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Week 4 Prospect Rundown (4/24 – 4/30)

Amed Rosario – 12 for 27, 3 XBH, 3 SB. I originally had a little blurb here about how the Mets should call up Rosario, but then Syndergaard got hurt. The Mets are seriously hurting now, so no rush, I guess. The top prospect is now back up above a .400 average on the season, and hit his first HR of the season on Saturday. He should be up after the Super Two deadline in early June.

Ronald Acuna – 12 for 30, 4 XBH, 4 SB, 9 runs. The Braves #7 prospect could easily be as high as #2 behind Albies. Still just 19, Acuna is looking like a future 5 tool stud. He’s hitting .287/.333/.471 with 8 XBH and 11 steals in 87 AB. For reference, he had 8 XBH in 150 AB last season. After hitting 62.7% ground balls in 2016, Acuna has seen a 15% spike in FB% and 6.5% increase LD% this season.  His strikeout rate is way up and his walk rate is way down, but he’ll find a way to balance his contact skills and frequently increasing power. He has the highest upside of any Braves prospect in my opinion, which is saying a lot.

Riley Pint – 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K. Finally got to watch Pint, and the control issues were very real in this game. He missed his spots all game and when he wasn’t throwing a ball, he left a lot of strikes over the plate. His 2 unearned runs were a result of his errored throw to first. Pint is young and just settling in to pro ball, but he’s a project that will absolutely need a lot of work.

Michael Kopech – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K. Another good start for Kopech, although the walks keep coming (18.2% BB%). Hasn’t affected his ERA yet, but will at higher levels. He also hasn’t caused many grounders so far (26.5% GB%) but I expect that to correct itself.

Edwin Rios – 13 for 28, 4 doubles. The Dodgers #22 prospect is off to a good start this year after hitting 27 HR across 3 levels last season. Rios has 60 grade raw power, but approach has always been an issue. Recently, Rios has been focused on fixing that and has had good results so far. “[Tuesday], I just kind of went with my approach.” Rios told MiLB.com’s Michael Peng. “I was able to lay off some balls and just hit my pitch and hit some strikes. That felt really good.” Rios is hitting .376/.393/.576 with 3 HR and 8 doubles so far. His K% is down to 21.3% compared to a 24.4% in 2016.

JP Crawford – 7 for 28, 2 SB. Good to see he didn’t completely forget how to hit. Still hitting .145 on the season.

Sixto Sanchez – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Sixto was amazing on Sunday. Made it through 5 scoreless innings on 58 pitches, 41 for strikes. Hit 100 MPH with his fastball, was still hitting 98 in the later innings, and was throwing a 91 MPH changeup with insane movement. I’m high as hell on Sixto. He’s a prospect to get excited about.

Alec Hansen – 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 K. Hansen also pitched well Sunday, but ran into Sanchez pitching against him. Hansen hadn’t allowed a hit through 5 innings before allowing a single and a error to score a run. The White Sox #9 prospect was sitting 91-97 with his fastball and throwing 3 offspeed pitches including a power curveball and a plus slider. Hansen has had his share of control issues and health issue since he was in college, and the walks have been not great this season either (10% BB%), but when it’s all said and done, Hansen could be the best pitcher out of all the arms in the White Sox system; his stuff is that nasty.

Daniel Brito – 10 for 36, 3 SB. Impressed by the Phillies #19 prospect so far, who’s hitting .340 in 2017. Great hit tool (some say 60 FV). His K% is now up to 24% on the season compared to a 13% career K%, but it has also come with 3 HR in just 98 AB (just 2 HR in 398 AB in ’15 and ’16). Brito could be good.

Max Fried – 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K. A much needed fantastic start for the Braves lefty on Tuesday, who lowered his ERA down to 4.58 from 7.59.

Rhys Hoskins – 10 for 27, 2 HR. After a 37 HR campaign last season, Hoskins has shown that his power is very real and wasn’t just a product of Reading, which is better hitters park than Coors field. He’s hitting .338 with 6 HR.

