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Week 5 Prospect Rundown (5/1 – 5/7)

Minors Notes:

Kolby Allard (ATL, #3) – 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K. Allard was straight up dominant in this one (again). He hit his spots with all his pitches and hit career highs in velocity with both his fastball and changeup. His walk rates are low, his ERA sits at a beautiful 1.36, his pop up rate is higher than his line drive rate, and he’s still just a 19-year-old at AA. Buy shares while you still can.

Rafael Devers (BOS, #1)  – 11 for 28, 4 HR. Devers is now up to .322 with 6 home runs in just 23 games. In a recent interview with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Portland manager Carlos Febles said Devers has “the ability to put the ball in play like Xander Bogaerts with David Ortiz type of power.” In a time when the Red Sox third baseman position has been both extremely underwhelming and plagued with injury, you must wonder whether the Red Sox attempt to accelerate Devers path to the majors.

Yoan Moncada (CWS, #1) – 12 for 26, 2 HR, 1 SB, 5:4 BB:K. Moncada just keeps raking at AAA Charlotte. These numbers are a bit inflated, as Charlotte is one of the best hitter’s parks in the minors and Moncada sports a .457 BABIP, but he is now hitting .250 with an OPS north of .900 against left handed pitchers, which is massive step in the right direction. Moncada’s defense has also improved a bit, according to some reports.

Cal Quantrill (SD, #4) – 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 12 K. After being pegged as a potential #1 overall pick in 2015, Quantrill had elbow soreness after his first 3 starts during his sophomore year at Stanford, and on March 20, 2015, he had Tommy John Surgery. San Diego picked the 6’2” lefty with the 8th overall pick in last year’s draft, and he is now back on the mound and pitching very well. Quantrill has a 3.29 ERA and a very nice 34 K in 27.1 innings to start the year. Quantrill has the pedigree to be one of the league’s top pitchers if it all comes together, but that’s going to be a long road.

Ozzie Albies (ATL, #1) – 5 for 25, 7 Ks. After hitting north of .300 in this first dozen games, the Braves future second basemen has hit just .111 over his last 9 games, sliding his average down to .244. After a groin injury sidelined Brandon Phillips in late April, there were rumblings that Albies may see his first major league experience. However, Chipper Jones is right; Albies isn’t quite ready for the show. 

Beau Burrows (DET, #3) – 11 IP, 9 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 13 K. The 22nd overall pick in 2015 just keep cruising at high-A; he holds a 1.16 ERA and 40 K in 38.2 IP. Powered by his fastball, which received multiple 65 grades on draft day, Burrows still needs to work on his secondary offerings, but his curveball could be a potential plus pitch somewhere down the road. Control has been seemingly not an issue so far this season for Burrows, who had 0 walks this week and has a minuscule 1.66 BB/9 on the year.  

Isan Diaz (MIL, #5) – 10 for 34, 3 HR, 1 SB. Diaz had just a .507 OPS on April 21st. Since then, the Brewers prospect has gone on a tear, hitting .329 with 5 HR and 3 SB, raising his OPS 284 points to .791. The Springfield, MA native now has 25 HR and 15 SB over the course of the last two years, making him one of the more enticing power/speed middle infielders in all of baseball.

Anthony Banda (ARI, #1) – 2 starts, 11 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 14 K. Back-to-back good starts for the Diamondbacks top prospect. He has a 3.82 ERA in the PCL, which tends to inflate pitcher’s numbers. Banda’s walk rate is a little high, so it’s good to see just 3 BB in 11 IP this week. Banda should see a promotion to the Diamondbacks sometime in 2017.

Kyle Tucker (HOU, #2) – 8 for 27, 5 HR, 3 SB. After adding 15-20 lbs. in the offseason, there were questions as to how the weight (and presumably decreased flexibility) would affect Tucker. Well, Houston’s new beefcake has maintained his stolen base speed while hitting 8 HR on the year in 108 AB (Tucker hit just 9 HR in 432 AB in ’16). Tucker is quickly becoming one of the games top prospects and could see a promotion to AA sometime in the coming months.

Cole Tucker (PIT, #6) – 9 for 30, 6 BB, 11 SB. That isn’t a typo; Cole Tucker stole 11 bases over the course of this week, and he now has 24 SB on the season in just 29 games. While most consider Tucker a good bet to slow down as he fills out his 6’3” frame, I have only seen one run grade for Tucker above a 55, and I have a hard time believing he is anything less than a 60 run currently. Despite how bad high-A catchers may be defensively, the man has almost 1 SB per game. Tucker isn’t currently sporting a great average but has a great walk rate; his OBP is .346.

