keyboard_arrow_uptop
2023 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards: Voting Open Now!
Image credit: © Ron Holman / Visalia Times-Delta / USA TODAY NETWORK

Norge Vera

Born: 06/01/2000 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 185
Mechanics
Statuesque XL frame, mostly filled out with very slight projection remaining. Archetypical pitcher’s body. Motion is languid, deliberate, methodical. Moderate leg kick, waits until last millisecond to unleash quick arm from high slot, almost directly over the top. Pitches well out of the stretch.
Evaluator Ben Spanier
Report Date 07/12/2022
Affiliate Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A, White Sox)
Dates Seen 6/9, 6/23, 7/8
OFP/Risk 55/High
MLB ETA 2024
Video No
Pitch Type Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 70 94-96 97 Excellent pitch even when cruising in mid-90s. Very lively, explodes out of the hand, natural run and cutting action, explodes out of the hand and creates “rising” illusion, deception in delivery allows all of this to play up. Control over command at present and lives up/middle, would get more swing/miss and called strikes with improved precision. Delivery is not an issue here, average to above future CMD not out of the question.
CV 55 79-84 11/5, sometimes 12/6. Gets great depth, at times late and sharp with tight spin but at times sluggish. Flashes plus but not consistently enough to confidently give future 6 grade. Low-80s velo allows it to play well against the fastball. Can locate down and gloveside for swing/miss.
CH 45 78-80 Good velocity separation, has some fade. Should be usable against lefties. Seldom used at present, might get to average if he features it more.
Overall
Positive and negative variance present here. Showed much better on third look than on first, and if curve is properly optimized he can be an SP3 or closer rather than the SP4/high-lev. relief type implied by OFP. Using changeup more often is a factor here, as well. It’s also possible command issues stagnate development and he doesn’t get there, but I see this as less likely.

Jordan Wicks

Born: 09/01/1999 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 0′ 0″ Weight:
Mechanics
Extra-large frame, stocky build, physically mature. Works out of a semi-windup, featuring a high 3/4 arm slot. Starts on the far 1B side of the rubber and has an easy, repeatable delivery. The crossfire action adds an element of deception but also causes trouble commanding well to the glove side.
Evaluator Nathan Graham
Report Date 07/20/2022
Affiliate South Bend Cubs (High A, Cubs)
Dates Seen 7/6/22
OFP/Risk 50/High
MLB ETA 2024
Video No
Pitch Type Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 50 92-93 95 Fastball sits in the average velocity band but plays slightly above due to the deception in the delivery. Struggles to locate the glove side but can generate swing and miss up in the zone.
Slider 50 81-82 82 Still a work in progress but the breaking ball shows promise of becoming an average major league offering. Manipulates the shape, using primarily a cutter type to avoid barrels but will mix in one with more 1-7 shape. Did not generate much swing and miss in my look, was used to steal strikes. Should become more of a weapon as he gains feel.
Changeup 60 80-81 81 Not the elite offering that was rumored during the draft but still is his best pitch in the repertoire. Excellent arm replication and velocity separation with some fade. Confident and will throw it at any count generating awkward swings.
Overall
A first-round college sign from 2021, Wicks’s professional performance has been solid but not as strong as expected from a high draft selection. He does, however, have three future major league offerings giving him a floor of a back-end starter. There’s a chance for some positive variance if the breaking stuff develops better than expected.

Vaun Brown

Born: 06/23/1998 (Age: 24)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 1″ Weight: 190
Primary Position: LF
Secondary Position: CF
Physical/Health
Strong lower half, muscular presence but remains athletic, mostly filled out, not much projection if any
Evaluator
Eli Walsh
Report Date 07/10/2022
Dates Seen 4/9/22, 5/15/22, 6/4/22
Affiliate San Jose Giants (Low A, Giants)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Video
Late 2023/ Very high 55 No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Old-school stance, slightly open and upright with slightly bent knees and a bit of a hunch. Load is small and hands are short to the ball. Sprays it from line to line, shows good feel for going the other way. Takes his share of walks but won’t appear on any rate leaderboards. Can be a little rigid at times and can get beat by good velocity, particularly high.
Power 55 Power is mostly to pull side, but loud contact is frequent. Punishes mistakes in any count. Uses legs well to get behind and drive the ball. Probably closer to a 20-homer bat than a 30-homer bat at peak with a whole lot of doubles.
Baserunning/Speed 60 Easy above-average speed and fast for his size. Threat to steal 25-30 bases with high-efficiency. High motor and turns singles into doubles when fielders get lazy.
Glove 50 Quality corner outfielder who is stretched a little in center. Shows good range thanks to his above-average speed and takes smart routes. Unlikely to ever be best center fielder on a roster.
Arm 50 Strong but unspectacular. Slightly better fit in left but will work in either corner.
Overall
One of the biggest pop-up bats in the system. Well-rounded corner outfielder, ideal as a lineup sparkplug with pop or just below the middle of the order. Even with performance considered, variance is higher than usual based on lack of track record, D-II pedigree, unsustainably high BABIPs. TBD on how he’ll adjust in a slump. Old for his level, but also likely to move fast.

