Everyone loves watching prospects play in the spring, especially Yankee fans with Montero and the “3 B’s” in camp. I put together a list of some other notable prospects to watch this spring as the Yankees play out their schedule.
Tony Sanchez- C
Sanchez was the 4th overall pick in the 2009 draft and projects as a solid every day catcher for the Pirates. Defensively, he has a quick release on his throws to second and can block balls in the dirt well but his arm is just average. At the plate, Sanchez has a solid approach and some gap power.
Morris is a former Dodgers prospect who had a bit of a renaissance 2010 to land back on the prospect map. He sits 91-94 with the fastball and can top out at 96 and mixes in a quality slider and curveball. He also throws a changeup but it’s a very fringy offering. Although he ironed out some mechanical flaws this year, command can still come and go for him.
Rudy Owens- LHP
Owens is a command specialist but does have decent stuff- a 90-93 mph fastball with some tailing action and sink and a solid changeup are his best pitches. His curveball is inconsistent and needs a good amount of work. He’s known for his ability to set up and attack hitters. He also led the Eastern league in ERA in 2010.
Jordan Lyles- RHP
Lyles is Houston’s top prospect in a fairly thin system. At just 19 he posted a 3.19 ERA in AA and is extremely advanced for his age. He has a fastball with just average velocity, 88-92 but has excellent control and command with good secondary offerings- a plus changeup, an above average curveball and a slider-cutter combo. Scouts seem skeptical he can improve his velocity despite his frame (6-4, 185) which might limit his ceiling.
Jiovanni Mier- SS
A top pick in 2009, Mier struggled in 2010 to build on his positive debut after he was drafted. Right now he’s an all glove no hit prospect- all of his defensive tools rate as average or above. He gained 20 pounds entering spring camp and hopefully that will help him add some pop to his bat.
Hellickson is the Rays top prospect and is likely to be in the Rays staff at some point in 2011. He has plus plus command and control of 4 average or better pitches. His changeup is his best offering and is a true swing and miss pitch. He doesn’t have a ton of velocity, sitting 90-93 with his fastball, but locates so well he doesn’t need it. He may not have blow you away stuff but with the whole package, he’s as polished as they come and ready to step right into the Rays rotation.
Desmond Jennings- OF
Typically labeled “Carl Crawford’s replacement”, Jennings is an impressive OF prospect who also is ready to make the Rays in 2011. He has terrific speed and plays great defense in center with an above average arm. He also displays good plate discipline and contact skills. He’s had some injury bugs in the past but he’ll be another speedy, defensive on base machine for the Rays in 2011.
Chris Archer- RHP
The arm acquired in the Matt Garza deal from the Cubs, Archer had a break out 2010. He has two very good pitches, a 93-95 mph fastball and an 85-88 wipe out slider. The control can be spotty and his changeup is just OK so far. If he improves his command he could be front half of the rotation starter. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a mid rotation candidate or late inning shutdown reliever.
Jake McGee- LHP
McGee is a lefty reliever with a lot of velocity on his fastball that can touch 98. He compliments that with a good curveball with a lot of movement and a changeup that’s still a work in progress. He’s seemingly rebounded nicely from TJ surgery and looks like a solid late inning reliever for the Rays in the future.
Jose Iglesias- SS
Iglesias gets scouts giddy with his defense and most of them would label him the best defensive player in the minors right now. It’s not uncommon to hear an 80 grade on his defense which is amazing. Hitting is another story entirely although he’s much improved according to most reports. He’s never going to hit for a lot of power and right now he has a hack happy approach.
Stolmy Pimentel- RHP
With a true plus-plus name, Pimentel has been in the system for 4 years after signing from the Dominican Republic. He can sit 90-95 with his fastball and has a true plus-plus changeup, one of the best in the system. His curveball is inconsistent- sometimes it looks great and others not so much. He’s still learning to pitch and has had problems maintaining his stuff late into starts.
Bryce Harper- OF
The man everyone wants to see, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, Harper is in big league camp despite being just 18 years old. For many, he’s the best prospect in the minors with 80 power and an 80 arm. He’s still raw enough where he needs to work on recognizing off speed pitches and developing a major league approach at the plate. He also has to work on his defense as he played catcher for a majority of his amateur career.
Wilson Ramos- C
Ramos came over from the Twins in the Matt Capps trade earlier last year. His best tool is probably his arm which helps him project as a plus defender. He can block balls in the dirt and is fairly athletic. He can also make good contact at the plate with average power but has an awful approach which is limiting his success so far. Eventually he should be the everyday catcher in DC, if of course he can do away with Pudge Rodriguez.
Dom Brown- OF
One of the top prospects in all of baseball, Brown has a chance to be the rare 5 tool outfielder. He has great bat speed which helps him to hit for both average and power. His approach at the plate has improved but it’s still a work in progress for him. He has a great arm and good speed but is still figuring out all the details of playing good outfield defense. He has a chance to grab the right field opening job for the Phillies so it should be interesting to watch him this year.
Britton has a good sinking fastball that sits 91-94 with a good two plane break slider that can knock lefties out. Sometimes he can overthrow it and lose command but it’s improved nicely for him. His changeup has also developed well and is at least an average offering. With solid command and makeup, Britton could be in the Orioles rotation sooner rather than later.
Joe Mahoney- 1B
You’ll know this guy when you see him- he’s 6’6”, 240 lbs- a massive hulking 1st baseman. As expected, he’s got a lot of power that hasn’t always translated well into games. He does make plenty of contact though and actually has good strike zone discipline. The defense is average but his 2010 breakout was still impressive. There are concerns about his swing against higher level pitching but if he can translate his contact skills while developing his power, it would be big for the O’s.
Julio Teheran- RHP
For many, he’s the best pitching prospect in baseball. With a fastball that sits 93-95 while touching 97, a plus-plus changeup with good fade and a solid curveball, he has all the tools needed to succeed. The command can be spotty at time but Teheran has an easy clean delivery and is just 20 years old in AA. He should certainly be fun to watch.
He’s also just 21 and has a good shot to win the 1B job out of spring training. Freeman has good hitting skills with an extremely clean swing that produces a ton of contact. He’s also a plus defender at 1st. Despite that, he doesn’t take many walks and his plus power has never really developed like some thought it would.
Our old friend who we dealt away for Boone Logan and a bag of baseballs is another high ceiling pitching prospect. He sits in mid 90s with his fastball running it up to 97 and has outstanding control with a plus curveball to boot. His has a partially torn elbow ligament however which can be scary and he missed a bunch of time with that in 2010. He’ll be working on developing his changeup and hopefully staying healthy in 2011.
Randall Delgado- RHP
Delgado hails from Mariano’s Panama and has similar stuff to Vizcaino. He has a bit less velocity on his fastball, which sits mostly 92-94 but may have an even better curveball which he can throw for strikes or get hitters to chase. He also is developing a good changeup. Delgado has that plus command that the Braves pitching prospects seem to have in spades as well.
Kyle Drabek- RHP
Another top pitching prospect in baseball, Drabek came to the Jays from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade. Maybe possessing the best curveball in the minors, Drabek compliments it with an 88-93 sinking two seam fastball with bite and a four seam fastball he can run up to 97. He can struggle with command and is still working on developing his changeup. He should see some time in Toronto this year to the detriment of Yankee fans.
The Canadian boy returned home in the Shaun Marcum trade. Lawrie has a great swing with good power and the ability to get on base. What he doesn’t have though is a great glove- his defense can be pretty bad. He’s just 20 but already in AA and could be pushing the door in Toronto later this year. There are reports that he has “makeup concerns” but maybe the Tim Horton’s and Maple Leafs will mellow him out.
Zach Stewart- RHP
Stewart has a good sinker/slider combo, running his fastball as high as 96 but sitting in the low 90s more regularly. The slider has good two plane break and he can command it well. His changeup is decent and he also throws a curveball that can be a little inconsistent. Command wise he’s pretty solid but can struggle commanding his bowling ball sinker. There is a little bit of debate on where he’ll end up- a 2/3 starter or late inning reliever. It should depend on how his changeup and curveball shake out.
Travis may have a small D in his name but plays solid D in real life (How AWFUL was that joke? That’s a 30 grade joke right there). He has a lot of pop in the bat and with his strong arm, has a chance to be the complete package as a catcher. His pitch recognition at the plate needs some work and he needs to put those back problems behind him for him to reach his ceiling.
Arencibia also has a plus arm like d’Arnaud but stands out with his plus power. Despite the good arm he’s not a great defender at this point. He has a bit of swing and miss in his game and can also struggle with plate discipline but is in the mix for the everyday catching job in Toronto.
Kyle Gibson- RHP
The Twins are known to be conservative with their prospects so while you won’t get to see Aaron Hicks or Miguel Sano, you do get to see Kyle Gibson. He’s the typical command oriented pitcher for the Twins with a plus slider, plus changeup and average fastball that tops out around 94. He does a great job of commanding those pitches where he wants and is aggressive enough to limit his walks. He’s one of those patented Twins pitchers with a very low floor but also a lower ceiling.
Ben Revere- OF
Revere has a great contact hitting approach and a swing with great hands. He has plus-plus speed that should land him with plenty of stolen bases. It also helps him cover plenty of ground in centerfield making him a solid defender. He’ll never hit for much power and also does not have a very good arm. He should be a solid regular player for the Twins though which is plenty valuable.
Jacob Turner- RHP
Just like the Twins have a set of pitchers they like to draft, the Tigers also stick to a certain mold- hard throwing high schoolers. Turner can get his fastball up to 97 or 98, usually sitting around 95 and is just 19 years old. The pitch also has some movement to it which can make it really nasty. He throws a hard 12-6 curveball that flashes plus-plus along with a solid changeup. He is a big projectable athlete but his motion may cause strain on his arm- he missed some time in 2010 due to forearm tightness. He should be exciting to watch.
Andy Oliver- LHP
Oliver is a hard throwing lefty who can sit 95 with his fastball that has a bit of movement. He worked on his slider a lot this year and its turned into a good low 80’s offering he can locate. His changeup is progressing more slowly however and he still can battle with his command at times. There’s a solid chance he appears in the majors this year.
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