Greetings, fellow prospectors.
For this, my first blog entry as a Bowman Scout, I decided to pick one prospect in each team’s farm system who I believe is poised to have a breakout season in the minors this year. You will notice I did not choose the most recognized players in each system as, for purposes of this discussion, a “breakout” prospect would be defined when someone who is not yet a household name in the prospecting world steps into the limelight - see Oscar Taveras in 2012 – and puts together a season many might not expect. Here are my humble predictions and abbreviated comments on each player’s attributes.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Michael Perez (C). Great receiving skills, emerging power at the plate, could become another Miguel Montero.
Atlanta Braves – Luis Merejo (RHP). Struck out 53 in 41 IP in the Rookie GCL (3rd in the league), great movement on his heater, working to improve two potentially effective secondary pitches.
Baltimore Orioles – Christian Walker (1B). Great plate discipline and swing, will show increased pop, could move quickly.
Boston Red Sox – Manuel Margot (OF). Very good at pitch recognition, fast runner, good arm, will make US debut in Rookie Ball this year.
Chicago Cubs – Christian Villanueva (3B). Acquired via trade from the Rangers, has an excellent attitude and is a great asset at the hot corner. Good hitter and could provide pop.
Chicago White Sox – Erik Johnson (RHP). I’d consider him the best arm currently in their system, with an effective fastball and an even better slider. Possible future #3-4 SP.
Cincinnati Reds – Dan Langfield (RHP). A 3rd rounder drafted last year, his delivery is cleaner since college and now shows off both an impressive fastball and slider. Also possesses both a changeup and curveball that could follow suit.
Cleveland Indians – Anthony Santander (OF). Switch-hitting, strong young talent with good current raw power, will likely start at Low-A at 18.
Colorado Rockies – Ryan Warner (RHP). Towering frame (6’7”) yet lanky, fastball can improve as he fills out, although it already touches mid-90’s. Emerging curve and changeup.
Detroit Tigers – Austin Schotts (OF). Excellent young athlete with great speed, both on the bases and in his swing, very talented young CF.
Houston Astros – Rio Ruiz (3B). A 4th rounder last year, his swing and bat speed both impress, as does his arm (formerly a pitcher who touched 95 mph), will likely bat alongside number one pick Carlos Correa to start this season.
Kansas City Royals – Adalberto Mondesi (SS). Switch-hitting scrappy kid with good power for his size already at 17. Will become the youngest player in Low-A this year. Very speedy, great defender.
Los Angeles Angels – Yency Almonte (RHP). 17th rounder last year, is a worthy project. Athletic, can touch 94 mph, good curve, working on changeup.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Scott Barlow (RHP). Projectable, can touch 95 mph, but his breaking ball is even more noteworthy. Has four pitches in his arsenal, all of which can work for him.
Miami Marlins – Kolby Copeland (OF). Signed in the supplemental 3rd round last year, he could be an above-average hitter with good pop, speed and defensive skills.
Milwaukee Brewers – Tyrone Taylor (OF). Excellent athlete, great bat speed, mature and possesses both power and speed, with good instincts. Potential 5-tooler.
Minnesota Twins – Max Kepler (OF). Broke out in the Appy League last year and could very well continue his torrid pace, in an outfield consisting of teammates Adam Walker and Byron Buxton. Has all the tools to succeed.
New York Mets – Gabriel Ynoa (RHP). Great low-effort delivery, impressive control, finesse type of pitcher, with a #3-4 SP projection.
New York Yankees – Rafael DePaula (RHP). Signed in the DR last year, led the DSL with 12.4 K’s per nine innings, fastball in the mid-90s, deceptive curve and changeup, repeats delivery well.
Oakland Athletics – Nolan Sanburn (RHP). Fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 99 mph, impressive breaking stuff, emerging slider. With improved stamina, can work deeper into games.
Philadelphia Phillies – Carlos Tocci (OF). Impressed as a 16-year old in the GCL last year, blazing speed on the bases and in the field, uses the strike zone efficiently. While a ways away, one to keep an eye on.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Tyler Glasnow (RHP). Lanky and projectable, velocity improving to 96, curve getting filthier, still filling out, a good athlete overall. Could be a fast riser.
St. Louis Cardinals – Patrick Wisdom (3B). Good hitter with better power, impressive athleticism and range at third. Better defender than most in their system.
San Diego Padres – Fernando Perez (3B). A 3rd rounder last year, has an excellent left-handed swing, is a potential above-average hitter/slugger.
San Francisco Giants – Clayton Blackburn (RHP). Very deceptive, finesse type, with an advanced breaker and command. Struck out 143 in the hitter-friendly CAL, has the presence to repeat at higher levels.
Seattle Mariners – Tyler Pike (LHP). A supplemental 3rd rounder last year, he has impressive athleticism with excellent control and command. Has life on his fastball, signs of a sharp curve and a changeup in progress.
Tampa Bay Rays – Blake Snell (LHP). Very projectable, with a sneaky late-life fastball that touches 94, low-80s slider that fools, is working on both his curve and changeup.
Texas Rangers – Lewis Brinson (OF). Potential 5-tool prospect, great bat speed, developing power. Impressive defensively as well, with a great arm and above-average runner.
Washington Nationals – Estarlin Martinez (OF). Steadily improving each season, has calmed down his approach and now swings at better pitches. Has a great arm and good speed.