50 names I’m already excited to see in the 2017 Sally

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Jason Groome, courtesy of https://c.o0bg.com/rf/image_1200w/Boston/2011-2020/2016/08/23/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/groome_debut1-10368.jpg?uuid=bec-VmjKEea-91JAsaAaWw

Hey guys, I’ve completed 9 of the 14 SAL team previews at this point and the talent is really stock piling.  With Kannapolis (White Sox), Lakewood (Phillies), Lexington (Royals), Rome (Braves) and West Virginia (Pirates) still to come here’s 50 players I’m already excited to see in the Sally this year.

 

LHP) Jason Groome- Greenville

RHP) Riley Pint- Asheville

CF) Blake Rutherford- Charleston

RF) Juan Soto- Hagerstown

RF) Estevan Florial- Charleston

CF) Desmond Lindsay- Columbia

LHP) Braxton Garrett- Greensboro

CF) Leody Taveras- Hickory

LHP) Thomas Szapucki- Columbia

RHP) Alex Speas- Hickory

CF) Pedro Gonzalez- Asheville

RF) Sandro Fabian- Augusta

RHP) Justin Dunn- Columbia

LHP) Cole Ragans- Hickory

RHP) Michael Matuella- Hickory

SS) Carter Kieboom- Hagerstown

CF) Thomas Jones- Greensboro

3B) Colton Welker- Asheville

RF) Austin Hays- Delmarva

C) Donny Sands- Charleston

CF-RF-LF) Manuel Melendez- Asheville

SS) Anderson Tejeda- Hickory

SS) CJ Chatham- Greenville

CF) Stone Garrett- Greensboro

3B) Tyler Nevin- Asheville

CF) Leonardo Molina- Charleston

3B) Sheldon Neuse- Hagerstown

RHP) Cody Sedlock- Delmarva

LHP) Keegan Akin- Delmarva

LHP) Tyler Watson- Hagerstown

RHP) Merandy Gonzalez- Columbia

RHP) Melvin Adon- Augusta

LHP) Matt Krook- Augusta

RHP) Ofelky Perlata- Delmarva

3B) Kelvin Beltre- Augusta

RF) Isael Soto- Greensboro

CF) Yoan Aybar- Greenville

CF) Lorenzo Cedrola- Greenville

RHP) Freicer Perez- Charleston

CF) Blake Perkins- Hagerstown

RHP) Tyler Kolek- Greensboro

RHP) Austin DeCarr- Charleston

RHP) Drew Finley- Charleston

2B, 3B) Kole Enright- Hickory

CF/RF) Dalton Wheat- Greensboro

3B) Charles Leblanc- Hickory

3B) Anderson Franco- Hagerstown

RHP) Tyler Phillips- Hickory

RHP) Edward Cabrera- Greensboro

CF) Ryan McKenna- Delmarva

RHP) Alex Wells- Delmarva

 

The Sally looks like it will be loaded in 2017.  Other names who could be coming our way, the #1 pick in the 2016 draft Mickey Moniak, the three headed monster of Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz and Kyle Mueller and a whole lot more.

Up next at Notes is a Kannapolis Intimidators team preview.  Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previewing the 2017 Hickory Crawdads

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Cole Ragans, courtesy of http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/06/10/images/mlbf_794771583_th_45.jpg

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series.  I’m excited to get these going again.  Today I’ll be talking about the Hickory Crawdads as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Crawdads are the Texas Rangers, single-A, full season affiliate.

Previously I’ve covered the:

Asheville Tourists (Rockies)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/01/previewing-the-2017-asheville-tourists/

Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/13/previewing-the-2017-augusta-greenjackets/

Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/31/previewing-the-2017-charleston-riverdogs/

Columbia Fireflies (Mets)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/03/previewing-the-2017-columbia-fireflies/

Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/09/previewing-the-2017-delmarva-shorebirds/

Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/23/previewing-the-2017-greensboro-grasshoppers/

Greenville Drive (Red Sox)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/31/previewing-the-2017-greenville-drive/

Hagerstown Suns (Nationals)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/02/07/previewing-the-2017-hagerstown-suns/

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include  scouting report.  It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting, once I see the Hickory Crawdads in 2017 I’ll post reports on many of the players listed below.  Hickory is one of my home teams so I’ll see them a lot,  beginning in week 2 of the season when they host Kannapolis for 4 games and West Virginia for 3.

 

Lets meet the notables:

 

Leodys Taveras, courtesy of http://www.baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Leodys-Taveras-2015-bm.gif

CF) Leody Taveras– Age 18, listed 6’1″ 170 lbs, bats both and throws right.  Taveras was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 receiving a $2.1 Mil signing bonus.  Taveras  skipped the Dominican Summer league (DSL) and headed straight to Arizona League rookie ball (AZL).  Which is pretty aggressive and the fact that he earned a mid season promotion to Spokane is very impressive.  He’s high on my list of players to see this season.

Rich Wilson of “Prospect 361” counted down his top 10 Rangers prospects in mid January, here’s some of what he wrote about Taveras:

Taveras’ scouting report contains a lot of plus grades.  It starts with a great looking swing that is short to the ball with enough bat speed when combined with his physicality to have plus future power.  Again, it’s future power as the swing lacks loft and he still has yet to develop man-strength.  However in a few years, that will change with a chance to hit for 20 plus home run power.

He’s also a plus runner but still needs work on his base running skills.  However with instruction, 20 stolen bases are definitely in the cards.   He also has the speed and arm to play any outfield position.

For more on Taveras and the rest of the Rangers top 10 click here:  Texas Rangers

 

 

Anderson Tejeda, courtesy of https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/795446446577303553/6FZwfquQ.jpg

SS) Anderson Tejada- Age 18, listed 5’11” 160 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Tejeda was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.

John Sickles of “Minor League Ball” released his top 20 Rangers list near the end of December and had this to say about Tejeda:

“Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000; looks like a bargain at that price; hit .283/.326/.520 between DSL, AZL, and NWL; combined for 10 homers, 18 walks, 73 strikeouts in 269 at-bats; whiffed 33 times in 94 at-bats in NWL but also hit eight homers in just 23 games; lefty hitter with bat speed, 55 power despite 5-11, 160 build; wiry strong; aggressive hitter and contact will be a concern at higher levels but production was remarkable overall; good throwing arm, average speed; range stretched at shortstop, fielding at second needs work too; not as athletic as Taveras but has more present power. ETA 2021”

For more of the Rangers top 20 prospects click here:  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/12/23/14064042/texas-rangers-top-20-prospects-for-2017

 

 

Cole Ragans, courtesy of https://2080baseball.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ragans-Cole-1503-Mitchell.jpg

LHP) Cole Ragans- Age 19, listed 6’4″ 190 lbs, bats and throws left.  Ragans was drafted 30th overall in the 2016 draft out of High School in Tallahassee, FL.

mlb,com last updated there Rangers top 30 prospects last Summer after the draft and had this to say about Ragans:

“North Florida Christian High (Tallahassee, Fla.) has produced four quality prospects in the last three Drafts, starting with Diamondbacks third-round outfielder Matt Railey and Cubs fourth-round left-hander Carson Sands in 2014. Right-hander Cole Sands (Carson’s brother) fell to the Astros in the 22nd round in 2015 only because he was intent on attending Florida State, while Ragans became the highest pick of them all — 30th overall as a first-rounder this June. He turned down the Seminoles to sign for $2,003,400.

Ragans works with three pitches, all of which should become at least solid offerings. His 89-91 mph fastball tops out at 93 and plays better than its radar-gun readings because he commands it well and delivers it on a steep downhill plane. His curveball has downer action when he stays on top of it and could become a plus pitch if it adds more power as he gains strength, while he’s improving the quality of and his trust in his changeup.

His athletic frame still has a lot of projection remaining it and garners him comparisons to a young Cole Hamels. Ragans has a sound delivery that he repeats easily. With his stuff, savvy and mound presence, he has what it takes to become a mid-rotation starter.”

For more of the Rangers top 30 prospects click here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=tex

 

 

Alex Spies, courtesy of http://imgix.scout.com/151/1513857.jpg

RHP) Alex Speas- Age on opening day 19, listed 6’4″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Speas was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of High School in Powder Springs, GA (Atlanta Metro).