Dylan Cozens – 3 for 27, 16 K. Hoskins teammate, however, hasn’t had the same luck outside of Reading after hitting 40 HR last season. The power is there (4 HR) but the .136 average with 40 strikeouts is about as bad a start as you could have.

Yohander Mendez – 2 starts, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 13 K. Two starts that could really not be more different this week. Mendez had a glorious 7 inning start on Tuesday, where he only allowed 1 unearned run. His second start of the week came on Sunday, and he allowed 4 HR in the game. Mendez ERA sits at 3.56, which actually may be a bit inflated. He’s allowed 7 HR on the year on 27 total fly balls, good for a 26% HR/FB rate. That will come down, and so should his ERA

Aristides Aquino – 2 for 31, 16 K. Aquino has crazy raw power, and maybe has the highest upside of any player in the Reds system. But he’s very raw and still very aggressive at the plate (30 hit tool), and that’s been exposed in the early going after a very promising 2016 season. He’s hitting .163 on the year.

DJ Peters – 10 for 28, 4 HR, 11 runs. Peters also sported a 8:9 BB:K this week. The Dodgers 2016 4th rounder can flat out hit, plain and simple. Peters is massive and there’s as much power in there as you’d think. He raked last season in rookie ball with a line of .354/.440/.610 with 12 HR in just 254 AB. He’s starting right where he left off. Some have concerns with his ability to make contact, but I don’t buy it. His swing is sexy.

Dinelson Lamet – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Good start for the 24 year old, who has allowed just 1 run over 20 innings. After shooting from A+ to AAA last season as a starter, Lamet could see a promotion to SD some time this season. He pitched 150 innings last season and is being tried as a starter, but many project him as a solid bullpen piece. Lamet and the Padres seem determined to try him as a starter, but the control and lack of a 3rd pitch may hold him back.

Michael Gettys – 8 for 36, 15 K. It’s early in the season, small sample size, blah blah blah. But Gettys has now struck out 44 times this year (40%), which is genuinely concerning. His walk rate is also below 2%. Something isn’t right here. Something to watch.

TJ Zeuch – 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 2 K. The Blue Jays #7 prospect is very quietly having a great year at A+ Dunedin. He’s allowed 7 runs, but only 3 were earned, giving himself a 1.62 ERA. The 21st overall pick from last year’s draft is a massive 6’7” and has a high arm slot, which generates a good plane on his 60 FB. Zeuch has produced an eye-popping 71% ground ball rate so far in 2017, which is a recipe for success at any level.

Carter Kieboom – 9 for 27, 4 HR. 3 of this week’s HR for Kieboom came on Sunday. The Nationals’ #4 prospect now sports a .333 average with 5 HR. The power is there, clearly, but Kieboom is actually making fairly poor contact so far this season (52% GB%, 12% PU%). The numbers are a little inflated, and if he keeps hitting the way he has been, the numbers will correct themselves.

Dustin Fowler – 11 for 26, 7 XBH. Fowler wrapped up this week with a walk off HR to complete hitting for the cycle on Sunday, a game in which he went 5 for 6 with 4 XBH. The Yankees #9 prospect had 56 XBH and 25 steals last season, and could very easily be the most underrated prospect in the Yanks loaded system. I’m concerned at Fowler’s inability to hit to opposite field, so I’m not sold quite yet. He’s hitting the ball in the air very well, but fewer than 14% of his batted balls this season have gone to LF. I’m the low man on Fowler though; Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs pegged a 50 FV on the speedy outfielder.

Ian Anderson – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Anderson now has a sub-2.00 ERA on the season over 18.2 IP. His batted ball profile doesn’t instill much confidence though; no pop ups and a fly ball rate higher than his ground ball rate. He’s got a 51.5% FlyB% and has yet to allow a home run, which is roughly a 0% HR/FB rate. Expect those homeruns to start coming sooner than later.

