Jim Callis and I collaborated on the AFL Top 25 prospects that went up on the site today. And other than quietly seething that a technical glitch only allows for one of our mugs to go on the top (I joke because I love), I’m pretty happy with how the list came out. Feel free to give your thoughts, either in comments on the story or right here on B3.
Of course, there are always other prospects worth talking about. One of the things Jim and I agreed on is that this was a deep league. That’s why we went up to 25. There are other intriguing prospects who didn’t make the top 25, so I figured I’d throw out some bonus names here. Not ranked in any way, other than alphabetically, here are five more prospects to ponder:
Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Marlins (Salt River): We talked about him a bit for the back end of the Top 25, but in the end, he narrowly missed. He threw very well in the Fall League and deserves credit for that, especially in a hitting-friendly environment. He doesn’t have plus stuff — his individual pitches don’t wow, but the guy really knows how to pitch. If you told me he’d have a long career as a No. 4 starter, beginning in 2015, I’d believe you.
Francellis Montas, RHP, White Sox (Glendale): It’s hard not to like the arm, right? The guy can get it up into triple digits and gets an 80 on the scouting scale for his fastball. He throws a good slider along with it and he can maintain his velocity deep into outings, which is why the White Sox haven’t given up on him as a starter. The command and changeup might mean he’s better in the bullpen, but this guy could be an intimidating closer in the future.
Steven Moya, OF, Tigers (Glendale): There still isn’t anyone I’d rather watch take BP more than this guy. His power is as legit as it comes. And anything you’ve read about his tendency to swing and miss? Also true. He knows he needs to improve his approach, and he’s always going to strike out a lot. But he can hit the ball a country mile.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (Scottsdale): His numbers weren’t great at the end, but I saw him early on in the AFL, when he started with a five-game hitting streak and everything he hit was hard. He has good on-base skills. Lets see how the power comes. I keep hearing how some feel he’s a tweener — not quite speedy/rangy enough for center, not quite the offensive profile for a corner. But he’s ahead of where I thought he’d be developmentally at this point.
Peter O’Brien, C, D-backs (Salt River): He came close to making our 25. Like Moya, the power is impressive. And he drew a ton of walks. And struck out a lot. Is he a three true outcomes kind of guy? Maybe. The real question is where will he play defensively? Arizona is committed to continuing to work with him behind the plate and Salt river manager Andy Haines thought he could stay there.
Ask a question on Twitter and you never know what kind of response you’re going to get. On Monday, after it was announced that the Mets had signed Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal, thus forfeiting their first-round pick (No. 15 overall — story on new Draft order is here), I posed a simple question as an informal survey:
Informal poll: How many of you think Michael Cuddyer is worth giving up the No. 15 pick in the 2015 Draft for?
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayoB3) November 10, 2014
Simple enough, right? I wasn’t sure how many, if any, of you would answer. Well, more than 70 of you did. Which is great, because I hadn’t blogged in a while and this gave me something cool to write about.
A majority — 52.8 percent, to be exact — answered in the negative, that the Mets either shouldn’t have signed Cuddyer, shouldn’t have given up the 15th overall pick for him, or both. Many were simple “No” or “No way” answers. Some were more along the lines of this one, which kind of says — maybe for some teams, but not the Mets:
@JonathanMayoB3 Maybe if you are a team who is one player away from being a WS contender….the Mets are not
— Nick Hammernik (@NHammertime) November 10, 2014
A quarter of people who responded (25% on the nose) thought it was a worthwhile move. Again, some gave a simple Twitter version of a nod of assent. Some people elaborated. There were those who thought Cuddyer was the right man for the job:
Some felt the Mets had to do SOMETHING to show they’re trying to contend:
@JonathanMayoB3 For the mets, yes sir. Time to shut up and put up.