Adam J. Morris of Lone Star Ball, did a write up on Speas at the dawn of the draft while speculating he might be the Rangers target at 30.  In the piece he quotes a lot of draft experts that acknowledge there’s work to be done while at the same time were drooling over the possibilities.  Good read, I’m looking forward to seeing him.

http://www.lonestarball.com/2016/6/7/11876436/2016-texas-rangers-draft-preview-alex-speas

 

 

Michael Matuella, courtesy of http://www.baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Michael-Matuella-2016-bm.gif

Michael Matuella- Age 22, listed 6’6″ 220 lbs, bats and throws right.  Matuella was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of Duke Univ.  Matuella was in the running for the 1st overall pick in 2015 but he had Tommy John surgery two months before the draft and fell to the Rangers in the 3rd round. He got back on the mound in June of 2016 and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs got to see him in extended ST and wrote about him here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/scouting-the-rangers-mike-matuella-against-first-pro-batters/

Unfortunately Matuella was only able to make one official start in 2016 due to  ligament strain in his throwing elbow.   That sounds scary, even more so for a player attempting to come back from TJ.  Baseball America gave a recent update on his status and you can find that here (not behind a pay wall) :  http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/spring-training-looming-top-players-mend/#8VDfmLILYkjtZRXD.97

 

 

Kole Enright, courtesy of http://m.mlb.com/assets/images/9/6/0/183301960/cuts/enright_article_6f7a0nxh_5d3g6rxo.jpg

2B, 3B, SS) Kole Enright- Age 19, listed 6’1″ 175 lbs, bats both and throws right. Enright was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of High School in Winter Garden, FL (Orlando Metro).   I’m not finding a whole lot out there right now on Enright that I didn’t already link to.

 

 

Around the diamond

Catcher

Alex Kowalczyk- Age 23, listed 6’3″ 205 lbs, bats and throws right.  Kowalczyk was drafted in the 12th round of the 2016 draft out the Univ of Pittsburgh.

 

C, 1B) Carlos Garay- Age 22, listed 6′ 210 lbs, bats and throws right.  Garay was signed out of Venezuela in 2011.

 

These next two players are interesting but they both seem ticketed toward Spokane.  It’s possible we see one or both in the 2nd half, unlikely though as teams don’t typically rush teenage catchers.

 

C, 1B) Yohel Pozo- Age 19, listed 6′ 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Pozo was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.  He made his stateside debut in 2016 and had  a 6% BB and 5% K rate and a .105 ISO.

Grant Schiller of “Shut Down Inning” wrote up Pozo late in the AZL season, sounds promising.

http://www.shutdowninning.com/yohel-pozos-ridiculous-stateside-debut/

 

Sam Huff- Age 19, listed 6’4″ 215 lbs, bats and throws right.  Huff was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Phoenix, AZ.

Rob Ozga of the “Baseball Draft Report” does a terrific job breaking down the draft every year.  He went round by round through the the Rangers 2016 draft and had this to say about Huff:

“It would be easy to write off the 6-4, 200 pound Sam Huff (433) as a prime candidate to move out from behind the plate sooner rather than later, but the big guy from Arizona is a far more advanced and natural defender than his size might otherwise suggest. He’s not a total slam dunk to remain a catcher over the long haul — few teenager catchers are, after all — but he’s got a better than 50/50 shot to remain a backstop going forward. If that’s the case, then the upside for a potentially above-average regular is very clearly here. Huff’s calling card is his average to above-average raw power, but he’s also shown impressive plate coverage and disciplined approach as a hitter. Much of the feedback I’ve gotten on Huff this past offseason has been of the “pump the breaks” variety (equal parts concern about his ability to make enough contact and his defense holding up long-term), but my instinctual lean here has me ignoring that and going all-in on Huff as a future big leaguer.”

For more Rangers draft coverage click here:  2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Texas Rangers

 

Other options at catcher:  Clay Middleton and Isaias Quiroz

 

 

Corner Infield

1B) Curtis Terry- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 255 lbs, bats and throws right.  Terry was drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Lawrenceville, GA (Atlanta Metro).

Here’s a fun piece on Curtis “Big Rig” Terry from Tepid Participation of Lone Star Ball

http://www.lonestarball.com/2016/8/29/12684794/curtis-terry-baby-big-rig-with-a-big-bat

 

3B, SS, 2B) Kole Enright-

 

3B, SS) Charles Leblanc- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Leblanc was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Pittsburgh.

More from he Baseball Draft Reports review of the Rangers 2016 draft:

 

“I’ve probably said this too often that it doesn’t quite carry quite the same meaning as it would otherwise, but, man, Charles Leblanc (111) to Texas in the fourth round might be my favorite pick in the draft. This is in part because I saw Leblanc this past spring and was incredibly impressed in my short three game view, but I think my love of the big infielder from Pittsburgh goes beyond the small sample size eye test. Leblanc checks every box for me: ultra-productive draft year (.405/.494/.513 with 30 BB/29 K), great size and strength (6-4, 200 pounds), clear carrying tools (power and arm), no obvious weaknesses (solid athlete with decent wheels), young for his class (won’t be 21-years-old until next June)…the list goes on and on. His eventual defensive transition to third base will be one to watch closely as the college shortstop has the ability to man the hot corner but not yet the experience. If that goes off without a hitch, I think Leblanc could be the above-average regular at third that so many (myself included) thought Mike Olt could once be. I’m all-in on Leblanc.

(For the record, a quick check of published draft reviews so far for the terms “favorite pick” and “best pick” only turned up two names so far. Those are far from the most conclusive search terms I could use, but my hyperbole still wasn’t quite as bad as I feared. Jake Elliott and Jon Duplantier were the recipients of that praise, FWIW. I didn’t come right out and say it, but Alex Speas in the second round is another one of my favorite picks. Nice work by Texas here.)”

For much more Rangers draft coverage click here:  2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Texas Rangers

 

1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF) Luis Terrero-  Age 21, listed 6′ 215 lbs, bats and throws right.  Terrero was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.  Terrero played 5 position in 2016.

 

Other options at the infield corners: Todd McDonald (1B), Stephen Lohr (3B, 1B), Xavier Turner (3B, 1B), Willy Diaz (3B, 1B), Kelvin Fajardo (3B, 2B)

 

Middle Infield

2B- Blane Prescott- Age 21, listed 5’10” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Prescott was drafted in the 28th round of the 2015 draft out of Midland College.

 

SS) Anderson Tejeda-

 

 

Other options in the middle infield: Brallan Perez (2B, 3B, SS), Elio Castillo (2B, 3B, SS), Luis Silva (2B, 1B, 3B), Jonah McReynolds (SS, 2B, 3B)

 

Outfield

 

RF, LF) Chad Smith- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 200 lbs, bats and throws left.  Smith was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Snellville, GA (Atlanta Metro).

 

CF) Leody Taveras

 

CF) Eric Jenkins-  Age 20, listed 6’1″ 170 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Jenkins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Cerro Gordo, NC.  I think there’s a chance he repeats.  There’s a lot to like with Jenkins, the double plus speed, the glove in center.  Has to tighten up the bat to ball and the pitch recognition but he’s young.

 

LF, CF, RF) Josh Merrigan- Age 23, listed 6’2″ 172 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Merrigan was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft out of Georgia Gwinnett College.

 

The outfield is kind of thin, if Jenkins comes back he’ll be seeing some time in the corners which I guess seems unlikely.  But that might mean LeDarious Clark comes back. Or they may decide Taveras, Smith, Merrigan with (Day and Lacrus is enough).  We’ll find out soon enough.

 

Other options in the outfield

Sherman Lacrus (RF) and Darius Day (LF, CF, RF) could be back, Travis Bolin (LF, RF), Preston Scott (LF, RF), London Lindley (LF, RF, CF), Austin O’Banion (RF, LF), Marcus Mack (LF, RF)

 

 

 

Starting Pitching

LHP) Cole Ragans

RHP) Alex Speas

RHP) Michael Matuella

RHP) Tyler Phillips- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right.  Phillips was drafted in the 15th round out of high school in

mlb.com wrote about Phillips last Summer when they released there Rangers top 30 prospects list:

“Heading into his 2015 senior season at Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken Township, N.J.), scouts viewed Phillips as a classic projection arm who would be best off with some development time in college. Once his fastball velocity surged from the upper 80s to the low 90s, however, the Rangers paid him $160,000 in the 16th round to buy him away from his commitment to State JC of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.

Phillips has an athletic 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame and a loose, quick arm that works extremely well. He currently operates at 91-94 mph with downhill plane plus tail and sink on his fastball, and he should continue to add velocity as he gets stronger. Both his slider and changeup are works in progress with the potential to become average or better offerings as he gains experience.

Phillips’ athleticism and easy delivery should enable him to throw plenty of strikes. While he’s a project who will need time to develop, his ceiling is higher than most of the starters in the Texas system.”

For the rest of the Rangers top 30 prospects click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=tex

 

RHP) Kyle Cody- Age 22, listed 6’7″ 245 lbs, bats and throws right.  Cody was drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Kentucky (Lexington).

John Sickles did a piece on Cody leading into the draft and he sounds intriguing as well.  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/6/8/11862416/2016-mlb-draft-kyle-cody-rhp-university-of-kentucky

 

That’s a hell of a top 5 if we get them all, obviously Matuella is the biggest question mark.

 

 

Other Starting Pitching options

Luke Lanphere could be back, and Sal Mendez and Demarcus Evans could see time as well.

