Every MLB Team's Top Prospect Left off the Spring Training Roster
With less than two weeks remaining until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, some organizations still haven’t announced all of their non-roster invitees. Typically, an assortment of veteran players and top prospects who aren’t on the 40-man roster are extended invitations to big league camp.
Teams deliberately handpick the prospects they invite, focusing on those likely to contribute in the major leagues within a matter of years. The rest—including many of the prospects invited to big league camp—are sent to minor league spring training.
Here’s a look at every team’s best prospect who wasn’t invited to major league spring training.
*All stats courtesy of BaseballReference.com.
*All spring training roster information courtesy of MLB.com.
*Some of the player scouting notes appeared as part of their team’s list of top-10 prospects.
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Delmonico, 1B-3B
DOB: 7/12/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 196
Drafted/Signed: Sixth round, 2011 (Farragut HS, Tenn.)
Scouting Notes: Delmonico’s baseball bloodline continues to aid his overall projection; already has a slightly concerning injury history with back problems (2011) and left knee sprain (2012); 6’2”, 196-pound frame should mature favorably; played 51 of 94 games at first base in professional debut—also received significant playing time at second base.
I hate the early relegation to first base, which only puts more pressure on his bat; offense ceiling would be more valuable as a third baseman; health will continue to determine where he plays.
Left-handed hitter exhibits advanced plate discipline (73/47 K/BB in 338 at-bats in 2012) given his lack of experience; should help the development of his hit tool in coming years; has a clear feel for the strike zone with the ability to make in-game adjustments; sees the ball well out of the pitcher’s hand and spits on off-speed pitches out of the zone; still learning how to utilize his slightly above-average raw power; swing can get long and enable too much swing-and-miss, but it has some loft with extension after contact.
Boston Red Sox: Henry Owens, LHP
DOB: 7/21/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Edison HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: 6’6” left-hander projects through the roof, but it may take him a while to get anywhere close to his high ceiling; despite long, lanky frame, Owens repeats his mechanics better than any stats suggests; has huge stride toward the plate that aids his overall deception and, in turn, makes his entire arsenal play up; really like his arm angle and ability to deliver on a downward plane.
Strikeout artist with an impressive three-pitch mix; fastball typically sits at 88-92 mph and can be difficult for hitters to pick up out of his hand; will occasionally flirt with 94-95 mph; breaking ball flashes above-average potential and he’s adept at adding and subtracting when necessary; would like to see him use it to back-foot right-handed hitters with more consistency; changeup is best secondary pitch and projects as a legitimate plus offering; command of overall arsenal is shaky at the moment, but his athleticism and mechanics suggest it will improve as he develops.
New York Yankees: Mason Williams, OF
DOB: 8/21/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’, 150
Drafted/Signed: Fourth round, 2010 (West Orange HS, Fla.)
Season in Review: Williams turned in a strong follow-up campaign after batting .349/.395/.468 last season as the New York-Penn League’s top prospect. Suffered a dislocated left shoulder in late July that required season-ending surgery.
Scouting Notes: Excellent defensive center fielder with the plus speed and more than enough range to stick at the position; left-handed hitter who gets out of the box quickly, but is a raw base-stealer.
Has more power than frame suggests; arms and wrists loaded with quick-twitch muscles; makes a lot of contact but could stand to be more patient; solid hand-eye coordination and bat speed allow him to barrel the ball to all fields; needs to focus more on his on-base skills than power stroke.
Red flags regarding his maturity popped up all season; developed reputation for a seemingly indifferent attitude when things weren’t going well; common attitude among prospects and almost always corrects itself.
Tampa Bay Rays: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP
DOB: 12/1/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Spring Valley HS, S.C.)