— Tracy Fay (@TracyFay2012) November 10, 2014
Some felt giving up the No. 15 pick wasn’t something to worry about, like this response to someone who had voted “No.” (More on this in a bit):
The remaining people (22.2%) gave some variation of “It depends.” It depends on what Cuddyer does. It depends on if you think the Mets are close to contending. Mostly, it was a lot of, “It depends if the Mets are done.” If this is just the first salvo in an offseason flurry of moves, then it’s worth it. The point has been made that if the Mets go after another free agent with a qualifying offer — Troy Tulowitzki, for the sake of this discussion — then they’d be getting that higher-profile free agent for just a second-round pick, thus making the Cuddyer signing make more sense.
@JonathanMayoB3 it’s bigger than that. If cuddyer is only piece mets get, than no. If he is the 1st of other pieces, he might be.
— Marc Samet (@MarcSamet) November 10, 2014
I must admit, I tend to be a bit Draft-skewed, based on what I do. So my initial reaction was that giving up a top 15 pick for Cuddyer didn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially for an organization that had been re-committing itself to re-building a once-moribund farm system. They’ve come a long way and another first rounder certainly wouldn’t hurt. I’m willing to wait and see what else the Mets do before passing judgment, and I understand the pull in New York to compete. But I would be remiss if I didn’t respond to those out there in the Twitterverse who echoed the “who cares about the No. 15 pick” sentiment above.
First, a list of other former No. 15 picks:
That’s just a sampling, but four of the five have been All-Stars. Countless others have been productive big leaguers. And I’m not even going to get into players after No. 15 (I mentioned the obvious choice in Mike Trout in response on Twitter), not to mention players taken past the top five or six, the threshold thrown out there in the tweet above.
I’m curious to see how this all plays out: How much Cuddyer can help the Mets, how his signing fits into a larger plan for the team and, of course, who the Braves take at No. 15 next June. That is, of course, unless they sign their own qualifying free agent.
With the amount of contributions from rookies the Cardinals are getting, I suppose we could stay with them throughout the rest of their run. Given Kolten Wong’s ninth-inning heroics in Game 2, and the fact that we’ve spoken with the rookie second baseman a TON since his draft year in 2011, he was the obvious choice. Let’s take a look:
- It started with a pre-Draft story on Wong, who was coming out of the University of Hawaii and ready to show that his size really didn’t matter.
- He had a huge junior season with the bat and we ranked him No. 25 on the Draft Top 50 in 2011.
- Wong really wanted to attend the Draft in 2011, but a family illness kept him from making the long trip to MLB Network. Instead, he joined the broadcast via phone:
- He had a huge first full season in the Minors, going straight to Double-A and spending the whole season there. He was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game. We spoke to him when he first arrived:
- And he was mic’ed up during the Futures Game itself:
- At the end of that first full season, Wong was ranked No. 49 on our Top 100 went to the Arizona Fall League. He was the focus of our AFL Team Report for the Cardinals:
- He performed well in the AFL, not surprisingly, and I named him the No. 9 prospect in the Fall League that season.
- In January before the 2013 season, Wong attended the Rookie Career Development Program:
- He was No. 50 on the Top 100 prospects list at the end of the 2013 season.
- Heading into the 2014 season, Wong had his sights set on a starting gig for Opening Day.
- We talked to him, along with prospect Stephen Piscotty, about focusing during Spring Training:
- I got to write about the second baseman one last time recently, as he was my pick in a Pipeline Perspectives that debated the question: Which prospect/rookie will have the largest impact in September and October? I went with Wong, while Jim went with Yordano Ventura. Guess we were both right:
I didn’t want anyone to think that was a one-and-done series. I was just waiting for a good opportunity, and one that was non-Royals after the Mike Moustakas retrospective. Don’t worry, KC fans, I’ll have no problem opening the vault in the ALCS and beyond.
Marco Gonzales hasn’t been a professional pitcher for long enough for us to have the same kind of library as we did with Moose.
The first time I had the chance to talk with the lefty was at FanFest at the 2013 All-Star Game in New York. Gonzales was on hand to accept the John Olerud Two-Way Player Award for his work on the mound and in the batter’s box during his junior year at Gonzaga.
