Archive for Daily Prospect Notes

Daily Prospect Notes: 7/11

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Andres Gimenez, SS, New York Mets (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 19   Org Rank: 3   FV: 50
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, 3B

Notes
Gimenez is a 19-year-old shortstop slashing .280/.350/.430 in the Florida State League. That’s good for a 107 wRC+ in the FSL. Big-league shortstops with similar wRC+ marks are Trea Turner (a more explosive player and rangier defender than Gimenez) and Jurickson Profar, who have both been two-win players or better this year ahead of the break. Also of note in the Mets system last night was Ronny Mauricio, who extended his career-opening hitting streak to 19 games.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 7/10

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Maverik Buffo, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: NR   FV: 30
Line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 5 K

Notes
Buffo, who has a tailing upper-80s fastball and average slider, is probably an upper-level depth arm. He throws strikes and has great makeup, so he’s nice to have in an organization. Sometimes those guys shove and make the Daily Notes, and sometimes they’re also named Maverik Buffo.

Carlos Hernandez, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: 24   FV: 40
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 12 K

Notes
Hernandez has a golden arm that produces plus-plus velocity and riding life, but he also has several traits that will likely push him to the bullpen. His secondaries are inconsistent, as is his fastball command, and Hernandez is a relatively stiff short-strider. It’s possible that some of these things improve, just probably not enough for Hernandez to be an efficient starter. Not much has to improve for him to be a bullpen piece, though — and potentially a very good one.

Victor Santos, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Complex (GCL)   Age: 17   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35+
Line: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 9 K

Notes
Santos is a strong-bodied teenage righty with a bit of a longer arm action and presently average stuff for which he has advanced feel. He sits 90-93 with arm-side run and he locates it to his glove side, often running it back onto that corner of the plate. Santos doesn’t have much room on his frame, but at just 17, he’s still likely to get stronger as he matures, and there may be more stuff in here anyway.

Tristen Lutz, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 19   Org Rank: 3   FV: 50
Line: 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 3 BB

Notes
Lutz had a putrid April that he followed with two months of pedestrian .250/.320/.420 ball, but he’s been hot of late and has been a .280/.350/.500 hitter since mid-May. Lutz is striking out more than is ideal and has a maxed-out frame, but he already possesses all the power he needs to play every day as long as a viable on-base/contact combination develops.

Notes from the Field
AZL games were rained out last night, so nothing today.


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/9

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals (Profile)
Level: Rehab   Age: 21   Org Rank: 1   FV: 65
Line: 0-for-1, BB

Notes
Robles has begun to make rehab appearances on his way back from a hyperextended left elbow that he suffered in early April. He’s gotten two plate appearances in the GCL each of the last two days. The Nationals’ big-league outfield situation should enable Robles to have a slow, careful rehab process that takes a few weeks. He is one of baseball’s best prospects.

Adam Haseley, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45
Line: 2-for-5, HR

Notes
The homer was Haseley’s fifth of the year and his slash line now stands at .301/.344/.417. He’s undergone several swing tweaks this year, starting with a vanilla, up-and-down leg kick last year; a closed, Giancarlo Stanton-like stance early this season; and now an open stance with more pronounced leg kick that loads more toward his rear hip. All that would seem to be part of an effort to get Haseley hitting for more power, his skillset’s most glaring weakness. But Haseley’s swing plane is so flat that such a change may not, alone, be meaningful as far as home-run production is concerned, though perhaps there will be more extra-base hits.

The way Haseley’s peripherals have trended since college gives us a glimpse of how a relative lack of power alters those variables in pro ball. His strikeout and walk rates at UVA were 11% and 12% respectively, an incredible 7% and 16% as a junior. In pro ball, they’ve inverted, and have been 15% and 5% in about 600 pro PAs.