Scouting Notes: Guerrieri signed just before the Aug. 15 deadline and didn’t make his professional debut until this past season; right-hander was dominant as the top pitcher in the short-season New York-Penn League; registered a 0.87 ERA and .185 BAA with 45/5 K/BB in 52 innings; has the potential to rise quickly through the Rays’ system, but it’s doubtful the organization will accelerate his arrival; could be yet another frontline starter to emerge from 2011 draft class.
The 6’3”, 195-pounder possesses present physical strength and quiet athleticism; strong upper body and broad shoulders leave room for favorable projection; arms works well and the ball leaves his hand well; he can get a little long on the backside and work against his body, though it does create cross-body deception in his delivery.
Despite age and lack of experience, Guerrieri flashes the potential for four above-average-to-plus pitches; two-seam fastball is an excellent pitch in the low-to-mid-90s with considerable weight and late life to the arm side; commands the pitch effectively to both sides of plate; isn’t afraid to challenge both right- and left-handed hitters middle-in; will mix in the occasional four-seam fastball that scrapes 96 to 97 mph.
Plus curveball is a second viable weapon with tight spin, consistent shape and late, downward bite; advanced enough to locate the pitch for strikes and bury it to induce whiffs; changeup is coming along nicely, as is his pitchability; Guerrieri is still technically under the radar, but expect that to change next season when he excels in his full-season debut.
Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez, RHP
DOB: 7/1/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Barstow HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: The top pitching prospect in the Jays’ system is also a consensus top-50 prospect; organization finally allowed greater workload this past season with excellent results; effortless and fluid delivery with a quick arm, though he’s still learning how to beat it with consistency; Highly athletic and projectable at 6’4” with ideal frame to add a bit more strength.
Pure stuff is excellent and sets him apart from most pitching prospects; fastball registers at an easy 94-98 mph and explodes out of his hand; plus curveball has tight spin and sharp downer break, and he showed an improved feel for it this past season; changeup has some nice fade and is a viable third pitch, but is not as advanced as other two offerings; right-hander’s command still has a way to go after walking just over five batters per nine innings last season; will need to refine command as he begins to move up the ladder.
Chicago White Sox: Courtney Hawkins, OF
DOB: 11/12/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Mary Carroll HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: Big, physically strong player at 6’3”, 220 pounds; excellent athlete who moves better than expected; plus raw power thanks to excellent bat speed and a leveraged swing; has a tendency to overswing which leads to excessive strikeouts; pitch recognition should improve with experience; has above-average speed but will probably never be a base stealer.
Strongest defensive asset is his plus arm; also received looks on the mound as an amateur due to low-90s fastball; will probably continue to be developed as center fielder, but he’ll likely have to move to right field as he physically matures; high ceiling given his athleticism and present skill set, but won't be rushed to the majors.
Cleveland Indians: Dorssys Paulino, 2B-3B
*The Indians haven't released their list of non-roster invites, but I assume that SS Francisco Lindor will be one of them.
DOB: 11/21/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’, 175
Drafted/Signed: July, 2011 (Dominican Republic)
Scouting Notes: Paulino was highly impressive in professional debut, posting a 1.015 OPS with 26 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases as a 17-year-old in the rookie-level Arizona League; plate discipline was challenged following a promotion to New York-Penn League; 6’, 170-pounder has room to add more strength; wrists and forearms are loaded with quick-twitch muscles; plus bat speed; hit and power utility already present; feel for the strike zone and hard contact; plus runner; more likely to possess plus hit than power in the major leagues.
Likely to stick at second base at the major league level; may see time at third base, but definitely not a shortstop; solid glove with improving defensive actions; average arm strength with a quick transfer and release; excelled in professional debut but still plenty of uncertainty tied to his ongoing development.
Detroit Tigers: Jake Thompson, RHP
DOB: 1/31/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 235
Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2012 (Rockwall-Heath HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: 6’4” right-hander was a two-way standout in high school who also received draft consideration as a hitter; physically mature but still involves some projection; possesses more athleticism than his size suggests; made impressive debut at the rookie level with a 1.91 ERA and .141 BAA, as well as 31/10 K/BB in 28 innings.