Of course, we had written about Gonzales plenty during his time as an amateur:
- Back in the summer of 2012, he was part of USA Baseball’s College National Team participating in the Prospect Classic, with the college players and high school players from the 18 and Under trials roster mixing together. First, he tossed four scoreless innings in Game 1 (Broadcast by myself and Pete McCarthy):
- In this broadcast of the second game, Gonzales went 3-for-3 at the plate.
- He outpitched Scott Frazier in an early Friday night matchup during his Draft year (2013) and broke it down in Draft Watch.
- He was ranked No. 14 overall on our Draft Top 100 found on our 2013 Prospect Watch.
- He went No. 19 overall in that June’s Draft:
I got to catch up with Gonzales in Palm Beach, Florida, during his first Spring Training (and first big league camp). He was the subject of our “Three Questions With…” part of our Spring Training Reports. He’s ranked No. 3 on our Cardinals’ Top 20 and No. 99 on our overall Top 100.
I knew he’d be a quick to the big leagues type, but I can’t say I knew for certain it would be in his first full professional season. Seeing him not only make the postseason roster, but pitch three shutout relief innings and pick up two wins in the NLDS as a result, has been impressive, to say the least.
One of the best things about covering the Minor Leagues and prospects is that you get to know players before most do and then when you see them accomplish things on the big league stage, it’s a whole lot of fun. Sure, not every prospect we cover makes it, but when they do, there’s a sense of pride, in a way. Over the course of the postseason, I will try to post these little trips down prospect memory lane, starting with the hero of Game 1 of the ALDS for the Kansas City Royals.
Mike Moustakas has certainly had his share of ups and downs in his professional career and he’s coming off a regular season that saw him hit .212/.271/.361. Will his postseason make him forget all that? That remains to be seen, but there’s no question his 11th-inning home run last night to give the Royals a Game 1 victory over the Angels was a big step in that direction, especially given that it was in his own backyard (A Chatsworth High School product).
I’ve crossed paths with Moustakas, the Royals’ first-round pick (No. 2 overall) in the 2007 Draft, on numerous occasions. Here’s a timeline, of sorts, of Moustakas coverage:
- It started with a 2007 Draft Report on Moustakas, who played on the left side of the Chatsworth infield with Astros 3B Matt Dominguez.
- Moustakas was ranked N0. 22 on our Top 50 prospects list in 2008, heading into his first full season.
- He was No. 11 on our Top 50 prospects list before the 2009 season.
- He came in at No. 29 on the update done at the 2009 Trade Deadline.
- There was Futures Game coverage galore on Moustakas, who got to come home to play in the 2010 event in the same park he homered in last night. We brought him in early and had some fun with him at Disneyland:
- He came to FanFest and joined us at the MLB.com set (We’ve upgraded a bit since 2010):
- At the Winter Meetings after that outstanding 2010 season, we caught up with Moustakas as the Winter Meetings in Orlando. He was the Joe Bauman Award Winner for leading the Minors in home runs (He actually was tied with Mark Trumbo, but won the award thanks to the RBI tiebreaker).
- Finally, we caught up with Moose early in 2011, at the Rookie Career Development Program, the January before what would be his rookie season in Kansas City.
Up on MLBPipeline.com now are Jiim Callis’ and my take on which player and pitcher we’re most excited to see perform in the Arizona Fall League this year. I chose Tim Anderson and C.J. Edwards. Jim went with Byron Buxton and Francellis Montas.
Obviously, we both are eager to see more than just those two selections we each made. Jim had the idea to post a team worth of “Prospects to Watch.” You can read his squad on Callis’ Corner. My choices (and I’m purposefully not taking the guys that I picked in the above story):
C: Peter O’Brien, D-backs– Honestly, I don’t want to watch O’Brien catch, though I’m curious if he can play there. He only got four games in with the D-backs after the trade with the Yankees (Martin Prado), and he did catch three of them, so clearly Arizona wants to see if he can stick there. But his real tool is his power, with 34 homers in total in 2014. His approach at the plate needs work, but the power in the hitting-friendly AFL should be fun.
