Prospect of the Weekend:
My boy Steve Givarz tipped me off to Eusebio over the weekend, requesting that I highlight him in the MLU. Well, instead of just a passing comment, let’s really dig into him for a bit. Breiling has had a slow start to his professional career, spending two seasons in rookie ball, and now he’s repeating short-season Boise for the second season in a row. Well, when you’re a lefty with low-90s velocity that can touch 96 on occasion, complemented by a brilliant overhand curveball, teams are going to be patient and let you develop at your own pace. Eusebio doesn’t look long for the Northwest League this season, having dominated through his first two starts, and he could be a new name to watch in a strong Rockies system.
Friday, June 23rd
Yoan Moncada, 2B, White Sox (Triple-A, Charlotte): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, K, SB.
At this point, Moncada is just biding his time until the White Sox decide they want to give him extended run at the major league level. Frankly, I’m just happy he’s raking while he waits, rather than being one of those guys that just gets bored and sulks until he’s promoted.
Tyler O’Neill, OF, Mariners (Triple-A, Tacoma): 3-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI.
I haven’t seen a line like this out of O’Neill in a while; at least not since he was all the rage on the minor league front last season. I’m not a huge believer that O’Neill is going to be a significant contributor in Seattle, but I won’t write him off just yet, either.
Yusniel Diaz, OF, Dodgers (High-A, Rancho Cucamonga): 4-6, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, K.
That dude, Wilson Karaman, wrote something about cheese and kitchens the other day, and in that piece he touched on Diaz. You should go check that out, along with his video.
Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets (High-A, St. Lucie): 4-5, 3 R, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB.
As an experienced college bat out of the SEC, Alonso jumped from short-season ball to High-A this season and he’s struggled to find his footing, at least in some respects. Blessed with massive raw power, Alonso has a chance to slug at the Major League level if he can find a way to hit .250ish once his development is complete.
Lorenzo Cedrola, OF, Red Sox (Low-A, Greenville): 3-5, R, CS.
Cedrola projects easily to a reserve role thanks to his plus speed and supreme athleticism, and his ability to defend the middle of the outfield, but he could become much more than that as he matures physically. Lacking strength, Cedrola has little power but his contact ability and natural bat speed intrigue scouts and give some the ability to believe in him as a quality hitter with gap power.
Bryce Denton, OF, Cardinals (Short-Season, State College): 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
Denton has struggled offensively for much of his professional career after earning a $1.2 million bonus as a second-round pick in 2015. Denton started the season at Low-A Peoria but was demoted to short-season ball after hitting a measly .157 in 19 games. Denton has potential average power in his bat if he can ever put things together.
Gabriel Maciel, OF, Diamondbacks (Rookie, Missoula): 5-6, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB.
Maciel is a relatively unheralded kid that has a chance to make quick work of the Pioneer League a second time around, even though he’s still just 18 years old. Maciel has a decent approach for his age, a knack for contact, and is a good enough runner to steal some bases if given the chance to run consistently He’s light years from the big leagues, but Maciel merits attention as a potential top of the lineup threat.
Oscar Gonzalez, OF, Indians (Short-Season, Mahoning Valley): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, K.
Gonzalez is one of the Indians high-priority kids out of the Dominican academy, featuring plus raw power that has played well in games at an early age. He is an aggressive swinger that has a lot to prove at the plate, but when he connects, he puts a charge in the ball.
Corbin Burnes, RHP, Brewers (Double-A, Biloxi): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 7 K.
Burnes torched the Carolina League to start this season, earning a quick promotion to Double-A, where he’s improved his numbers across the board. With a low-90s fastball, quality slider, and a still developing curveball and changeup, Burnes has the broad arsenal to start if he can continue to keep his max effort delivery in order.
Saturday, June 24th
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Triple-A, Lehigh Valley): 3-5, R, 2 2B.
Please let this be Crawford’s 2017 awakening….I mean he’s way too talented to struggle for this long.
Brandon Marsh, OF, Angels (Rookie, Orem): 3-5, 3 R, 2 3B, 2 RBI, K.
Marsh never debuted last year after the Angels popped him in the second round, thanks to a back injury that sidelined him until the Pioneer League kicked off last week. Marsh is a gifted athlete with a great frame, good strength, and impressive tools, making him one of the Angles most interesting prospects. If everything clicks, Marsh has a chance to flash plus speed, plus arm strength, solid hitting ability, and above-average power, making him a dynamic two-way talent.
Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B, Rockies (Triple-A, Albuquerque): 5-8, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, K.
At this point, the tear he’s on in Triple-A is bordering on absurd. He was off to a good start in Double-A this season, but what he’s done since his promotion is just silly.
Raudy Read, C, Nationals (Double-A, Harrisburg): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB.
Read was added to the Nationals 40-man roster during the off-season, on the heels of a two-season stretch that saw him finally put his offensive tools together. Read is a solid hitter with a good approach, and when he gets pitches he can turn on, he will flash average raw power. He has a strong arm behind the plate and does enough with the glove to stay on the field.
Sebastian Elizalde, OF, Reds (Triple-A, Lousiville): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, 3B, RBI.