Large physical frame makes him both durable and projectable as he continues to gain experience; pounds lower half of strike zone with heavy fastballs in the high 80s, low 90s; should be a consistent low-to-mid-90s arm as he continues to develop and becomes more mechanically efficient; slider is an inconsistent pitch but flashes plus potential with occasional two-plane break and hard bite; changeup is present, as well, but is undeveloped and therefore inconsistent; could move quickly as he develops secondary weapons.
Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP
DOB: 9/13/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2012 (San Francisco)
Scouting Notes: After the Royals selected Zimmer with the fifth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, the 6’3” right-hander reached Low-A Kane County in his professional debut; registered a 2.03 ERA with 42/8 K/BB in 40 innings across two levels; had surgery following the season to remove bone chips in his elbow; clean, repeatable mechanics; fluid arm action; lack of mileage after moving to the mound as a college sophomore.
Zimmer’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s with late life; jumps out of his hand thanks to quick arm; can reach back for 96-98 mph at times; curveball projects to be a second plus pitch with sharp downer break; also throws an average slider with tight rotation; changeup has come along nicely and gives him a deep, four-pitch mix; after trading their previous top pitching prospect, Jake Odorizzi, the Royals could fast-track Zimmer this season as long as his elbow is healthy.
Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano, 3B
DOB: 5/11/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195
Drafted/Signed: Oct., 2009 (Dominican Republic)
Scouting Notes: In his full-season debut at Low-A Beloit, Sano batted .258/.373/.521 in 129 games as a 19-year-old; 60 of 118 hits were for extra bases, including 28 home runs; struck out 144 times, but showed on-base potential with 80 walks and eight hit-by-pitches; owns the best raw power in the minor leagues with present power frequency; powerful swing generates backspin carry to all fields; has some holes and results in too many swings-and-misses; regardless, has the bat speed and strength to be successful; may never hit for average, but the power is legit.
His defense at the hot corner is pretty terrible; present athleticism despite his 6’3”, 230-pound frame; will likely lose a step; could ultimately settle in right field or (in a worst-case scenario) at first base; has slow feet, choppy actions and plus arm strength; throws can be inaccurate due to lazy footwork.
He's a big-time prospect with one elite tool (power), but a lot of inconsistencies and weaknesses to improve upon in upcoming seasons.
Houston Astros: Carlos Correa, SS
DOB: 9/22/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (PR Baseball Academy, P.R.)
Scouting Notes: No. 1 overall selection in 2012 draft posted .625 OPS in 39 games in Gulf Coast League; finished the season strong with a 1.050 OPS in 11 games in Appalachian League; just turned 18 in September; physically blessed shortstop at 6’4”, 190 pounds with five average-to-plus tools; phenomenal athleticism and baseball skills give him superstar potential; hit tool will be a work-in-progress for several years, but has above-average potential; plus bat speed projects for similar power; swing can be inconsistent, but he’ll have plenty of time for refinement.
Fluid actions despite size; excellent instincts with above-average speed; needs to improve body control; arm is legit plus-plus and an absolute cannon; soft hands with a smooth transfer; needs more reps in game situations; will likely graduate to Low-A at some point next season as an 18-year-old; still incredibly raw with a large gap between present and future, but there’s no reason to think he can’t reach his high ceiling.
Los Angeles Angels: C.J. Cron, 1B
DOB: 1/5/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 235
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Utah)
Scouting Notes: Top power hitter in the 2011 draft proved that it would translate as professional with a big full-season debut; played the entire season with a torn labrum in throwing shoulder; limited to first base defensively and will have to work to keep his weight down.
Bat-first prospect capable of consistently producing runs; tons of raw power from the right side and drives the ball with backspin carry; hands can be slow at times and he’ll be tardy on good velocity; punishes mistakes; excessive contact is a detriment and he needs to coax more walks; fringy defensive first baseman with slow feet who will need to stay healthy and always post big power numbers.
