I thought I set this to auto-post at 7 am, but it appears I forgot to do that.
Anyway, I have a dozen names for your review this Monday morning. Eleven great performances and one stinker. Unfortunately, that stinker belonged to Gavin Stone.
Gavin Stone (RHP, LAD, Triple-A, 23) – 6/16 – 3.1 IP, 11 hits, 10 ER, 8K/2BB.
The optimist would say…hey, he got 10 outs, and eight were strikeouts. In looking at the data, he did get his fastball up to 96 MPH once but still sat 93.6 MPH with poor spin. He threw his change-up less as he seemed to be working on throwing his slider more. He did miss some bats. Dunno…clearly a work-in-progress.
Osleivis Basabe (SS/2B, TB, Triple-A, 22) – 6/16 – 3 for 5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, CS, For the season: .306/.370, 4 HR, 8 SB, CS 5, 15.2 K/9, 8.9 BB/9.
- Highest Level: Triple-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Middle Infielder with upside
- Tools Summary: He’s a plus hitter with speed, but lacks the power to be an impact performer at the highest level.
Oslevis Basabe is one of the better hitters in the upper levels of the minor leagues. His swing is built for contact as his launch angle is below average, but he should be able to hit enough doubles to force a .400 SLG. He’ll hit the odd home run, but that is not his game. He’s also a plus runner and can steal 20+ bases annually. The Rays have played him all over the infield, and ultimately that might be his role at the highest level. Currently, second and short are occupied in Tampa, and pushing Franco and Lowe out of their role will be challenging.
Basabe’s fantasy upside is a Middle Infielder, but in the right situation, he could be a Top 15 2B.
Mason Auer (OF, TB, Double-A, 22) – 6/16 – 3 for 4, 4 runs, 5 RBI, 2 HR, 1 SB. .175/.269, 5 HR, 25 SB, 39% K-Rate, 9.5% BB-Rate.
It’s been a tough season for the tooled-up Mason Auer, but at least for one night, he showed the universe what he’s capable of. Plus, he didn’t strike out! He’s got a long way to go, but Friday was a good night. His scouting report is below.
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: He’s not had a good season striking out at an alarming rate. There are still impressive tools, but unless he cuts down on his strikeout rate, it’s not going to work.
Mason Auer was one of my targets in Supplemental Drafts coming into the 2023 season, and it’s not gone well. The strikeout rate is simply unacceptable. He was fine in Low and High-A but is struggling mightily against the better pitching in Double-A, particularly with breaking pitches. On the positive, the speed is there, and he’s stealing bases and still showing good bat speed. However, if he doesn’t cut down on the swing and miss, he’s not going to make it.
Joey Loperfido (2B, Hou, Double-A, 24) – 6/17 – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 SB. For the season: .286/.396, 11 HR, 16 SB, 24% K-Rate, 14.3% BB-Rate.
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B or Top 60 OF
- Tools Summary: He has some solid building blocks to be a full-time regular. He doesn’t have star potential but could be a useful Major Leaguer.
Joey Loperfido was a seventh-round pick in 2021 with a lot of 50s on his scouting card but no standout tool. It’s now been a couple of years of professional development, and I think we can put a plus grade on his speed with above-average power potential and excellent strike zone judgment. Given his length (6-foot-3), his swing can get long, and he’s prone to strike out more than you like. However, he has the building blocks to be a full-time regular with a chance to hit 10 to 15 home runs, 15+ stolen bases, and hit .260 with 80 points on top of that for OBP. Since he’s limited defensively, he might fit best in left field or first. If he can stay at second, the offensive profile will work fine. If a move to first or left occurs, he might move to a platoon role.
Jose Rodriguez (2B/SS, CHW, Double-A, 22) – 6/17 – 3 for 4, 2 HR, 4 RBI. For the season: .242/.270, 9 HR, 9 SB, 26.5% K-Rate, 4.2% BB-Rate.
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Middle Infielder
- Tools Summary: He has regressed in his third kick at the can in Double-A.
Jose Rodriguez has spent parts of the last three seasons in Double-A and is regressing. He’s striking out more and walking less, and his usually efficient base-stealing ability has regressed. He’s always been aggressive, but the strikeouts have increased as the White Sox have tried to have him add loft to his swing. There’s now more over-the-fence power, but there are questions about whether the contact trade-off is worth it. He’s become a borderline guy for me, which is a shame as I had higher hopes for him earlier in his career.
Kevin Alcantara (OF, CHC, High-A, 20) – 5 for 5, 2 HR, 6 RBI. For the season: .256/.285, 6 HR, 11 SB, 25% K-Rate, 3.5%.
Kevin Alcantara refuses to walk this year, but when you go 5 for 5 with two home runs, who cares. Below is his scouting report.
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 30 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: He’s tooled-up, but at 6-foot-6, there will likely be some swing-and-miss in his game. Regardless, there is a setup for an impact player at the highest level.
Kevin Altantara is one of the highest-upside prospects in the minor leagues. There is serious power potential, and at least early in his career, he will steal plenty of bases. There will always be concern about how much he’ll strike out because he’s 6-foot-6, with long levers, and those types of players usually strike out a lot. What I wasn’t worried about was his approach. He always worked counts well, but he’s become overly aggressive in High-A – exactly like Pete Crow-Armstrong. Is this something that the Cubs are teaching at this level? PCA has been better in 2023. It’s a data point that we need to monitor. Overall, the tools point to an impact player at the highest level with 20-20 potential, with more power expected as he fills out.
