Prospect of the Weekend:
Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (High-A, Potomac): 8-16, 2 R, 2 3B, HR, 5 RBI, K
My boy! Two years ago I nearly gave Craig Goldstein a heart attack when he looked at my scouting report on Robles; tossing around a 7 hit, 4 power, 7 run, 6 glove, 7 arm profile like it was nothing. I wouldn’t back off that report one bit today. In fact, the only thing I would question was whether or not I will ultimately appear light on the power. Robles is a star in the making and I’m optimistic I’ll get a chance to see him in Double-A before the year is done.
Friday, May 19:
Tomas Nido, C, New York Mets (Double-A, Binghamton): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Nido can do a bit of everything, making consistent contact, driving the ball some, and showing good defensive skills. He won’t blow you away in any facet of the game, but he’s a likely big leaguer for an extended time.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A, Reading): 2-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
A second-round pick in 2015, Kingery is having much better luck in a second run through the Eastern League this season. The eleven home runs are an aberration and he shouldn’t be expected to continue to show that much power, but Kingery will be a solid offensive player that contributes defensively at the keystone.
Franchy Cordero, OF, San Diego Padres (Triple-A, El Paso): 4-6, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 K, CS
Cordero is putting together a strong season in Triple-A, giving some hope that he can continue to develop his offensive game to the point that he’s more than a fourth outfielder. With an aggressive approach, Cordero needs to do damage when he makes contact in order to have offensive value; something he’s done well with this year.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Double-A, Birmingham): 7 IP, 3 H, R/ER, BB, 8 K
I’m a big advocate of letting guys like Kopech – with crazy arm strength and big control problems – continue to start in the minor leagues until they fail or until they’re needed in a different role at the MLB level. Even though the odds are slim most of these types figure it out and stick as starters, on the off chance that they do, the payoff can be huge. He’s throwing more strikes and walking fewer in May and there are some rumblings among scouts that he might be shifting some perspectives.
Connor Sadzeck, RHP, Texas Rangers (Double-A, Frisco): 8 IP, 3 H, R/ER, BB, 9 K, HRA
Sadzeck has been solid this year, with more good starts than bad, and similar to Kopech there have been hints that he might just have a chance to remain a starter. Our own Kate Morrison was in the stands on Friday and noted that Sadzeck’s pitches to his final hitter in the eight innings – pitches 97 through 100, mind you – were 98 mph, 99, 75, and 98. Filthy!
Saturday, May 20:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB
This kid is unbelievable. Such an impressive offensive talent, and it’s amazing to consider that his development is just beginning.
Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians (Double-A, Akron): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had the opportunity to sit on a series with Mejia on the field, instead catching a game here or a game there each of the last two years, but I still walk away impressed every time. There’s little doubt he’s the catcher of the future in Cleveland.
Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox (High-A, Salem): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, K
There were hints of a breakout early in the 2016 season before Chavis suffered a thumb injury, and he’s doing it again this year with more than a hint of a breakout through the first month-plus of the season. Chavis is a talented offensive player with bat speed, power, and some feel for the barrel; he just needs his approach to catch up with the rest of his gifts.
Alfredo Rodriguez, SS, Cincinnati Reds (High-A, Daytona): 5-5, R, 2 2B, 4 RBI
Rodriguez is a natural defender at shortstop with tons of talent and a plus defensive profile, including a plus arm. He’s also a plus runner, but he lacks the offensive ability to profile as a regular at the Major League level.
Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees (Low-A, Charleston): 4-5, 4 R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB
Florial is going to swing and miss a ton, though he managed to avoid the strikeout in this contest, but his tools are legitimate. The owner of three double-plus tools – arm, speed, and power – Florial is a toolshed that has a chance to be an impact player if he can just figure out how to make contact against advanced pitchers.
Jacob Faria, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A, Durham): 6.1 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 K
At this point, Faria is striking out over 13 hitters per nine innings in his second season at Triple-A. That type of performance may not be indicative of his long-term projection, but it can’t be too long before he’s making his MLB debut in Tampa.
Sunday, May 21:
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 5-7, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, BB
Bryan Reynolds, 3B, San Francisco Giants (High-A, San Jose): 5-6, R, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI
This looks more like the Reynolds that hit .300-plus across two levels in his professional debut last season. It’s reasonable to expect he’ll get there again this year as he adjusts to High-A. With a solid swing from both sides of the plate and a decent approach, Reynolds can hit for average and gap power, to go along with defensive versatility in the outfield.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A, Reading): 4-5, 4 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, K
Two more bombs on Sunday give Kingery four for the weekend and way more than anyone would expect from him at this point in any season.
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Detroit Tigers (High-A, Lakeland): 7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 10 K, HRA
Funkhouser’s first start in High-A was certainly a success, and not just because of the impressive stat line. Funkhouser continued to show 95-97 mph velocity into the seventh and eighth innings, something he hasn’t shown consistently since his junior year in college. With that kind of velocity returning, and improved crispness on the rest of his arsenal, Funkhouser is starting to look like a mid-rotation starter again.
Corbin Burnes, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A, Carolina): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 10 K
A well-built right-hander with electric arm speed, Burnes has a chance to start thanks to an above-average fastball that he throws for strikes, and three secondary pitches that are all slowly improving. Burnes needs work and may need extended time at each of the upper-level minor league stops before he’s ready for The Show, but there’s a chance the Brewers have a number four starter in the making.
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