Diego Cartaya

Born: 09/07/2001 (Age: 20)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 3″ Weight: 219
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Extra-Large frame, physical and strong with a thick lower half; Mild projectable growth remaining.
Evaluator
Nathan Graham
Report Date 07/20/2022
Dates Seen Multiple June 2022
Affiliate Great Lakes Loons (High A, Dodgers)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Video
2024 High 60 No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Currently operates out of an upright, balanced, slightly open stance. The swing is quiet and features a mild load and leg kick. Has a feel for the barrel and makes plenty of hard contact with above-average bat speed and leveraged bat path. Length in the swing will create some swing-and-miss but he controls the zone well for a young player.
Power 70 Easy double-plus raw generated by above-average bat speed and physical strength. Ball jumps off the bat with his natural loft in the swing. A solid approach at the plate keeps the power playing in-game. Most of the current pop goes pull side but with more reps he’ll learn to use the entire field.
Baserunning/Speed 30 Current below average foot speed and slow to accelerate. He will slow down even more as he matures becoming a base clogger.
Glove 50 Despite his lack of speed, Cartaya does show the ability to become a legitimate backstop. He’s agile and shows an ability to block balls in the dirt. Continues to improve his receiving skills and game-calling ability.
Arm 60 Plus arm strength and he displays good carry and accuracy. Quick transfers make him tough to steal on.
Overall
Cartaya’s still pretty raw, especially behind the plate, but if it all comes together there is a chance he becomes an All-Star behind the plate. The power’s the carrying tool, his strength and bat speed make for easy pop to all fields. He’s made strides behind the plate but it’s still not a lock he sticks as a backstop. If he does slide down the defensive spectrum, the bat will be strong enough to handle the move.

Wenceel Perez

Born: 10/30/1999 (Age: 22)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 203
Primary Position: 2B
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Extra-Large frame, athletic, physically mature.
Evaluator
Nathan Graham
Report Date 08/01/2022
Dates Seen Multiple 2019, 2021, 2022
Affiliate West Michigan Whitecaps (High A, Tigers)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Video
2023 High 40 No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Perez has made significant mechanical changes since my first looks in 2019. He’s closed the stance, removed much of the pre-swing noise, and incorporates his lower half much more efficiently. He’s a competent switch hitter, showing solid bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate. The approach has improved greatly since his first season at West Michigan. He looks for pitches to drive now instead of the weak ground balls that plagued him early in his career. Spin recognition, once a weakness, has improved and he now shows the ability to jump on off-speed that gets too much of the plate.
Power 50 Good weight was added during the offseason as he added muscle and became a more physical player. The swing is still geared more for contact and lacks leverage but the physical strength and plus bat speed will produce plenty of doubles and an average amount of home runs.
Baserunning/Speed 50 Slightly above-average foot speed, 4.16 clock home to first from the left side. Quick to accelerate, he’ll steal the occasional base. Should settle in at average speed as he ages.
Glove 50 Lacks the range for shortstop but shows solid instincts in the field. Soft hands and quick transfers will make him a slightly above average defender at second base.
Arm 40 Lacks the arm strength for the left side of the diamond, which will limit him to second base.
Overall
Perez came into West Michigan as a hyped prospect but quickly looked overmatched. Velocity would knock the bat out of his hands and he was often fooled by mediocre off-speed. He’s come back this year in much better shape and actually looks like he has a game plan when he comes to bat now. He’s hitting hard line drives to all fields now and shows the ability to adjust at the plate. The defensive liabilities will limit his ceiling but his offense should get him some major league at-bats in the future.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe