Previewing the 2017 Greensboro Grasshoppers

Standard

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.  This is going to be a fun team to follow:

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.  Corey Bird and Jhonny Santos sound interesting as well.

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

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

Standard

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

Standard

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).

Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

Standard

Thomas Szapucki, courtesy of: https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/KTnRDgYNn4qd3lt4Rh3P3JT350I=/90×104:2333×1599/1310×873/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/50140573/thomas-szapucki-donovan.0.0.JPG

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these rolling again. Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Columbia Fireflies (ColumbiaFireflies.com and on Twitter @ColaFireflies) as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Fireflies are the minor league affiliate of the NY Mets.

Previously I’ve covered:

Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

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 wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  It’s an exercise I would be doing anyway so why not publish it.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Columbia Fireflies, Brooklyn Cyclones, Kingsport Mets and the GCL Mets.

A big shoutout to Michael Mayer (on Twitter @themainemets) editor for “Metsmerized” and MetsMinors.net, he helped me a great deal with this list.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting. So when I see the Fireflies you can expect write up’s on many of the the players listed.  I set a personal goal to see every team in the Sally twice in the 1st half April 7th- June 18th.  I anticipate seeing the Fireflies on opening weekend in Columbia vs the Greenjackets and again in late April in Hickory.  There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

Lets meet the notables.

Thomas Szapucki, courtesy of: http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000gvOOv0kT5AE/fit=/fill=250×250/g=G0000bMTQv2Fibs4/I0000gvOOv0kT5AE.jpg

LHP) Thomas Szapucki- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 205 lbs, bats right, throws left.  Szapucki was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in West Palm Beach, Fl.

Mets Prospect Hub recently counted down the Mets top 34 prospects and listed Szapucki as the number 2 prospect in the system behind only Amed Rosario and had this to say about the lefty:

“Szapucki, who came advertised with the highest breaking ball spin rate in the 2015 draft, paired with a (at the time) low to mid 90s fastball, absolutely blew through two levels of competition in 2016, overwhelming his opponents to the tune of a 14.89 K/9, and a roughly 1.40 era backed by a 2.25 FIP. Walks were a slight concern in Brooklyn, but nothing major to be worried about given his age. There’s a strong possibility Szapucki starts 2017 in Columbia, but I’ll say that the Mets will challenge him with a St. Lucie assignment, where he may spend the whole year.”

For the rest of the top 34 Mets prospects click here: http://www.metsprospecthub.com/

 

Desmond Lindsay, courtesy of: metsmlb.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/desmond-lindsay.jpg

CF) Desmond Lindsay- Age on opening day 20, listed 6′ 200 lbs, bats and throws right.  Lindsay was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Sarasota, Fl.

Rich Wilson at Prospect 361 wrote this of Desmond Lindsay in a recent listing of his Mets top 10 prospects list:

“Scouting Report: Outside of Amed Rosario, Desmond Lindsay has the most intriguing skills in the Mets minor league system.  He has great bat speed with enough size to eventually hit for above-average if not more power.  He’s a plus runner that should be able to steal 20 bases while showing a very good understanding of the strike zone.  Despite not demonstrating good contactability, I think he’ll hit.  If you add it all up, Lindsay has the ceiling of a 20 HR/20 SB with the ability to get on base.  The 20 home runs could be a little optimistic, but the offensive upside is indeed impressive.”

For more of Rich Wilson’s top 10 Mets prospects click here New York Mets, it’s a good read.

 

Justin Dunn, courtesy of: metsmerizedonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/justin-dunn-2-e1468423835690.png?x22250

RHP) Justin Dunn- Age 21, listed 6’2″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Dunn was drafted 19th overall in the 2016 draft out of Boston College.  Michael Mayer thinks there’s a chance Dunn skips and heads for Port St. Lucie.

John Sickles did a pre draft write up on Justin Dunn and here’s a snippet from that:

“Dunn isn’t a huge guy but he is very athletic and generates 93-95 MPH heat with little effort. Despite his relative lack of experience and relief background he has a full arsenal, with a slider in the mid-to-upper-80s, a curve in the lower 80s, and a surprisingly good change-up. While his secondaries need additional polish, all three have the potential to be at least average major league pitches.”

For more on Justin Dunn click here http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/5/6/11569328/2016-mlb-draft-justin-dunn-rhp-boston-college

 

Peter Alonso, courtesy of: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/sites/default/files/styles/free_style/public/pages/peter-alonso.jpg?itok=x339L8zD&c=ae3de228553ad992605247adb4d67c50

1B) Peter Alonso- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right.  Alonso was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ or Florida.  Michael Mayer thinks Alonzo will skip Columbia.

I found a good write up on Alonzo by Ted Klein at Mets Templar Prospects:  Prospect Profile: 1B Peter Alonso

 

 

 

Luis Carpio, courtesy of http://metsmerizedonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/carpio-e1457361118719.png?x22250

SS,2B) Luis Carpio- Age 19, listed 6′ 165 lbs, bats and throws right.  Carpio was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.

