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Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 5/31/13

Mike Newman: Hello all, thanks for joining me today! We’ll get started in about 15-minutes. While you wait, please check out my piece from earlier today on June leaders for the top prospect in baseball heading into 2014.

Mike Newman: Also, last week I angered a few readers who ripped me a new one for getting frustrated at chatters for not reading up on my work before asking questions. I wanted to apologize for that.

Mike Newman: You know what. I’m here, questions are in the queue, let’s get this started a little early….

Who’s The No. 1 Prospect?: June Edition

Entering May, Minnesota Twins Byron Buxton was my favorite to seize the label of number one prospect in baseball entering 2014. Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley ranked second as he pushed through High-A and finished April in the Southern League. Shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians debuted in the third spot after a dominant month offensively. Twins’ Miguel Sano, claimed the fourth spot, as well as the label of best power hitting prospect in the game. Rounding out the top five was Boston Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts, who received a partial mulligan for a weak April due to his being the highest rated prospect in baseball entering 2013 not expected to surpass rookie at bats/innings pitched limits.

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An Example of Yasiel Puig’s Needed Development

With the Dodgers in last place and Yasiel Puig on fire in Double-A, pressure to call up the Cuban outfielder is building. In his last ten games, the 22-year-old has posted a .395/.465/.658 slash line, including seven extra base hits and six steals. Healthy and productive, Puig is once again knocking on the door to Los Angeles.

Earlier in the week, Dave Cameron discussed Andre Ethier being “eminently available” after comments and a benching by Manager Don Mattingly. Combine losing with mammoth contracts and the potential for roster shakeup seems inevitable. No individual stands to gain more than Yasiel Puig if this occurs. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 5/24/13

Carlos Rodon, Clay Holmes And Pitcher Efficiency

When it comes to minor league and amateur baseball, scouting box scores tells only a piece of the story. In mid-April, I had the opportunity to travel to Greenville, S.C., to see West Virginia Pirates right-hander Clay Holmes. Five days later, North Carolina State ace Carlos Rodon pitched the Saturday night game at Georgia Tech. As of today, Rodon is the top prospect in the 2014 draft.

Admittedly, my last NCAA baseball game was in 2011, when now-Mariners prospect Danny Hultzen faced off against now-Padres prospect Mark Pope. Carson Cistulli would shame me in public for my general lack of interest in the college game, but that lack of familiarity is a driving factor for this piece.

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Maurico Cabrera and Lucas Sims: Big Braves Arms

Ninety-nine — a number rarely seen once, let alone multiple times from the same pitcher. In his last start, Mauricio Cabrera touched 99 mph enough for teammates charting in the stands to chuckle and shake their heads in disbelief.

Video after the jump Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 5/10/13

Mike Newman: Hello all. Welcome to this week’s chat. We’ll get started at noon, but feel free to start posting questions.

Comment From Rags
I don’t have a question but my boss didn’t show up for work today. Hooray Friday!

Mike Newman: My kind of Friday! I’m sure every reader in here is in the same situation. Right?

Comment From Aaron
What are your feelings on Braves pitching prospects? Alex Wood has looked GREAT so far. Where do you rank him, Cabrera, Sims, Graham, and so on?

Mike Newman: I’ve seen all four. Graham and Wood are very good pitching prospects. Not elite, but mid-rotation/high leverage reliever types. As for Sims/Cabrera, I just submitted a piece with HD video on both to FanGraphs.

Comment From Guest
Who reaches the majors first, Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano?

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Wyatt Mathisen: Catcher Under Construction

“I’m working on catching balls in the pocket,” Pirates’ minor league catcher Wyatt Mathisen told me as we talked about the nuances of his game outside the Greenville Drive locker room last month. Mathisen’s candor left me speechless. When you’re talking to a professional baseball player, there are some things you just assume. And one of those is the ability to catch a ball properly.

So where does he go from here — this 19-year-old converted shortstop, this catcher under construction? Talk to Mathisen for a few minutes and you see a young man who acknowledges his weaknesses; but there’s also a ballplayer who’s eager to improve.

Video after the jump:

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Who’s The No. 1 Prospect?: May Edition

With a month of the minor league season in the books, chat questions are already rolling in about who the top prospect will be in 2014. Each month, I’ll take a look at players who were close in 2013 (we’ll call them “Headliners”), plus fast risers who are staking an early claim to the top spot (we’ll call them “Opening Acts”).

To begin this exercise, it’s important to understand where the number one pick comes from. Since 1990, Baseball America has been releasing its top-100 prospects list. Below is a chart of the year, number-one prospect, and where he ranked the year previous. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 5/3/13

: Hello all, welcome to today’s chat. As I prepare a plate of delicious take-out Chinese food before we begin, please take a minute to check out my newsletter project at

Comment From e
Worried about Hultzen’s should? The mariners said it’s minor, but that’s how things always start. What’s your take?

