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2016 Top 10 Milwaukee Brewers Prospects

Our review of the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects is now available.

You can see the Brewers 2015 Prospect List here.

1. Orlando Arcia (SS)

2. Brett Phillips (OF)

3. Clint Coulter (OF)

4. Trent Clark (OF)

5. Michael Reed (OF)

6. Tyrone Taylor (OF)

7. Domingo Santana (OF)

8. Jorge Lopez (RHP)

9. Devin Williams (RHP)

10. Monte Harrison (OF)

2016 Emerging Prospect

Gilbert Lara (SS)

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2016 Top 10 Cincinnati Reds Prospects

Our review of the 2016 Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects is now available.

You can see the Reds 2015 Prospect List here.

1. Robert Stephenson (RHP)

2. Jesse Winker (OF)

3. Amir Garrett (LHP)

4. Keury Mella (RHP)

5. John Lamb (LHP)

6. Alex Blandino (SS)

7. Phil Ervin (OF)

8. Cody Reed (LHP)

9. Tyler Stephenson (C)

10. Aristides Aquino (OF)

2016 Emerging Prospect

Antonio Santillan (RHP)

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2016 Top 10 Chicago Cubs Prospects

Our review of the 2016 Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects is now available.

You can see the Cubs 2015 Prospect List here.

1. Gleyber Torres (SS)

2. Billy McKinney (OF)

3. Ian Happ (OF)

4. Duane Underwood (RHP)

5. Willson Contreras (C)

6. Mark Zagunis (OF)

7. Donnie Dewees (OF)

8. Eloy Jimenez (OF)

9. Ryan Williams (RHP)

10. Albert Almora (OF)

2016 Emerging Prospect

Dylan Cease (RHP)

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2016 All Minor League Team

As the minor leagues system winds to a close, it’s time to recognize some outstanding 2016 performances.  While we could have gone three to four deep at each position, we looked at a combination of performance and upside in order to make our rankings of the top player at his position.

C – Jacob Nottingham (Oak, High-A)

Jacob Nottingham was a big breakout in 2015, slugging .505 in 511 plate appearance while adding 17 home runs.  Needing pitching, the Astros moved him in July to the A’s for Scott Kazmir and while Kazmir has been good, Nottingham could haunt them for years to come.

Runner Up – Willson Contreras (CHC, AA)

1B – A.J. Reed (Hou, A+, AA)

What didn’t A.J. Reed do?  He slugged .602 across High-A and Double-A while hitting 37 home runs and driving in 127.  Yeah, some of the damage was done in Lancaster, but he kept on mashing in Double-A.  It’s not a great body, but he can really hit.

Runner Up – Bobby Bradley (Cle, A)

2B – Yoan Moncada (Bos, A)

It took a couple of months for Yoan Moncada to get rolling but once he did, he showed the kind up talent that led the Red Sox to pay him a $31.5 million dollars signing bonus.  He ended the year slashing .278/.380/.438 with eight home runs and 48 stolen bases.

Runner Up – Forrest Wall (Col, A)

SS – Corey Seager (LAD, AA, AAA)

Finally the Dodgers saw the light and promoted Corey Seager to the major leagues in September.  In 550 plate appearance in the minor leagues in 2015, he slashed .293/.344/.487 with 18 home runs.  Expect Seager to be starting in Los Angeles to begin the 2016 season.

Runner Up – Orlando Arcia (Mil, AA)

3B – Rafael Devers (Bos, A)

It was debatable who was more impressive in Greenville, Rafael Devers or Yoan Moncada.  Playing the entire year as an 18-year-old, Devers showed good pop, slugging .443 with the ability to make very good contact.  He’ll need to work on his approach, but everything is there for him become a star.

Runner Up – Richie Shaffer

OF – Max Kepler (Min, AA)

It’s been about promise for the past three years with Max Kepler.  This year, it was about production.  In 112 games in Double-A, he posted a .942 OPS with nine home runs and 18 stolen bases while walking more than he struck out.  While all the excitement in Minnesota has been about Sano and Buxton, don’t forget about Kepler.

OF – Lewis Brinson (Tex, A+,AA, AAA)

Lewis Brinson struck out 191 time in 503 plate appearances as a 19-year-old in Low-A two seasons ago.  This year, across three levels, he struck out 98 times in 456 plate appearances.  What a transformation.  While there is still a lot of work left to do, Brinson has star potential as a 20/20 performer playing a gold glove center field.