Baseball Prospectus listed Carpio as the 3rd best prospect in the Mets system coming into 2016 after a breakout performance for Kingsport as one of the youngest players in the Appy league.  But a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in Spring Training cost him nearly all of 2016 and now there are questions if the throwing arm will be strong enough for SS post surgery.  If he does have to move to 2nd base it will add more pressure on the bat.

Jeffrey Paternostro put together this detailed scouting report for SB Nations Mets site Amazin’ Avenue back in July of 2015, one month into that Appy breakout. http://www.amazinavenue.com/2015/7/7/8860309/new-york-mets-2015-prospects-luis-carpio-scouting-report

 

 

Blake Tiberi, courtesy of: http://www.nkytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Tiberi-1.jpg

3B) Blake Tiberi- Age on opening day 22, listed 5’11” 205 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Tiberi was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Louisville. Tiberi was thought to have one of the best hit tools in the 2016 draft.

For a much more detailed scouting report click here:  Mets Select 3B Blake Tiberi in the Third Round

 

Around the diamond

C) Ali Sanchez- Age on opening day 20, listed 6’1″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Sanchez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.

mlb.com wrote this about Sanchez on there Mets top 30 prospects released in Summer of 2016.

“Sanchez made his United States debut in 2015 and performed well, particularly behind the plate. No one runs on him, with a strong arm and a quick release leading to him throwing out 48 percent of would-be basestealers in the Gulf Coast League. Sanchez is athletic and agile behind the plate, with soft hands and good blocking skills, showing an ability to work with pitchers that often doesn’t come until later in development. He has tools to hit, with a solid approach and an understanding of what he still needs to work on. Sanchez’s swing is contact-oriented now, but there should be power to come as he adds strength.”

For more of mlb.com’s Mets top 30 click here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016/?list=nym

Other candidates at catcher: Tyler Moore could be back for a 3rd yr, Jose Garcia, Brandon Brosher, Dan Rizzie, Anthony Dimino (C, 1B), Scott Manea, Dionis Rodriguez, Jose Maria (1B, C)

Middle Infield

SS) Milton Ramos- Could be back, Age 21, listed 5’11” 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Ramos was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft out of High School in Plantation, Fl (Fort Lauderdale Metro).  I got a couple of looks at Ramos in 2016, I liked his actions at SS he showed very good hands and an excellent 1st step. At the dish his swing has some length to it.  It’s an inside out swing and he’s struggling to make consistent contact.  A work in progress offensively but the glove gives him a high floor.

Michael Mayer thinks Milton Ramos will head to Port St. Lucie and Woodmansee will be the starting SS for the Fireflies.

2B/SS) Luis Carpio

2B/SS) Michael Paez- Age 22, listed 5’8″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Paez was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of Coastal Carolina Univ. Despite being small in stature Paez has hit, and hit with power in college, it’ll be interesting to see if that carries over to the wooden bats.  A college SS, Paez primarily played 2B in Brooklyn.

 

SS) Colby Woodmansee- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Woodmansee was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of Arizona State Univ.

Steve Sypa has a detailed scouting report up at Amazin’ Avenue here’s some snippet’s:

“Woodmansee possesses good bat speed and his bat path generally allows him to square up well on pitches, allowing him to make hard contact with regularity. Thanks to his bat speed and size, he has a little more pop than you would expect from a shortstop.”

“The right-hander is slow, well below average—and that may be a generous evaluation. As a result, his range at Shortstop is below average and his future most likely does not lie at the position.”

For much more on Woodmansee click here: http://www.amazinavenue.com/2016/6/22/11962868/2016-mets-draft-profile-ss-colby-woodmansee

Other candidates for the Middle Infield spots: Walter Rasquin (2B, 3B) Dale Burdick (2B, 3B, SS) Yeffry De Aza (SS, 3B), Nick Sergakis (2B, 3B), Oliver Pasquel (SS, 2B), Angel Manzanarez (2B, SS, 3B), Cecilio Aybar (SS)

 

Corner Infield

1B) Peter Alonso

 

Other candidates for the Corner Infield spots: 1B) Dash Winningham could be back, Jeffrey Diehl too (1B, RF) Franklin Correa (3B, SS, 2B) Dionis Paulino (1B, LF, RF) Jeremy Wolf (1B, RF), Reed Gamache (3B, 2B)

3B) Blake Tiberi 

Outfield

CF) Desmond Lindsay 

CF) Ricardo Cespedes- Age 19, listed 6’1″ 200, bats and throws left.  Cespedes was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He had strong offensive season for Kingsport in 2016 hitting .322/.356/.379.  Not sure if he’s a candidate to skip Brooklyn but if he does he’ll likely have to slide to a corner because Lindsay is likely the starting CF.

