Prospect of the Weekend:
Jorge Mateo, SS, Yankees (Double-A, Trenton): 12-17, 6 R, 4 3B, HR 13 RBI, 2 K, 2 SB, 3 CS, E
Recently promoted to Double-A, Mateo has wasted no time making a strong impression, including a monster line over the weekend. He’s not swiping bases at the clip normally expected of him, and he’s actually getting caught in Double-A, but he’s making contact, finding gaps, and even driving in runs. It’s a long shot that he helps the Yankees outside of a September call-up to pinch run, but it’d be fun to see him make the leap as a prospect in the second half.
Friday, June 30
Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals (Triple-A, Memphis): 2-4, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI
For most clubs, Kelly would be in the big leagues, but then again most clubs don’t have Yadier Molina as their everyday catcher. Kelly is essentially MLB ready and one of the best catching prospects in the game. It’s only a matter of time.
Donnie Dewees, OF, Royals (Double-A, Northwest Arkansas): 4-5, R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI
Dewees can hit and he can run, and those skills should get him to the big leagues. He’s not without warts, including fringe defense in center field and a 30-grade arm, but Dewees can hit enough to overcome some of that for a team that believes he’ll find more power as he completes his development.
Khalil Lee, OF, Royals (Low-A, Lexington): 3-6, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 K, E
Lee is slowly finding his stride this year, which represents an intriguing development for a premium athlete with loud tools and a lot of development remaining. Lee has the potential to develop into a traditional right fielder with solid hitting ability, pop, and a strong arm.
Ronnie Dawson, OF, Astros (Low-A, Quad Cities): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI
Dawson hasn’t hit as the Astros would have hoped after popping him out of Ohio State last summer, but he’s showing some pop and quality athleticism on the field. Dawson has some swing and miss in his game, but the larger problem is pitch recognition and frequent soft contact, leading to a low batting average.
Jose Miranda, 3B, Twins (Rookie, Elizabethton): 5-7, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K
Still young and very raw, Miranda is showing off some offensive skills in the early going this summer. His bat is his carrying tool and he has a chance to hit for average and power down the line, fitting his long-term third base profile. Miranda should handle the Appy League well this summer, and there’s a chance he could get a little more exposure higher up the ladder before the year is out.
Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers (Double-A, Tulsa): 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 7 K
At what point is Buehler considered one of the top one or two pitching prospects in the game? Not yet? Well, maybe that distinction is closer than you think.
Chris Rodriguez, RHP, Angles (Rookie, Orem): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 7 K
The Angels fourth round pick last summer, Rodriguez is still just 18-years old and is now three starts into his second professional season. Armed with a low-90s fastball that touches 95-96 mph and a solid curveball/changeup combination, Rodriguez has the arsenal to project as a starter if he can continue to repeat his high-effort delivery.
Saturday, July 1
Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees (MLB, New York): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, K
Yeah, yeah, I know, this wasn’t accomplished in the minor leagues. Who cares! Consider this a fond MLU farewell for Frazier!
Aristides Aquino, OF, Reds (Double-A, Pensacola): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, K
In his first taste of Double-A, Aquino has had some trouble figuring our more advanced arms, but Saturday’s performance hints at the performance his tools can deliver. There’s a power-armed and power-bat right fielder in here somewhere, if he can just hit enough to get it all active on the field.
Aramis Ademan, SS, Cubs (Short-Season, Eugene): 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, SB, 2 E
Ademan is an up and coming middle infielder with the ability to control the strike zone, make contact, and run once he’s on the bases. He lacks power now and doesn’t project for much down the line, but he could hit for average and defend enough to be an MLB contributor.
Daniel Brito, 2B, Phillies (Low-A, Lakewood): 4-5, 2 R, RBI, CS
Still a teenager and making his full-season debut, Brito is in for quite a challenge this summer. He hasn’t been overwhelmed thus far, but he needs to add strength to drive the ball more consistently, both to avoid being overpowered at higher levels, and to better fit his second base profile.
