Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2014 Stats (A+): 1-1, 45.2 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.270 WHIP, 0.4 HR/9, 21 BB, 48 K (14 G/11 GS)
Urias emerged as a can’t-miss prospect last season as a 16-year-old at Low-A Great Lakes, as he excelled against significantly older hitters in a full-season league.
The left-hander possesses a truly special combination of stuff and pitchability—not to mention a repeatable delivery and smooth arm action—as he already sits in the low 90s, bumps 94-95 mph with his fastball and adeptly mixes in a plus curveball and promising changeup.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins
2014 Stats (A+): 8-2, 83.1 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, 0.3 HR/9, 21 BB, 98 K (14 GS)
Berrios opened eyes last season in his full-season debut for Low-A Cedar Rapids, as he posted a 3.99 ERA and 100-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103.2 innings against hitters two to three years his elder. The 20-year-old has taken a huge step forward this season at High-A Fort Myers in the challenging (not for him, clearly) Florida State League, highlighted by his stellar 98-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 83.1 innings.
I’m sure the Twins have their reasons for keeping him at the level for as long as they have, but it’s obvious Berrios is in need of a greater challenge.
Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees
2014 Stats (A/A+): 3-3, 72.1 IP, 2.99 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 0.2 HR/9, 16 BB, 78 K (15 GS)
After putting himself on the prospect radar last season by reaching full-season ball in his stateside debut, Severino, 20, has seen his stock take off this year thanks to a dominant showing at Low-A Charleston to begin the season—and now High-A Tampa after a recent promotion.
Though he’s undersized at 6’0”, 195 pounds, the right-hander features an explosive mid-90s fastball that bumps 97-97 mph as well as a pair of promising secondary offerings in a sharp slider and quickly improving changeup. Expect Severino to light up the radar gun during the Futures Game in his first exposure to a national audience.
Francellis Montas, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2014 Stats (A+): 3-0, 55 IP, 1.64 ERA, 0.891 WHIP, 0.2 HR/9, 11 BB, 51 K (9 GS)
Acquired from the Red Sox last summer in the Jake Peavy deal, Montas, 21, quickly has emerged as one of the best pitching prospects (if not the best) in the White Sox system this season behind improved command of his power stuff.
The 6’2”, 185-pound right-hander boasts a fastball in the upper 90s that eats up opposing hitters, and he’s developed a better feel for his curveball, slider and changeup. That said, his overall command remains a work in progress, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares following an inevitable promotion to Double-A Birmingham.
Enny Romero, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
2014 Stats (AAA): 3-7, 69 IP, 5.35 ERA, 1.478 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 29 BB, 64 K (14 GS)
Even though Romero pitched well in a spot start for the Rays late last season, the 23-year-old left-hander is still more of a thrower than a pitcher, as he’ll struggle to repeat a consistent release point and in turn miss his spots both inside and outside of the zone.
However, there’s no denying that Romero has impressive stuff, with an explosive fastball that ranges anywhere from 92 to 97 mph, a power curveball that flashes plus potential due to its velocity and downer break, and a raw, inconsistent changeup that shows at least above-average potential.
Jorge Lopez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
2014 Stats (A+): 7-3, 72 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 0.4 HR/9, 20 BB, 56 K (13 GS)
Despite his disappointing performance in the Midwest League last season, the Brewers decided to reward the 21-year-old with a promotion to High-A Brevard County for the 2014 season. Suffice it to say, the projectable 6’4”, 165-pound right-hander’s response to the organization’s challenge already has surpassed expectations.
Tayron Guerrero, RHP, San Diego Padres
2014 Stats (A/A+): 6-1, 37.2 IP, 0.96 ERA, 0.982 WHIP, 0.5 HR/9, 14 BB, 44 K (27 G)
The only reliever to make a Futures Game roster, Guerrero, a 23-year-old right-hander, is in the midst of a breakout performance between both A-ball levels this season, which is also his fifth in the Padres’ system.
Domingo German, RHP, Miami Marlins
2014 Stats (A): 7-2, 83 IP, 2.28 ERA, 1.133 WHIP, 0.4 HR/9, 14 BB, 76 K (15 GS)
German, 21, was finally turned loose this year in the South Atlantic League after four strong seasons at the complex and Short Season levels. Considering his overwhelming success through his first 15 starts, I can’t help but wonder why we haven’t heard more about this guy prior to this year.
Edwin Escobar, LHP, San Francisco Giants
2014 Stats (AAA): 3-6, 81.1 IP, 5.31 ERA, 1.512 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, 27 BB, 75 K (15 GS)
Escobar jumped on the major league radar last season by posting a 2.80 ERA and 146-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 128.2 innings between High-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond.
However, the 22-year-old left-hander, who has the potential for three average-or-better offerings at maturity, has taken a step back this season at Triple-A Fresno with 96 hits allowed (10 home runs) in 81.1 innings—a product of being a command-oriented pitcher in the Pacific Coast League—though he’s maintained a solid 75-27 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span.
Alfonso Alcantara, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
2014 Stats (A): 4-4, 65 IP, 4.43 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 0.4 HR/9, 38 BB, 60 K (15 G/9 GS)
Making his full-season debut this year at Low-A Burlington, Alcantara, 21, possesses some of the best arm strength in the low minors with a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. The only problem is that the right-hander has absolutely no clue where the pitch will end up, as his mechanics currently are a work in progress (read: mess) and lack consistency.
*All stats are courtesy of either MiLB.com or Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.