Mitch Keller (PIT, #3) – 2 starts, 14 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 18 K. After a 4.87 ERA through 5 starts, Keller has back-to-back great outings and has dropped his ERA to 2.88. 62% of hitters over these two starts either struck out or grounded out and he had 24 whiffs. The walk rate is the same as Keller’s breakout 2016, which is great to see as well.

Tyler O’Neill (SEA, #2) – 5 for 24, 12 K. O’Neill’s stock took a massive jump after last season when he increased his batting average and walk rate and decreased his strikeout rate from the year before, all while maintaining his home run power. O’Neill has looked over matched in AAA to start the year with a .183 average, decreased power numbers, and a K% once again nearing 30%.

Taylor Clarke (ARI, #5) – 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Drafted in the 3rd round in 2015 out of the College of Charleston, Clarke made his way across 3 levels in his first full season of pro ball last season with a 3.31 ERA. To start the year Clarke now has a 2.25 ERA after 6 starts with a 9 K/9. Seeing as Clarke was drafted after his senior year, Arizona’s #5 prospect could see himself fast tracked to the majors if he keeps up good success. 

Jack Flaherty (STL, #8) – 12 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 16 K. I try really hard not to repeat players in my rundowns too many times (I intentionally removed Luis Urias this week for that reason), but Jack Flaherty is making me include him every week. The big righty has a 0.69 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 39.1 IP this season. His mid 90s fastball is great, but he thrives off the command he has with it. He has been getting ahead in the count very well to start the year and his command with his secondaries has also been much better, according to coaches and scouts.

Nick Senzel (CIN, #1) – 10 for 25, 1 HR. The top prospect from the 2016 draft class is starting to get hot at the plate. He now has 6 multi hit games in his last 11, bringing his average north of .300 for the first time since April 10th.

Anthony Alford (TOR, #3) – 3 for 24, 8 K. Solid cold streak for Alford, who’s BABIP has come plummeting back down to earth. Alford doubled on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Alford is still hitting .308 with 7 SB.

Lucas Giolito (CWS, #2) – 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K. The walks and the home runs just keep coming for Giolito, who has a 12.8 BB% and has allowed 6 home runs in 23.1 IP. The velocity, which has been rumored to have been affected by changes to his mechanics implemented by the Nationals, has yet to be fixed, and Giolito has a 7.33 ERA on the season. Giolito is still just 22.

Logan Allen (SD, #19) – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Allen was one of the 4 prospects sent to San Diego from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade in late 2015, which a friend had to remind me of very recently. Only 18 at the time, the lefty was a long shot to ever become an impactful arm. Fast forward two years and Allen has seen great success in the early going. He has a 1.50 ERA, a 35% strikeout rate, and a 57 GB% for the TinCaps.

Carson Kelly (STL, #2) – 10 for 22, 2 doubles, 1 HR. Kelly has always been a plus defender behind the plate with good contact skills, but in recent years, it has looked like his power would always be slightly below average. Turns out, that may not be the case. Kelly has 5 HR in just 73 AB in 2017 and had 3 HR in 77 AB in the Arizona Fall League. He’s swinging the bat extremely well, but may have to wait longer than he should with the recent Molina extension.

Sean Reid-Foley (TOR, #2) – 0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K. Reid-Foley didn’t make it through a single inning on Thursday and now has a 7.80 ERA. Reid-Foley has had a hard time keeping the ball on the ground so far with an extremely bad 34.6 GB%. For comparison, his fly ball rate is exactly the same. He has also walked 14 hitters in 15 innings. It’s early, but the magnitude of Reid Foley’s control problems has been concerning so far.

Scott Blewett (KC, #5) – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. The Royals’ 2014 2nd rounder has now given up just one run in his last 19 innings, dropping his season ERA to 3.15. Control and command has been issue for Blewett so far in his pro career, but he is a massive 6’6” and his fastball and curveball have been given 60 and 55 grades, respectively. Only 21, Blewett has plenty of time to work on his control in hopes of one day starting in the majors, but if it doesn’t work out, Blewett fits the molds of nice bullpen piece.  

Austin Meadows (PIT, #2) – 4 for 22. Meadows has been a different hitter so far in 2017; he’s only .192, his walk rate is low, his ISO is .071, and he has only 1 HR. He’s hitting the ball in the air (33% FB%), but has made lots of poor contact also (12% PU%). Expect Meadows to remain at AAA past the super two deadline barring a scorching hot streak.

