Under the Radar Prospects in the AL West

Posted: March 28, 2014 in by Freddy Berowski

In the AL West there are some prospects that are on the tip of everyone’s tongue—Odor, Correa, Walker, Russell, etc.  There are some players with elite skill sets, while not known by most, still have a good shot at making an impact at the big league level.

23 year-old Reid Scoggins was drafted by the Angels in the 15th round of the 2012 draft.  He has been clocked as high as 101 in college and generally throws in the mid to high 90s.  He has struck out a 117 batters in a little over 85 professional innings.  He has some command issues and is still developing his secondary pitches.  A potential relief ace with a high ceiling, we could see Scoggins in the big league bullpen by 2015.

Astros catcher Tyler Heineman is someone I’ve been high on for some time, since watching him play for the NY-Penn League’s Tri-City Valley Cats.  A switch hitter with power, the 22 year-old is also a good catch and throw guy, who profiles long-term behind the dish.  The 2012 eighth round pick has the potential to not just be an everyday big league catcher, but his tools have him profile as a potential star at the position.

The Rangers Akeem Bostick is a very athletic 6’4”, 180 pound right hander.  A second rounder in 2013, Bostick pitched well in Arizona for the Rangers.  He throws a mid-90s fastball and has good curveball and change-up that have real potential to develop.  At only 18 years old, as he develops, I expect most prospectors will know who he is in a few years.

An 8 year minor league veteran, A’s right hander Arnold Leon, in his age 25 year, is in a make or break season.  Never a top prospect, Leon has been solid in each stop he’s had along the way.  He doesn’t have the potential to be a superstar, but there is probably a half-dozen teams he could start for right now.  He didn’t crack the A’s rotation or bullpen out of Spring Training, but I think that says more for the A’s staff and depth than anything else.  Injuries occur, that’s a part of the game.  Sometimes pitchers don’t succeed.  At some point this season, I think Leon will have his chance with the big club because of this.

The focus of the young pitching in Seattle, for good or bad, is Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen.  There is another name in the M’s system who was lights out at AA Jackson last season that people should be talking about- reliever Carson Smith.  With an unorthodox delivery, Smith doesn’t look like your star pitcher in the making.  But looks can be deceiving.  He has a wicked sinker and slider, combined with his fastball, makes Smith a near major league ready talent.  With the M’s looking to contend this year, if their big league pen struggles in April, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith in the bullpen by the end of May.  He has a chance to be a legit- big league closer.

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