Akil Baddoo, OF, Twins (Rookie, GCL): 4-5, 3 R, 3B, 3 RBI, SB
A growth spurt has changed Baddoo’s profile from that of a speedy center fielder to more of an average runner that fits better in left field thanks to a below-average arm. With that growth spurt and his burgeoning strength, Baddoo has added power projection to go with his natural contact ability. He is an aggressive swinger that doesn’t take many pitches, leaving him susceptible to being worked by spin and softer offerings, but at just 18-years old there will be plenty of opportunities to refine his game.
Miguel Aparicio, OF, Rangers (Short-Season, Spokane): 3-5, 2 2B, RBI
Signed for $500,000 in 2015, Aparicio is an instinctual player with the ability to stay in center field despite average speed and a lack of truly explosive athleticism. He’s a natural hitter that makes hard contact to all fields and he has a chance to develop solid power to augment the rest of his game.
Joey Wentz, LHP, Braves (Low-A, Rome): 6 IP, H, 0 R/ER, BB, 9 K
After the Braves gave Wentz over $3M in the supplemental first round, he showed equal parts brilliance and still raw ability in his professional debut. Wentz has pitched well this year, consistently showing low-90s velocity thanks to more consistent mechanics, along with feel for both a curveball and changeup. If things go well, Wentz could become a #3 starter down the line.
Tony Santillian, RHP, Reds (Low-A, Dayton): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 K
Given his control problems and lack of a promising third pitch, it’s reasonable to project Stanillan’s triple digit heat to the bullpen, but when he puts it together and turns in starts like this, you can understand the Reds desire to develop him as a starter. Santillan has a ton of raw ingredients, but it’s unlikely he puts it all together enough to shed his future reliever tag.
Sunday, July 2
Lewis Brinson, OF, Brewers (Triple-A, Colorado Springs): 3-5, R, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, K
Back in the minor leagues and back to torturing minor league hitters. He’ll be back in Milwaukee soon.
Ozhaino Albies, SS, Braves (Triple-A, Gwinnett): 4-9, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K, SB
Albies hasn’t had the type of season the Braves would have hoped, but that doesn’t mean he’s less likely to see the big leagues in the second half. Albies can hit for aveage, occasionally pop one out of the park, swipe bases, and play either up-the-middle infield position. That’s a damn valuable player.
Isan Diaz, 2B, Brewers (High-A, Carolina): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB
If only my friend Maruicio Rubio were around to continue singing Diaz’s praises. He’s a freakish hitter with thunder in his stick and a chance to be an impact bat at the Major League level.
DJ Peters, OF, Dodgers (High-A, Rancho Cucamonga): 3-4, 4 R, 3 HR, 4 RBI, BB, K
Peters has handled the jump from rookie ball to High-A with aplomb, even though he’s whiffing at an obscene rate. Peters has power in his extra-large 6-foot-6 frame, but he’s a high risk prospect that isn’t likely to put together too many three-homer nights once he reaches Double-A.
Johan Mieses, OF, Dodgers (High-A, Rancho Cucamonga): 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Mieses was demoted to High-A just in time to team up with Peters to rip five homers on Sunday. There’s little doubting Mieses raw tools – specifically his power – but like Peters there’s way too much swing and miss here for my liking.
Dermis Garcia, 3B, Yankees (Rookie, Pulaski): 3-6, R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 K
Garcia has a lot working against him as a prospect, including bottom of the scale speed, a body that looks likely to force him to first base, and a ton of swing and miss, but he does offer tremendous raw power that is hard to find throughout the game. Garcia needs to improve his hitting ability to make it work as a likely first baseman, but he’s continued to show both gap and over the fence power early in his career.
Jordan Hicks, RHP, Cardinals (Low-A, Peoria): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Blessed with premium athleticism, Hicks can pump mid-90s heat without batting an eye, and he’s no slouch with his secondary offerings either. Thanks to a hard slider and firm changeup, Hicks has the potential for two additional average or better offerings, with the slider earning easy plus grades from scouts. He’s still learning to harness his raw stuff, but Hicks has the potential to become a highly intriguing arm once he reaches the upper levels.
Griffin Jax, RHP, Twins (Rookie, Elizabethton): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 4 K
Debuting late because he had to wait until his school work was done at the Air Force Academy, Jax has gotten off to a nice start in his second pro campaign. Armed with an ideal pitcher’s frame and a low-90s fastball that touches 95 mph, Jax has a chance to develop as a starter thanks to a solid slider and promising changeup.