Corbin Burnes (MIL, #20) – 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Great start to the year for Burnes, who now has a 1.32 ERA, 55 GB%, and 32 K over 34 IP. Burnes is a good size, but still needs a decent amount of effort to throw his fastball into the low-to-mid 90s. There are also some reports that his arm slot changes as he throws his curveball, which more advanced hitters will pick up on. His BB% has improved from a small sample in 2016, but it is still above 9%.

Luis Castillo (CIN, #7) – 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 1 K. A very forgettable outing for Castilo.. Despite being a 24 year old at AA, Castillo has made quite the impression on people around the industry over the last year; Keith Law even ranked Castillo the #94 prospect in all of baseball. After holding a 2.07 ERA through 117.2 IP at A+ last season, Castillo has begun the year at AA with a 3.38 ERA over 32 IP. He has induced very few ground balls so far in 2017, which is something that could hurt him soon if not corrected.

Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, #4) – 13 for 34, 5 doubles, 2 HR. Mountcastle has been my last man out for about 3 weeks in a row now, but it’s about time to include him. The 13 hits this week raised his average up to .320 and the power that his 6’3” frame hints at is beginning to emerge (0.549 SLG, .230 ISO). Since he was drafted in 2015, no one has questioned his ability to hit, and since then, his strikeout rate has only gone down. His defensive position, however, is a huge concern, evidenced by his 26 errors in the last 2 years. He won’t stick at SS.

Alex Jackson (ATL, #23) – 7 for 28, 2 HR. Two more home runs for Jackson, and he now leads the minors with 9 HR while holding a .291 average. Since the Week 3 Rundown, Jackson has thrown out 5 of 11 would-be base stealers, looking like his 14% CS% to start the season was him simply shaking off the rust. He’s big, receives well, and has good mobility behind the plate. His 40% HR/FB and 13% pop up rate are noteworthy.

Zack Collins (CWS, #6) – 6 for 20, 4:4 BB:K. Nothing special from Collins this week, it’s just nice to see him collect a handful of hits, including a three hit game on Saturday. Despite “struggling” so far with just a .233 average, Collins still has an OBP of almost .400, thanks to the insane amount of walks he draws. He’s making good contact and putting the ball in the air, so the hits (and power) should come around soon enough.

Max Pentecost (TOR, #12) – 10 for 26, 2 doubles, 1 HR. Pentecost was the 11th overall pick in 2014, but since has been oft injured. He’s now had 2 shoulder surgeries, and although he’s taken some reps at catcher this season, it doesn’t look like that is his future. He has hit extremely well this season to the tune of .344 and 7 HR, but his bat will have a lot more pressure if he doesn’t have a defensive position. Pentecost is 24 at high-A, so the Jays could choose to move him up quickly.

Mike Shawaryn (BOS, #12) – 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 12 K. Shawaryn now has a 3.99 ERA on the season. However, more importantly, Shawaryn has a 1.32 ERA and a gaudy 42 strikeouts over his last 27.1 IP (he let up 9 ER in his first start of the season). It’s been a very small sample, but with the way Shawaryn has been striking people out and avoiding walks, you have to wonder if the Red Sox saw something in their 5th rounder that others didn’t.

Ketel Marte – 13 for 26, 3 doubles, 2 triples. He’s technically not a prospect, but Marte has proven he belongs on an MLB roster. He’s hitting .419 on the season.

 

Graduation Notes:

Magnerius Sierra (STL, #7) – In maybe the most shocking move of 2017 so far, Sierra jumped clear over AA and AAA and got the call for Sundays game. Sierra was a .299 career hitter in the minors and went 1-6 in his debut. Sierra is already one of the better OF gloves in the Cardinals organization, which is rumored to be the reason for the call.

Gabriel Ynoa (BAL, #12) – 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Just about as good of a season debut as you could have. Ynoa, however, is headed to the DL with hamstring soreness.

Walker Buehler (LAD, #5) – Promoted to AA Tulsa on Tuesday. Has yet to make a start there.

 

Injury Notes:

Luke Weaver (STL, #3) – 13 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Weaver has been on the DL since early April with a back injury. He looks as healthy as ever now that he’s back. Weaver remains a top candidate should the Cardinals need pitching help sometime this season.

Juan Soto (WAS, #3) – Placed on the minor league DL with an ankle injury.

Ian Happ (CHC, #2) – Hit the DL with a thumb injury earlier in the week but returned to Iowa’s lineup on Sunday.

 

Bonus Lucas Erceg Hidden Ball Trick

 

Photo: David Schofield/Rome Braves

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

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