1B: Josh Bell, Pirates — Until now, Bell has been a switch-hitting outfielder, but he started taking grounders at first when he got promoted to Double-A this year. The outfield is crowded in Pittsburgh, obviously, so a move to first might make sense. He hit .325 in 2014 and the power is just starting to come.
2B: L.J. Mazzilli, Mets — OK, some of this is because he’s Lee’s kid, but the UConn standout had a heckuva first full season,k hitting .301 with double-digits in homers and steals. He’s already 24, so he needs to get going, but a strong AFL could continue to show the Mets they have more on their hands than many anticipated.
3B: Hunter Dozier, Royals — No joke here, I promise (You can read the history on this blog post). Dozier performed well in the Carolina Leauge, struggled after his promotion to Double-A. I want to see how he adjusts in the AFL. Aside from spreading money around in the Draft, they really liked Dozier’s bat. D.J. Peterson, Patrick Kivlehan were other possibilities.
SS: Francisco Lindor, Indians — I just don’t get tired of watching him play, especially in the field. I just like the way he carries himself and I’m looking forward to seeing him beyond the Futures Game appearances he’s made. Many good choices here, including Corey Seager and Trea Turner, to name just a few.
OF: Byron Buxton, Twins — As much as I chided Jim about him being an obvious choice, I am eager to see the No. 1 prospect healthy and playing well in the AFL. He was in Arizona last year, but was a bit out of gas.
OF: Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays – He started the year in the Florida State League and ended it in the big leagues. Quite a ride. I love watching guys with speed, and Pompey stole 43 bases in the Minors this past year.
OF: Jesse Winker, Reds — The guy can just hit. As much fun as it was to watch the big power guys in the Futures Game, Winker’s BP was as impressive. He could be a how-to video for young hitters. Oh, and there’s plenty of power there.
RHP: Tyler Glasnow, Pirates — Honestly, I almost made him my choice in the Perspectives piece. We’ve all seen the video game numbers. Now it’s time to see how his electric stuff plays against more advanced hitters.
LHP: Felipe Rivero, Nationals – The Nats got him from the Rays in the Nate Karns deal and then he spent three months on the DL. The former Futures Gamer has teased with his abilities, but hasn’t put it together. This could be a good springboard for him.
Better late than never right? The 2104 regular season is in the books and I realized I hadn’t posted my final team’s bonus prospects: the Tampa Rays.
Once upon a time, the Rays’ farm system was the envy of every club. Picking high in the Draft helped, as did some savvy drafting later on. They also did a nice job of getting top-flight prospects in return for Major Leaguers they felt they had to trade away.
Recently, though, the system has not gotten the same kinds of reviews. Guys have graduated, drafts haven’t been as successful. Whatever the reason, it’s not the juggernaut it once was, with just one player in the Top 100, the recently drafted Casey Gillaspie.
21. Jeff Ames, RHP: The Rays had seven sandwich picks in the 2011 Draft and Ames was, ahem, sandwiched in the middle of them. He has the chance to be as good as any of the seven thanks to a combination of size and stuff, though he was sidenlined in 2014 by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, an ailment that compresses nerve bundles in the upper body. Tall and lanky, Ames has an above-average fastball when healthy. He throws a slider and a changeup, both of which have the chance to be at least average offerings. He’ll need to continue to refine his command once he’s back on the mound.
22. Jose Mujica, RHP: Ranked No. 8 on our International Top 20 by Jesse Sanchez back in 2012, Mujica signed for $1 million as the top-ranked pitching prospect in that signing period. Developed at the Carlos Guillen academy in Venezuala, Mujica has a loose arm, with a nice delivery coming from a tall and lean frame. He throws a heavy fastball, has plenty of arm strength, with more in the tank fastball-wise. His changeup is his better secondary offering, but his curve was making progress as well. He gets points for his maturity and his leadership skills. A broken foot near the end of Extended Spring Training almost entirely wiped out his 2014 season.