Akil Baddoo, OF, Minnesota Twins (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19   Org Rank: 12   FV: 45
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, SB

Notes
Baddoo is scorching, on an 11-game hit streak during which he has amassed 20 hits, nine for extra-bases. He crushes fastballs and can identify balls and strikes, but Baddoo’s strikeout rate has doubled this year as he’s seen more decent breaking balls, with which he has struggled. Considering how raw Baddoo was coming out of high school, however, his performance, especially as far as the plate discipline is concerned, has been encouraging. He’s a potential everyday player with power and speed.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23   Org Rank: NR   FV: 40
Line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 7 K

Notes
Tinoco didn’t make the Rockies’ offseason list, as I thought he had an outside shot to be a reliever but little more. His strikeout rate is way up. He still projects in the bullpen, sitting 93-95 with extreme fastball plane that also adds artificial depth to an otherwise fringe curveball. He’ll probably throw harder than that in the Futures Game.

Travis MacGregor, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 20   Org Rank: 21   FV: 40
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 6 K

Notes
MacGregor is a projection arm who is performing thanks to his ability to throw his fastball for strikes, though not always where he wants. His delivery has a bit of a crossfire action but is otherwise on the default setting and well composed, with only the release point varying. It’s pretty good, considering many pitchers with MacGregor’s size are still reigning in control of their extremities. MacGregor’s secondaries don’t always have great movement but should be at least average at peak. He projects toward the back of a rotation.

Austin Cox, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Short Season Age: 21   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 10 K

Notes
Cox, Kansas City’s fourth-rounder out of Mercer, has a 23:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11.2 pro innings. He put up goofy strikeout numbers at Mercer, too, but struggles with fastball command. He’s a high-slot lefty who creates tough angle on a low-90s fastball, and his curveball has powerful, vertical shape. It’s likely Cox will be limited to relief work due to fastball command, but he could be very good there, especially if the fastball ticks up in shorter outings.

Notes from the Field
Just some pitcher notes from the weekend here. I saw Rangers RHP Kyle Cody rehabbing in Scottsdale. He was 94-96 for two innings and flashed a plus curveball. Joe Palumbo rehabbed again in the AZL and looked the same as he did last week.

Cleveland has another arm of note in the AZL, 6-foot-1, 18-year-old Dominican righty Ignacio Feliz. He’s one of the best on-mound athletes I’ve seen in the AZL and his arm works well. He sits only 88-92 but that should tick up as he matures physically. His fastball has natural cut, and at times, he throws what looks like a true cutter in the 84-87 range. He also has a 12-to-6 curveball that flashes plus.

Feliz could develop in a number of different ways. Cleveland could make a concerted effort to alter his release so Feliz is more behind the ball, which would probably play better with his curveballs. Alternatively, they might nurture his natural proclivity for cut and see what happens. Either way, this is an exciting athlete with workable stuff who doesn’t turn 19 until the end of October.

Between 15 and 18 scouts were on hand for Saturday night’s Dodgers and Diamondbacks AZL game. That’s much more than is typical for an AZL game, even at this time of year, and is hard to explain away by saying these scouts were on usual coverage. D-backs OF Kristian Robinson (whom we have ranked No. 2 in the system) was a late, precautionary scratch after being hit with a ball the day before, so he probably wasn’t their collective target. Instead, I suspect it was Dodgers 19-year-old Mexican righty Gerardo Carrillo, who was 91-96 with a plus curveball. I saw Carrillo pitch in relief of Yadier Alvarez on the AZL’s opening night, during which he was 94-97. He’s small, and my knee-jerk reaction was to bucket him as a reliever, but there’s enough athleticism to try things out in a rotation and see if it sticks.


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/5

Monday through Wednesday notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

7/2

Brewer Hicklen, OF, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35+
Line: 4-for-6, 2B, HR

Notes
Hicklen has some statistical red flags if you’re unaware of the context with which you should be viewing his performance. He’s a 22-year-old college hitter with a 30% strikeout rate at Low-A. But Hicklen hasn’t been committed to playing baseball for very long, as he sought, late in high school and throughout college, to have a football career. He went to UAB as a baseball walk-on and eventually earned a football scholarship as the school’s defunct program was to be reborn. But Hicklen’s physical tools stood out as he continued to play baseball (plus speed and raw power), so he was drafted and compelled to sign. He hasn’t been focusing on baseball, alone, for very long and has a .300/.350/.525 line in his first full pro season. He’s a toolsy long shot, but so far so good.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 7/2

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Today is July 2, the first day of the new international signing period. Both our rankings and scouting reports on the top players signing today are available by means of this ominous portal.