 

I enjoyed deep diving into the Rangers system, there’s more talent here than I imagined there would be.

Obviously led by the pitching, the Hickory staff has a chance to be among the best and deepest in the 2017 Sally.

There will be some intriguing hitters as well led by the talented CF Leody Taveras.  But also infielders Anderson Tejeda, Cole Enright and Charles Leblanc all sound interesting as well as masher Curtis Terry.  We’ll see who else breaks out.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did, I’ll be back soon with a Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) team preview. Cheers!

Previewing the 2017 Hagerstown Suns

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Jun Soto, courtesy of http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/02/16/images/mlbf_543268383_th_43.jpg

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these going again.  Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Hagerstown Suns as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Suns are the single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Previously I covered:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/01/previewing-the-2017-asheville-tourists/

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/13/previewing-the-2017-augusta-greenjackets/

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/31/previewing-the-2017-charleston-riverdogs/

The Columbia Fireflies (Mets)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/03/previewing-the-2017-columbia-fireflies/

The Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/09/previewing-the-2017-delmarva-shorebirds/

The Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/23/previewing-the-2017-greensboro-grasshoppers/

The Greenville Drive (Red Sox) http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/31/previewing-the-2017-greenville-drive/

 

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include a scouting report. It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton from it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Hagerstown Suns, Auburn Tigers and the GCL Nationals.

At Notes From The Sally it’s all about live look scouting.  Once I see the Hagerstown Suns you can expect write ups on many of the players listed below.  I have a goal to see every team in the Sally twice in the 1st half (April 7-June 18).  I plan to see the Suns when they come to Asheville in mid May and in Greensboro in early June.  But I’ll get more into that as we get closer to the season.

 

Lets meet the notables

 

Juan Soto, courtesy of http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/juan-soto-of-the-nationals-during-the-florida-instructional-league-picture-id596927726

RF) Juan Soto- Age 18, listed 6’1″ 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Soto was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2015.  He skipped the Dominican Summer League and came straight to the Gulf Coast League which is pretty aggressive but he excelled there and won the league MVP award. He also got a cup of coffee in Auburn and smacked 9 hits in 21 at bats.  Soto is high on the list of position players I’m looking forward to seeing in 2017.

mlb.com wrote this last Summer about Soto when they last updated there top 30 Nationals prospects list:

“Soto opened eyes in the Dominican Prospect League, endearing himself tao scouts with some of the best natural hitting ability in the 2015 international class. The Nationals made signing the then-16-year-old a top priority and gave him a $1.5 million bonus, a franchise record for Latin American teenager. After receiving his first taste of pro last fall during instructional league, Soto has rewarded the Nationals with a strong start in 2016.”

“Soto has a smooth and balanced left-handed swing which enables him to barrel the ball and make hard contact consistently. He has good strength to his frame and room to tack on even more strength, while his feel for hitting should help him utilize his impressive raw power in games. Soto’s approach is advanced for his age, with scouts praising his pitching recognition and overall selectivity at the plate.”

“Soto shows good instincts in the outfield but is limited to a corner spot due to his below-average speed. His average arm strength makes him a cleaner fit in left field, though his bat profiles nicely at either position.”

For more of the Nationals top 30 prospects click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=was

 

 

Carter Kieboom, courtesy of http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/mdjonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bc/cbcb2c08-2f81-11e6-890e-4bae44f40ddd/575b80fa6aa9d.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C1101

SS) Carter Kieboom – Age 19, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Kieboom was drafted 28th overall in the 2016 draft out of high school in Marietta, GA ( Atlanta Metro).

NatsGM.com did a piece called quoting the experts in regards to Carter Kieboom, it’s a good read and it’s nice to get so many opinions in one place.   http://natsgm.com/2016/06/15/quoting-the-experts-washington-nationals-1st-round-pick-carter-kieboom/ 

 

 

Sheldon Neuse, courtesy of http://img.scout.com/sites/default/files/2016/05/13/Sheldon%20Neuse%205.13.jpg

3B) Sheldon Neuse- Age 22, listed 6′ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Neuse was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Oklahoma.

Prospect Junkies put together a detailed scouting report on Neuse.  Not a monster ceiling player but a potential regular with a pretty high floor.

2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Sheldon Neuse

 

 

Blake Perkins, courtesy of http://pbs.twimg.com/media/ClreYXPWIAg7Tk4.jpg:medium

CF) Blake Perkins- Age 20, listed 6’1″ 165 lbs, bats and throws right.  Perkins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Buckeye, AZ (Phoenix area).

Ryan Sullivan of NatsGM.com counted down his top Nationals prospects prior to the 2016 season and had this to say of Perkins:

“Washington’s second 2nd round pick, 69th overall last June, Perkins was selected from an Arizona high school with the reputation as an excellent athlete with terrific speed, but raw baseball skills. His speed, coupled with surprisingly good instincts and a good throwing arm make him a surefire future centerfielder. The present risk in his profile lies with his bat, as the 19-year-old has resumed switch-hitting after abandoning it in high school. The early returns were positive according to reports, but Perkins will need significant at-bats in the minors to refine each swing.

Perkins has a high floor as a prospect due to his base running and defensive value. The Nationals are gambling that with experience and physical maturation he can develop into a potential “45-50 hit / 40 power” batter while playing terrific defense up-the-middle. The risk is large but the reward could be substantial if the production ever matches his tools.”

For the rest of the top prospect list and for much more click here:  http://natsgm.com/2016/02/10/the-2016-washington-nationals-top-prospects-20-11/

 

 

Anderson Franco, courtesy of http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/anderson-franco-of-the-nationals-during-the-gulf-coast-league-game-picture-id579915862?s=594×594

3B) Anderson Franco- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Franco was signed of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  I was hoping to see Franco last season but he was injured to start the year, surfaced in late July and just played out the season in the GCL.  The Nats may send him to Auburn this year so both he and Neuse can get full time reps at 3rd.

mlb.com wrote about Franco for there top 30 Nationals list last Summer here’s a snippet:

“Though already a physical specimen with tremendous upper-body strength, Anderson is just beginning to grow into his projectable frame. He has a quick bat and generates good power to his pull side, the combination of which could lead to at least average over-the-fence pop down the road. His pitch-recognition issues highlight his youth and inexperience, but the overall approach is advanced for his age and offers a solid foundation for offensive development.”

For more on Franco and the rest of the Nats top 30 click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=was

 

 

Nick Banks, courtesy of http://www.banditosbaseballclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Banks-Homerun-2.jpg

RF-LF) Nick Banks- Age 22, listed 6’1″ 215, bats and throws left.  Banks was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of Texas A&M.

John Sickles wrote about Banks a couple of months before the draft last year, here’s a snippet from that:

“Performance is key for Banks since his physical tools aren’t spectacular. None of them are weak, either; hitting skills, raw power, speed, arm strength, all generate solid 50-55 grades with this throwing arm the best of the lot. He isn’t a strict pull hitter and can drive the ball the opposite way for distance, but on the other hand his swing is tailored more for line drives than home runs. At least that’s been the case up until this spring: although his overall 2016 slash line is weaker than 2015, his isolated power stats are actually the best of his career and at his current pace he would set career-best marks in doubles, triples, and homers.”

For more on Banks click here:  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/4/14/11327668/2016-mlb-draft-nick-banks-of-texas-a-m

 

 

Around the diamond

 

Catcher

Tres Barrera- Age 22, listed 6′ 215 lbs, bats and throws right.  Barrera was drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of Univ of Texas at Austin.

Striking out looking has a detailed report on Barrera:   Scouting Report: Tres Barrera (UT Austin)

 

Joey Harris- Age on opening day 23, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats left and throws right. Harris was drafted in the 9th round of the 2016 draft out of Gonzaga Univ.  A senior sign, he handled the bat pretty well post draft albeit with no power in a small sample size.

 

Others who could see time at Catcher: Jorge Tillero , CJ Picerni, Luis Vilorio, Jeyner Biez,

 

Middle Infield

2B) Jake Noll- Age on opening day 23, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Noll was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of Florida Gulf Coast Univ (Ft Myers, FL).

“cookiedabookie” does a lot of the draft coverage at Minor League Ball and had this to say about Noll when he broke down the top 2nd Basemen in the 2016 draft:

“Noll can hit, period. Over three years at FGC, he hit .361/.417/.493. He’s hitting .367/.427/.620 this year, with 20 walks to 29 strikeouts – a much better rate than he’s shown previously, and a good sign of growth at the plate. That followed up a stellar Cape Cod League stint, where he hit .326/.366/.452. He also has good speed, although his stolen base numbers dropped last summer and this spring. There’s some worry he won’t stick at second, which would push him to left field or first base, but I think those concerns are a bit overblown. He should go by the end of the fifth round.”