OF – Brad Zimmer (Cle, A+, AA)

Drafted last year, Bradley Zimmer is making the minor leagues look pretty easy.  In 127 games across High and Double-A, he posted an .814 OPS with 16 home runs and 44 stolen bases.  While I don’t believe he’ll maintain the stolen base pace as he moves through the system, there is easy 20/20 potential.

Runner Up – Nomar Mazara (Tex, AA, AAA), Harold Ramirez (Pit, A+), Brett Phillips (Mil, A+,AA)

Pitchers – Blake Snell (TB, AAA)

Blake Snell tore through three levels this year to post eye-popping numbers.  In 23 starts, he won 15 games, posted a 1.41 ERA while striking out almost eleven per nine.  While many wanted to see him in the majors to end the season, he still needs to work on his control and that combined with the Rays history of playing the Super-2 game, will peg his arrival to the major leagues to mid-June next year.

Pitcher – Alex Reyes (STL, A+, AA)

For my money, Alex Reyes has the highest upside of any pitcher in the minor leagues.  The stuff is elite and he has the athleticism to eventually command it.  Across High and Double-A, he struck out 151 batters in 22 starts while only giving up 6.2 hits per nine.  While he needs more grooming, he’s not that far away.

Pitcher – Tyler Glasnow (Pit, AA, AAA)

Tyler Glasnow has the nastiest stuff in the minor leagues and at times, can be unhittable.  In 22 starts across Double and Triple-A, batters only managed a .171 batting average and 6.3 hits per nine.  He also struck out 11.2 batter per nine and improved his walk rate.  He’ll be in the major leagues next year and while he will be inconsistent, is a guy that has a chance to pitch a no-hitter each and every time out.

Runner Up – Jose Berrios (Min, AA, AAA), Sean Newcomb (LAA, A, A+,AA), Steve Matz (NYM, AA,AAA)


Profiling Atlanta Braves Shortstop Ozzie Albies

Editors Note:  As we start to organize our notes for our Team Top 10 lists (starting Oct. 2nd), we thought we would release some of the more impressive players that our scouts have seen live over the spring and summer.  Next in line: Atlanta Braves shortstop, Ozzie Albies.

Ozzie Albies (SS)

With the much needed overhaul of the Braves farm system, one of the few holdouts from the Frank Wren regime is Ozzie Albies; who just happens to sit on the top of the Braves list.

Albies had his breakout in 2014, posting an impressive .429 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases in 57 games in the GCL and Appy League.   In fact, he was our 2016 emerging prospect where we wrote the following:  If you’re looking for a kid that nobody has heard of for your Dynasty League, Ozhaino Albies fits the bill.  After making it on our Top 50 mid-season prospect list, Albies is starting to become a household name in prospect circles.

He continued to play very well in his full season assignment to Rome slashing .312/.370/.406 in 98 games before breaking his hand in early August.  He made excellent contact (86%) while showing a very good understanding of the strike zone that led to 36 walks in 439 plate appearances.  He did all of this at the ripe age of 18-years-old, making him the youngest player in the Sally League.

Scouting Report:  We quote the age of players relative to their level quite often in our capsules.  Why?  Two reasons:  First, younger players not only have a longer runway for development but also are usually more open to coaching than older players.  There are fewer habits to be broken as their mind-muscle repetition has not been established.  Secondly and more importantly, they get to play against older and more experienced competition.  Pitchers have better control of their arsenal and fielders get to more balls.  In order to be successful, the player has to accelerate his learning curve and that only helps him long-term.

As the youngest player in the Appy League, Albies has done more than hold his own; he has excelled.  He’s blessed with great hand-eye-coordination and barrel control with a chance for a plus hit tool at the highest level.  Currently there is no power and based on his size and swing mechanics, it’s difficult to put anything higher than a future 20-grade power assessment on him.

Albies does have double-plus speed and that showed up on the base paths where he stole 29 of 37 bases.  His instincts are good but will improve as he learns to read pitchers better.

Defensively, he has the athleticism and arm strength to stay at shortstop but assuming he stays in the Atlanta organization, is blocked at the major league level with arguably the best defensive shortstop in the game.  Fortunately, it’s a decision that is three years away.

Fantasy Impact:  Albies is a Top 50 prospect in the game but from a fantasy standpoint, there’s two red flags.  One is the lack of power; and therefore his fantasy value will come strictly from his ability to hit and steal bases.  While there is 40 stolen base upside with a .300 batting average, speed fades; and as fantasy owners have learned from Elvis Andurs, when it does, it’s not good.  Secondly, if the Braves move him to center field or second base, his value will take a hit.  While we love Albies, Dynasty League owners might want to consider selling high as many baseball publications will over value him, providing an interesting market for the 18-year-older in Dynasty Leagues.