Elizalde’s prospect status is quickly fading, which is unfortunate given some of the tools he showed when signed out of the Mexican League as a 21-year-old. A solid runner with good instincts on the field, Elizalde can play all three outfield spots. When combined with his knack for contact and overall feel for the game, Elizalde has a chance to profile as a fourth outfielder in Cincinnati down the road.
Luis Rengifo, 2B, Mariners (Low-A, Clinton): 2-5, 2 R, 2 2B.
Rengifo has a lot of work to do to become more than a passing prospect, but he will flash enough at the plate and in the field to keep you interested. A good runner, Rengifo can swipe bases when he gets one, and thankfully he has enough of an approach to make up for some of his inability to hit for a high average. Rengifo has a chance to be a quality hitter at second base, but he’s got some development remaining.
Ryan Merritt, RHP, Indians (Triple-A, Columbus): 8 IP, 3 H, R/ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
Merritt has the ability to feast on Triple-A hitters thanks to his impeccable command and intelligence on the mound, but he’s likely to struggle finding this level of success in the big leagues. Merritt can be a useful big league arm, but don’t expect him to put up many dominating outings like this one.
Gregory Soto, LHP, Tigers (Low-A, West Michigan): 6 IP, 2 H, R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
Like most scouts, I view Soto as a future reliever, but who can argue with results as a starter at this stage. A physical lefty with a fastball that reaches 96 mph and could go higher in short bursts, Soto is still working on his breaking ball and command, two things he will need to develop if he wants to remain in the rotation.
Sunday, June 25th
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Double-A, Erie): 2-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K.
I get it, he just keeps hitting home runs, but after watching him for a handful of games this year, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to pull this off at the major league level. Every time I’ve seen Stewart this season, he’s struggled with anything over 94-95 mph while feasting on guys with fringe stuff. There’s no margin for error in the profile given that he’s a negative with the glove, meaning he better figure out a way to mash as he continues to move up the ladder.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Phillies (Double-A, Reading): 3-4, RBI.
Well, barring an epic collapse, this will be the last time I get to write about Kingery the Double-A player. Following Sunday’s game he was promoted to Triple-A and could realistically see Philly before the year is out.
Khalil Lee, OF, Royals (Low-A, Lexington): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI.
The Royals third-round pick in 2016, Lee hasn’t exactly put together a shining full-season debut, but he’s done his part to imitate a three true outcomes type of player with power, walks, and strikeouts; and plenty of all three. Lee is a premium athlete with raw tools across the board, and if he can figure out a way to make more contact, he could be a really promising prospect.
Logan Ice, C, Indians (Low-A, Lake County): 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, BB.
Aside from the fact that he has a bad-ass name, Ice is a strong defensive catcher with good receiving ability, quick feet, and a strong arm. He has the defensive chops to defend in the big leagues soon, though his bat has serious work remaining. Ice is not a natural hitter, though his approach is solid and he works walks consistently. With a strong defensive skillset and a suspect bat, Ice projects as more of a backup at the big league level.
Daniel Johnson, OF, Nationals (Low-A, Hagerstown): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI.
Johnson was a bit of an off the radar prospect coming out of college, but the Nationals popped him in the fifth round thanks to his athleticism and freakish raw tools. At the top end of the scale Johnson will show 70-grade speed and elite raw arm strength, though neither players consistently on the field. He makes consistent contact and works line to line with an ability to hit for average, while also flashing above-average raw power that allows him to yank the ball out of the park. Johnson has a chance to be a legitimate prospect if he can harness his athleticism and translate his tools to game action.
Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers (Short-Season, Connecticut): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
This was Manning’s second filthy outing as a teenager in short-season ball. Much was made of the fact that he was held back in extended spring training to start the year, but it was all part of his development. Manning is a potential front of the rotation arm and one of the only Tigers prospect with a chance to be a true impact talent.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, Mets (Low-A, Columbia): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 10 K.
If Szapucki can handle regular innings without injury or losing the crispness of his stuff, he has the dynamic secondary pitches to confound hitters. With both a curveball and slider that earn above-average to plus grades from scouts, Szapucki just needs to locate his low-90s heater in order to find success as he moves up the ladder. With improved command and the development of his changeup, Szapucki could become a high-end pitching prospect, but scouts I’ve spoken with this year remain skeptical.
Freddy Peralta, RHP, Mariners (Double-A, Biloxi): 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
Sure, Peralta was hit around a bit in this start, but he still struck batters in nine of the eleven outs he recorded. Peralta has interesting stuff with a low-90s fastball and potential above-average changeup, but he has yet to develop his strike-throwing ability or command, leading him prone to outings like this. Because of his short stature and command problems, most scouts project Peralta to the bullpen, a move that could come within the next year.
Wladimir Pinto, RHP, Tigers (Short-Season, Connecticut): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Seriously though, where do they find these guys? Pinto is yet another triple digit arm for the Tigers, pumping 99-101 consistently in most of his relief outings. His slider shows promise and he throws more strikes than most young kids with this kind of arm strength, Pinto could move quickly and may help the Tigers Low-A affiliate in West Michigan before the season is done.