Brailyn Marquez, LHP, Chicago Cubs (Profile)
Level: Short Season   Age: 19   Org Rank: 14  FV: 40
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 8 K

Notes
Marquez has a 20:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Eugene. I saw him up to 96 last year, but he was 88-93 in extended spring training, and his body had matured and gotten somewhat soft pretty quickly. It didn’t affect his advanced fastball command, though, or his arm-side command of his breaking ball, which comprise a large chunk of Marquez’s current plan on the mound. He projects as a No. 4/5 starter with several average pitches and above-average control.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/27

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Jabari Blash, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 28   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35
Line: 3-for-3, 3 HR, BB

Notes
Blash is no longer rookie-eligible, so while he’s a fun player to watch hit bombs and had a hell of a game last night, he’s on here today as a conduit to discuss what’s going on with some of the Angels hitters in the lowest levels of the minors. This is Trent Deveaux last fall, when he first arrived in the states. His swing was largely the same early this spring, albeit with a stronger, more involved top hand, which helped him drive the ball with more authority. This is what he looks like right now, which bears quite a bit of resemblance to Blash. No offense to Blash, who has had a long pro career and will probably play for another half-decade or so, but I’m not sure I’d proactively alter an ultra-talented 18-year-old’s swing to mimic that of a notoriously frustrating replacement-level player. Deveaux isn’t the only low-level Angels hitting prospect whose swing now looks like this.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/26

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Org Rank:FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
Hearn’s peripherals (27.5% K, 9.3% BB) are exactly the same as they were last year when he was in High-A. He’s a little old for Double-A, but that matters less for pitchers and Hearn’s early-career injuries set back his development pretty significantly. He’ll flash a 55 slider and average changeup, and he throws enough strikes to start, though he’s not overly efficient. He was up to 97 last night and projects as a fourth starter or late-inning reliever. Here are his swinging strikes from yesterday…

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/24 and 6/25

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Joe Palumbo, LHP, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Level: Rehabbing   Age: 23   Org Rank: 18  FV: 40
Line: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 R

Notes
Sunday was Palumbo’s first start back from Tommy John surgery. He was into the mid-90s with a plus curveball before the injury, which caused him to miss all of 2017. Yerry Rodriguez (more detail here) had a second strong outing in relief of Palumbo, striking out seven in six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Video of Rodriguez appears below.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/20

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen running slightly later than usual due to travel for the FanGraphs meetup in Denver this weekend. Read previous installments here.

Clay Holmes, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 25   Org Rank: 27  FV: 40
Line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 R

Notes
Holmes has had mediocre command throughout his career and has generally projected to a bullpen role where he’d theoretically be a mid-90s sinker/slider guy. In the past month, he has thrown 66% of his pitches for strikes and has been locating his slider to the back foot of left-handed hitters effectively. He looks more like a backend starter than a reliever right now, but it’s a four-start run juxtaposed against more than a half decade of fringe control.

Alexander Montero, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Profile)
Level: Short-Season   Age: 20   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35+
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 R

Notes
Montero’s presence and early success is a welcome sight for one of the worst systems in baseball. He’s a relatively projectable 20-year-old with a three-pitch mix led by a fastball that’s up to 95 mph and a diving split changeup. Montero signed late for an amateur IFA last summer, inking a deal just weeks before he turned 20. He pitched in the DSL last year and was skipped directly to the New York-Penn League this summer after finishing extended.

