August 2013

Prospects in the AFL

In case you missed it, the Arizona Fall League released preliminary rosters on Tuesday. There are still plenty of holes to fill, but it gives you a good sense of the talent heading to Arizona this fall, headlined by 25 members of MLB.com’s Top 100 list. But which team (so far) seems the most stacked?

Let’s take a look at Prospect Points to see. What are Prospect Points, you ask? Let me tell you. It’s something we’ve used (courtesy of MLBPipeline behind-the-scenes guru Jason Ratliff) in coming up with a weighted system to measure which teams have the most impact talent based on who they have in the Top 100. We give  100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down.

For the AFL, obviously, not all 100 prospects are going, but the system stays the same — Byron Buxton is the No. 1 prospect and he’ll be playing for Glendale, so Glendale gets 100 points. Get it? So here are the AFL Prospect Points Standings (we’ll update as more players get added):

Mesa                  424 PP
Glendale            375 PP
Scottsdale          212 PP
Peoria                 176 PP
Salt River              86 PP
Surprise                74 PP

Curious about the breakdown? Mr. Ratliff (see, told you he was a guru) was kind enough to supply this handy little chart, where you can see Glendale and Mesa both with six Top 100 guys:

Rank Player Org AFL team

1

Byron Buxton Twins Glendale

100

33

Alex Meyer Twins Glendale

68

49

Corey Seager Dodgers Glendale

52

50

Andrew Heaney Marlins Glendale

51

64

Eddie Rosario Twins Glendale

37

74

Colin Moran Marlins Glendale

27

9

Javier Baez Cubs Mesa

92

19

Addison Russell A’s Mesa

82

23

Albert Almora Cubs Mesa

78

27

Jorge Soler Cubs Mesa

74

37

Kris Bryant Cubs Mesa

64

67

Brian Goodwin Nationals Mesa

34

25

Danny Hultzen Mariners Peoria

76

35

Austin Hedges Padres Peoria

66

76

Delino DeShields Astros Peoria

25

92

Jorge Bonifacio Royals Peoria

9

22

Aaron Sanchez Blue Jays Salt River

79

94

Marcus Stroman Blue Jays Salt River

7

38

Mason Williams Yankees Scottsdale

63

41

Alen Hanson Pirates Scottsdale

60

44

Kyle Crick Giants Scottsdale

57

69

Tyler Austin Yankees Scottsdale

32

57

Jorge Alfaro Rangers Surprise

44

85

Garin Cecchini Red Sox Surprise

16

87

Eduardo Rodriguez Orioles Surprise

14

The summer (showcase season) comes to an end

As the calendar moves ever so closer to September, the summer showcase season has now come to an end. The top high school talent for the 2014 Draft will go back home, by and large,  and prepare for fall seasons (or football, if they play it), perhaps with an eye towards Perfect Game’s huge event in Jupiter, Florida, in October.

It was, for players and the scouts who wanted to see these prospects against good competition, a very long summer that took many kids from Minneapolis to Cary, North Carolina, to Syracuse, NY, to Long Beach, Calif., to San Diego and, finally, to Chicago.

Only one player made all six stops: Infielder Greg Deichmann from Brother Martin High School in Louisiana. But don’t think Deichmann is worn out. He told me this is just fueling him.

“I love to play baseball,” he told me recently, adding that he probably had gotten around 100 at-bats just travelling the circuit. “It can be tiring, but it’s been great.”