For more on the top 2nd basemen in last years draft plus a whole lot more draft and minor league coverage click here:  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/6/5/11848636/2016-mlb-draft-top-prospects-second-base-bichette-brigman-cortes-quintana

 

SS) Carter Kieboom

 

2B, 3B, SS) Paul Panaccione- Age 23, listed 5’10” 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Panaccione was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft out of Grand Canyon Univ (Phoenix, AZ)

The Baseball draft report as well as Prospect Junkies are two of my favorite sites for pre and post draft coverage.  Rob Ozga of the Baseball draft report wrote this about Paul Panaccione while listening his top players from the WAC to watch for:

“It’s fairly well-established by now that this year’s college shortstop class isn’t good. I’m about as positive a guy as you’ll find willing to do this for free and even I’ll admit that. That said…there are way more mid-major and small school types that can a) probably stay at shortstop in the pros, and b) hit frozen ropes even when dragged out of bed to do so. Paul Panaccione is one of the best of those types. In drafting Panaccione, you’d be getting a steadying influence in the middle infield, a hitter with a very clear plan with every trip to the plate, and an all-around solid performer with an increasingly intriguing track record of getting it done at the college level.”

For more on the WAC and much more draft coverage click here:  2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – WAC

 

These players could also see time in the middle infield:  Dalton Dulin (2B), Jake Jeffries (2B, 3B, SS), Angelo La Bruna (2B, SS), Branden Boggetto (2B, LF)

 

Corner Infield

1B) Ryan Ripken- (Cal’s son) Age 23, listed 6’6″ 205, bats and throws left. Ripken was drafted in the 15th round of the 2014 draft out of Indian River Community College (Ft Pierce, FL).  He’s struggled so far in his young career offensively (.205/.248/.277) but he’s also amassed  just 517 AB’s in 3 seasons as a pro.  So he’s missed some pretty significant time too.

1B) Conner Simonetti– Age on opening day 22, listed 6’1″ 205 lbs, bats and throws left.  Simonetti was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft out of Kent State Univ.

3B) Sheldon Neuse

3B) Anderson Franco

 

Others who could see time at the the infield corners:  Tyler Beckwith (3B, SS), Aldrem Corredor (1B, LF)

 

Outfield

LF) Nick Banks

CF) Blake Perkins

RF) Juan Soto

LF, CF, RF) Daniel Johnson- age 21, listed 5’10” 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Johnson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of New Mexico State Univ.

I’m not finding a lot out there on Johnson scouting wise, but this is a good read:  http://www.nmstatesports.com/news/2016/6/10/baseball-johnson-drafted-by-the-washington-nationals-in-the-fifth-round.aspx?path=baseball

An intriguing power and speed combo, it’ll be interesting to see if all 4 of Soto, Banks, Perkins and Johnson come to the Sally and if they do, how they’ll disperse the playing time.  I can’t imagine Johnson’s a part time player.

 

Others who could see time in the OF:  Telmito Agustin (LF, CF) and Randy Encarnacion (LF, CF, RF) could both be back. Darryl Florentino (LF, RF, CF), Jack Sundberg (LF), Oliver Ortiz (LF, 1B), Armond Upshaw (CF)

 

Starting Pitching

LHP) Tyler Watson- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 200 lbs, bats right and throws left.  Watson was drafted in the 34th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Gilbert, AZ (Mesa, AZ Metro).

John Sickles released his top 20 Nationals prospects recently and had this to say about Watson:

Age 19, 34th round pick in 2015 from high school in Gilbert, Arizona; would have gone 30 rounds higher except he was committed to Loyola Marymount; signed for $400,000; 6-5 southpaw with strong ’16 campaign, 2.64 ERA with 64/15 K/BB in 58 innings between NY-P and Low-A, 46 hits, just one homer; low-90s heat with more projectable; already throws strikes with strong curveball, change-up coming along; highly intriguing prospect with breakthrough potential. SLEEPER ALERT. ETA 2020.

For the rest of John Sickles top 20 Nationals prospects click here:  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/12/9/13903682/washington-nationals-top-20-prospects-for-2017

 

We could see any of the these starting pitchers return to Hagerstown:

Joan Baez, Jeffrey Rodriguez (these two seem the least likely), Pedro Avila, Matthew Derosier, James Bourque and Andrew Lee.

We may also see any of the following Starting Pitchers from Auburn:

LHP) McKenzie Mills, RH) Weston Davis and  Yonathan Ramirez.

 

 

Conclusion

Hagerstown should have an intriguing collection of highly thought of college bats surrounding a potential stud International signee (Soto) and a highly thought of prep bat (Kieboom).  As well as Perkins an excellent athlete who’s still developing baseball skills.  We’ll see who else takes a step forward.  This group should score a lot of runs.

On the pitching side, Watson sound very interesting.  Meckenzie Mills is 6’4″ and left handed that alone makes him interesting.  He threw a lot more strikes in 2016, we’ll see if he can continue to improve the strikeout to BB%.  We;ll see if anyone else steps up.

I enjoyed diving into the Nats system, there’s more here that I imagined.   I hope you got as much out of this as I did.

Up next is a look at the 2017 Hickory Crawdads (Rangers).

Previewing the 2017 Greenville Drive

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Jason Groome, courtesy of http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/pressofatlanticcity.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/b8/7b850b1a-6979-11e6-a48c-c3822c64ef62/57bcc1e61b012.image.jpg

Hey guys welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these going again.  Today I’ll be previewing the 2017 Greenville Drive as I continue alphabetically around the league. The Drive are the single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Previously I previewed:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/01/previewing-the-2017-asheville-tourists/

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/13/previewing-the-2017-augusta-greenjackets/

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/31/previewing-the-2017-charleston-riverdogs/

The Columbia Fireflies (Mets)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/03/previewing-the-2017-columbia-fireflies/

The Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/09/previewing-the-2017-delmarva-shorebirds/

The Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)  http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/23/previewing-the-2017-greensboro-grasshoppers/

 

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include a scouting report. It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton from it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Greenville Drive, Lowell Spinners and GCL Red Sox rosters.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting, the Greenville Drive are one of my home parks so I’ll see the team 20+ times in 2017 beginning on opening day when they host the Delmarva Shorebirds.  You can expect write ups on most of the Drive players listed.

Lets meet the notables

 

Jason Groome, courtesy of http://m.mlb.com/assets/images/6/3/4/201725634/cuts/Jason_Groome_1280_pgtf7psi_izrq7p8h.jpg

Jason Groome- Age 18, listed 6’6″ 220 lbs, bats and throws left.  Groom was drafted 12th overall in the 2016 draft out of high school in Barnegat, NJ (Jersey Shore).   One of the highest profile players in the draft last Summer Groome was expected to go much earlier than 12th.

Burke Granger of “Prospect Junkees” wrote up each of the players the Red Sox selected in the 1st five rounds of the 2016 draft and had this to say about Groome:

“Regarded as the top talent in the draft by MLB Pipeline, Groome slid to the 12th pick due to signability and makeup concerns.  The Red Sox signed Groome at the July 15th deadline for an above slot bonus of $3,650,000, a franchise record for draftees.  At 6’6″ and 220 pounds, Groome stands out for more than just his physical stature.  Groome possesses a mid-90’s fastball and power curveball along with changeup that was seldom needed as an amateur.  Groome didn’t pitch much as a professional after the late signing, but should open up 2017 in full season ball.”

For more on the Red Sox 2016  top draft picks click here:   https://prospectjunkies.com/2016/11/28/2016-mlb-draft-roundup-boston-red-sox/#more-6099

 

 

CJ Chatham, courtesy of https://www.d1baseball.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Chatham-1.jpg

SS) CJ Chatham-   Age 22, listed 6’4″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Chatham was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of Florida Atlantic Univ.

One of my favorite prospect oriented websites out there is SoxProspects.com they do a terrific job of covering every inch of the Red Sox minors.  Here’s what they had to say about CJ Chatham:

Excellent athlete. Consisdred one of the top shortstops in the 2016 draft. Projects to likely stay at shortstop. Plus arm and decent range.  Good instincts. Tall for the position. Solid approach at the plate. Contact hitter with some pop and potential to add power.”

For more on the current Red Sox top 20 prospects and a whole lot more click here:   http://www.soxprospects.com/index.html

 

 

Shaun Anderson, courtesy of https://photos.smugmug.com/Gator-Baseball-2015/Florida-Gators-Baseball-vs/i-DSx7r2S/0/XL/florida%20gators%20florida%20baseballl%20february%2022nd%202015%20miami%20hurricanes%20Florida%20Gators%20pitcher%20Shaun%20Anderson%20pitching%20full%20body-XL.jpg

RHP) Shaun Anderson- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right.  Anderson was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Florida.

