Donny Sands, C, New York Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Rounder build, below-average athlete, lacks projection; fringe-average bat speed, off balance during swing, long swing path, flashed some looseness vs. lesser stuff, pull-side hitter, lunged at better offspeed, lacks projection to change profile much; projects fringe-average hit utility; above-average raw, showed some pull-side power on pitch in the middle of the zone, swings with mild leverage, high leg kick for power, needs effort to produce pop, limits ability to square with consistency; projects to below-average game; timed 4.47, 4.50; average arm strength, stiff in the upper body, sails ball on throws to 2B, lack of accuracy limits natural arm ability; 2.05 pop up, fringe mover behind the plate, failed to keep balls in front, blocking doesnâ€™t look easy for him, has enough size to make up some for lack of side-to-side skills, still projects below-average behind the plate right now, projected improvement to fringe with maturity; potential backup catcher, likely up and down Triple-A backstop.
Zack Short, SS, Chicago Cubs (High-A Myrtle Beach)
Small build, solid athlete; mild load, little noise; below-average bat speed, contact ability negatively affected by high effort, lots of grounders, lunged at offspeed, below-average bat control; below-average raw, struggles getting loft, doesnâ€™t lift balls in the middle of the zone, flashed leverage and power on pull-side HR, not confident that he does much vs. higher-level stuff; 30 game power; timed 4.18; average arm strength, loose arm, normal mechanics, quick release, plays at SS; smooth fielder, makes plays to both sides and on the move, quick transfer, clean defensive actions, flashed glove skills on short hops, controls the infield; potential reserve SS; likely org infielder.
Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (short-season Vancouver)
The Blue Jays first-rounder (28th overall) throws gas. A pro-scout told me he was up routinely hitting 100 mph (t102!) in his two-inning stint against Hillsboro last week. More impressively, he was throwing strikes at that velo, and “there’s more in the tank there” if Pearson and the pro dev staff make minor tweaks, noted the scout. The secondaries are still a bit rough and there’s clear RP risk, but . . . 102 in the zone. One. Zero. Two.
DJ Neal, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (complex-level GCL)
Seen 6/28-6/29, 7/14, and 7/24. Large frame with a muscular, athletic body, high-waisted, former football player at South Carolina (WR), drafted in 2015 by Atlanta, mild projection remaining. Hits from a crouched stance, average hands, fringe-average bat speed, struggles recognizing spin, aggressive hitter, looks to hit fastballs, has present strength as well, might become too stiff, future 40 hitter. Has present strength and muscular build, can take a ball out pull-side but lacks loft and bat speed, could add, future 50 raw, plays down in game because of hit tool, 40 game. Plus runner right now, 4.22-4.26 H-1B, could be more 55 as he matures but is still a strong tool. Arm strength fringe-average, more a LF/CF arm. Raw outfield routes, did miss over a year playing, uses speed to help make up for mistakes, not sure about him in center, but could be an average left fielder. Intriguing athletic profile, lacked energy and motor at times, didn’t handle strikeouts well. See as an up down outfielder.
Richard Terrero, LHP, Detroit Tigers (complex-level GCL)
Seen in a five-inning start on 7/19. Signed for $15,000. While older, still lean and can add physicality to body. Pitches from a full windup, soft plunge arm action, above-average arm speed, high-three-quarters slot, lacks balance in delivery, first pro year, should improve over time. FB 86-90, good arm-side run, future average movement, can throw strikes but primarily to arm-side, was often over the plate, future above-average velocity. CH 82-83, has good feel for pitch, used often and even in fastball counts, has fade/run, chase pitch v RHH. Warmed up with a curve but was not used in game, warmups didn’t do much and was scrapped by the pitcher, will update if see a breaking ball. Interesting arm, still young and projectable, lack of spin hurts but has upper-level relief depth.
Angel Yepez, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Yepez is fresh out of extended and in his second go-around in full-season Low-A after a brief stint in 2016. The 22-year-old is short (~6-foot) with a sturdy lower-build. The body works, though, because of his athleticism and the over-the-top plane and angle he gets from his deceptive release point. Yepez has a confidence in his mechanics, as he starts open from the windup (1.94), then breaks into a leg kick before a tilt and pause to give deception. He syncs his upper and lower half well and is quick to the plate from the stretch. The FB (89-95) with has some late burst to it, as he worked east-west with it all night, not afraid to come in on the hands as he held it up to 92-95 through the fifth. In addition to the downhill plane he gets, the FB (solid-average command projection) has power sinking action to it with late tail. The short, slurvy offspeed (79-81) got Low-A hitters out front but does not project to miss bats as he climbs the minors. He also throws a changeup at 83-84 with a good ability to sync his arm action with it, boding well for its projection despite its current lack of necessary drop or fade and his tendency to leave it up. Yepez was competitive and leading with the fastball in this outing. The mechanics are really solid and the downhill he gets makes an otherwise tough profile a lot more interesting. Yepez should remain a starting pitching prospect because of his repeatable and deceptive mechanics, though a lack of development with the secondaries might necessitate a move to the bullpen, where the profile might stall out as he advances.
Mariners’ second-round pick in 2016; compact, stocky build with little projection left for growth; balanced stance, hands start high pre-load; has quiet swing which starts with minimal load and moderate leg kick, swing shows average bat speed with mild leverage, patient approach, will expand the zone low with offspeed pitches; potential for average power, primarily pull; should be able to stick at third base, average range, shows good hands and transfer; arm is above average, accurate and shows good carry; fringe average runner, 4.25 clock on home to first; if bat continues to develop, Rizzo profiles as a second-division regular
Gregory Soto, LHP, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan)
Signed out of the Dominican in 2015; thick lower half, physically mature; hands go over head in full windup with high leg kick, hands break deep into a 3/4 arm slot, above average arm speed, drops and drives hard off the rubber, mild effort, will get off balanced; FB sits 95-96 (t98), slight arm-side run, has life and explodes on hitters, lacks command but has velo to overpower; CB has 1-7 shape, sits 80-82, has some bite, still developing feel, potential for plus offering; SL 88-89, lacks command, inconsistent arm speed replication, lacks bite; currently stuff plays down due to lack of command, continued development should profile for late inning bullpen power arm.
Connor Wong, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes)
Athletic for a catcher, light on his feet; Quiet set up, toe-tap, mild load, average bat speed; decent bat-to-ball ability, fringe-average raw power to the pull side, solid discipline, showed good breaking-ball recognition; good blocker behind the plate, capable of moving side-to-side well, quiet receiver, worked well with his pitchers.Â
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