23. Patrick Leonard, 1B: Wil Myers got most of the attention in terms of the offense the Rays got in the James Shields deal, but Leonard has some potential at the plate as well. Drafted as a third baseman in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft by the Royals, Leonard has since made the move across the diamond to first. Coming from St. Thomas High School in Texas (coached by Craig Biggio), Leonard is still learning to tap into his raw power. As he refines his approach, he should be able to find more pitches to drive to all fields. At the corner infield spot, the bat will have to play for him to keep advancing.
24. Oscar Hernandez, C: There seems to be little question that Hernandez has what it takes to catch at the highest level. The Venezuelan has tremendous catch-and-throw skills, having thrown out 44 percent of would-be basestealers in his brief career (41% in his full-season debut in 2014). He moves well behind the plate as well. Hernandez has shown raw power in the past, hitting 21 homers in 69 games in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2011, but it hasn’t shown up as much since. His swing can get long, though he did show some improvement this past season. How much his bat develops will determine whether he’s a backup or an everyday backstop in the future.
25. Jake Hager, SS: Before the Rays had seven sandwich picks in 2011, they had three true first rounders. The first two picks turned into Taylor Guerrieri and Mikie Mahtook. Hager was pick No. 3. Signing quickly, the Las Vegas prepster got a lot of playing time during his summer debut. That made the Rays confident to send the hard-working infielder to the full-season Midwest League as a teenager, where he more than held his own. He’s been moving a level at a time since and performed well in Double-A, at age 21, in 2014. Hager is quick to the ball at the plate and makes consistent hard contact. He may never be a huge power guy, but there is some extra-base ability and he can turn on the right pitch for some home run pop. He’s a solid runner and has the range, hands and arm to stay at shortstop for the long-term.
The march of bonus prospects goes on. Next up: The Seattle Mariners.
As of today, the Mariners are just a game out of a Wild Card spot. While the current big league roster has certainly received a boost from big-time acquisitions like Robinson Cano, there’s also been a lot of help from within. Seager, Miller, Taylor, Ackley, Zunino, Paxton… just some of the names who were drafted and developed under the watch of GM Jack Zduriencik and his staff.
There’s more coming, with Taijuan Walker back and healthy, D.J. Peterson not far off… I wouldn’t say it’s the deepest system in the world, but they do keep churning out big leaguers. There is a bit of a dropoff at the back end of the list, but that doesn’t mean the 21-25 set can’t produce some talent.
21. John Hicks, C: A 2011 Draft pick out of the University of Virginia, HIcks struggled in Double-A in 2013. The good news is he went back this past year, performed well and earned a promotion to Triple-A. His best tool is his arm, throwing out a combined 38% of would-be basestealers in 2014 (He’s at 47% for his career). He greatly improved other aspects of his defensive game, cutting his passed balls total from a whopping 17 in 2013 to just two this past season. He also bounced back with the bat, hitting for average albeit without much power. He appears just about ready to help out as a big league backup soon.
22. Jack Reinheimer, SS: The East Carolina product was a fifth-round pick in the 2013 Draft and had a solid first full season as a pro in 2014. Most of it was spent in the Midwest League, though he did get bumped up late to the California League. He’s a solid defender who’s tools play up because of his plus instincts. He saw some time at second base as well, but the Mariners like to have their middle infielders play multiple positions as they move up, if at all possible (Nick Franklin, Chris Taylor stand out as examples). Reinhemer’s baserunning instincts also allow him to maximize his solid, though not plus, speed. His 39 steals in 2014 put him second in the organization. How much he’ll hit will determine what kind of future he’ll have.
23: Austin Cousino, OF: The Mariners like their college position players, don’t they? Cousino was their third-round selection from the most recent Draft (He was ranked No. 182 on our Draft Top 200.). The University of Kentucky product debuted in the short-season Northwest League this summer, hitting .266/.341/.402 while his 23 steals (in 27 attempts) were good for fourth in the league. He runs well and plays a very good defensive center field. It’s all going to be about the bat for Cousino. If he can hit for average and get on base (he’s not a power guy), he has the chance to patrol center field at the highest level.