 

John Sickles of Minor League Ball counted down his top 20 Red Sox prospects at the end of December and had this to say about Anderson:

“Age 22, third round pick in 2016 from University of Florida; gave up 12 hits in 2.2 innings in New York-Penn League; posted 1.05 ERA in 43 innings for Gators with 56/6 K/BB, 13 saves; will reportedly work as a starter due to broad arsenal including 90-94 fastball, slider, cutter, curve, change-up; command was exceptional in college, will have to see how workload management goes. ETA late 2019”.

For more of Sickles top 20 Red Sox click here:  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/12/29/14119404/boston-red-sox-top-20-prospects-for-2017

 

 

Mike Shawaryn, courtesy of https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/2DQmzdwbpw030N2-U8Clz1EXO9A=/0x184:2949×2150/1310×873/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/50143577/DSC_2645jpg05.0.0.jpg

RHP) Mike Shawaryn- Age 22, listed 6’2″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right.  Shawaryn was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Maryland.

mlb.com updated there top 30 Red Sox prospect list after the draft last Summer and had this to say about Shawaryn:

“The Terrapins’ career leader in wins (30) and strikeouts (307), Shawaryn works from a low three-quarters slot that adds life to his pitches, all of which have the potential to be at least solid. His fastball usually runs from 90-94 mph with sink, though his velocity was down to 86-88 at times early in the college season. His sweeping slider can get swings and misses from both lefties and righties, and he shows some feel for a fading changeup.”

“Shawaryn has a strong, durable build that lets him maintain his stuff over the course of a game and a season. He fills the strike zone, too, though some scouts wonder if he might be better suited as a reliever because of his arm angle. In shorter stints, he might have two plus offerings with his fastball and slider.”

For more on mlb.com’s top 30 Red Sox click here:   http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=bos

 

 

Yoan Aybar, courtesy of https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1159/2868/products/yoanaybar_16lowell.jpg?v=1472498236

CF) Yoan Aybar- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 165 lbs, bats and throws left.  Aybar was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.

Ryan Alber of “Prospect 1500” recently counted down his top 50 Red Sox Prospects and had this to say about Yoan Aybar:

“Incredibly raw in nearly all facets of the game, Boston tested Aybar by sending him the New York-Penn League at the ripe age of 18. His glove and his arm in center are his two best tools right now, but he’s shown promising bat speed and feel for the barrel, especially for someone his age against that level of competition. He’s exciting, but a long way away, and the large chance that he ends up flaming out keeps him below some of the other names on this list.”

For the rest of the list click here:   http://prospects1500.com/top-50-lists/boston-red-sox-top-50-prospects-2017/

 

 

Bobby Dalbec, courtesy of http://www.rightfieldfog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ORL15_bobby-dalbec.jpg

3B) Bobby Dalbec– Age 21, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right.  Dalbec was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Arizona.  He exploded in the NY/ Penn league post draft and I would have him listed higher here but I think there’s a good chance he skips straight to Salem, VA and the Carolina League (A+).

Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 counted down his Red Sox top 10 Prospects back at the beginning of December (there’s been some trades since then) and had this to say about Dalbec:

“Drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Bobby Dalbec got off to a fast start in the New York Penn League posting a 1.101 OPS.  His carrying tool is double-plus raw power that he showed in his sophomore season at Arizona but injuries led to a drop off last year.  He has length in his swing, so strikeouts will likely always be part of the equation.  Finally, Dalbec was the closer for Arizona during his college career, so if third doesn’t work out, he could always move back to the bump.”

For more of Rich Wilson’s top 10 Red Sox click here: Boston Red Sox

 

Around the diamond

Catcher-

Ausin Rei- Age 23, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.   Rei was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Washington.  He spent all of 2016 with Greenville and struggled offensively could be a candidate to repeat.

C-3B) Roldani Baldwin- Age on opening day 21, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Baldwin was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  He split time between Greenville and Lowell in 2016 and played an even about of games at 3rd base and catcher.  I saw him in Greenville, offensively he didn’t stand out, a long, linear swing and average bat speed.  A decent receiver though.

Nick Sciortino- Age 21, listed 5’9″ 197 lbs, bats and throws right.  Sciortino was drafted in the 17th round of the 2016 draft out of Boston College.

Rei probably gets the lions share of the starts if he returns, if not it could be 50/50 with Baldwin and Sciortino with Baldwin also getting some play at 3rd.

Others who could see time at catcher: Jhon Nunez, Isaias Lucena,

 

 

Middle Infield

2B) Jagger Rusconi- Age 20, listed 5’11” 165 lbs, bats both and throws right.  Rusconi was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Santa Clara, CA (Los Angeles metro).  Rusconi has had a difficult time staying healthy so far in his young career appearing in only 30 games.  Because of this I think he may be a candidate to repeat at Lowell.  We’ll see.

SS) CJ Chatham

 

Others who could see time in the Middle Infield: Carlos Tovar (2B, SS),  Victor Acosta (2B, 3B, LF), Nick Lovulo (2B, SS), Santiago Espinal (2B, SS)

 

Corner Infield

1B) Jerry Downs- Age 23, listed 6’2″ 215 lbs, bats and throws left.  Downs was drafted in the 15th round of the 2015 draft out of St Thomas Univ (Miami Gardens, FL)  Had a .153 ISO in Lowell last season with a 10% BB rate and 20% K rate.

1B) Tucker Tubbs- Age 24, listed 6’3″ 212 lbs, bats and throws right.  Tubbs was drafted in the 9th round of the 2015 draft out of the Univ of Memphis.  Had a .217 ISO last yr in Lowell with a 15% BB rate and 20% K rate.

3B) Bobby Dalbec

3B) Mitch Gunsolus- Age 24, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats left and throws right. Gunsolus was drafted in the 10th round of the 2015 draft out of Gonzaga Univ.

 

Others who could see time on the Infield Corners:  Steven Reveles (3B, SS, 2B), Raiwinson Lameda (1B, LF, RF)

 

Outfield

LF-RF) Tyler Hill-  Age on opening day 21, listed 6′ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Hill was drafted in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of Delaware Military Academy (Wilmington, DE).  He had a .155 ISO, a 10% BB rate and an 18% K rate in Lowell last year.

 

CF- Yoan Aybar

 

CF) Lorenzo Cedrola- Age 19, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats and throws right.  Cedrola was signed out of Venezuela in 2014.

Ryan Alber of Prospects 1500 wrote this of Cedrola while counting down hit top 50 Red sox prospects:

“Cedrola is one of my favorite Sox prospects and a candidate to shoot up this list if he can showcase his plus-plus speed, plus defense, and above-average arm in center field to go along with his plus hitting ability and potential average power at the plate. Full-season ball will be a big test, but I am confident he will succeed.”

Sounds like an exciting young player, I’m looking forward to seeing him.  He might be heading to Lowell 1st though.

 

RF-LF) Ryan Scott- Age 23, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Scott was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Here’s an interesting piece I found on Scott, he was a finalist for the”Gregg Olson award” (college baseball’s breakout player of the year) http://sunbeltsports.org/news/2016/6/14/BB_0614164238.aspx

A senior sign,  Scott will be 24 in July so if he gets off to a fast start he probably won’t be long for Greenville.

 

CF-RF-LF) Matt McLean- Age 23, listed 5’11” 190, bats left and throws right.  McLean was drafted in the 9th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Texas at Arlington.

The Baseball draft report is one of my go to sites for pre and post draft coverage.  Here’s what they wrote about McLean while writing up the Sun Belt conference pre draft:

“On (kind of) the other end of the spectrum is Matt McLean of Texas-Arlington. McLean is a good runner and savvy all-around ballplayer who (to my knowledge) isn’t being talked up by anybody as a serious draft prospect. I’m not sure whether he is or isn’t, but the way he commands the strike zone has my respect. McLean is off to a similar start as Studdard (12 BB/4 K), but differs in that it’s part of a longer track record of doing so (40 BB/19 K last year). When looking to fill out rosters late during the draft, I’d recommend McLean to my scouting director every time. I’m high on the McLean’s on the world not only for what they could become in their own right – solid org guys can occasionally turn into useful pieces over time – but also because of the unseen positives that bringing players like this into an organization can provide. I don’t think McLean possesses any magic plate discipline dust that would rub off on his teammates, but having my young guys exposed to his consistent professional approach to the game, calculated plan of attack as a hitter, aggressive yet smart style of play in all phases, and determination to succeed no matter what couldn’t hurt.”

For more on the Sun Belt and much more draft coverage click here:  2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Sun Belt

 

Others who could see time in the outfield:  Chris Madera (RF, LF), Granger Studdard (LF, RF), Juan Barriento (RF)

 

Starting Pitchers

LHP) Jason Groome

RHP) Shaun Anderson

RHP) Mike Shawaryn

LHP) Darwinzon Hernandez– Age 20, listed 6’2″ 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Hernandez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.