Brandon Wagner, 1B, New York Yankees (Profile)
Level: A+  Age: 22   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, HR

Notes
Wagner has had an odd developmental path. He was a chubby high school first baseman from New Jersey who spent two years at a Texas JUCO and became a 6th rounder as he improved his conditioning. He has displayed a career-long ability to discern balls from strikes and is a .365 OBP hitter over four pro seasons. During that time, Wagner has moved his batted-ball profile like a glacier from 50% ground balls down to 40% and has now begun to hit for significant in-game power. Six-foot first basemen with average, pull-only power are still long shots, but if Wagner keeps performing if/when he’s promoted to Double-A, he’ll at least force re-evaluation the way Mike Ford did.

Jackson Kowar, RHP, University of Florida (draft rights controlled by Kansas City)
Level: CWS Age: 21   Org Rank: NR  FV: 45
Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0 R

Notes
Kowar was dominant in his College World Series start against Texas yesterday, reaching back for 95-97 toward the end of his start and was flashing a 70 changeup. He also threw 121 pitches.

Jacob Amaya, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Profile)
Level: Short-Season  Age: 19   Org Rank: HM  FV: 35
Line: 1-for-1, 4 BB

Notes
Amaya’s tools have a utility vibe because his frame limits his power projection to something around average or just below it, but he’s an average athlete with defensive hands befitting a middle infielder and advanced bat-to-ball skills. If he grows into a 6 bat, which is unlikely but possible, it won’t matter that he doesn’t hit for a lot of game power.

Notes from the Field

I’m just going to drop a bunch of D-backs notes from yesterday’s AZL action. Alek Thomas went 0-for-3 but ground out tough at-bats and spoiled several good pitches while he did it. He also made two impressive defensive plays, one which might have robbed a homer and another in the left-center gap that robbed extra bases. Jake McCarthy looks fine physically (of note since he was hurt for most of his junior year at UVA) and took a tough left-on-left breaking ball the other way for a single in his first pro at-bat. Twenty-year-old righty Luis Frias was up to 96 mph, rehabbing Brian Ellington was up to 97. Finally, lefty reclamation project Henry Owens (Allen Webster, Owens, and Clay Buchholz have all been D-backs for some amount of time during the last year, which isn’t surprising if you know the roots of this current front office) K’d 5 in 2.1 innings with some help from the umpire. He was 87-90 with an above-average changeup, an average breaking ball, and arm slot closer to what he had as a prospect with Boston after he was side-arming last fall.


Daily Prospect Notes: 6/19

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:FV: 60
Line: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
This is the best pitching prospect in baseball, wielding ungodly stuff that spiked when he dropped about 60 pounds throughout his senior year of high school. He’s also on Driveline’s weighted-ball program. He’ll show your four plus or better pitches over the course of an outing. Whitley has yet to allow a run since returning from suspension. The suspension might be a blessing in disguise for Houston, who could now conceivably weave him into their playoff plans without fear of overworking Whitley’s innings count.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/18

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

We’re entering a time on the scouting calendar when a great shift in resources occurs. Short-season leagues get underway this week (if they haven’t already), which means some amateur scouts will pick up regional pro coverage now that the draft is done, while others stay on the amateur showcase circuit to prep for 2019. It also means teams that know if they’re buying or selling at the trade deadline can target scouting resources more efficiently by identifying likely trade partners and focusing on those systems. For example, the Padres have probably considered what teams are in need of lefty relief help at the deadline and have made it an organizational priority to know about those teams’ systems more than the systems of other rebuilding clubs. Daily Prospect Notes returns as a space to explain and discuss concepts like this, individual performers, my in-person notes, and whatever else I see fit to talk about.

Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, Houston Astros (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:FV: 55
Line: 2-for-5, HR

Notes
Sunday was Alvarez’s first game back from a hand injury that cost him about a month and a half. Injuries have limited him to 134 games combined in parts of three pro seasons. Between those extended periods of inactivity, however, Alvarez has dominated. This is a giant 20-year-old who is remarkably athletic and twitchy for his size and crushing Double-A in a modest sample. This was the relatively unknown guy that the Dodgers signed for $2 million just before the clock struck midnight on the 2015 July 2 period. He hadn’t suited up for the Dodgers before they sent him to Houston for Josh Fields, and now he’s the best prospect from that 2015 Dodgers July 2 class by a sizable margin. He’s a potential middle-of-the-order force and quickly closing in on an increasingly expendable A.J. Reed.