24. Stephen Landazuri, RHP: Sometimes talent can be found in the later rounds. The M’s took Landazuri out of the California high school ranks in the 22nd round of the 2010 Draft and he spent the 2014 season in Double-A. He fits the mold of the “undersized right-hander,” but has shown a solid three-pitch mix with his fastball that touches 93-94 mph, a curveball and a changeup. He missed nearly two months of the season with an oblique injury. He’ll need to tighten up his command a bit, but could be a back end of the rotation type in the future.
25: Dylan Unsworth, RHP: It’s been a slow climb for this South African right-hander, who made his United States debut at age 17 back in 2010 (He struck out 44 and walked just one in the rookie-level Arizona Legaue that summer). A member of South Africa’s World Baseball Classic team, he struck out Shawn Green in a qualifier against Israel. He spent the 2014 season in High Desert, a horrific place for pitchers in the California League. He’s still a command/control type, and walked just 19 — while striking out 119 — in 119 innings. He has fringy stuff across the board and was way too hittable (11.5 hits per nine innings), but it will be interesting to see if he can make adjustments once he gets away from High Desert.
We continue our march through my teams’ 21-25 prospect lists. Next up is the Pirates, a fun system to talk about, and not just because I live in Pittsburgh and get to see these guys when they make it up to the big leagues.
Last November in a Pipeline Perspectives piece, I touted the Pirates as having the best farm system in baseball. Since that time, Jameson Taillon (and Clay Holmes, for tha tmatter), needed Tommy John surgery. But the mark of a good, and deep, system, is that the loss of a top prospect to injury doesn’t disproportionately impact the strength of your organization. Several years ago, a Taillon-type injury would’ve been huge for the Pirates. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not good now, but the system can take the hit and still be successful.
Much of the talent is at the lower levels, though some of the top guys reached Double-A and above this year. There was still plenty of talent to choose from for the 21-25 set:
21. Joely Rodriguez, LHP: This lefty spent time on the Top 20 earlier in the season, coming out with the re-rank and the addition of draftees over the summer. The move up to Double-A was a bit rough for him, though he did show the ability to get a ton of groundball outs, thanks to his sinking fastball. He did leave it up a bit too much, making him more hittable than he’d been the previous year. He has a breaking ball that has the chance to be average and a changeup that is above-average with sink as well. If he can get back to commanding the baseball better within the strike zone, he has the chance to be a back end of the rotation type of starter.
22. Elias Diaz, C: Sometimes it takes a Minor Leaguer a while to hit his stride. For catchers, it can take even longer given all of their responsibilities behind the plate. Diaz toiled away during his first few years in the organization as a strong-armed backstop who couldn’t hit. He spent two seasons in the Class A South Atlantic League. His bat started to show signs of life in 2013 with a move up a level, hitting .279. He hit .328 this past year in Altoona, being named an Eastern League All-Star and earning a late promotion to Triple-A. There hasn’t been much power to speak of, but he doesn’t strike out much. And his arm gets a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale according to some. Like Rodriguez, he spent some time in the Top 20.
23. Chad Kuhl, RHP: Looking for a good under-the-radar pitcher? Kuhl’s an excellent candidate, a ninth-round pick out of the University of Delaware who pitched well during his first full season of pro ball, in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. He improved as the season went on, lowering his ERA by well over a run in the second half compared to the first. He can touch 95 mph, sitting in the low 90s, with his power sinking fastball. He has a slider and changeup as well, which are inconsistent, but improving. He goes right after hitters and has solid command. If the secondary pitches continue to develop, he has the makings of a solid mid-rotation starter.
