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.