Benny Montgomery (OF, Col, High-A, 20) – 6/16 – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1K/1BB. For the season: .271/.373, 4 HR, 2 SB, 27% K-Rate, 13.6%.
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025-26 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: He’s extremely athletic but has questions about how much he’ll impact the ball.
When Benny Montgomery was drafted in the first round in 2021, there was a lot of debate as to whether he should have been taken that high. You can’t deny the athleticism as he’s a true 70-runner, and while he’s never stolen a ton of bases, the sprint speeds will be some of the best in the league once they are available. He’s also a great outfielder with a plus arm. Finally, he has plenty of bat speed, and at 6-foot-4, he has the setup to hit for power. However, when you analyze his swing, he doesn’t use his lower half well, and there is a lot of twitchy movement in his setup and swing. Said another way, I have concerns about whether he’ll hit enough to get to his power. That could make him a soft regular or even a fourth outfielder. If he played for the Dodgers, Rays, or another organization I trusted to resolve the issue, I would not be even bringing this up, but he plays for the Rockies, and that always adds risk. In summary, despite the lofty draft pedigree, there is some risk in Montgomery’s ceiling of a number three outfielder.
Luis Perales (RHP, Bos, High-A, 20) – 6/17 – 6 IP, 1 hit, 7K/1BB. For the season: 37.2 IP, 4.06 ERA, 11.7 K/9, 5.0 BB/9.
He continues to impress with his high-end velocity. The control was better in his last outing, and his secondary pitches continue to improve. There could be something here, and he should be owned in most deeper Dynasty Leagues at this point. The updated scouting report is below.
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2026+ Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP or Reliever
- Tools Summary: High-end velocity with an athletic delivery. He’s not throwing strikes, but there are some interesting building blocks.
Luis Perales has high-end velocity, with this fastball touching the upper 90s. He doesn’t always know where the ball is going, resulting in his ugly walk rate. However, the delivery is simple, he’s athletic, and there is hope that eventually, he’ll throw enough strikes to pitch at the highest level. His secondary pitches are not there yet, but he shows the ability to spin a slider with a decent change-up. Everyone is always looking for deep names, well, here you go.
Marco Raya (RHP, Min, High-A, 20) – 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 6K/0BB. For the season: 27.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 1.6 BB/9.
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 40 SP
- Tools Summary: He has a four-pitch arsenal with several plus pitches, and he throws strikes.
Marco Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round pick in 2020, and it looks like they got a steal. At 6-foot-1, he’s on the small size for a starting pitcher but has terrific stuff. His fastball sits 93 to 94, topping out at 96 MPH with a solid spin rate 2300. He throws a slider, cutter, and curveball, all with his spin rates. Plus, his change-up has a nice fade at 1850 RPMs. He pounds the strike zone and posts 30%+ CSW nightly. If he were bigger, people would talk about him much more. Given his stuff and ability to throw strikes, the upside is a number two starter.
Jared Serna (2B/SS/3B, NYY, Low-A, 21) – 2 for 6, 1 SB, 2K/0BB. For the season: .314/.375, 12 HR, 15 SB, 17.9% K-Rate, 8.3% BB-Rate.
I could write about Jared Serna every other day. He’s having a terrific season, but before we anoint him as the next “great prospect”, we need to see what he can do in High-A. It’s time for a promotion. His scouting report is below.
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2026 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: He’s showing an excellent understanding of the strike zone with bat speed and above-average speed.
Jared Serna was a much-talked-about prospect in 2022 but was hurt most of the season, and when he finally got into game time, he struggled. 2023 has been different, as he’s walking more than he’s striking out, hitting the ball with authority, and stealing bases. The Yankees have been playing him all over the infield, but he’ll likely land at second or third. The upside could be a full-time regular, and the way he’s been playing, a promotion to High-A should be in the cards over the summer. Finally, if you like players that play with swag, he’s your guy!
Noah Schultz (LHP, CHW, Low-A, 19) – 6/16 – 3 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 6K/1BB. For the season: 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 12K/1BB.
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2026+ Fantasy Ceiling: Wide-ranging from a Top-of-the-rotation arm to a kid who’s always hurt.
- Tools Summary: He’s tall and lanky with a chance to grow into velocity. The delivery is a lower three-quarter with effort.
Noah Schultz was the White Sox’s first-round pick in 2022 and began the season on the IL with a forearm strain. He’s looked good in his return and has overwhelmed Low-A hitters with his size and slinging delivery. At 6-foot-9, it’s encouraging that he’s throwing strikes, but the delivery is a lower three-quarter with some effort, so I’m not sure how he is able to repeat it, particularly given how young he is. He’s a physical projection kid and will likely build arm strength with a chance to increase his low 90s fastball at least 2 or 3 MPH as he fills out. To be provocative, there is some physical resemblance to Randy Johnson, and while I’ve heard some evaluators say that Schultz was a wasted #1 pick, many counted out Johnson as well. You should take away from this capsule that he’s intriguing, given his size and unique delivery, but he has a long, long way to go.
John Cruz (OF, NYY, Complex, 17) – 6/16 and 6/17 – 6 for 11, 2 HR, 14 RBI. For the season: .270/341, 3 HR, 2 SB, 7K/4BB.
The Yankees signed John Cruz in 2021 for a small $75,000 bonus. He had an unremarkable DSL debut in 2022, highlighted by his walking 48 times in 54 games. He’s gotten off to a strong start in 2023 where he’s still showing a good understanding of the strike zone but showing more pop at least early in the season.