Mesa Solar Sox – Cubs, Tigers, Astros, A’s, Nationals

The Guys You Know
Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (#4 Midseason Top 50) – Eyewitness
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros (#14 Midseason Top 50) – Eyewitness

The Guys You Don’t
Pedro Araujo, RHP, Chicago Cubs

A potential middle reliever because of a 91-92 FB along with a tumbling change, and average slider. However, the delivery is violent and the arm action is funky, which makes it difficult for his stuff to play to its competent major-league level action. —Greg Goldstein

Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Detroit Tigers
Making his second consecutive appearance in the Fall League, Turnbull is making up for lost development time as he missed a month due to injury. —Javier Barragan

Kyle McGowin, RHP, Washington Nationals
The “prospect” received in the Danny Espinosa deal pitched to over a 6 ERA at both Double-A and Triple-A. The Nats sent some really funny pitching names here, as you’ll see. —Jarrett Seidler

Jake Stinnett, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Gets a shoutout from me for being a Terp! The power stuff has always been intriguing, but health has been a major issue. Hopefully this fall ball stint helps him build some confidence. —Greg Goldstein

Austen Williams, RHP, Washington Nationals
Williams destroyed the low-minors as an advanced college arm a few years ago, but he’s an advanced college arm with nothing above-average. You can probably guess how he’s fared in the high-minors. —JS

Ian Rice, C, Chicago Cubs
A former 29th-round pick out of Houston, Rice has sneaky power and a solid approach at the plate. Solid but unspectacular behind the dish, his athleticism should allow him to stay at catcher. —Nathan Graham

Dakota Bacus, RHP, Washington Nationals
He finally conquered Double-A. At age 26. In his third attempt. As a reliever. After starting the year in High-A. When your favorite hitting prospect puts up video game numbers, a combination of the environment and how teams like the Nats fill out their rosters is why. —JS

Riley Ferrell, RHP, Houston Astros
A pure relief prospect, Ferrell throws his fastball in the mid-90s and misses bats with a sharp slider that features impressive bite. He is always around the zone but is more hittable than his stuff indicates due to bouts of command woes. —Craig Goldstein

Jimmy Cordero, RHP, Washington Nationals
Once the owner of a 103 MPH fastball and the key component of one of the Ben Revere trades when Ben Revere was good, Cordero’s had all kinds of arm problems in the last few years. He’s been DFA’d twice in the last year and put up a 6.84 ERA and 40/38 K/BB ratio in Double-A this year. It could be ugly. —JS

Dean Deetz, RHP, Houston Astros
Deetz has a nasty arsenal, with both a fastball and slider that’ll flash at least plus and a change that’s not far behind in ceiling terms. But his tenuous command blew up at Triple A, and it remains to be seen if he can harness the fire-emoji stuff consistently enough to compete with the best hitters in the world. —Wilson Karaman

Brendan McCurry, RHP, Houston Astros
If you factor in the two or three distinct arm slots from which he’ll work on the regular, McCurry’s got about eight different pitches to attack hitters. The ones at Triple-A weren’t quite as impressed, but he still held his own at Fresno despite giving up more hits than he’d been touched for previously. There’s semi-interesting middle-man potential here if he can make some adjustments next year. —WK

Nick Tanielu, 2B, Houston Astros (Eyewitness)
I dug Tanielu at Lancaster last year, but then after a tough adjustment to Double-A he went and blew out his knee in the off-season, missing basically all of 2017. At his healthy best, the former 14th-rounder shows solid contact skills, fringe-average pop, and some defensive versatility around the dirt. —WK

Nolan Blackwood, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Zac Houston, RHP, Detroit Tigers
Alec Mills, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Eyewitness)
Zac Reininger, RHP, Detroit Tigers
Miguel Romero, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Framber Valdez, LHP, Houston Astros
Jason Vosler, 3B, Chicago Cubs
David Bote, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Kody Eaves, INF, Detroit Tigers
Charcer Burks, OF, Chicago Cubs
Tyler Ramirez, OF, Oakland Athletics
AJ Simcox, SS, Detroit Tigers

The Guys You Will
Norge Ruiz, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Oakland put $2 million into the 23-year-old Cuban’s pocket last December, an investment in his polish and feel for deploying a kitchen-sink arsenal. His groundball-inducing sinker was as advertised after a stateside debut in Stockton, but the command was a bit on the wonky side, leading to decent contact and more walks than you’d like to see from a guy more dependent on guile than gas. His season ended prematurely with an elbow-related trip to the DL in the second half of August, but the injury presumably wasn’t serious given his intent to lace ‘em up in the desert. —WK

Logan Shore, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Shore could run a compelling campaign for president of the “polished college arm” society; Florida’s Friday night starter over A.J. Puk in college, Shore went in the second round last year on the back of his advanced command and pitchability profile. The fastball can play above its pedestrian gun readings on account of both strong command and the ever-present threat of his strong changeup. He missed about six weeks with a strained lat this summer, so will look to make up for lost reps in Arizona. —WK