Sox Prospects has a write up on every player I listed .  Here’s a snippet from what they wrote about Hernandez:

“Left-hander with a sturdy pitcher’s frame and some deception in his delivery. Possesses an intriguing fastball/curveball combination, but still young enough that changeup could take a step forward as well. If changeup and command and control improve, could project as a number four/five type starter with a plus fastball and two average secondaries. If need be, stuff could play in bullpen role, where he could rely on his fastball and curveball and air it out in short stints. High-risk prospect given combination of age, physical development and delivery. Has already shown fastball velocity increases as he has matured, so wouldn’t be surprised to see velocity continue to increase.”

For more on Hernandez plus much more on the Red Sox system click here:   http://www.soxprospects.com/players/hernandez-darwinzon.htm

 

Other SP we could see: Enmanuel De Jesus (LHP) could be back,  Dedgar Jimenez (LHP) could be back too, Kevin Steen( RHP), Dakota Smith (RHP),  Robby Sexton (LHP).

 

I enjoyed digging into the Red Sox system.  It’s not what it was two years ago but there’s still pieces.  The strength of the team will lie in the starting pitching led by high profile prep lefty Jason Groome. followed by two promising college arms in Shaun Anderson and Mike Shawaryn.

For the position players the middle infield has a chance to be interesting 2nd rd pick CJ Chatham is 6’4″ and projected to stay at SS that alone makes him interesting.  And Rusconi was drafted out of Los Angeles as a prep in the 5th round that’s an intensely competitive area but because of injuries he hasn’t had a chance to show what he can do yet.  Aybar in center looks interesting as well and I’m holding out hope we see Cedrola.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did, up next is a look at the Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals).  Cheers!

 

Previewing the 2017 Greensboro Grasshoppers

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Braxton Garrett, courtesy of http://s3.amazonaws.com/vnn-aws-sites/4552/files/2015/04/garrett2-600×338.jpg

 

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these going again. Today I’ll be talking about the Greensboro Grasshoppers as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Grasshoppers are a minor league affiliate of the Miami (I still want to call them Florida) Marlins.

Previously I covered:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

The Columbia Fireflies (Mets) Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

and the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)  Previewing-the-2017-delmarva-shorebirds

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include a scouting report. It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton from it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Greensboro Grasshoppers, Batavia Muckdogs and GCL Marlins.

At Notes From The Sally it’s all about live look scouting.  So when I see the Grasshoppers you can expect write ups on many of the players listed below.  I set a goal to see every team in the Sally twice in the 1st half of 2017 (April 7- June 18th).  I’ll be seeing the Grasshoppers in late April when they visit Asheville and for the 1st time since 2014 I’m hoping to see the Grasshoppers at home in NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro when they host the Shorebirds in late May.   I’m looking forward to that trip it’s a beautiful stadium.  I’ll dive deeper into all of this as we get closer to the season.

A quick shoutout to Alex at Fish on the Farm (on Twitter @marlinsminors) for answering a few questions I had as I dug into this.  He’s a good dude and he knows the Marlins minors as well as anybody.

Lets meet the notables

 

Braxton Garrett, courtesy of http://332b71db85586c638269-7b3e649a230e2ba2cff912d8af17e0b5.r41.cf1.rackcdn.com/3046-East-36.jpg

LHP) Braxton Garrett- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws left.  Garrett was drafted 7th overall in the 2016 draft out of high school in Florence, AL.  Garrett didn’t pitch in any games after the draft but did make an appearance in instructs.  There’s a chance he spends most or all of 2017 in short season ball.  I hope he does come to the Sally I’m looking forward to seeing him.

Rich Wilson at Prospect 361 released his top 10 Marlins prospects list back in November, here’s a snippet of what he said of Garrett:

“Garrett has good stuff with a fastball that sits 89 to 92 MPH with a lot of late hop.  At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, there is physical projection remaining and with that could be another tick or two on his fastball.

His best pitch is a hammer curve that was too much for high schoolers.  If he continues to develop the pitch and his fastball develops into a 60 offering, he could have the stuff to profile as a number two starter in baseball.”

For more on Garrett and the rest of the Marlins top 10 click here it’s a good read:  Miami Marlins

 

 

Tyler Kolek, courtesy of http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mlb/miami-marlins/fk5yyt/picture66070172/ALTERNATES/FREE_640/AP_975513946711

RHP) Tyler Kolek– Age 21, listed 6’5″ 260 lbs, bats and throws right.  Kolek was drafted 2nd overall in the 2014 draft out of high school in Sheperd TX (Houston area).

I saw Kolek in Greenville late in 2015, a strong young man with a very good heater.  He worked  93-95 touching 96, mixed in a slider with pretty good bite and change that was hard and straight.  He was a little all over the place that night.  Since then he’s had Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch at all in 2016 and probably won’t ready until June or July this year.  He’s still young but that’s a lot of lost development time.  He’s got big time potential but a lot of work to do.

 

 

 

Stone Garrett, courtesy of http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/02/16/images/mlbf_543264383_th_45.jpg

CF, LF) Stone Garrett- Age 21, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Garrett was drafted in the 8th round of the 2014 draft out of High School in Richmond, TX (Houston metro).  I thought when the season ended that Garrett was a near lock to repeat with Greensboro.  He missed the 1st 2 weeks of 2016  recovering from a wrist injury.  He got off to a slow start and right about the time he was starting to hit, he was the victim of a prank gone wrong and needed thumb surgery.  That cost him all but the last two weeks of the regular season.   He played well in Winter ball in Australia however so now I think there’s a chance he starts 2017 in Jupiter.

I saw Garrett once last season, I guessed on the field he was 6’2″ 205 lbs.  He’s a strong young man with very good bat speed and plus raw power.  He’ll need to tone down some of the aggressiveness and his pitch recognition skills need work.

 

 

Thomas Jones, courtesy of http://m.mlb.com/assets/images/8/3/0/189667830/cuts/thomas_jones_1280_kbl52kjd_q0mdxzgd.jpg

CF) Thomas Jones- Age 19, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Jones was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Laurens, SC (Greenville area).  Double plus speed and 6’4″ 195 lbs.  He’ll be high up on my list of players to see in 2017.

Here’s what mlb.com had to say about him

“A three-star football recruit and two-sport standout at Laurens (S.C.) High, Jones had several offers to play safety from top college football programs, but he opted instead to commit to Vanderbilt’s baseball team as a center fielder. It was that athleticism, along with his offensive potential on the diamond, that also kept him from stepping foot on campus, however, as the Marlins went above slot to add him to its system, giving him $1 million as the No. 84 overall pick.

Gatorade’s South Carolina player of the year, Jones tweaked his hamstring at the outset of his senior season, so scouts who saw him early didn’t see him at top speed. When healthy, he has plus-plus wheels that allow him to be disruptive on the bases and cover both gaps easily in center field. With at least average arm strength, he’s capable of playing all three outfield spots.

With a quick right-handed bat and a muscular frame that can add more strength, Jones could have average or better power if he adds some loft to his flat swing. His stroke can get long at times and he’s still raw after dividing his time between two sports, but he shows some aptitude for hitting and should improve once he focuses on baseball.”

For the rest of mlb.com’s top 30 Marlins click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=mia

 

 

Isael Soto, courtesy of http://www.baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Isael-Soto-2014-cw.jpg

RF) Isael Soto- Age 20, listed 6′ 190 lbs, bats and throws left. Soto was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  Soto got into 113 games with Greensboro in 2016 but could be a candidate to repeat.   Soto is yet another toolsy but raw outfielder in the Marlins system, he’s got good bat speed, the ball jumps off of his barrel.  He put up a .152 ISO in 2016. But the approach is rather raw and needs work with pitch recognition.

 

Around the Diamond:

Catcher:

Blake Anderson- Age 21, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Anderson was drafted 36th overall in the 2014 draft out of high school in Collinsville, MS.  He’s struggled offensively as a pro but he’s still young and the pedigree is there.

Pablo Garcia- Age 20, listed 5’10” 170 lbs, bats both and throws right.  Garcia was signed out the Dominican Republic in 2013.

Jared Rindfleisch- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right.  Rindfleisch was drafted in the 9th round of the 2016 draft out of Ball State Univ.

 

All 3 of these guys seem to be in line to make the jump to full season ball it will be interesting to see how the playing time will be disbursed.

Others who could see time at Catcher: John Silviano could be back, Gunner Pollman, Korey Dunbar, Alex Jones, David Gauntt, Juan Gomes, James Lovett,

 

Middle Infield

2B) Justin Twine- Age 21, listed 5’11” 205 lbs, bats and throws right.  Twine maybe a candidate for a 3rd trip to Greensboro. He’s athletic with loud tools but raw and a very aggressive approach. Made the jump from SS to 2B in 2016. Still young, still interesting but a long way to go.