Oakland Athletics: Daniel Robertson, 3B-SS
DOB: 3/22/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’0", 190
Drafted/Signed: Supplemental first round, 2012 (Upland HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: 6’0", 190-pounder possesses present strength with the frame and work ethic to add more as he develops; batted .297/405/.554 with the A’s rookie-level affiliate; one of my favorite hitters from the 2012 draft class; advanced plate discipline and sound swing give him the potential to be at least an above-average hitter; good pitch recognition with plate discipline beyond his years; effortless swing with smooth weight transfer and fluid wrist action; has power, but it’s primarily to the gaps at the moment; should improve as he settles in and gains more experience.
Saw time at shortstop this season, but doesn’t possess the quickness and athleticism to remain there long term; will likely shift over to third base full time and play alongside Addison Russell for years to come; like Russell, he has the offensive upside to move through the A’s system quickly.
Seattle Mariners: Victor Sanchez, RHP
*Note: Nine of the Mariners' top-10 prospects have been invited to major league camp.
DOB: 1/30/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’, 255
Drafted/Signed: 2011 (Venezuela)
Scouting Notes: Commanded largest signing bonus ($2.5 million) in organization’s history for an international prospect; opened plenty of eyes in his pro debut for short-season Everett as a 17-year-old (3.18 ERA, .213 BAA in 15 starts); stocky 6’, 255-pound frame calls for little projection and he’ll have to work hard to keep off additional weight as he matures.
Physically strong right-hander who understands how to use his core and lower half; has been lauded for his moxie and aggressiveness on the mound; showcases advanced command of his low-90s fastball that’s well beyond his years; changeup is best secondary offering with impressive late fade out of the strike zone; utilized both a slider and curveball this past season, though neither serve as a standout pitch; slider has the potential to be the better of the two breaking balls; advanced knowledge of how to attack hitters and pitch to weaknesses.
Texas Rangers: Jorge Alfaro, C
DOB: 6/11/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 185
Drafted/Signed: Jan. 2010 (Colombia)
Scouting Notes: One of my favorite catching prospects in the game, Alfaro combines tons of natural ability with quickly improving baseball skills; incredibly agile and aggressive behind the plate; boasts a legit plus-plus arm that ranks among the best in the game; could benefit from streamlining more throws rather than relying on sheer arm strength; still raw and a blocker as receiver but has improved with experience; speed is above-average relative to the position.
Right-handed hitter employs a hyper-aggressive approach; gets out on his front side too often, especially when chasing breaking balls; plus raw bat speed should yield easy power once he’s able to harness it; needs to work more counts and improve bat-to-ball ability; hasn’t shown a defined approach, though it should come with more experience; big-time catching prospect with loud tools and chance to be exceptional as a big leaguer.
Atlanta Braves: Lucas Sims, RHP
DOB: 5/10/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Brookwood HS, Ga.)
Scouting Notes: He is athletic with a live arm but an inconsistent arm slot; mechanics will need to be ironed out as he develops; fastball registers in the 90-93 mph range, though reports had him scraping 95-97 mph in the spring; Sims flashes potential for a four-pitch mix of at least average offerings; both his curveball and slider show plenty of potential but lack overall consistency; curveball was the better of the two in high school; slider was better in his professional debut; changeup is a work-in-progress but should be serviceable pitch by the time he reaches major leagues.
Miami Marlins: Justin Nicolino, LHP
DOB: 11/22/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 160
Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2010 (University HS, Fla.)
Scouting Notes: Showed pitchability and polish in full-season debut at Low-A Lansing; registered a 2.46 ERA and .241 BAA, and walked only 21 batters in 124.1 innings; projectable 6’3”, 160-pound frame with room to grow; exceptional at repeating his mechanics; can make it look easy; minor cross-body delivery lends to his overall deception; advanced feel for mixing his pitches and when to add/subtract; high-floor, mid-rotation upside.
Fastball sits 88-92 mph; commands it to both sides of the plate; challenges both right-handed and left-handed hitters; changeup is a plus offering and easily his best pitch; thrown with deceptive arm action relative to fastball; features late fade out of the zone; comfortable throwing it in any count; mixes in a curveball that has improved over the last year; gets too loopy at times; uses entire arsenal efficiently; keeps hitters off balance with tough sequencing.
New York Mets: Noah Syndergaard, RHP
DOB: 8/29/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 200
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Legacy HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: 6’5” right-hander has a power pitcher’s frame and frontline starter upside; physical presence on the bump who throws everything on a solid downward plane; repeats mechanics well given his size and features a strong core; fastball sits in the mid-90s with late, arm-side life and he’ll even flirt with triple-digits in shorter stints; uses to amass a healthy mix of strikeouts and ground-ball outs.
Curveball has plus potential as it’s a tight-breaker with late, downward bite; command of the pitch is inconsistent and will be challenged at higher levels; features better command of his changeup, though it’s not as dynamic of a pitch; offering is thrown with deceptive arm speed; if breaking ball doesn’t develop as planned, he still has an incredibly high ceiling as a late-inning reliever.
Philadelphia Phillies: Jesse Biddle, LHP
DOB: 10/22/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 225
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Germantown Friends HS, Penn.)
Scouting Notes: Biddle thrived as a 20-year-old at High-A last season after refining his mechanics; eliminated some of the cross-body delivery that hindered his command in 2011; uses 6’4” frame to advantage and throws on a downward plane.
Works 90-93 mph running fastball in and out; doesn’t catch as much plate with the pitch as he used to; curveball features tight spin and late, downer bite; comfortable throwing it for a strike as well as spotting to induce whiffs; changeup vastly improved this past season and gives him a chance to have three at least above-average offerings.
Washington Nationals: Brian Goodwin, OF
DOB: 11/2/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Rocky Mount HS, N.C.)
Scouting Notes: One of the rare college players with a considerable gap between athleticism and baseball skills; was impressive in all facets of the game in full-season (and professional) debut and reached Double-A; saw his prospect stock take off over the course of the 2012 season due to his power-speed potential and advanced plate discipline.
Left-handed hitter’s swing can still be inconsistent, but when he’s in a groove, it’s pretty; features quick hands and a surprisingly explosive swing that yields slightly above-average power—mostly to his pull side; has the ability to hit velocity; can fall into funks where he commits to pitches too early and tries to pull everything; hits the ball hard the other way when hands stay relaxed; has advanced plate discipline but not necessarily a true feel for the strike zone; possesses above-average speed that’s more noticeable in the outfield than on the basepaths.
Has the athleticism and defensive actions to stick in center field; shows good closing speed and covers a lot of ground; strong arm is a fit at all three outfield positions; blocked at each spot in the major leagues.
Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, OF
DOB: 4/16/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 170
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Mater Academy, Fla.)
Scouting Notes: Premium athlete who showcases all five tools as well as a mature work ethic and advanced baseball skills; 6’1”, 170-pound frame leaves room for projection; above-average bat speed results in consistent, hard contact to all fields; quiet and efficient swing with little wasted movement; power will develop as he matures and should be above average by the time he reaches the major leagues; all-around offensive skill set highly advanced for his age; 20-20 offensive upside with above-average hit tool.
Slightly above-average runner who demonstrates excellent instincts in center field through his reads, jumps and positioning; average arm that’s best suited for center field; above-average defensive outfielder with the natural ability and baseball IQ to stick in center; may not take him long to reach the major leagues relative to other class of 2012 draftees.
Cincinnati Reds: Robert Stephenson, RHP
DOB: 2/24/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Alhambra HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: Stephenson enjoyed an excellent professional debut in the Pioneer League; was later promoted to Low-A Dayton; 6’2” right-hander is advanced for his age with a distinct feel for both his arsenal and strike zone.