Sean Murphy, C, Oakland Athletics
Murphy shows most of what you want in a starting catcher, at least on the defensive side of the ball. The ‘16 third-rounder moves well behind the dish, showing pretty advanced blocking technique and a strong glove hand around the margins of the zone. His pops are fluid, and his right arm shoots laser beams down to second. At the plate it’s more of a strength swing, but he’s got some pop and an idea about what pitches to attack. —WK

Cam Gibson, OF, Detroit Tigers
I first caught Gibson in a series against the Jupiter Hammerheads late June-early July, where he showed me a 30 hit, 20 power bat, as a speedy left fielder with a dinky arm. He looked like an org guy, at best a bench reserve option since he showed very usable speed. Then, as I am writing this blurb, I looked at his season stats, and I saw something else: an ISO of .198, a walk rate north of 10 and strikeout rate of 19.08. A completely different guy. I still think he is more of an org guy, but there might be second-division regular potential as a speedy center fielder who swipes bags, and is a below-average hitter with a solid ISO. Anyways, Gibson is a fringe guy to look out for. —JB

Taylor Gushue, C, Washington Nationals
Mostly playing in High-A this season Gushue showed enough arm and glove skills to be a potential average catcher at maturity. The 23-year-old (24 in December) is more power than hit as he uses some noise to get better leverage on his swing. There’s considerable strikeout potential vs. better stuff because he doesn’t try to shorten his swing with two strikes. But he’s got above-average raw power and mid-teen home run numbers are not out of the question given his natural strength at a solid 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. I don’t see him as a role 5, but the power and continued development defensively will make him a solid backup down the road. —GG

Jake Rogers, C, Detroit Tigers
The profile hasn’t shifted much since he was traded in late August. Here’s what we wrote then:
“Rogers, the Astros' third-round pick in last year’s draft, is a sure shot backstop with plus defensive tools. He’ll show plus raw power on the offensive side, but it comes with questions about how much his below-average hit tool will allow it to play. Rogers profiles best as a major-league backup catcher, and he's a reasonably safe bet to get there. But there’s a chance for more if his advanced approach allows the power to continue to get into games at higher levels.” —Jeffrey Paternostro

Yordan Alvarez, 1B, Houston Astros
Signed for $2 million by the Dodgers, Alvarez ended up in Houston’s system as compensation for Josh Fields. He’s limited to first base defensively and while there’s enough raw power, he has had some trouble tapping into it in-game. That wasn’t at all the case in Quad Cities, where he laid waste to the Midwest League at just 20 years old, but he struggled to hit for power upon his promotion to High-A. He doesn’t struggle to hit for average though, and that’s a good foundation to build on. He’s got a quick bat, and already shows the ability to identify pitches. If he can add good weight to his frame (there’s a good chance), he’ll grow into a bit more power. It’s always tough to climb the prospect ladder at first base, but Alvarez has the offensive upside to justify keeping an eye on him. —CG

Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B, Washington Nationals|
Another player making up for lost developmental time, Gutierrez, newly 23, plays solid defense at the hot-corner, still showing the range needed in his days at short. With a big frame at 6-foot-3, 190ish pounds, more power may come with a refined approach, though tough to bank on since he has hit only seven dingers over 358 career games.

Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Oakland Athletics (Eyewitness)
I got a chance to Neuse in Low-A back in June/July, but it’s what he did after he was dealt to the Athletics in the Doolittle/Madson trade that likely turned some heads. The 2016 second-round pick hit .386 and .373 in High-A and Double-A respectively, mashing a combined 16 home runs in 2017. Whenever I caught Neuse in the South Atlantic League, it always looked like he should’ve been playing at a level higher. He’s fits the part as a fast-moving college position prospect because of his strength, advanced bat speed, and lack of projectability. The infielder can hit for both contact and power, showing strong hands to pull and an ability to work the opposite field as well. He’s not a flashy prospect because the swing is a bit stiff and he’s just not overly loose in the box. However, Neuse is a sneaky athlete who actually played shortstop for a majority of his time with the Nationals. He lacks the twitchiness and movement skills to stick there, but his rocket of an arm fits great as an everyday third baseman. He’s nothing flashy, but he’s got the strength and barrel control to hold his own vs. higher level pitching, likely finding his way to everyday playing time when he does reach the majors. —GG

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Astros worked Alvarez a bit in left field last year after he got to Buies Creek, but I didn’t read any reports of his work there....would really expand his prospect cred if he could play a passable LF. Which leads to a question: how much influence can an organization exert on how and where their players are used on “shared” teams such as those in the AFL ? Is is discussed before the teams are selected ? Worked out on the fly ?