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Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: 2/27

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi everyone, and welcome back. Gonna keep things to a tight hour this week so I can hustle across the valley to a big league game, but I’ll move as quickly as possible.

12:03
BC: Here are two top tier prospects, Tatis and Bichette. Which one has the biggest upside?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Tatis because he might actually stay at SS

12:03
THE Average Sports Fan: Do you think Senzel can be ever decent at SS?

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s possible. If you assume you can hide what used to be considered subpar range with better positioning then it certainly improves his chances. If I’m skeptical of anything it’s how he’ll look around the bag.

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: But I guess we’ll see. I don’t like watching Paul DeJong at SS baseball but I guess we’re headed there.

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Rangers and Padres Pitching Prospects Open Instructs

Instructional League began in Arizona on Wednesday with the Texas and San Diego groups playing in Peoria, AZ. Lefty Brett Martin started for Texas and sat 92-94 with his downhill fastball, touching 95. He frequently utilized a changeup that flashed average, but was mostly below in the 83-85 mph range with an upper-80s cutter. I saw no curveballs from Martin, which I had previously evaluated as his best secondary pitch. I’m not certain if the pitch has been scrapped temporarily for developmental purposes — or perhaps medical ones, as Rangers pitchers in Extended were on fastball-only programs for a while — or if he simply didn’t happen to throw any. Regardless, Martin’s changeup needs reps, as he’s missed significant time with injury during each of the last three years. Between 2015 and -17 he’s had hip, elbow, and back issues. He has mid-rotation upside if he can stay healthy and more consistently locate a fully developed changeup.

Speaking of changeups, Cole Ragans is going to have a really good one. The Rangers 19-year-old lefty sat 88-91 with his fastball yesterday and flashed an above-average, fading changeup in the upper 70s. I have it and Ragans’ command projected to plus. His fastball is a 40 on pure velocity but plays better than that due to plane and deception. He also showed a fringey, low-70s curveball. I can see the basis for the Cole Hamels comparisons, as there are some mechanical similarities and the repertoire is structured similarly. That said, Ragans isn’t as graceful and athletic as Hamels is/was, nor does he have the velocity. Yet.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/29 & 8/30

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

8/28

Tom de Blok, RHP, Detroit (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: NR  Top 100: NR
Line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 8 K

Notes
de Blok has been one of the more interesting stories in minor-league baseball this year. He was signed out of the Netherlands by Seattle in August of 2013, but he didn’t enjoy his time training in Arizona, some of his things were stolen, and de Blok retired during extended spring training the following year.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/28

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Michael Hermosillo, OF, Los Angeles AL (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 14  Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-4, 2 HR, BB

Notes
Hermosillo, a 28th rounder in 2013, was a two-sport high schooler committed to play football at Illinois, but he was coaxed into pro ball by a $100,000 signing bonus. He opened up his stance a bit last year and hit fairly well during an injury-shortened regular season before heading to the Arizona Fall League, where his physical tools measured up nicely compared to some of baseball’s better prospects.

This year, Hermosillo’s in-box footwork has again been tweaked, and he’s deploying a slower, more committed leg kick. Hitters who have deployed a leg kick like this in recent years have noted that it not only unlocks more pull-side power but also improves their timing. This is what seems to have happened for Hermosillo, who’s now more consistent and comfortable in the batter’s box than he was last season. He’s patient, athletic, and might do enough offensive damage to project in more than just a bench outfield role if these changes have truly unlocked previously dormant physical ability.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/23 & 8/24

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

8/23

Mike O’Reilly, RHP, St. Louis (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: NR  Top 100: NR
Line: 6 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 2 R, 7 K

