A raw prospect for the Double-A level. There is a lot to like about Alcantara, but a lot to be wary of as well. The command is bad—as in 30 bad. The curveball also leaves a lot to be desired, and unless the Cardinals have a lot of patience, it may be headed for the scrap heap. He gets on the side of the curve frequently, and even between innings, you never know what the pitch trajectory will look like. The change isn't great, but it is much closer to an average pitch and I can certainly see it improving more than the deuce. All that said, Alcantara is incredibly projectable with a long, lean frame and plenty of room to add mass. His delivery is free and easy with lightning-fast arm action. He throws a heavy fastball that hit 99 in both of my viewings (sorry Springfield fans, that 102 on the stadium gun isn't legit), but he seems to have more success when working in the mid 90s. If all goes well and the Cardinals exercise a Job-like level of patience, they may have a high-quality starter on their hands. If they'd prefer some help sooner rather than later, Alcantara could certainly be a solid bullpen piece by the end of 2018.
Built, mature frame, fringe athlete, showed frustration at times; open stance, moderate load; above-average bat speed, potential to improve; poor timing makes him late on fastballs at times, can turn on inside pitch, strong hands, missed pitches in hittable spots, will lunge at times, flashed bat control and swing adjustment on breaking ball, flashed loose hands through the zone, potential all-fields approach, hit tool still inconsistent, tools there to improve a bit as he matures; above-average raw, more effective driving inside pitches, capable of high launch angles, doesn’t really play for power, more line drives, raw strength projection to improve a grade; projects average game power at maturity; Timed 4.16; plus arm strength, carry/velo to reach bases in the air, threat to throw out runners on close plays at home, plays anywhere in the field; solid range, smooth to fly ball spots, doesn’t flash athleticism/aggressiveness to make flash plays in the gaps, expect body to get bigger and profile better at the corners; potential MLB regular; likely second div starter.
Lucas Erceg, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A Carolina)
Strength in the lower half; not thin, but keeps in-shape; not too projectable; open stance, deep load, lots of noise; average bat speed, loose mechanics, long awkward swing yields fringe hard contact, possesses athleticism to get quicker to ball, average bat control, loose hands, almost too loose; best when turning on inside pitches, gets under hittable pitches, struggles going oppo with hard contact, trouble barreling offspeed, puts weight on front foot at times, flashes solid approach; large frame translates to plus raw power, above-average pull side power, high leverage produces loft, uses body rather than bat speed for power, may struggle driving plus velo, gets hands inside ball; projects average game power; clocked 4.37; flashes plus-plus arm strength, doesn’t utilize at times, lower release point, capable of making most throws from third base; Made routine plays, shows coordination, flashed average glove skills, good enough to stick at third base long-term; potential major league regular; likely second div regular.
Cody Ponce, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A Carolina)
Tall guy, large waist, soft body, bit of a gut; high leg kick, deliberate motion, finishes towards home; three-quarters arm slot, above-average arm speed, loose arm, 1.32 to home; FB (88-92,(t94)) flashes life, plays up when he throws downhill, elevated and got hit at times, enough velo to collect some late swings on strikes, showed command to both sides; fringe-average at present, sped up arm and a dip in mechanics late led to control issues; cutter (87-89) has some late break, flashed ability to work in at the hands; CH tumbles, little fade, located down early, action produces some spikes, plays more to contact than swings and misses, throws too firm; CB has 11/5 shape, minimal late movement, trackable, flashed tight action, showed occasional command glove-side; control (45/50); command (40/45); potential innings eating no. 5; likely middle reliever/swingman.
Loose player (both physically in the box and demeanor); tracks pitches into the glove; calls his own balls and strikes with animated reactions to just about every pitch; solid idea of the zone; has fun; long strides, high-waisted; quick acceleration out of the box; covers ground in right field; have seen him beat inside w/velo, but also fend it off for a hit, and turn on it for hard pull-side contact; fouls off/spoils two-strike pitches; eager to get into the box and walks from dugout with intent; hyper-engaged and shifts around in box; leg lift for timing; some drift back to the hands; obvious bat and hand speed; tends to overswing and will expand zone low, but can also barrel down there; shows traits of major-league bat control and a feel to hit; can envision an major-league average hit tool; put a couple out in BP, but mostly hard line-drive contact at present; will grow into more power; swing path has some lift to it; 19 and enjoying tremendous success in Low-A.
Bryan Hudson, LHP, Chicago Cubs (Low-A South Bend)
Hulking build at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, mostly filled out; long levers; taller, leaner Jordan Montgomery body comp; three-quarters arm slot that takes some plane away; lacks athleticism and fluidity you want to see in SP profile, stiff throughout delivery and plant leg/extension; momentum in delivery directs him towards first base; short, low leg lift with crossfire; short arm path and stab in back; the profile has jumped since ‘16, esp. FB velo; four-seam FB comfortably 90-92 majority of night, touching 93 once with some cut action; two-seam FB 85-86 with some sink and traditional action; CH 83 with circle change action, worked backwards with it; fairly consistent curveball at 76 w/two-plane sweeping action with tight rotation, gets good horizontal movement on it, buries it; the curveball is ahead of the change; pitched inside to induce weak contact, solid glove-side command; 10 ground outs in five-inning outing; we’ve seen this year what a velo uptick can do for sinker heavy starters (Graveman, Godley), but Hudson does not throw a traditional sinker; velo uptick still notable given the groundball heavy profile; not into the mechanics and lack of athleticism from an XXL pitcher; scouts question if he’ll be able to strike anybody out; worth tracking into upper minors.
Large frame, moderate athleticism, some thickness to the lower half, projectable muscle growth; raw approach at the plate, aggressive, will expand north and south, poor pitch recognition; average bat speed, big leverage, noisy swing; 60 raw power but plays down due to approach; fluid runner, 4.43 home to first, 4.21 on a dig; raw but has athleticism to become average defender; strong arm, inaccurate, will short arm throws when hurried. Raw power gives a high ceiling, but the hit tool is currently very limited and needs much attention to reach potential of everyday outfielder.
Cristian Santana, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes)
Athletic build, thickness and strength in lower half, minimal projectable growth; balanced stance, mild load with minimal leg kick, average bat speed, mild leverage, shows quality hand-eye coordination and good bat to ball skills, aggressive approach, hits with authority to all fields; 4.71, 4.81 on two dogs, wasn't in a hurry out of the box in any look, appears to have athleticism to be average runner; multiple infield positions played at Great Lakes, currently below-average at first, raw at game speed, looks to have average range and reactions, should play closer to average with experience; hit tool will carry through low levels development, others will determine if ceiling of everyday major league player is reached.
Lean and athletic, potential for added muscle growth as body matures; crouched stance, plus bat speed, compact swing with mild leverage, has improved approach since last season, works the count more and better pitch recognition, still has aggressive approach but now appears to have a plan when at the plate; gap-to-gap line drives, power mostly plays to pull; aggressive on bases; solid defender, good reads and instincts, arm is average but accurate; has the tools to become an everyday center fielder.
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