Prospect of the Weekend:
Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves (Low-A, Rome): 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K.
Wilson may have been a fourth-round pick, but he received a significant bonus—$1.2M—to buy him out of a UNC commitment. He’s a raw athlete with tons of potential, particularly as he gains experience now that he’s focused on one sport. With the potential to sit in the mid-90s long term, and a breaking ball that flashes impressive spin and darting bite, Wilson could have two overpowering pitches that give him high-end potential. His continued ability to throw strikes and develop his changeup will determine how quickly he progresses, but with starts like this Wilson appears to be developing much more quickly than expected.
Friday, July 7th
Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, Padres (Low-A, Fort Wayne): 2-2, 2 R, 3B, HR, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Tatis has been tremendous at the plate this season, pounding extra-base hits and working walks, allowing him to mitigate the swing-and-miss in his game. As an 18-year-old in a very tough offensive environment, Tatis’ 2017 season has been a rousing success already.
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves (Double-A, Mississippi): 4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB.
I haven’t written about Acuna in a while despite strong results, but at some point I just have to bring him back up again. His breakout has been nothing short of sensational and you have to wonder how long into 2018 the Braves will be able to keep him down.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Triple-A, Lehigh Valley): 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, K.
Cozens hasn’t followed up his massive 2016 season with much of note, but he does continue to slug at times, which will keep him on the radar.
Andy Yerzy, C, Diamondbacks (Rookie, Missoula): 3-4, R, 2B.
A 2016 second round pick out of Canada, Yerzy has intriguing size and offensive potential for a backstop, but he is light years from the big leagues and will require patience as he develops. A rough defender, Yerzy is no lock to stick behind the dish, but he’s made solid strides in his short time as a professional. Offensively, there’s potential for a solid hitter with power if he can keep developing this while he develops his defensive skills.
Isaac Paredes, SS, Cubs (Low-A, South Bend): 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI.
Paredes is quickly emerging as another solid prospect for the Cubs, showing more pop than expected at this stage of his career, and also showing the defensive tools to stick at the six.
Joan Baez, RHP, Nationals (Rookie, GCL Nationals): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 5 K.
After getting shelled in High-A to start the year, in spite of his upper-90s gas, Baez has dominated in two brief outings in the GCL and should be moving back up again soon. He needs a lot of work to take advantage of his raw stuff, but there’s a ton of potential buried in his 6-foot-3, 190 pound frame.
Pablo Lopez, RHP, Mariners (High-A, Modesto): 8 IP, 2 H, R/ER, BB, 9 K, HRA.
Lopez has had a rough go in the California League this season, but he still has the potential to be a quality back of the rotation starter. As he continues to mature and add strength, he has a chance for an above-average fastball with two average secondary pitches. His strike throwing and command are his best assets, allowing his solid arsenal to play beyond what you might expect.
Trey Ball, LHP, Red Sox (Double-A, Portland): 7 IP, 3 H, R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K.
The resurgence continues.
Saturday, July 8th
Ronald Guzman, 1B, Rangers (Triple-A, Round Rock): 2-4, 3 R, 2B, BB, K.
It’s easy to pick nits and question whether Guzman will ever have enough power to be a first-division first baseman, but he’s developed nicely and continued to hit at a high level throughout his career. He’s still just 22 years old and may continue to get stronger, leaving the door open for more power to emerge as he enters his mid-20s.
Tyler Nevin, 3B, Rockies (Low-A, Ashville): 2-5, 2 2B, K.
Back in Low-A after a brief stint with short-season Boise, Nevin needs more games like this to get his career on track. After battling a severe hamstring injury last summer, he’s off to a slow start this season despite plenty of potential as an offensive and defensive stalwart at the hot corner.
Jeisson Rosario, OF, Padres (Rookie, AZL Padres): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, K.
Rosario is raw like sushi, but he has a great body with supreme athleticism and a chance for a wealth of playable tools. He’s gotten off to a strong start in the AZL this year and his development could give the Padres yet another intriguing young prospect.
Donny Sands, C, Yankees (Low-A, Charleston): 3-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI, K.