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Profiling Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Harold Ramirez

Editors Note:  As we start to organize our notes for our Team Top 10 lists (starting Oct. 2nd), we thought we would release some of the more impressive players that our scouts have seen live over the spring and summer.  Next in line: Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder, Harold Ramirez.

Harold Ramirez (OF)

Harold Ramirez had a breakout year in 2015 posting an impressive .333/.401/.460 slash line in 75 games in the Florida State League.  Ramirez didn’t play a full season because he was held back in extended spring training for reportedly arriving to Spring Training overweight.  At 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, Ramirez is already a little stocky, so hopefully the Pirates have addressed the issue and it is behind him.

Scouting Report:  Ramirez carrying tool is his hit-tool.  He has a mature approach and can barrel the ball with authority to all fields.  The swing is currently doubles-oriented but he has enough size, strength and bat speed to project 12 to 15 home runs at the highest level.  His plus foot-speed did drop a grade, perhaps due to him being a little out of shape and the results were not good.  While he stole 21 bases, he was also caught 14 times.  As Ramirez naturally fills out, the speed will continue to regress with a ceiling of 8 to 12 stolen bases annually more likely than 20 plus.

Defensively, the Pirates have moved Ramirez to right field where he profiles as an average defender.  As with Austin Meadows, Ramirez is blocked but will likely struggle to crawl over Meadows on the depth chart.  Given his growing hit tool, he could be an intriguing trade chip in the future as the Pirates will likely always need pitching at the major league level.

Fantasy Impact:  Ramirez is still flying under-the-radar in many Dynasty Leagues but with his breakout campaign, that is quickly changing.  Now might be the last time to jump in and acquire him for a reasonable price.  The ceiling is a .280 hitter with 12 to 15 home runs and 8 to 12 stolen bases.   It’s slightly lesser version of Austin Meadows.

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Profiling St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Alex Reyes

Editors Note:  As we start to organize our notes for our Team Top 10 lists (starting Oct. 2nd), we thought we would release some of the more impressive players that our scouts have seen live over the spring and summer.  We start the series off with St. Louis Cardinals right-hand pitcher, Alex Reyes.

A member of the Mount Rushmore of the best minor league pitchers in the game (Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow, Julio Urias, and Alex Reyes), Alex Reyes is quickly moving up prospect lists as his performance is starting to support his scouting report.

To start the season, Reyes dominated the Florida State League by striking out almost 14 per nine while not giving up a home run in 63.2 innings.  The dominating performance continued upon his promotion to the Texas League where he continued his impressive strikeout rate while posting a 3.70 ERA.  His control is getting better but it’s still inconsistent, resulting in an inflated 4.3 walks per nine across his 20 starts in 2015.

The Cardinals know that they have something special in Reyes and will continue to move slowly with him. He’ll just turned 21 at the end of the week and while there is a chance he sees St. Louis in 2016 it could come in the bullpen (ala Carlos Martinez).  All he needs is time to harness his plus arsenal.  When it comes, it’s going to be special.

Scouting Report:  When you see Reyes on the mound, three things jump out at you:

  1. The smooth mechanics that are born out of extreme athleticism that with time, should allow him to repeat them consistently. When he does, and it’s happened several times, he can put up monster numbers.  For instance:  on June 17, Reyes faced 25 batters and struck out 13 while walking one; on August 14, Reyes faced 19 batters, striking out 10 and walking one.
  2. A power arsenal that consists of a fastball that sits 94 to 98 MPH, but usually hits triple digits at some point during each game and a curve ball that might be outlawed in five states. The curve ball is a classic 12 to 6 downer but thrown at 78 to 81 MPH.  With the increased velocity, it has a slightly sharper break than a traditional curve ball.  The change-up is his third pitch and also thrown hard at 88 to 91 MPH.  I think over time, it could be just as effective as his curve ball.
  3. Mound presence. It’s hard to describe it in words, but when you see Reyes pitch, he has it.  He commands the diamond, looks the part and provides a level of moxy that elite athletes bring.

Reyes has the arsenal and athleticism to be an ace.  He just needs time to develop more consistent control and fastball command.  Once it’s there, watch out.

Fantasy Impact:  Reyes was a buy-low candidate last year but no more.  He’s a top 10 prospect and rising.  You still have to believe that his command and control will improve, but his extreme athleticism and smooth delivery points to high probability that it will happen.  I’m anxious to see who’s face on Mount Rushmore will shine the brightest on our Top 100 list next year.  I could very easily be…


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