Josh Naylor – 13 for 29, 6 XBH, 1 SB, 10 R. Massive week for the Padres #15 prospect. Naylor has 5 HR now on the season and runs strangely well for 6’0” 225 lb. kid. Naylor was the 12th overall pick in 2015, and is still just 19, so the potential is there. He could be on his way to a nice season.

Drew Jackson – 6 for 28, 2HR, 1 SB. Jackson was a 35th round pick in 2015 and was recently traded from the Mariners to the Dodgers in the Chase De Jong trade. Jackson has a cannon for an arm, is fast as all hell, and was voted best defensive SS in the Cal League last season. The offense is noteworthy because Jackson has always been limited by his bat. The Dodgers apparently made mechanical changes to his stance and swing and the initial results have been extremely promising; he has a .269 batting average and 10 XBH so far for Jackson at Rancho Cucamonga.

Sean Newcomb – 2 starts, 12 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 17 K. Newcomb with a serious bounce back week. After 3 starts, Newcomb had allowed 15 line drives, 14 fly balls, 14 ground balls and 0 pop ups, which, if I need to say it, is flat out awful. He was much better in two starts this week, forcing 11 GB, 5 FB and 4 LD. I’m pretty convinced Newcomb the type of pitcher that he was in starts 1-3, but only time will tell. Newcomb’s ERA sits at 3.08 this season and his BB% is 13%.

Bobby Dalbec – 2 for 24, 10 K. I had a little man crush on Dalbec coming into this season after posting a 1.100 OPS at short season Lowell last season. So far this year, the Red Sox #4 prospect has been less than impressive. He’s hitting .244 on .404 BABIP and his K% is above 36%. Contact issues were the main concern with Dalbec coming out of Arizona, but he’s been struggling generating power so far, too (.085 ISO). His batted ball profile has been very good, though a little pull heavy. It’s early and he has plenty of time to rebound, but it’s certainly a noteworthy start.

Chance Adams – 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. He was even better than that line suggests. Adams was drafted as a relief prospect, but still managed a somewhat seamless transition to a starting role, as he dominated both A+ and AA last season over 127.1 IP. He’s off to a good start in 2017, with a 0.82 ERA. The secondaries need work, as does the command, but his fastball is filthy. I think he’s a lot better than the 45 FV he gets frequently tagged with.

 

Weekly Merandy Gonzalez tracker:

7.2 IP, 0 runs allowed. Mets’ #14 prospect is now up to 28.1 scoreless innings to start the year.

 

Graduation Notes:

Cody Bellinger – Promoted the Dodgers on Tuesday, but will only be in LA until Joc Pederson is back from injury, which is very soon.

Christian Arroyo – Called up Tuesday and will stay up unlike Bellinger. He has two HR already for San Fransisco.

Nick Pivetta – Called up and got his first start for the Phillies on Sunday. Great debut, as he let up just 2 runs in 5 innings against a good Dodgers lineup.

German Marquez – Called up for first start on Tuesday. Wasn’t so hot. Went 4 innings, let up 8 runs.

Dane Dunning – Promoted to Class-A Advanced Winston-Salem after a 0.35 ERA  33:2 K:BB in 4 starts for Kannapolis thanks to an outstanding 63.8% ground ball rate. Well-earned promotion for Dunning.

 

Injury Notes:

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Pulled from the game Friday after tweaking his knee. It’s not considered serious. He was 9 for 17 with a home run this week before the injury.

Anderson Espinoza – Shut down by the Padres after experiencing right elbow soreness. MRI came back clean.

Kyle Zimmer – Placed on DL with shoulder soreness. What else is new?

Brendan Rodgers – Back from the DL. 8 for 25 with a handful of doubles this week.

Gleyber Torres – Back from DL. Didn’t waste any time. Went 5 for 10 with a home run and a stolen base.

 

Photo: FOUR SEAM IMAGES/AP

Connor Kurcon
Boston, MA. Lifelong Sox fan. Twitter: @ckurcon
http://mlbmayhem.com

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