The Yankees are trying to make a catcher out of Sands, which could make him a much more interesting prospect given his solid arm, quick feet, and line-drive bat. He’s done well at Charleston this year and more than a few scouts have walked away believing Sands could quickly become a solid prospect.
Miguel Aparicio, OF, Rangers (Short-Season, Spokane): 3-5, 3 R, 2B.
Aparicio relies on his strong instincts and quick first step to handle center field even though he has only fringe speed, and he will have to stick in center for his bat to play as he advances. A contact-oriented guy, Aparacio has a chance to be an above-average hitter with gap power down the line.
Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals (Triple-A, Syracuse): 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
We can poke fun of the nationals and suggest they’re struggling to develop a direction with Fedde after moving him to the bullpen and then back to the rotation, but all he does is get outs in either role.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A, Charlotte): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 10 K.
Still kind of good, and it’s good to see him have one of these games to restore the faith.
Joe Jimenez, RHP, Tigers (Triple-A, Toledo): 1 IP, H, 0 R/ER, BB, 3 K.
Jimenez is back in action after missing time with a back injury, and he’s pitching well at Triple-A. He still needs to hone his command and harness his emotions on the mound to effectively pitch in the big leagues, and with the Tigers falling out of the race, it may make the most sense to let him continue developing in Toledo until September; targeting next year for his emergence in Detroit.
Matt Hall, LHP, Tigers (High-A, Lakeland): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K.
Hall gets some attention for shiny lines like this, but that tends to happen when you have a filthy curveball and college experience, pitching at the A-ball levels. Hall lacks the fastball (mid- to upper-80s) to remain a starter, but there’s a chance his curveball is just good enough for him to carve out a role as a lefty specialist.
Sunday, July 9th
Ramon Laureano, OF, Astros (Double-A, Corpus Christi): 5-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, SB.
While Laureano hasn’t followed up his breakout 2016 season, but most scouts are still firm in their believe that he can be a solid big leaguer down the line. With his defensive skills, speed, and hitting ability, Laureano is a well-rounded player that can contribute in a variety of ways.
Jose Azocar, OF, Tigers (High-A, Lakeland): 4-4, R, 3B, 2 RBI.
It’s been a rough season for Azocar, after performing well in his full-season debut last year in Low-A. Azocar remains intriguing thanks to his impressive tools, including up the middle defense and a weapon for an arm, but his approach at the plate prevents him from putting together too many days like this one.
Starling Heredia, OF, Dodgers (Rookie, Ogden): 3-4, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, K.
Heredia is a physical teenager with bat speed and budding raw power—as this line might suggest—and he has a surprising grasp on the strike zone for a player his age. There’s a lot of development remaining here, but Heredia merits some attention at this early juncture.
Alex Jackson, C, Braves (High-A, Florida): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K.
Jackson’s bat has finally come alive this season and he looks to be putting things together as the offensive prospect the Braves thought they were getting from the Mariners last off-season. It would be a coup if the Braves could resurrect Jackson’s prospect status, giving them yet another promising young prospect.
Braeden Ogle, LHP, Pirates (Rookie, Bristol): 5 IP, 4 H, R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
A solidly build lefty with strong low-90s velocity and the projection for more, Ogle has the raw tools—including a potential above-average curveball—to morph into a dynamic starting pitching prospect. As he matures physically, the hope is Ogle’s athleticism will aid him in improving his coordination and the ability to repeat his delivery, allowing him to throw more strikes and take advantage of his top two pitches.
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I'm certainly not a fantasy guru of any sort, but I'd say he's far more watch than add. What do I know, though?
While he has time to develop further, becoming a lefty Brad Eldred has to be considered a very real possibility.
Sure, Cozens has run into 21 home runs, and that's a nice shiny number, but he's also hitting .240 with a low OBP, and he's whiffed 114 times in 87 games. Combine that with the scouting reports that have never been kind to his hit tool projection, or his defense, and you have a guy that's not just a couple developmental steps away from helping in the big leagues, he's a long way from that.
There isn't a viable path that I see to his hit tool being something that allows him to have any level of effectiveness as a regular at the MLB level.