: With Hultzen’s awkward mechanics, there’s quite a bit of, “I told you so” speculation happening right now. When I saw Hultzen last season, his mechanics were more across his body than during a pre-draft look. Unfortunately, he was so efficient in a spring training start (3 IP, 30 pitches), that I didn’t have a chance to follow up in Arizona. Not much more to do other than wait and see at this point. the Mariners don’t have a reputation for hiding injuries or anything.

Comment From Matt
Concerned at all about Bogaerts’ law of power thus far? The rest of his numbers seem alright, although his K rate is a tad worrisome. Thoughts?

: He’s young and still developing, so I’m not worried. I’m convinced his playing for the Netherlands, combined with the cold weather April has caused him to get off to a slow start. He’s heating up with the weather and I still consider him to be a top-5 prospect in baseball entering 2014.

Comment From Fish Food
Yelich before July?

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Stetson Allie, Pirates Press The Reset Button

Stetson Allie sat, staring at the ground as Rockies farmhand Drew Beuerlein verbally tore into him. Moments before, the 240-pound Allie delivered a glancing blow on a home plate collision, unable to jar the ball loose from the 24-year-old catcher. As teammates took the field, Allie continued to sit as if he’d been shaken up during impact. The pitcher-turned-first-baseman eventually rose to his feet and gingerly took two steps towards the third base dugout before he quickened his pace.

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Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 4/26/13

Mike Newman: Hello all. While you wait, check out my site,, and get acquainted if you haven’t already!

JD Sussman: I’ll be joining Mike today. Try to contain your excitement.

Mike Newman: We’ll begin in about ten minutes, but let’s review the ground rules. In general, I’ll stick to players I’ve seen/spoken to contacts about. If I don’t answer your question, that’s probably the reason. I promise it’s nothing personal.

Mike Newman: Oh yeah, and JD is joining me today. Somebody had the nerve to ask for him or Marc last week like I wasn’t good enough on my own. (Just kidding of course)

Comment From Hawk Tyson
Any good under the radar prospects to put on my watch list in a deep 70 man roster league?

Mike Newman: Check my piece on Ynoa from about an hour ago. He’ll pique your interest in a league that deep. The primary focus of my newsletter is to unearth the type of player you are looking for while on the road and share it quickly with subs. You might want to check it out.

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Mets’ Ynoa and Lara Add to Dominican Pitching Pipeline

The Mets boast a quartet of Dominican arms who rank among the top-15 prospects in the organization. Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Domingo Tapia are off to strong starts. And with Rainy Lara and Gabriel Ynoa pitching well in Savannah, the core of young, Dominican arms will only continue to grow.

Video(s) after the jump Read the rest of this entry »

Jimmy Nelson’s Rising Stock

Does Jimmy Nelson have the best pure stuff in the Brewers organization? The answer is yes, or at least that’s what a source who has closely followed the right-handed pitcher’s career told me. And after hearing that, my curiosity was piqued — especially after Nelson faltered in the second half of 2012 and posted a 7.24 BB/9 in his first taste of Double-A.

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Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 4/19/13

Plawecki Working To Prove Doubters Wrong

With the 35th pick in the 2012 draft, the New York Mets selected Kevin Plawecki out of Purdue University. In a draft where the organization was questioned for drafting low ceiling talents, the now 22-year old catcher was assumed to be an overdraft — Fueled by his ranking as the 68th best prospect pre-draft per Baseball America.

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Brandon Nimmo Stands Out For Savannah

The title of this piece is too obvious. Brandon Nimmo, a 2011 first round draft pick taken ahead of Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez should stand out. No? But the outfielder from Wyoming’s development path has been slow. At a development stage when most top prospects are assigned to full season squads, Nimmo was returned to extended spring training and assigned to Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League in 2012. At 19, he produced 35% better than league average in 2012. However, it’s difficult to avoid focusing on a triple slash line of .248/.372/.406.

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Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 4/12/13

Double-A Debuts: Yasiel Puig And Zach Lee

In Chattanooga, Top-100 prospects Yasiel Puig and Zach Lee debuted against a Huntsville (Brewers) team with few prospects of note. On paper, both excelled with Puig reaching base in three of four plate appearances and Lee surrendering just one earned run across four innings of work. There’s a reason scouts don’t write reports from box scores though. While each impressed, both prospects still have work to do before the Dodgers come calling.

Videos after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Diamondbacks Showcase Trio Of Power Hitting Prospects

Stryker Trahan, Matt Davidson and Chris Owings each flashed plus power for their respective positions at Salt River Fields in Arizona. For Owings, it was a line drive home run to right-center field in his first at bat of the Triple-A game. Davidson just missed barreling an outside fastball, but was still able to drive it to base of the right field wall. Trahan belted multiple shots to left-center field. One resulted in a double while the other ended in a long out.

These in game displays of power were preceded by powerful batting practice sessions full of laser line drives and towering home runs.

If the game of baseball revolved around the power tool, the Diamondbacks would have three of the best prospects in baseball. Of course, hitting ability, speed, defense and arm strength are also factored into the equation. This is where each loses his luster. Read the rest of this entry »