More Midwest League Prospect Updates

If you hadn’t guessed from my first piece on Midwest League prospects, the league is simply loaded with talent. Taking that statement one step further, few would argue it was the best prospect league in all of minor league baseball at present. In this installment, seven more prospects ranging from the relative unknowns to household names (if there is such a thing when it comes to prospects).

On Miguel Sano: The power/arm are both 70 tools and profile as elite. And while the power is not in question, Sano’s ultimate value will be closely tied to his hit tool and fielding ability which are both a bit up in the air at this point. The swing-and-miss in Sano’s game can’t be denied and if he winds up a .250 hitting defensive liability, how much value does he lose? As for Sano’s defense, the question posed was not if, but when he shifts to right field and whether or not he can play there. The contact was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to arm strength, but it may not play out that way in the end.

Speaking of defense: Sano’s teammate Eddie Rosario appears like a position switch paying early dividends as he’s a bit rough around the edges, but projects to stick up the middle. While pretty strong to his left, Rosario struggles to his back hand side which is completely understandable for a new convert. Rosario also presented with an impressive hit tool and surprising pop for a player his size causing the contact to project 15 home run potential at the big league level.

On another third base prospect: Angels Kaleb Cowart has the defensive ability to stick at third base. It might not be plus defense, but he was better at the hot corner than this contact anticipated. However, the arm strength wasn’t quite up to elite status although above average is certainly nothing to sneeze at. On offense, Cowart presents as somewhat typical at the position with above average power potential and some ability to hit for average. In left field, that package is not so sexy. At third base, it’s strong.

Speaking of sexy: Padres prospect Joe Ross‘ velocity can be categorized as such. Unfortunately, it’s flat as a pancake and isn’t fooling hitters at the Single-A level. Add to this rudimentary secondary offerings and what’s left is a major project. Of course any organization would love the opportunity to take a chance on an arm like that, but Ross was more of a wild card then the contact was expecting.

More wild cards: The Cleveland Indians boast a couple of well regarded international arms in right-hander Felix Sterling and lefty Elvis Araujo. Like Ross, both were unpolished and lacked secondary offerings. However, Ross threw harder than either Indians farmhand and the contact came away a bit disappointed with the Lake County staff on the whole.

Any other arms worth discussing?: In spite of solid numbers from a teenager in full season baseball, Cardinals pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins has been wildly inconsistent. From showing completely different mechanics in the bullpen and game action to a fastball/curveball combination which presents are above average or plus to just so-so, he’s experiencing more growing pains than the profile page would indicate. Comping Jenkins to James McDonald is a compliment as the Pirates pitcher may be in the midst of a breakout season. But that praise does not come without the understanding it took McDonald quite awhile to surface for good.

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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.

18 Responses to “More Midwest League Prospect Updates”

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  1. AL Eastbound says:

    Keep up the great work Mike.

    Rosario has played CF and 2B, where is he most comfortable and where do the Twins envision him playing long term? Could he be a Howie Kendrick type?

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    • Twinstalker says:

      Without any inside knowledge, I think I can answer this question. Rosario or anyone is going to feel more comfortable in CF. It’s a comfortable position, moreso than any other, I’d surmise, though the ability to play a good one is generally the overriding factor. If the Twins didn’t plan on Rosario playing 2B, they wouldn’t have him there now. Switching him back to the OF is, of course, always an option if he doesn’t pan out at 2B. His tools are somewhat different from Kendrick wrt power (somewhat less) and reflected in walk rate (more) and k rate (less). I think he might have more speed, ultimately. I wouldn’t be shocked if he beats Sano to the bigs, as Sano stands a good chance at stumbling at one of the next levels. I think Rosario rips right through the system as fast any Twin’s fasttrack, which admittedly is usually slower than other teams’. That may speed up due to dearth of talent in the system, though.

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      • Mike Newman says:

        Twins is right, but it can be made even more simple. Hicks is a prospect, albeit a struggling one, in AA. Rosario was shifted to 2B to maximize his bat. If things work out, it’s a win-win for the org.

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  2. Master Shake says:

    I normally not such a cynic, but Joe Ross is/was pitching pretty damn well in the MWL before he went on the DL. He’s got a 27/11 K/BB ratio in 27.1 IP and 49% GB rate, which are very good, especially for a guy who just turned 19 pitching in A ball straight out of high school. Tell your contact to look at things other than ERA and WHIP…. it’s A ball…. next to irrelevant at that level.

    He’s striking people out, limiting walks, and getting ground balls. He’s well-ahead of the development path people had him pegged for when he was drafted.

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    • Mike Newman says:


      In one sense you are saying stats don’t matter… In another, you are using stats like they matter. Which one is it?

      My contact was in attendance for a Ross start and provided me his insight from a first hand look. In no way is any of the information provided stat driven.

