Prospect of the Weekend:
Michael Gettys, OF, Padres (High-A, Lake Elsinore): 9-12, 4 R, 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 2 K.
Gettys is still a legitimate defensive contributor in center field thanks to plus speed, good instincts, and a huge arm, but his bat continues to hold him back from true top prospect status. Even on the heels of a monster weekend, including three home runs on Friday, Gettys has still taken a step back in a return trip to High-A this season. There’s solid power here, but he’s also fanned 81 times in just 54 games, without the walks to make that tolerable at higher levels. Gettys still has considerable development remaining and I’m afraid he’s always going to end up relying on his glove to carry the load while his bat comes and goes.
Friday, June 2nd
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (High-A, Myrtle Beach): 2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K.
It’s so much fun having Jimenez back from injury. He’ll be in Double-A by the second half of the season, and while the Cubs really don’t need more talented hitters at the big-league level right now, he could be knocking on the door by the second half of next year.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI.
Speaking of knocking on the door, while a perfect world would have Devers marinating in Double-A and Triple-A this summer, before debuting in 2018, the black hole that the Red Sox are consistently employing at the hot corner could necessitate he reach the big leagues before Independence Day. Devers is a gifted offensive player, and he could likely figure it out at the game’s highest level, but there would be bumps along the way.
Desmond Lindsay, OF, Mets (Low-A, Savannah): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, RBI, K.
Lindsay has had an ugly transition to full-season ball after spending two years split between the GCL and NYPL thanks to an injury that held him back in 2016. A natural athlete with plenty of strength, Lindsay has a chance to become a dynamic player, but there’s a ton of development remaining.
Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A, Nashville): 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI.
There’s little doubting that Olson can slug the ball in the minor leagues but I’ve never been convinced he has the ability to handle big-league arms to the degree that he continues hitting for power consistently.
Telmito Agustin, OF, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 3-5, 2 R, RBI, K.
Including Agustin counts as my weekly noting of a prospect three weeks before Wilson Karaman stumbles on him; and he won’t be the only one in this MLU. Agustin is a speedy outfielder with top of the order and middle of the diamond tools, if he can just get his instincts on both sides of the ball to cooperate. A 70 runner, he can handle center field despite not playing the position much as a professional. He makes contact and can beat out infield hits, but needs to add strength to elevate and drive the ball more consistently.
Ryan Castellani, RHP, Rockies (Double-A, Hartford): 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
I caught one of Castellani’s starts a couple of weeks ago and was impressed with his ability, despite results that came nowhere near this stat line. With a strong three-pitch mix and good control, he can work through lineups multiple times and still has some upside as a number three starter.
Curtis Taylor, RHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A, Kane County): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
A fourth round pick out of British Columbia last summer, Taylor is a huge (6-foot-6, 220) right-hander with the mid-90s fastball to match his size. His slider gives him a second plus pitch and his changeup is still developing. Most scouts project Taylor to the bullpen because of an aggressive delivery and unique arm action, but he could make an enticing back-end reliever with his present raw stuff and the chance it plays up in bursts.
Jairo Labourt, LHP, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
I have highlighted Labourt a few times in this article, which is unusual for a relief prospect, but his remarkable turnaround is worth noting. Labourt can bring it from the left side, and he will flash an impressive slider, which when you combine those with his newfound strike throwing ability, he has a chance to be an impact reliever as quickly as later this season.
Saturday, June 3rd
Ozzie Albies, 2B/SS, Braves (Triple-A, Gwinnett): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, K.
Let’s hope Albies can start putting together the type of season he’s capable of because the shine is starting to come off his prospect star with more and more scouts that I make calls to this spring. There is still a lot to like here, but even with his young age, the longer he goes without performing this season the more the questions will mount.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 3-5, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K (Double-Header).
Stewart’s power can’t be questioned at this point. He’s a natural slugger with enough present contact ability to translate his raw power to game situations. I eagerly await my first in-person look at him this week where I’m hopeful I can get a handle on his hit tool projection.
Travis Demeritte, 2B, Braves (Double-A, Mississippi): 3-3, 3 R, 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB.
I remember the days when I was enamored with Demeritte, ignoring the red flags that were so obvious at the time. This type of game brings me back to those days, but I’m a bit smarter now…
Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, RBI, SB.
I’ve gone on and on about “Vladito” plenty this spring, but Bichette deserves just as much attention as a young hitter with supreme talent and a chance to be an exceptional prospect.
Telmito Agustin, OF, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 3-4, R, 2 2B, RBI.
I’m noting Agustin here again just needle Karaman. Carry on, folks.
Sunday, June 4th
Travis Blankenhorn, 3B/2B, Twins (Low-A, Cedar Rapids): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI.
Strikeouts have been a bit of a problem for Blankenhorn this year, but the scouts I’ve spoken to remain intrigued by his left-handed bat, believing he could hit for average and power at the end of the day. There’s no certainty with his defensive home, so Blankenhorn’s bat will have to carry the profile as he navigates a full-season in the Midwest League.
Daniel Vogelbach, DH, Mariners (Triple-A, Tacoma): 4-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB.
This is such a perfect Vogelbach game. I long to see these games at the big league level. Please, Dan, take advantage of your next promotion and allow me the pleasure of seeing you do this against Major League pitchers.
Oneil Cruz, 3B, Dodgers (Low-A, Lansing): 4-5, 2 R, RBI, K.
As an 18-year-old in the Midwest League, it wouldn’t be shocking to note Cruz is hitting in the low-.200s with limited power or on-base ability. It would be even less shocking if I noted that and also told you that he was doing this after skipping straight from the Dominican Summer League to Low-A. Cruz is a lanky teenager with intriguing physicality (6-foot-6, 190) and athleticism that allow him to project on both sides of the ball.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Rockies: 7 IP, 3 H, R/ER, 0 BB, 9 K, HRA.
If you had told me before the season that Hoffman would be pitching well in Triple-A and there was no room for him in the Colorado rotation, I would have told you that you were completely nuts. Hoffman will get another shot with the Rockies this week in a spot start and he will likely pitch very well, just as he did the last time they brought him up. Let’s just get him to the big leagues for good so we can all enjoy the ride.
Joey Lucchesi, LHP, Padres (High-A, Lake Elsinore): 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, BB, 12 K, 2 HRA.
The typically high-octane California League hasn’t been much of a challenge for Lucchesi in his first full season as a professional. Generating three average to solid-average pitches from a funky delivery, Lucchesi throws strikes but struggles to locate the ball consistently. He can keep hitters off balance with ease and at 24-years old with four years of college ball under his belt, he’s toying with A-ball hitters. Lucchesi looks the part of a fourth or fifth starter if he can maintain his raw stuff and strike throwing as he moves up the ladder.
JoJo Romero, LHP, Phillies (Low-A, Lakewood): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K.
I was intrigued by Romero when I saw him in the Penn League last summer, and he’s continued to find success during his full-season debut in 2017. An athletic lefty with a solid-average fastball that has reached as high as 93-94 mph in the past, Romero relies heavily on an above-average changeup to keep hitters off his fastball. Neither his slider or curveball are go-to pitches, but they round out his arsenal acceptably.
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