24: Erich Weiss, 2B: This University of Texas product grew up around the game, with father Gary spending parts of two sesaons in the big leagues. Weiss’s best tool is his bat, with a quick stroke that can send line drives to all fields. There’s room for some power to come, though it hasn’t much yet. He makes the most of his average speed and is aggressive on the basepaths. The 2013 11th-round pick was a third baseman initially, but spent all of 2014 in the South Atlantic League playing second. He doesn’t have a true defensive profile, leading some to believe a super-utility type role might be the best bet.
25. Gage Hinsz, RHP: The Pirates went to Montana to find Hinsz, a high school right-hander they took in the 11th round of this past Draft. The limit for picks after the 10th round is $100,000, with any overages counting against your pool for the top 10 rounds. The Pirates liked Hinsz enough to give him $580,000 to walk away from Oregon State. With no high school baseball in Montana, Hinsz played with the Canadian travel team, the Langley Blaze for a while. He has an intriguing three-pitch mix and there’s confidence all will become better with coaching and experience. He made his debut, albeit a brief one, in the Gulf Coast League. He may take a while, but organizational patience could provide a huge payoff.
The Phillies, as everyone knows, have a bit of an aging big league roster, with one of the highest average ages in Major League Baseball. The question, of course, is just what help is on the way. The Phillies Top 20 doesn’t provide a ton of immediate future solutions, though Maikel Franco is up now. Recent first-round pick Aaron Nola should help next year. J.P. Crawford does have the makings of a star at shortstop, but you might need to wait a bit.
As for further down the list, some injuries to promising arms have hurt depth a bit, but if some can return to health, this system could get better down the road.
21. Franklyn Kilome, RHP: If you like tall, projectable right-handers, then Kilome might be the guy for you. The 19-year old made his debut in the Gulf Coast League this summer and threw very well. The 6-foot-6, 175-pound Dominican has plenty of room for growth and added strength, and already throws a fastball in the low-90s. His sinker produces groundball outs and he commands his heater well. The secondary stuff is a work in progress, though he was making strikes in setting hitters up with his fastball and developing off-speed stuff.
22. Austin Wright, LHP: An eighth-round pick in 2011 out of Mississippi, Wright began his pro career promisingly as a starter. When the 6-foot-4 lefty stalled in 2013, the Phillies moved him to the bullpen. Sometimes, that move allows a pitcher to take off; sometimes it takes a while. Wright fits into the latter category as he’s struggled with his command more than anything. While he did repeat at Double-A and his numbers aren’t anything to write home about, left-handed hitters did have trouble hitting him. With his fastball-breaking ball combination, if he can improve his command/control a bit, he still has the stuff to be a successful lefty reliever in the big legaues.
23: Drew Anderson, RHP: Taken out of the Reno, Nevada, high school ranks in the 21st round of the 2012 Draft, Anderson was making excellent progress, pitching well in the New York-Penn League as a teenager in 2013. This year, he battled injuries, throwing just 49 2/3 innings, but when he was healthy, he threw pretty well in his first taste of full-season ball. Anderson can touch 94 mph with his fastball, which he sinks and commands well. He throws a curve and changeup along with it. The breaking ball has the chance to be a swing-and-miss pitch and the changeup is developing. A back end starter if everything clicks.
24. Jose Pujols, OF: Pujols was ranked No. 16 on our International Top 20 list back in 2012 and the Phillies signed him for $540,000 when the signing period began in July of that year. He made his United States debut in 2013 at age 17 and showed very good raw power, and just how much he needed to learn about hitting. He went back to the GCL this year and did much of the same thing, showing some pop and struggling with plate discipline. He’s still a work in progress, but the upside is that of a prototypical power-hitting right fielder.
25. Shane Watson, RHP: Watson is one of the aforementioned injured pitchers. The supplemental first-round pick in 2012 was looking like he was handling an assignment to full-season ball in 2013, but then the arm trouble started. He was shut down in early July and hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch since, dealing with shoulder trouble. When healthy, he can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and has a big curve ball that’s a solid second pitch. He was really learning to pitch with his changeup before the arm issues started. He has the confidence you like to see from a starting pitcher. Now it’s just a question of getting back on the mound for competitive pitching.