SS, 3B) Garvis Lara- Age 20, listed 6’1″ 170 lbs, Bats left and throws right.  Lara was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  Lara missed nearly all of 2016 due to a suspension, the Marlins may choose to keep him in rookie ball for another season as a result.

mlb.com wrote this about Lara last Summer:

“Lara stands out at shortstop for his athleticism and range, with the latter being attributed to his instincts and his quick first step as much as his above-average speed. He showcases plus arm strength across the infield, and his throwing accuracy should improve with cleaner footwork and better body control.

Lara has a simple left-handed swing that allows him to make consistent contact and utilize the entire field, and he began working on switch-hitting in 2015 at the organization’s request. There’s a long road ahead of him, but he shows the early makings of a possible everyday shortstop.”

Other choices in the middle Infield:

SS, 2B) Samuel Castro- Age 19, listed 5’10” 160 lbs, bats both and throws right.  Castro was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.   After a decent showing in the GCL Castro struggled in Batavia and could probably use another year in rookie ball.

2B) Mason Davis- Age 24, listed 5’9″ 175 lbs, bats both and throws right. Davis was drafted in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of the Citadel.  He got up to Greensboro for 11 games at the end of last season.  Due to his advanced age he might go straight to Jupiter in 2017.  Davis saw time at 2B, SS, 3B, LF and CF in 2016.

2B) Mike Garzillo- Age on opening day 23, listed 5’11” 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Garzillo was drafted in the 25th round of the 2016 draft out of Lehigh Univ.

2B-SS) Luis Pintor- Age 21, listed 5’9″ 170 lbs, bats and throws right.  Pintor was drafted in the 21st round of the 2016 draft out of New Mexico Junior College

2B) Matthew Brooks- Age on opening day 21, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Brooks was drafted in the 35th round of the 2016 draft out of Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY)

 

I think the middle infield shakes down like this:  We see Twine at 2B at least for a short while, if Lara is ready he’s the starting SS, if not Pintor likely is.  We may see him anyway as the 3rd player who spells both starters.   Garzillo and Brooks will be in the mix too though neither saw time at SS post draft, either could be a candidate at 3B.

 

Corner Infield

1B) Eric Gutierrez- Age 23, listed 5’10” 205, Bats right, throws left.  Gutierrez was drafted in the 20th round of the 2016 draft out of Texas Tech Univ.

3B) James Nelson- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Nelson was drafted in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out junior college in Sysco, TX.

mlb..com wrote this of James Nelson:

“Nelson shows good feel for hitting, with a short, clean swing from the right side of the plate that yields consistently hard contact to all fields but offers little in the way of power. Meanwhile, his plus speed serves him well on the basepaths as well as in the field. Though he was drafted as a shortstop, Nelson spent his entire pro debut at the hot corner, where his athleticism and above-average arm strength are clean fits.”

For more on Nelson and the rest of the Marlins top 30 click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=mia

3B) Aaron Blanton- Age 23, listed 6’2″ 175 lbs, Bats and throws right. Blanton was drafted in the 9th rod of the 2013 draft  out of Richland College.  He started 92 games at 3B for Greensboro in 2016 and could be a candidate to return.

3B-1B) Javier Lopez- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Lopez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011.  He’ll likely get his 1st look at full season ball in 2017.

3B, SS) JJ Gould- Age 23, listed 6′ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gould was drafted in the 24th round of the 2016 draft out of Jacksonville Univ.  Could see time at both positions in 2017.

 

Other candidates for playing time on the infield corners: Colby Lusignan (1B), Branden Berry (1B)

 

Outfield

CF, LF) Stone Garrett

CF) Thomas Jones

CF, LF) Corey Bird- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Bird was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of Marshall Univ.

Alex at “Fish on the Farm” wrote about Bird and many other players on this list back in July during his Batavaia preview check it out it’s a great read:  2016 Batavia Muckdogs Season Preview

RF, CF) Aaron Knapp- Age 22, listed 5’10” 175 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Knapp was drafted in the 8th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of California at Berkley.

RF, CF, LF) Jhonny Santos- Age 20, listed 6′ 160 lbs, bats and throws right.  Santos was signed out of Panama in 2013.

mlb.com included Santos in their top 30 Marlins prospects and had this to say about him:

“The Marlins secured Santos for $25,000 in July 2013, after the club went to great lengths to scout him in a small coastal town in Panama. They sent him stateside to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2015, where he impressed at age 18 with his abilities on both sides of the ball.

Santos has good contact skills thanks to a compact swing, and he exhibits advanced feel for the strike zone, leading scouts to believe he will continue to hit for average as he moves through the Minors. With quite a bit of projection remaining, Santos should grow into some power as he develops physically.

Defensively, Santos is capable of playing all three outfield spots, though the Marlins like him most in center field, where his above-average speed and excellent instincts make him a rangy defender.”

For the rest of the Marlin top 30 prospects click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=mia

LF, RF, CF) Dalton Wheat- Age 23, listed 6’2″ 185 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Wheat was an undrafted free agent signed by the Marlins that Alex told me to watch for.  So I’m excited to see him.  He also thinks there’s some chance he skips

 

Other outfielders who could see playing time: Zach Sullivan (CF), Casey Soltis (LF, CF, RF), Walker Olis (LF, RF, CF), Zach Daly (CF, LF, RF), Terry Bennett (LF)

 

Starting Pitching:

LHP) Braxton Garrett

RHP) Tyler Kolek-  

RHP) Edward Cabrera- Turns 19 one week after opening day, listed 6’4″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Cabrera was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, skipped the Dominican Summer League and came straight to the Gulf Coast league which is pretty aggressive.  He could probably use a year in Batavia before coming to full season

mlb.com had this to say about Cabrera

“Cabrera already operates in the low 90s with his fastball and should gain more velocity as he continues to grow into his projectable frame. His slider shows the makings of becoming an above-average pitch, pairing nicely with his heater, and he also features a changeup that’s currently a work in progress. Cabrera already does a good job flooding the zone with strikes, and that should improve with more consistent mechanics.”

For more on Cabrera and the rest of the Marlins top 30 click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=mia

RHP Jordan Holloway- Age 20, listed 6’4″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Holloway was drafted in the 20th round of the 2014 draft out of high school in Ralston Valley, Co (Denver Metro)mlb.com

mlb.com had this to say about Holloway:

“At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Holloway is a projectable right-hander with considerable room left for growth. His fastball sits in the low 90s and bumps higher at times, and he uses his height to create a steep angle toward the plate. Holloway made strides with his curveball last season, throwing it with tighter spin and good depth, but he does struggle to get on top of it at times. His changeup is a work in progress, but it could develop into a viable third pitch.

Holloway is capable of missing bats both with his heater and breaking ball, but he won’t pile up strikeouts as he should until his below-average control improves. That should happen, though, as he is very athletic and is still getting a feel for repeating his delivery.”

For more on Holloway and the rest of the Marlins top 30 click here:  http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=mia

 

Other SP to watch for LJ Brewster and Gabriel Castellanos could be back.  Ryan McKay and Travis Neubeck could make the jump.

 

I enjoyed diving into the Marlins system, there’s more here than I imagined there would be:

The starting staff should have some combination of Braxton Garrett, Jordan Holiday, Edward Cabrera and Tyler Kolek and maybe all 4.

The Outfield should have toolsy center fielder Thomas Jones plus one or both of Stone Garrett and Isael Soto.  Dalton Wheat, Corey Bird and Jhonny Santos all sound interesting as well.

The Infield may be anchored by shortstop Garvis Lara and Justin Twine, as well as James Nelson and Luis Pintor.

 

I hope you got as much out of this as I did

Up next is a look at one of my home teams the Greenville Drive.  Cheers

Previewing the 2017 Delmarva Shorebirds

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Cody Sedlock and Austin Hays^

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these going again. Today I’ll be talking about the Delmarva Shorebirds (theshorebirds.com on Twitter @Shorebirds) as I continue alphabetically around the league. The Shorebirds are the minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Previously I covered:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

and the Columbia Fireflies (Mets) Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include a scouting report. It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton from it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Delmarva Shorebirds, Aberdeen Ironbirds and the GCL Orioles.

I want to thank my friend Patrick Cavey for supplying nearly all of the photo’s for this piece (all of them except Ofelky Peralta).  If you want to see more of his excellent work click here.  He really is one of the best in the business. https://www.facebook.com/baseballfuture/

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting. So when I see the Shorebirds you can expect write ups on many of the players I have listed below.   I set a personal goal to see every team in the Sally twice in the 1st half of 2017 (April 7th- June 18th).  I’m planning to see the Shorebirds on opening day in Greenville and again in late May in Greensboro.  There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

Lets meet the notables

 

RHP- Cody Sedlock- Age 21, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Sedlock was drafted by the Orioles 27th overall in the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Illinois.

John Sickles of Minor League Ball wrote about Sedlock pre draft, here’s a snippet from that:

“Listed at 6-4, 210, Sedlock has turned up the heat, going from 87-90 in high school to 91-94 now with peaks at 95-96. An erratic high school slurve is now separated into a distinct slider in the 80s and power curve in the upper 70s, both solid offerings. He has a standard change-up as well but it isn’t as good as the breaking stuff and will need more development, though again it is better than it was in high school. Although his command is not perfect it has steadily improved. He hasn’t been overworked and has a shot at being a very durable starting pitcher.”