While Deichmann is the only one to go six-for-six, a number of future draftees went to five events. Some were West Coasters, who weren’t eligible for the East Coast Pro Showcase, for instance. But here are the guys who were among the busiest this summer:

First Last City State # of events
Gregory Deichmann Metairie LA 6
Stone Garrett Sugar Land TX 5
Joe Gatto Hammonton NJ 5
Foster Griffin Orlando FL 5
Monte’ Harrison Lee’s Summit MO 5
Michael Kopech Mount Pleasant TX 5
David Peterson Denver CO 5
Touki Toussaint Coral Springs FL 5
Chase Vallot Youngsville LA 5
Marcus Wilson Los Angeles CA 5
Dylan Cease Milton GA 4
Darius Day Chicago IL 4
Luke Dykstra Thousand Oaks CA 4
Jacob Gatewood Visalia CA 4
Michael Gettys Gainesville GA 4
Nicholas Gordon Windermere FL 4
Grant Hockin Pomona CA 4
Grant Holmes Conway SC 4
Alex Jackson Escondido CA 4
Alex Lange Lee’s Summit MO 4
Micah Miniard Danville KY 4
Willie Rios Waterford CT 4
Carson Sands Tallahassee FL 4
Cameron Varga Loveland OH 4
Alex Verdugo Tucson AZ 4

Day 3 at the East Coast Pro Showcase

The final day of East Coast Pro Showcase has started (Florida has some kids who can hit!), but I wanted to take a few minutes to recap Friday’s action.

First, the required reading:

Some highlights from Friday’s games:

It was definitely a day of arms. Dylan Cease may have been the “biggest” name and he didn’t disappoint in his first inning, throwing 95-96 mph fastballs. He wasn’t as sharp after that, with rain clearly playing a part, struggling particularly with command of his breaking stuff at times.

Cobi Johnson, son of former big leaguer and pitching coach Dane, was very effecient in his three innings. He was 88-91 mph with his fastball and had a good curveball. He was very efficient, throwing just 28 pitches.

Austin DeCarr was up to 93 mph and kept it up for most of his outing. Facing him in that game was Jesse McCord, who sat at 91 mph throughout his outing.

Josh Pennington was 90-92 mph and looked very sharp in the final game of Day 3.

On the position player front…

Catcher JJ Schwarz was impressive on both sides of the ball. He picked two runners off at second in two innings, then doubled to left later in the game to drive in a run.

Logan Sowers took Cease deep, with an opposite field homer in the rain.

Max Ponzurick hit a three-run, opposite-field (right field has been popular for the long ball, with it being 385 feet to left-center) homer.

Day 2 at the East Coast Pro Showcase

Considering that rain interrupted and forced changes in plans, we’re all feeling pretty fortunate to have gotten three games in on Thursday during Day 2 of the East Coast Pro Showcase. There were, as usual, some strong performances, particularly on the mound.

The highlight was the pitching matchup in the third and final game of the evening. Touki Toussaint (@_YoSoy_Touki) against Sean Reid-Foley (@SReidFoley21). Toussaint, from Coral Springs Christian Academy in Florida, was regularly in the 92-94 mph range.  He showed some good breaking stuff as well. Reid-Foley came out throwing 94-95 mph fastballs in the first inning. He whiffed Nick Gordon (@NickyG_Dsquad) on three heaters, none of which were under 94 mph. Both he and Toussaint maintained their velocity through all three innings. Reid-Foley didn’t allow a hit. Toussaint allowed one, but really improved his location and efficiency over his next two innings and one scout felt he had better projection than Reid-Foley.

That wasn’t it in terms of arms from that game. The stacked Rockies staff also sent Andrew Karp and Foster Griffin out and both impressed. Karp touched 93 mph during his stint and Griffin was up to 92 mph, with Griffin showing more overall pitchability.

Local product Scott Blewett (@sblewett7) had thrown earlier and was up to 93 mph fairly consistently. Jake Godfrey, from Providence Catholic HS in Illinois, was 91-93 mph for the Cubs.

While the arms impressed, there were some bats that also stood out. One scouting director singled out Bobby Bradley and his approach at the plate. Pavin Smith (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Fla.) and Forrest Wall (Orangewood Christian HS, Fla.) both got mentioned for their hit tools.

Luke Bonfield (Immaculata HS, hometown of Skillman, NY) hit a long double to left center in the Phillies’ game. Fellow Phillie Josh Ockimey (STS John Neuman & Marie Goretti, Pa.) has shown some raw power one scout liked. Catcher Scott Manea threw out two would-be basestealers.