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      • Master Shake says:

        I didn’t say stats don’t matter, I said ERA and WHIP don’t matter, especially at that level. Statistically speaking, the best way to evaluate talent is with the metrics I referred to. Wasn’t trying to put words in anyone’s mouth with my comment about the contact.

        Knowing that this information came from just one start is disconcerting… from the context of your blurb, one can only assume that Ross has been a disappointment, which was the basis of my argument.

        Does your contact have any plans to see Ross pitch when he comes off the DL?

        Wasn’t trying to be argumentative if that came off that way. I’ve read every one of these prospect articles you’ve written and enjoyed them all.

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      • Mike Newman says:

        Master Shake,

        No worries, disagreement is part of the process. I’d be awfully bored if everybody just posted that they agreed with everything.

        A couple of things…

        First, as for the “disconcerting” comment, one of the major misunderstandings of scouting on the whole is that scouts will follow a guy like Joe Ross around and see him every 5th day over the course of a month. In many cases, a scout will submit a report – especially on a pitcher – after only one look because the pitcher throws every 5th day.

        Over the course of a season, there are simply too many teams/players to see to have an expectation that a single scout will see pitching prospects more than once. It’s simply an unfair expectation. This is why an organization will compile single or multiple looks from a handful of scouts, have a cross-checker or similar review all of the reports and work them into some sort of consensus organizational opinion.

        As for Ross, the best scouts I know spend quite a bit of time breaking down peripherals in an attempt to explain what was seen in person. Since you are familiar with my work, I will reference numbers to help explain a particular player’s strengths or weaknesses. Now there may be some scouts who reference ERA/WHIP when evaluating a player, but I sure as heck do not know any.

        A prospect can both strike guys out and be flat and hittable – especially at the lower levels when hitting prospects are scarce and velocity can overwhelm an opponent. A big, flat fastball would lead to both strikeouts and far too many hits and Ross is sitting on about a K per inning AND a BABIP of .365. From a numbers standpoint, Ross fits the first hand scouting observations I received.

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      • Master Shake says:

        Very good points, Mike. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

        It is a big relief that you don’t know of any scouts that use ERA or WHIP.

        I just felt that the contact was jumping to conclusions after one start, but as you stated, that’s his job.

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  3. Wobatus says:

    Master Shake, not sure if Mike is getting his info from a contact on Ross, but he certainly doesn’t mention era or whip in the piece. Pure scouting commentary.

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    • Master Shake says:

      Re-read the piece on Ross…

      Ross’ fastball IS fooling hitters, and his rudimentary secondary offerings are to be expected since, as I stated, he just turned 19 and is more than holding his own in the MWL. Not everyone is Dylan Bundy. The fact that he’s striking out a batter per inning with rudimentary secondary offerings tells me that his fastball is fine.

      Obviously, Ross is extremely raw and his placement in A ball was very aggressive for him, but telling me his secondary offerings are raw tells people nothing they didn’t already know. I was mainly arguing the comment that he wasn’t fooling hitters, because he is. Ross’ progress shows me that he’s less of a major project than he was. I hope for Mike’s sake that his contact is looking a bit deeper than it appears.

      I’m not even a huge Joe Ross supporter, but IMO this scouting report is way, way off base.

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      • wobatus says:

        He is getting Ks, and has a lowish tip. Hulet’s SD top 15 mentions 3 possible plus pitches and an advanced feel for pitching, so maybe there are different takes on him. Again, not sure if this is Mike’s own report or based on some other observer he spoke to, but with respect to Ross he doesn’t mention a contact specifically, unless I missed something.

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      • Master Shake says:

        “more of a wild card then the contact was expecting.”

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      • Wobatus says:

        My bad, MS, missed that somehow.

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  4. Wedernoch says:

    I got to watch Cowart up in Cedar Rapids for the Memorial Day game yesterday, and he looked good at the plate. 3-3 with a walk, first pulling one down the 3rd base line, then poking one the opposite way into shallow right before he sent one right back up the middle in his last AB. He didn’t seem as defensively adept, but it was neat to watch him hit.

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  5. Chris Blessing says:

    It might be worth the 3 and a half hour trip to Bowling Green to check some of these kids out.

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  6. Jim says:

    What’s the deal with Tyrell Jenkins? He started off really well and his last two outings have been pretty bad. I understood the mechanical issues, but is his velo down and cb not sharp or what? I also read before the season that he had a decent change, has he not shown it?

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  7. FantasyNomad says:

    Mike am I missing something or has there not been a chat for a while? Good stuff as usual, and I was glad to see Kaleb Cowart discussed as I got him as a throw in in a couple off-season Fantasy trades. Also, do you have any insight on Yankees pitching prospect Bryan Mitchell who has been able to strike out batters at a high clip this season and in short-season last year?

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