Fastball is a plus pitch with effortless 94-96 mph velocity, sometimes even more; commands it well to both sides of the plate and isn’t afraid to aggressively attack opposing hitters; has an advanced feel for fading changeup and sells it with a similar arm speed; his breaking ball will need to be cleaned up, but its present pace and shape suggests it’ll be at least an above-average pitch; with more experience and ongoing development of his secondary pitches, Stephenson should have no problem reaching his ceiling as a frontline starter.
Milwaukee Brewers: Clint Coulter, C
DOB: 7/30/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Union HS, Wash.)
Scouting Notes: Older high-school prospect who turned 19 in July; drafted as a bat-first catcher with tons of present physical strength; impressive professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League; batted .302/.439/.444 with 11 extra-base hits and 40/37 K/BB;
His hit tool already flashes plus potential; plate discipline is highly advanced considering his age and lack of experience; line-drive swing yields loud contact to all fields; legitimate feel for the strike zone; power will come once he adds some loft to his swing and gains experience.
Coulter will be a work-in-progress behind the plate for at least several years; was incredibly raw in pro debut; amassed 21 passed balls in 26 games and threw out runners at a 16-percent clip; has the size and mobility to remain behind the plate; blocking, game-calling and receiving skills require considerable refinement.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco, OF
DOB: 9/14/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 170
Drafted/Signed: April, 2009 (Dominican Republic)
Scouting Notes: An incredibly raw but athletic prospect; very projectable 6’4”, 170-pound frame with plenty of room to add strength; outstanding tools and secondary skills; had a monster breakout season at Low-A West Virginia, batting .235/.388/.522 with 48 extra-base hits (16 home runs), 40 stolen bases and 64/44 K/BB in 116 games as a 20-year-old.
Although he’s still young, the left-handed hitter has the potential for an above-average hit tool in the major leagues; showcases excellent bat speed and bat-to-ball ability; already comfortable driving the ball to all fields; always swings to drive the ball, which helps explain his improved power utility; strikes the ball with backspin carry; due to his plus athleticism, speed and range, he projects to remain in center field where his bat, power and speed are at a premium; prospect stock could jump even higher with a strong follow-up campaign at High-A Bradenton.
St. Louis Cardinals: Tyrell Jenkins, RHP
DOB: 7/20/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 192
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Henderson HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: At 6’4”, 192 pounds, Jenkins is still more of a raw athlete than pitcher at this point; has developed slower than expected since signing, which isn’t surprising given his lack of mound time as a prep; battled shoulder fatigue and a strained lat during the 2012 season, will need to improve offseason training and conditioning; lean, athletic frame is highly projectable, as is his smooth, whippy arm; high release point may need to be tweaked in order to improve his overall command.
Fluid arm action results in a mid-90s fastball that explodes out of his hand; struggles to locate the pitch and get ahead in counts; breaking ball can be too loopy at times and doesn’t draw as many whiffs as it should; feel for his changeup has improved, though there’s still a long way to go in terms of command his full arsenal.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Andrew Chafin, LHP
DOB: 6/17/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2011 (Kent State)
Scouting Notes: 6’2” left-hander had an inconsistent full-season debut in 2012; struggled mightily after an excellent opening month; lost a feel for the strike zone and was relegated to the bullpen; eventually worked his way back into the rotation to finish the season; the 22-year-old led the Cal League with 11.04 K/9.
Impressive pure stuff but lacks the control and command to make it truly effective; mechanics lack fluidity and are choppy; ball comes out of his hand with ease, but everything else involves effort; finish is inefficient and could be simplified or at least modified; fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s; can reach back for a few more ticks in shorter stints; manipulates the pitch in both directions by mixing in two-seamers and cutters; slider is filthy, a potential plus-plus pitch with a sharp, wipeout break; induces whiffs from both right- and left-handed hitters; nearly a big-league ready pitch that also projects favorably out of the bullpen; changeup is present and improved over the course of the 2012 season; potential to be a third at-least-average offering; development of both command and control will ultimately determine whether he sticks as a starter or is expedited to the major leagues as a reliever.
Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story, SS
DOB: 11/15/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 175
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Irving HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: Admittedly one of my favorite prospects in the game; turned in monster full-season debut at Low-A Asheville in age-19 season, batting .277/.367/.505 with 67 extra-base hits (18 home runs) and 15 stolen bases; potential for at least above-average tools across the board; more athleticism and natural ability than his size portends; baseball skills are advanced for his age.
6’1”, 175-pound shortstop has a smooth, effortless right-handed swing; plus bat speed results in loud contact; drives the ball especially well to right-center; understands how to drive through the baseball; raw power with developing power frequency; mashes fastballs; potential for above-average hit tool; needs to improve against southpaws; present swing-and-miss tendency should be ironed out over time; don’t be surprised if he has a Nolan Arenado-like (circa 2011) season at High-A.
Shortstop does everything in the field; above-average speed results in similar range in all directions; already showcases big-league defensive actions; intuitive player who positions himself according to in-game scenarios; no doubt in my mind that he can stick at the position and handle it at the highest level; plus arm is more than enough for the position; if he develops as expected, Story could supplant Troy Tulowitzki or Josh Rutledge at shortstop in Colorado in a few years.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS-3B
DOB: 4/27/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Northwest Cabarrus, N.C)
Scouting Notes: At 6’3”, 205 pounds, has present physicality with room to tack on additional strength; in my opinion, far more projectable than his brother, Kyle (Mariners); highly impressive left-handed bat with the potential for above-average hit and power tool; exhibits all-around good habits that are uncommon in an 18-year-old; has an easy, direct swing that allows him to sting the ball from line-to-line with impressive power to the opposite field; noticeably employs a consistent approach at the plate and doesn’t get himself out; he’s selective but it doesn’t impede his ability to attack and drive the ball.
Played shortstop exclusively in professional debut despite larger frame; I like that the Dodgers are willing to develop him there, which gives his bat even more value; possesses average speed on both sides of the ball that tends to play up due to his instincts; range is only average but enough to remain at shortstop for the time being; plus arm is suitable for either left-side-of-the-infield position; there’s a good chance he outgrows the position as he matures and shifts to third base.
San Diego Padres: Max Fried, LHP
DOB: 1/18/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’4’, 185
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2012 (Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: Selected with the seventh-overall draft pick in 2012, Fried made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League; reports said he wasn’t fully healthy and pitching at 100 percent; registered a 3.57 ERA with 17/6 K/BB in 17.2 innings; athletic and projectable southpaw with lots of polish for his age; has a smooth delivery and fluid arm action.
Fastball ranges anywhere from 88-93 mph with arm-side action; left-hander’s curveball is easily his best offering with a big break and the potential to draw lots of swing-and-misses; changeup also flashes at least above-average potential and is thrown with deceptive arm speed; given his three-pitch mix and overall polish relative to his age, it’s easy to envision Fried as a No. 2 starter in a few years, especially in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
San Francisco Giants: Kyle Crick, RHP
DOB: 11/30/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220
Scouting Notes: Possesses highly projectable frame at 6’4”, 220 pounds and has little mileage on his arm; lack of experience can also be attributed to overall rawness; present plus fastball at 94-97 mph, but struggles to command the pitch with consistency.
Slider is still a work-in-progress, but flashes plus potential when thrown with tight spin; still working on getting on top of pitch rather than coming around the side; changeup vastly improved over the course of 2012 season and should be at least a third above-average offering; aggressively attacks hitters and maintains consistent approach even when command is shaky; has the potential to the Giants’ next homegrown, frontline starter.