Today at the Prospect Stock Watch we review two underrated prospects and an outfielder that has all but sewn up a starting gig for 2017 (which might begin as soon as this September).
Manny Margot | OF | Padres
One of the top prospect targets during the Padres’ great dismantling in the winter of 2015-16, Margot has had a consistent first year with his new organization. The former Red Sox outfield prospect received an aggressive assignment to triple-A in 2016 despite having played just 64 games at double-A in ’15 (with a modest .745 OPS). He’s struck out just 44 times in 104 games this season and has shown his good speed by swiping 25 bases (in 36 tries). He has yet to tap into his raw power on a consistent basis but he’s flashed solid gap pop. The Padres’ outfield is a wasteland of no-name outfielders but look for that to change with the promotion of this 21 year old (and eventually Hunter Renfroe). Look for Margot to earn a September call-up and assume a starting position at the beginning of 2017.
Jake Bauers | 1B | Rays
Value: Rising (Underrated)
The Rays have three first base prospects at the double-A level or higher: Richie Shaffer, Casey Gillaspie, and Bauers. Of the three, Mr. Bauers is the most well rounded and the most likely to be an average or better big league hitter. He’s spent all of 2016 season in double-A and he’s hit well — especially for a 20 year old. He has a chance to hit for both average and power as a big leaguer, and his willingness to take a walk could give him an elite on-base skill set. Personally, I see a little bit of Joey Votto in him. First base has been a sore spot for the Rays in 2016, although former shortstop Brad Miller has settled into the position in August. Miller’s athleticism is wasted at first so he’s not likely there permanently, and Bauers should be ready to take over by the summer of 2017.
Stephen Gonsalves | LHP | Twins
Value: Rising (Underrated)
Gonsalves is probably one of the best prospects in the minors that you’ve never heard of… and it’s probably because he plays for Minnesota. If he were in a New York or Chicago organization he’d probably be a top 50 prospect. The southpaw, a former fourth-round pick, opened the year in high-A ball but quickly proved too advanced for A-ball. He’s had similar success in double-A and has held batters to a .187 average on the season. Despite being a fly-ball pitcher, Gonsalves does an exceptional job of keeping the ball in the park and has allowed just nine home runs in his four-year career (347.2 innings). With a strong pitcher’s frame capable of soaking up innings and three average-or-better offerings, Gonsalves has the makings of a No. 2 or 3 starter in the Majors if he continues along this development path.
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