-average offering, Gohara could reach his ceiling as a number two or three starter.
Adonis Medina, RHP, Phillies (Low-A, Lakewood): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 10 K.
I was impressed with Medina last summer in the NYPL, particularly with his fastball command as a teenager in a more advanced league. At the time it was easy to ding him for a fringe to below-average breaking ball and changeup that prevented him from missing many bats, but Medina has reportedly made progress with both this season while also seeing his fastball more frequently bump 96 mph. Medina is a long way off and could range from a mid-rotation starter to bullpen arm, but he merits attention as he moves through the full-season levels.
Saturday, April 22nd
Will Craig, “3B”, Pirates (High-A, Bradenton): 3-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 K, SB.
Craig is really a third baseman in name only, as there was no way I could project him to stay at the position after my five-game look in the NYPL last summer. With a likely move to first base down the line, Craig will need his natural hitting ability and raw power to completely translate to game action, otherwise he’s not much of a prospect and could quickly trend toward org player.
Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, Padres (Low-A, Fort Wayne): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 K.
Hitting in the low-.200s early in the Midwest League season, the 18-year old Tatis has more potential than his early triple slash line indicates. A physical teenager, Tatis may ultimately outgrow shortstop despite solid present ability at the position. His bat speed has improved over his first two professional seasons and as his pitch recognition improves, he should drive the ball like he did Saturday with greater consistency.
Sunday, April 23rd
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets (Triple-A, Las Vegas): 3-5, 3B, RBI, SB.
Rosario is off to a roaring start in his first taste of Triple-A and he could force his way onto the big league roster sometime this summer. A legitimate defender at shortstop, Rosario complements his defensive profile with a potent offensive game that continues to grow as he matures physically.
Christian Arroyo, SS, Giants (Triple-A, Sacramento): 4-6, 2B, 2 RBI, K, SB.
Arroyo isn’t flashy but he’s plodded through the minor leagues and looks like a quality big league contributor in the very near future. Another shortstop off to a roaring start in Triple-A, Arroyo isn’t likely to take at-bats from Brandon Crawford, or the currently hot hitting Joe Panik in San Francisco, but he’s a natural defender that could help at third base if the need developed.
Will Smith, C, Dodgers (High-A, Rancho Cucamonga): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K.
Smith was assigned to the California League to start the 2017 season despite a 25-game tour through the league late last summer, and he’s off to a quick start in the high-octane offensive environment, giving him a chance to see Double-A before the season is out. Smith is a gifted athlete and above-average runner that makes frequent contact and has the potential to end up an above-average defender behind the dish.
Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees (Low-A, Charleston): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI.
A native Haitian, Florial has tools galore, including speed, arm strength, and raw power that earn double-plus grades from scouts. Defensively, his speed helps compensate for some rough instincts and could allow him to remain in center field. Florial’s profile hits a snag when it comes to hitting ability and contact as he is prone to plenty of swing and miss that limits the utility of his speed and power on the offensive side of the ball.
Anthony Banda, LHP, Diamondbacks (Triple-A, Reno): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 4 BB, 11 K, HRA.
Banda has improved his stock throughout his minor league career, now viewed by many as a potential #3 or #4 starter at the big league level. With a low-90s fastball, plus curveball, and inconsistent but occasionally average changeup, Banda has a potential three-pitch mix that should work well against big league hitters.
Pablo Lopez, RHP, Mariners (High-A, Modesto): 7 IP, 3 H, R/ER, BB, 7 K.
Entering his Sunday start Lopez featured a 10.80 ERA and 2.40 WHIP that make this performance even more interesting. Lopez doesn’t have much margin for error in his game, offering just a low-90s fastball and two secondary pitches – curveball and changeup – that flash average, but he throws strikes, mixes and matches his pitches, and has remaining projection that could lead to additional velocity down the line.
Gerson Garabito, RHP, Royals (Low-A, Lexington): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
On the smaller side for right-handed starters in today’s day and age, Garabito offers a 92-93 mph fastball that reaches 95 mph with life and surprising angle to the plate. His curveball can be nasty at times and should be a plus pitch in time. Garabito needs to develop his changeup, though he has shown increased confidence in the offering in the early going this season, giving hope to his future as a starting pitcher. The 21-year old Garabito has moved slowly through the system since signing in 2012, but his increased changeup use and improved command could lead to a jump to High-A later this summer.
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