For much more on Sedlock click here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/6/5/11833946/2016-mlb-draft-cody-sedlock-rhp-university-of-illinois

 

 

 

Ofelky Peralta, courtesy of https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5628/23170836050_ea62d2fc51_b.jpg

RHP) Ofelky Peralta- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Peralta was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  I missed Peralta in 2016 unfortunately.  He’s a high ceiling power right hander that’s still quite raw. There’s a good chance he starts 2017 back in the Sally.

mlb.com wrote this as part of there top 30 Orioles prospects:

“Peralta had the ability to throw his fastball in the mid-90s in 2015 and was up to 98 mph in the fall during instructional league. The 6-foot-5 right-hander is still much more thrower than pitcher, though he made progress with his secondary stuff, a hard slider and raw changeup. Peralta’s long limbs and lanky frame lead to problems repeating his delivery, though the Orioles helped him make a few tweaks during instructs, and he threw more strikes as a result.”

For more on Peralta and the rest of the O’s top 30 click here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=bal

 

 

LHP) Keegan Akin- Age on opening day 22, listed 6′ 225 lbs, bats and throws left.  Akin was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 out of Western Michigan Univ.

Tony from O’s Hangout has a nice write up on Akin: http://forum.orioleshangout.com/forums/index.php?/topic/27019-2016-4-prospect-keegan-akin-lhp/

And Pressbox lays out some interesting facts about Akin and the O’s: https://www.pressboxonline.com/2016/11/24/five-things-to-know-about-orioles-lhp-prospect-keegan-akin

 

 

RHP) Matthias Dietz- Age 21, listed 6’5″ 220 lbs, bats and throws right.  Dietz was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of John A Logan College in Carterville, IL.

Rich Wilson at Prospect 361 recently counted down his top 10 Orioles prospects recently and had this to say about Dietz:

Scouting Report: “Dietz has a promising combination of stuff and pitching mechanics that gives him a ceiling of a #3/#4 starter at the highest level.  His arsenal consists of a fastball that sits 92 to 94 MPH but can bump higher when he needs something extra.  His best secondary pitch is an 84 to 85 MPH slider that misses bat when he’s able to throw it for strikes.  He shows a feel for a change-up but it’s definitely his third pitch.”

For more on Dietz and the rest of the Orioles top prospects list click here, it’s a good read:  Baltimore Orioles

 

 

RF) Austin Hays- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Hays was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 out of Jacksonville Univ. (Jacksonville, Fl).

mlb.com said this about Hays in there Orioles top 30 which they released over the Summer:

“The right-handed-hitting Floridian uses a short and handsy swing to consistently make the ball jump off his bat. Hays doesn’t waste a lot of motion and has shown both the ability to hit for average and power, albeit it in a weaker conference. It might be more gap pop at the next level, although Hays has shown some over-the-fence ability in the past. Defensively, his plus arm also profiles well in right field, where he is a very capable defender.”

For more on Hays and the rest of the O’s top 30 prospects, click here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=bal

 

Around the diamond

There are no obvious choices at catcher but Stuart Levy could be back and one of Daniel Fajardo, Alfredo Gonzalez, Ronald Soto, Chris Shaw, Jerry McClanahan could emerge.

 

Middle Infield

2B) Alejandro Juvier- Age on opening day 21, listed 6’1″ 180 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Juvier was drafted in the 15th round of the High School in Doral, Fl (Miami area).  He struggled with the bat across 2 levels in 2016 after having a very good 2015 albiet in a small sample size.

Juvier could slide to 3rd if Drew Turbin comes back.

SS) Irving Ortega- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 165 lbs, bats and throws right. Ortega was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.

Tony from O’s Hangout has a good piece on Ortega (sounds promising): http://forum.orioleshangout.com/forums/index.php?/topic/22849-irving-ortega-ss-2015-scouting-report/#comment-1796941

2B/SS) Alexis Torres- Age 19, listed 6′ 183 lbs, bats and throws right. Torres was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of High School in Puerto Rico.  He struggled offensively in his 1st look at professional pitching but he’s young.  I think there’s a good chance he’s the starting SS for Aberdeen in 2017.

Other candidates for the middle Infield positions: Drew Turbin (2B) could be back, Guillermo Salas (SS, 2B), Chris Clare (SS, 3B), Jamie Estrada (2B, 3B).

 

Corner Infield

1B) Preston Palmeiro (Rafael’s son)- Age on opening day 22, listed 5’11” 180 lbs, Bats left, throws right.  Palmeiro was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of NC State Univ.

1B) Seamus Curran- Age 19, listed 6’6″ 245 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Curran was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Agawam, MA.  .179 ISO in the GCL The power upside is enormous, we’ll see how the hit plays.

It’ll be interesting to see if both Curran and Palmeiro come to Delmarva. They could share 1B/DH duties, Curran could also be held back in short season for another year.

3B) There are 2 candidates to return to 3rd base: (Austin Anderson and Ricardo Andujar) but they’re both 24 and the O’s may want to test them at the higher levels.  Alejandro Juvier could be a candidate for the 3rd base job as well as the 2nd base job.

Other candidates for the corner infield positions: Carlos Diaz (1B), Collin Woody (3B, 1B), Kirvin Moesquit (3B, 2B), Frank Crinella (3B, 2B), Tanner Kirk (3B, LF).

 

Outfield

LF) Cole Billingsley- Age 22, listed 5’10” 165 lbs, bats and throws left.  Billingsley was drafted in the 19th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of South Alabama.  He handled the bat fairly well in Aberdeen but with a .69 ISO.

CF) Ryan McKenna- Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  McKenna was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Dover, NH.

RF) Austin Hays

Other candidates for the outfield positions: Natanael Delgado (RF, LF) could be back. Jake Ring (CF), Gerrion Grim (RF, LF), Ademar Rifaela (RF, LF) Jaylen Ferguson (LF, CF, RF), Daniel Franco (LF, CF, RF), Mike Odenwaelder (RF), Markel Jones

 

Starting Pitching

RHP) Cody Sedlock

RHP) Ofelky Peralta

LHP) Keegan Akin

RHP) Matthias Dietz 

RHP) Alex Wells- Age on opening day 20, listed 6’1″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Wells was signed out of Australia in 2015.  He’s starting to find some traction with prospectors Baseball Prospectus recently rated Wells as there 11th prospect in the O’s system.

Steve Melewski of Masn Sports had a Wells write up back in June: http://www.masnsports.com/steve-melewski/2016/06/australian-lefty-alexander-wells-is-off-to-a-good-start-with-aberdeen.html

Other Starting Pitching candidates for Delmarva:  Reid Love, Travis Seabrooke, Lucas Humpal, Layne Bruner, Nick Vespi, Jhon Peluffo, Willie Rios, Alirio Negrette.

 

Good squad overall, the strength will be in the starting pitching, in fact if all of: Sedlock, Peralta, Akin, Dietz and Wells come to the Sally they will likely have one of the league’s best rotations.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the Austin Hays, Ryan McKenna duo.

I enjoyed exploring the Orioles system, they’re better than people think.  Up next is a look at the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins).

 

 

20 Names I’m already excited to see in the Sally in 2017

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Photo courtesy of http://stronginsideout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/359987461_3fc1147bc6_z.jpg

Hey guys, I’ve barely scratched the surface with the team previews thus far, with just 4 of the 14 teams completed (Asheville, Augusta, Charleston and Columbia.)  And already the talent is really starting to stockpile.

Here’s 20 players that I’ve already previewed I’m looking forward to seeing in 2017.

RHP) Riley Pint- Asheville

CF) Blake Rutherford- Charleston

LHP) Thomas Szapucki- Columbia

CF) Desmond Lindsay- Columbia

RF) Estevan Florial- Charleston

CF) Pedro Gonzalez- Asheville

RF) Sandro Fabian- Augusta

CF-RF-LF) Manuel Melendez- Asheville

RHP) Justin Dunn- Columbia

3B) Kolton Welker- Asheville

3B) Tyler Nevin- Asheville

RHP) Merandy Gonzalez- Columbia

RHP) Melvin Adon- Augusta

LHP) Matt Krook- Augusta

3B) Kelvin Beltre- Augusta

RHP) Freicer Perez- Charleston

RHP) Austin DeCarr- Charleston

RHP) Drew Finley- Charleston

2B-SS) Luis Carpio- Columbia

LF) Gustavo Cabrera- Augusta

And there’s a lot more talent on the horizon:

Jason Groome, Cody Sedlock, Mickey Moniak to name a few.

A lot more previews to get to,  I’ll be back soon with a 2017 preview for the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles).