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Peoria Javelinas – Braves, Red Sox, Padres, Mariners, Blue Jays

The Guys You Know
Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves (
No. 11 – midseason)
Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners (
No. 70 – Top 101)
Henry Owens (no particular reason)
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves (pitched in MLB)

The Guys You Don’t
Ty Buttrey, RHP, Boston Red Sox

An over-slot fourth-rounder from 2012, Buttrey has already drifted from the rotation to the bullpen when he stalled out in Double-A due to command problems. You can probably already guess that he throws in the mid-to-high-90s with a slider. The command still needs to tighten up if he’s going to have a real MLB future, but the arm is live. —Jarrett Seidler

Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres (Eyewitness)
Gone are the days when Guerra earned the benefit of the doubt in the box, as the raw ingredients he once flashed in his swing continued to resist coalescing into any semblance of hit tool utility. He’ll still make the occasional outstanding play at short when he puts forth the effort, but the consistency of that effort hasn’t been there over the past couple seasons, and he looks more the part of org depth than the 50 ceiling his tools once upon a time suggested. – Wilson Karaman

Corbin Clouse, LHP, Atlanta Braves
A 2016 draftee, Clouse showed some promise in his first full season as a pro. He throws a sinker at 91-92 with good run and a potentially plus slider with sharp, late break at its best. He also will use a changeup that has been an improving pitch this season. Right now, he has a good bit of work to do to repeat his delivery and sharpen his command. The stuff suggests a future major league arm, but there is work to do to get there. —Scott Delp

Jared James, OF, Atlanta Braves
Another 2016 Braves’ draftee, James is somewhat intriguing. He was pushed aggressively by the Braves to Double-A in 2017, completely skipping High-A. After an adjustment period to start the season, James finished strong. He hit over .320 from June 1st through the end of the season. He is limited to an outfield corner and likely does not have the arm to play right. He may never develop the power necessary to carry his profile and he will be 24 by the start of 2018, but he has shown an ability to adjust so he bears watching. —SD

Chad De La Guerra, 2B, Boston Red Sox
De la Guerra had a good offensive season between High-A and Double-A led by strong on-base skills. There is also a bit of pop here, but the near-25 year old is limited defensively which hurts his chances for a future bench role. —John Eshleman

Jackson McClelland, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
A 15th-rounder in 2015, McClelland takes advantage of his 6-foot-5 frame by throwing from a high slot that results a lot of grounders. He throws his heater about 75 percent of the time, and with its plus velocity and ground-ball inducing ways, it is a tough pitch to square. The rest of the arsenal lags behind, leaving his upside limited. —Steve Givarz

Daniel Young, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
A clever, side-arming lefty, Young doesn’t really survive on velocity as much as he does location and guile. The velocity is middling at best, but he can spot it, sink it, and get grounders. Every team needs lefties like this in the organization, but he lacks upside. —SG

Joshua Tobias, 2B, Boston Red Sox
A second-base senior sign of the Phillies, who then headed up the I-95 corridor in the Clay Buchholz deal, Tobias has been old for every pro level he’s played at, doesn’t have enough power to start at the keystone, and can’t really stand anywhere else. What he can do is hit. The swing is unorthodox, featuring a wide open stance and a big leg kick, but he makes it works, spraying line drives all over the park. He’s going to have to continue to prove that he hit tool is real at every level, but the friendly confines of the Arizona Fall League shouldn’t offer much resistance. —Jeffrey Paternostro

Jerry Keel, RHP, San Diego Padres
Andrew Case, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Darin Gillies, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Josh Graham, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Andrew Munoz, RHP, San Diego Padres
Bobby Poyner, LHP, Boston Red Sox
T.J. Weir, RHP, San Diego Padres
Joe DeCarlo, C, Seattle Mariners
Javier Hernandez, C, Toronto Blue Jays

The Guys You Will
Matthew Festa, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Shout out to East Stroudsburg University, which produced this Staten Islander in the seventh round last year. Festa’s a big, strong right-hander with a riding fastball up to 95, and he’s the rare bird reliever with both a high-80s slider and a low-80s curveball that he’ll turn to in different situations. Here he is getting all the way up in Brendan Rodgers’ kitchen with a moving 94 during the Cal League championship. He’ll hit Double A next season, and a good few months would put him near the top of the line for a bullpen audition. —WK

Art Warren, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Warren closed out the games Festa didn’t for Cal League champion Modesto this year—they racked up a similar volume of Saves – and had both the higher ceiling and more variable present between the two. His fastball wandered between 91 and 96 in my look, with great finish and the ability to miss bats in the zone when he got downhill with it. I have reports of him up to 98. A two-plane slider was similarly variable, coming in 83-88 with some tilt when he stayed off the side of it. It’s even money that either he or Festa will log bullpen innings for the Mariners next summer. —WK

David Bednar, RHP, San Diego Padres
Another eastern Pennsylvania college reliever, Bednar snuck in the back door as a 35th rounder, and pitched well across two A-ball stops for the Padres. I wrote him up in a “Notes” piece here. —WK

Eric Filia, IF/OF, Seattle Mariners
Filia has primarily been a corner outfielder in his career to date, but he’s apparently going to Arizona to add to the 12 reps he saw at first base this season. He’s not a great defensive outfielder, though he’s max effort and does have some athleticism and speed; versatility is his best bet, though, and he has the physicality to offer reasonable 1B/RF/LF utility. He was the best pure hitter in the Cal League this year. —WK

Josh Naylor, 1B/DH, San Diego Padres
Naylor looked really bad at the end of the first half, then struggled after a borderline-deserved promotion to Double-A. He’s got very good bat speed and the good kind of controlled violence in his swing, but the body’s already a problem, he’s not a very selective hitter, and the swing plane’s flatter than ideal for a slugging first baseman. The defense alright—he moves well, if slowly, and his footwork improved this year—but he’s going to have to hit. —WK

Luis Urias, 2B/SS, San Diego Padres (Eyewitness)
Urias is one of the best pure hitters in the minors, and he showed it this year by getting on base at a near-.400 clip as one of the youngest regulars in Double-A. He faced a prolonged adjustment period, to be sure, but it was an impressive effort all the same. He’s worked his way into a position where he can probably play second-division short, and he can be a solid-average glove at the keystone. There’s even a tiny little sliver of nascent power in there that’ll come out eventually. Even if it doesn’t, his floor probably looks something like Marco Scutaro. —WK

Braden Bishop, CF, Seattle Mariners
I wrote about Bishop a couple times this year, most recently about his defense, and prior to that I touched on his offensive game. He’ll get some opportunities, given the defensive prowess up the middle and signs of some paths to value underneath it. —WK

Franmil Reyes, OF, San Diego Padres (Eyewitness)
Reyes is a large man with power to match. He posted a solid season at Double-A this year, and that surprised me. The power’s the obvious calling card, but he moves decently for a big fella, and has thus far managed to remain in right, where he can by a fringe-average defender, at least in the early stages of a big-league career. —WK

Walker Lockett, RHP, San Diego Padres
Lockett’s got your standard back-end kit of pitching tools: a low-90s sinker that he commands pretty well, a couple secondaries he can sequence and execute with, a nice frame, and a pretty clean delivery. He had some shoulder woes earlier in life, and missed time this season with a strained lower back—he’s headed to the desert to make up some lost reps. So there’s some risk here. But if he can stay healthy he can start some big-league games some day. —WK

Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Eyewitness)
Under a different set of circumstances or maybe in a different system, Riley might be more highly regarded. Drafted out of high school as a toolsy project, Riley has moved all the way to Double-A in just his second full pro season. The question marks about his defense and his K rate both seem to be clearing up somewhat as he gains experience. He is now at least average defensively and shows softer hands and smoother actions than he did when first drafted. The easy plus raw power is still there and he is making adjustments to get to it more often in games. As a 20-year-old in Double-A, Riley was able to maintain generally consistent rates of both walks and strikeouts. Riley has already made adjustments to get his bat more directly to inside velocity. He still needs work on his timing and balance, but may very soon force evaluators to make room for him closer to the top of the Braves’ prospect lists. —SD

Max Povse, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Acquired from the Braves for Alex Jackson in the offseason, Povse immediately jumped into the upper tier of Mariners prospects. Damning with faint praise, perhaps. His transition to a new org wasn’t particularly smooth, struggling especially on his promotion to Triple-A (and a brief debut in the majors). It’s a small sample, but the concerns are real as Povse doesn’t overpower hitters. Rather, he pounds the zone with average stuff across the board, save for a changeup that flashes plus. That’s a profile that succeeds in the lower minors, but can get hammered at the upper levels. It’s not time to throw in the towel or anything, but Povse will likely be under the microscope against the advanced prospects in the AFL. —Craig Goldstein

T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays first-rounder in 2016, Zeuch heads out to the desert to regain lost innings due to injury. Zuech only accumulated 65 innings this year after dealing with various injuries. At his best, Zeuch is a strike-thrower (a surprising fact at 6-foot-7) who can use his plus heater to do all the work needed. What’s special about Zeuch is that his fastball is also a worm-killer, inducing ground-balls at a 64-percent clip in High-A this season. His best off-speed pitch is his curve, with hard, downer action and good depth that can be a swing and miss pitch at times. The rest of the arsenal is inconsistent, so look for Zeuch to work on all of the above in Arizona. —SG

Lourdes Gurriel, INF, Toronto Blue Jays
I really didn’t know what to do with Gurriel in my viewings. How much do I attribute to being away from the game? If he looks fooled do I write it up as “he’s been gone from the game for a long time, let’s get him some more at-bats” or as “does he struggle recognizing this pitch? Does he have bat speed to catch up?” I know what the Blue Jays signed him for. I know about his brother. Neither of which I like to use as reasonings for my reports but maybe I just did see him as a raw player getting back into things. —SG

Max Pentecost, C, Toronto Blue Jays
“Is Pentecost healthy?” will always be the million-dollar question. There is no question of his offensive ability, but it has become more and more about when he will play. He has premium bat speed, quick, strong wrists, and the ability to barrel up whatever is thrown at him. In my looks this year I rarely saw him get fooled; he had an approach and a plan every time and seemed to execute. While I know he can hit, where will he play? Pentecost DHed almost 45 percent of the time this season, and caught in only 19 games this season. His right arm, lost to many surgeries and time was fringe-average and seems to be a first-base only player now. If healthy, there might not be a player with as much offensive upside as Pentecost. IF. —SG

Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Eyewitness)
I really like Chavis’ bat and am excited to see how he fares against AFL pitching. His power numbers increased in 2017, and I am bullish on his ability to convert raw to game power. He is short to the ball with good bat speed, but there is more line drive here than traditional power. It will play at third base regardless, and I like Chavis’ chances to stick as an average regular at the position, led by the hit/power combo. —JE

Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Toussaint probably belongs in The Guys You Know based on how long he’s been a name prospect, and he is finally starting to live up to the billing. As, I noted in the Weekly Wrap when he was promoted “his fastball is 92-96 with sinking action. He also throws a changeup at 83-87 with a bit of fade and good bottom, and his best offspeed is a curveball that shows 11-6 break at 73-76 mph with big depth. Touki has gotten real hot of late, not walking a batter in his last 13 innings striking out 19, albeit against two weak High-A lineups.” I should add he worked from a stretch-only delivery, which might have helped his control—at least prior to the promotion. Speaking of control, it severely limits his potential to start, and would need to improve from the 10.04 walk percentage he turned in this season between High-A and Double-A. Lets start with repeating our arm slot, rhythm and delivery. We don’t want the 26.2 SO rate to go to waste now, do we? —Javier Barragan

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jssharo
10/04
A bit frivolous here, but as for Touki Toussaint being memorable because he has been a prospect forever, I had always remembered him because he had such a distinctive and frankly cool name. As opposed to the seemingly endless parade of Austins and Rileys and Kyles.
sdsuphilip
10/04
Where is said link to the worst WK eval? Cause I think the franmil eval is far from nuts
TheArtfulDodger
10/04
Wilson can obviously answer for himself, but it might have been his optimism on Guerra. That was my interpretation, at least.