Prospect of the Weekend:
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (High-A, Lancaster): 9-16, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K.
I feel like I’m writing about Rodgers every single week. At this point, I’m getting sick of writing about him (not really) and you’re probably getting sick of reading about him (doubtful). On a slightly more serious note, I have reached the point where I’m just watching the transaction wire to figure out when he ends up in Double-A so I can start getting my in-person looks for the year. Goodness, he’s talented.
Friday, June 9th
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K.
A second-round pick last summer, Neuse (pronounced “noisy”) is focusing solely on hitting for the first time in his career, having been a power-armed reliever in college, as well. Neuse has some potential to hit for average and some power if he can find some balance between swinging for the fences and looking for good, solid contact.
Travis Blankenhorn, 3B/2B, Twins (Low-A, Cedar Rapids): 3-6, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 K, E.
I noted Blankenhorn in last weekend’s MLU and he makes a second appearance this weekend thanks to a couple of extra-base hits; further evidence of the potential he has at the plate.
Ben Rortvedt, C, Twins (Low-A, Cedar Rapids): 3-4, 3 RBI, BB.
Nothing Rortvedt has done at the plate this year would suggest he’s a legitimate prospect, slashing somewhere in the neighborhood of .150/.250/.200 on the season. Even with that noted, Rortvedt is an intriguing, gritty backstop that can drive the ball to the gaps with his quick swing, and has the potential to be an above-average defender with a strong arm.
Jameson Fisher, OF, White Sox (Low-A, Kannapolis): 5-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI.
All Fisher has done is hit since the White Sox popped him in the fourth round last year out of Southeastern Louisiana. He’s a natural hitter with innate feel for the barrel and the strength find the gaps consistently.
Gianfranco Wawoe, 2B, Mariners (High-A, Modesto): 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI, K.
I’m not going to lie to you and pretend I included him purely because he had a nice day at the plate. I mean, just look at that name! On the field, Wawoe makes easy contact thanks to a simple swing and great feel for the barrel. He is a fluid defender at second base and has the chance to be a contact-oriented second baseman. Plus, Wilson Karaman wrote him up (with video) in today’s Ten Pack.
Bryan Garcia, RHP, Tigers (High-A, Lakeland): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 5 K.
Let me know if you’re shocked that the Tigers have a right-handed reliever that’s touched 100 mph this year. You aren’t shocked by that? Really? Well, neither am I. Garcia’s fastball has ticked up in his first full professional season and he hasn’t lost his ability to throw strikes, giving him a chance to make the next jump to Double-A before the season is over.
Saturday, June 10th
Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds (High-A, Daytona): 4-5, 4 R, 3 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, E.
Senzel’s done everything anyone could ask of him during his first full professional season. He’s hit for average, he’s hit for extra-base power, he’s walked, and he’s even stolen a few bases. Senzel is a gifted player and should be in Cincinnati at some point next season.
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 3-4, 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI.
Another nice game from Neuse, something I didn’t see a whole lot of last year in the NYPL, but he’s definitely capable of doing this more regularly.
Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, Padres (Low-A, Fort Wayne): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, K, SB.
After a rough start to the season, Tatis turned it up in May with quite a few games similar to this one. The developmental path with have some twists and turns as he figures out a workable approach at the plate, but Tatis has all the ingredients to be a solid everyday shortstop.
Colton Welker, 3B, Rockies (Low-A, Asheville): 4-4.
I don’t really have anything to say here other than to provide my weekly reminder that this dude can straight hit.
Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals (Low-A, Peoria): 3-4, R, HR, RBI, CS.
The Cardinals were aggressive in pushing Carlson to Low-A this season, and while the numbers may not suggest he’s done much to reward their push, scouts in the Midwest League have noted that he’s an impressive young player. Carlson needs his bat to come to life both in terms of average and power to make his defensive profile work, but there’s a chance he’s a legitimate offensive threat down the line.
Lucas Herbert, C, Braves (Low-A, Rome): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, K.
Herbert isn’t drawing much praise for his stick, as a career sub-.200 hitter, but he draws rave reviews for his glovework behind the plate. A natural defender and quality leader, Herbert has a chance to be a plus defender with a plus arm; enough of a defensive profile to carry a light bat. That said, Herbert has to hit better than he has during his first two full seasons if there’s any chance his profile advances beyond the backup realm.
Grant Holmes, RHP, Athletics (Double-A, Midland): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
Holmes has had a rough go this season, despite fanning hitters at a rate approaching his career high for full-season ball, but you wouldn’t be able to guess he’d been struggling based on Saturday’s gem. Holmes has always had mid-rotation potential, and at just 21-years-old, there’s absolutely no reason to give up on him.
Jordan Romano, RHP, Blue Jays (High-A, Dunedin): 7 IP, H, R/ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
A budget pick in the tenth round of the 2014 draft, Romano has surprised scouts with his ability to succeed as a starter since returning from Tommy John surgery last season. A reliever for much of his college career, and a reliever during his professional debut, Romano was thrown into the rotation as part of his recovery from surgery and has yet to look back. With a low-90s fastball that reaches 96, a potential plus slider, and a fringy changeup, Romano may still project as a reliever, but his success as a starter has been fun to watch.
Sunday, June 11th
Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (Double-A, Akron): 4-5, R, 2B, HR, RBI, CS.
He’s the best catching prospect in the game and it isn’t close, making that thought exercise boring at this point. A more entertaining exercise is considering just where Mejia ranks among the best prospects in the game. When you start thinking it through, he’s probably closer to the top than you initially thought.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 3-5, RBI, K.
I’ll have some additional notes on Stewart soon after watching him last week, but I’ll preface those notes by saying I do have concerns about his ability to hit at the major league level. The power and approach are real, and he’s got a chance to become a solid slugger, but there’s also a chance he ends up more of a bench bat.
Lucius Fox, SS, Rays (Low-A, Bowling Green): 4-6, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K, SB.
Fox has been a little quiet since heading to the Rays in last year’s trade, largely because he didn’t see the field after he was dealt, but he’s had a solid showing in the Midwest League this season. A quick-twitch athlete, Fox is loaded with tools, and his baseball IQ is quickly developing. The Rays are notorious for being patient with prospects, and they’ll need to be with Fox, but the payoff could be huge.
Luis Rengifo, 2B, Mariners (Low-A, Clinton): 2-3, R, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, K.
Just 20 years old, Rengifo is holding his own during his full-season debut in the Midwest League. A natural hitter that makes easy contact from both sides of the plate, Rengifo is an above-average to plus runner that can steal bases and is beginning to get the hang of second base.
Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves (Low-A, Rome): 7 IP, H, R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K, HRA.
It’s not as though the Braves actually needed more intriguing prospects, but they have another one with Wilson. An exceptional athlete that was a standout football and baseball player in high school. He can sit in the mid-90s with his fastball and has reached as high as 98 mph this season according to several scouts, and his slider has improved since last year. There’s little hope for his changeup, or for him to shift gears from his “thrower” approach on the mound, leaving most scouts to project him as a reliever, but as he matures he could become an electric flame thrower that fits in the late innings.
Reggie Lawson, RHP, Padres (Low-A, Fort Wayne): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 8 K.
Lawson had been nothing short of atrocious since debuting with Fort Wayne at the end of May, posting a 9.64 ERA in three starts. An extreme athlete, Lawson is the epitome of a projection play by the Padres; the type of prospect that could either boom or bust spectacularly. His fastball can reach 94-95 mph at times, but he lacks control, and he has yet to find the feel for his curveball or changeup.
Thank you for reading
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