Of all the position players, though, Braxton Davidson (@B_Davidson06) may have impressed the most. The TC Roberson HS (NC) product was hitting everything hard for the Blue Jays.

Want to see what else is being written? Check out David Rawnsley at Perfect Game and Clint Longenecker over at Baseball America.

A ton of good arms going today, starting this morning with Cobi Johnson. Dylan Cease will throw later for the Braves club. Stay tuned…

Catching up on East Coast Showcase action

After a busy day of non-waiver Trade Deadline coverage, I made it up to Syracuse late last night, ready to hit the ground running for Day 2 of the East Coast Pro Showcase. Rain is keeping the action from starting, with the hopes of the first game starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.

I wasn’t here for Day 1 action, but talked to some scouts who were and have some highlights, as well as the top times in the 60, which players ran yesterday. If you want more details on the day’s action, I encourage you to read David Rawnsley’s blow-by-blow in his blog over on Perfect Game (subscription required, I believe) and Clint Longenecker’s take over at Baseball America.

After just one day of action, it’s certainly too early to draw any conclusions. But a few players and pitchers stood out, according to scouts I spoke with. A quick smattering of highlights, sorted by team (twitter handles of players in parentheses). Top 60 times for each team are at the end of each team section:

Rockies

Nick Gordon (@NickyG_Dsquad) is the biggest name. Flash’s kid, Dee’s brother. He’s a two-way player, but he wants to play shortstop. And scouts think he can.

Jeff Schwarz, a catcher from Palm Beach Gardens HS in Florida, and Anff Seymour, an outfielder from American Heritage, showed some ability on Day 1.

On the pitching end, Cle Fincock was 90-92 mph from the mound. Alex Faedo and Cobi Johnson (@Cobi_Johnson) threw well. Johnson is the son of Dane Johnson, the former big league reliever who’s been the Blue Jays’ roving pitching instructor.

60s

Anff Seymour: 6.36
Carl Chester: 6.56
Forrest Wall: 6.58

Phillies

New Jersey area right-hander Joseph Gatto was the biggest standout from this team on Day 1. Longenecker reported that the 6-foot-5 hurler touched 94 mph during his stint on the mound. A scout I spoke with said he liked Isan Diaz, a shortstop  from Massachusetts a little bit as well.

60s

Zach Sullivan: 6.73
Tristan Rojas: 6.78
Liam Sabino: 6.95

Mets

Bobby Bradley is the biggest name on the team and there’s a lot to like with his swing (from the left side) and strength. He’s pretty quick to the ball and has the chance to hit. Whether he can play third is still to be determined. Scouts also like outfielder J-mal Howard and catcher Chase Vallot after one look.

60s

Dilton Filotei:  6.47
Chandler Avent:  6.57
Wesley Roberson: 6.60

Cubs

Zach Shannon, a two-way player from Ohio, created some buzz on the mound, throwing 90-93 mph with his fastball and showing a 78-79 mph breaking ball. Justus Sheffield (@Topsheff42) was a “known guy” coming in (his brother, Jordan, was a top high school prospect in 2013, but Tommy John surgery ended his senior year before it started and he went on to Vanderbilt rather than sign with the Red Sox). Justus is a lefty who didn’t hurt himself at all on Wednesday, touching 94 mph. His breaking ball will need to be tighter, but there’s a lot to like.

60s

Jack Schaaf:  6.50
Thomas Lane: 6.63
Caleb Potter: 6.70

Braves

Dylan Cease is the guy to watch on this team. He’s a two-way player, but his future should be on the mound.

60s

Michael Gettys: 6.58
Raphy Ramirez: 6.60
Trey Harris/Reese Cooley: 6.70

Blue Jays

Grant Holmes started against Sheffield in a terrific matchup on Wednesday and the right-hander from South Carolina more than held his own. Rawnsley reported that he touched 94 mph.

60s

Andrew Deatherage: 6.52
Troy Stokes: 6.56
KJ Bryant: 6.58

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