Notes
A 27th rounder out of Flagler College last year, O’Reilly was promoted to High-A Palm Beach in late July after a dominant four-game stretch of Midwest League starts that included a complete game, one-hit, 12-strikeout performance. O’Reilly doesn’t throw all that hard, sitting 88-91, but he’s deceptive, he can locate his breaking ball for strikes, and he flashes a plus changeup. There’s some risk that O’Reilly’s fastball won’t be effective against upper-level hitters, but he has quality secondary stuff, throws strikes, and overall has a profile in line with valuable upper-level pitching depth.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/22

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Victor Robles, CF, Washington (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:Top 100: 8
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, HR, SB

Notes
Robles is slashing .320/.375/.505 since his promotion to Double-A and has tallied a career-high 51 extra-base hits already this year. Many of those are doubles hooked down the left-field line that Robles turns into extra bases because of his plus-plus speed. Though he still has occasional lapses out there right now, that speed is likely to make Robles a very good defensive center fielder at maturity as he runs down balls in the gaps that many center fielders cannot. Scouts anticipate Robles will hit around .300 with some pop — though probably not quite as much as he’s shown this year — while playing good defense in center field. As a point of reference, Lorenzo Cain, a good defensive center fielder, has slashed .295/.360/.440 this season with strikeout and walk rates within 1% of Robles’ career marks. Cain has generated 3.3 WAR in 119 games this year. That appears to be a very reasonable outcome for Robles, who is one of baseball’s best prospects.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/21

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Pedro Avila, RHP, San Diego (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: NR  Top 100: NR
Line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 13 K

Notes
This was Avila’s fifth double-digit strikeout game this year and his second in the last three starts, as he K’d 18 at Great Lakes on August 8th. A stocky 5-foot-11, Avila doesn’t have a huge fastball, sitting mostly 91-93 and dipping just beneath that from the stretch, but he frequently demonstrates pinpoint command of it, working to both his arm and glove sides. That gets Avila ahead in the count and sets up his deep-diving curveball, which bites enough to miss bats in the strike zone as well as below it. He also flashes a plus changeup. Avila began the year in High-A and struggled to throw strikes (but not miss bats) there for nine starts before a demotion. He has 102 strikeouts in 74.2 innings since then. Avila was acquired during Winter Meetings from Washington in exchange for Derek Norris.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/10 & 8/11

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Games of 8/9

Dakota Mekkes, RHP, Chicago NL (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: HM  Top 100: NR
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 9 K

Notes
Looking at his stuff in the absence of context, Mekkes is barely a middle-relief prospect. His fastball typically sits in the low 90s and his slider is solid average, perhaps a tick above. But Mekkes is a gargantuan 6-foot-7, takes a large stride toward the plate, and releases the ball much closer to the plate than the average pitcher, creating a Doug Fister-like effect that allows his stuff to play up. He has a 1.00 career ERA in pro ball and has allowed just 32 hits in 61 innings this year while striking out 80.

Like most XXL pitchers in their early 20s, Mekkes struggles with control, but hitters’ inability to adjust to his delivery in short stints has limited their overall ability to reach base. As a result, he has a WHIP under 1.00 despite an 11% walk rate. It’s hard to say how this rare type of deception will play in a big league, assuming upper-level hitters are still flummoxed by it as Mekkes moves on. Jordan Walden was dominant for a half decade with a similar type of deception but had much better stuff. Regardless, it’s worth noting that Chris Mitchell had flagged Mekkes as a noteworthy prospect before he was drafted.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/8

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Michel Baez, RHP, San Diego (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: NR (signed before SD rankings)  Top 100: NR
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 9 K

Notes
I could probably reserve a place for Baez in this space every fifth day and not be let down. His fastball velocity has backed up a bit since extended (when he was routinely in the upper-90s) but is still sitting mid-90s with huge extension. Baez’s secondaries are also progressing, especially his running changeup, and he’ll flash a plus breaking ball and change a few times during the course of a start now. He’s come a long way since spring training when he was just a tall guy who threw hard.

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