For more on Cespedes click here: http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-outfield-prospects.html/

 

RF) Jose Medina- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Medina was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He also had a strong offensive season in Kingsport. .286/.358/.394. I’m not finding a lot on him at this time.

 

Other OF Candidates: Enmanuel Zababa (CF) could also be back, Arnaldo Berrios (RF), Jacob Zanon (CF, RF), Jay Jabs (LF, 3B, 2B), Gene Cone (RF, LF, CF), Hegelbert Rojas (LF, RF) Raphael Ramirez  (LF, CF), Ian Strom (LF, CF, RF)

 

Starting Pitching

LHP) Thomas Szapucki

RHP) Justin Dunn 

RHP) Merandy Gonzalez- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gonzalez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

 

Chase Ingram could be back

And newcomers Gabriel Llanes, Harol Gonzalez, Jordan Humphreys, Jake Simon, Adonis Uceta and Sixto Torres  could be candidates for the Fireflies rotation.

The Mets have a lot of talent in the low minors and seem to be over run with middle infielders  The pitching has a chance to be special if all 3 of Szapucki, Dunn and Gonzalez make the trip.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did, I’ll be back soon with a look at the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles).

Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

Standard

Blake Rutherford, courtesy of: gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e9a8b68d3d728470779e023e700bd342e92afe3f/c=102-0-1698-1200&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/2016/06/06/Cincinnati/Cincinnati/636008288556446253-rutherford2.jpeg

Hey guys, Happy New Year, 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 Charleston Riverdogs as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Riverdogs are the minor league affiliate of the NY Yankees.

Previously I covered the:

Asheville Tourists (Rockies)- Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)- Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series this is my 2nd year of doing these.  I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017.  And wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’ll be wrong a lot but I learn a ton from this exercise.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Charleston Riverdogs, Staten Island Yankees, Pulaski Yankees, and both of the GCL Squads.

The Yankees have a top 5 farm system and they have a lot of talent at the lower levels.  Charleston should be in the upper echelon talent wise in 2017 and we should be seeing more of the vaunted 2014 International signing class.  For more on that click  Breaking down the Yankees’ record international free agent haul

A big shoutout to Robert Pimpsner owner of Pinstriped Prospects (on Twitter @PinstripedPros). He helped me a great deal throughout this process.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting reports once I see the 2017 Riverdogs I’ll have reports on many of the players listed below.  It appears as though I’ll get two looks in the 1st half of 2017:  in late April when the Dogs visit Hickory and again in early June when they’re in Greenville taking on the Drive.  There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

Lets meet the Notables

Blake Rutherford courtesy of: milb.com/assets/images/7/1/2/192997712/cuts/Rutherford_az0h1mbx_ounm0nak.jpg

CF) Blake Rutherford- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 195 lbs, bats left, throws right. Rutherford was drafted 18th overall in the 2016 draft out of high school in West Hills CA (Los Angeles Metro).

mlb.com wrote this on there Yankees top 30 prospect list.

“Rutherford has everything he needs to hit for significant average and power.  He has a smooth left handed swing, bat speed and power, though he won’t fully tap into the raw pop until he adds some more loft to his stroke.”

“Presently a solid runner who broke into pro ball as a center fielder, Rutherford could lose a step as he matures physically and wind up on an outfield corner.”

For more on Rutherford and the rest of the top 30 Yankees prospects click here http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=nyy

 

 

Hoy Jun Park, courtesy of: farm6.static.flickr.com/5735/22005593376_0b7f06b51c.jpg

SS-2B) Hoy Yun Park- could be back- Age on opening day 21, listed 6’1″ 175 lbs, bats left throws right. Park was signed out of S Korea in 2014.  I got a couple of looks at Park last season (both at 2B unfortunately) and I liked him a lot.   He showed some good bat to ball skills and a patient approach along with plus speed and I liked his actions at 2B.  I have read positive things about his SS play as well.

 

 

Estevan Florial courtesy of: cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/43/files/2016/02/florial2-590×900.jpg

CF-RF) Estevan Florial- Age 19, listed 6’1″ 185 lbs, bats left throws right.  Florial of Haitian decent was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000 in 2015.

This is behind a pay wall but Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America wrote this back in September while listing his Appy league top 20. Just a quick snippet.

“Florial wowed evaluators with his raw tools this summer and earned a late-season promotion to low Class A Charleston.  Florial shows plus bat speed from a wide-shouldered, long-levered frame, giving him plus-plus raw power in batting practice. He has plus arm strength in the outfield, where his plus speed pairs well with his impressive routes.”

For more on Florial and the rest of the Appy top 20 click here it’s an excellent read: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2016-appalachian-league-top-20-prospects/#2SFT9bDUSQmHorSk.97.

Wow what a combination  of power and speed I can’t wait to see him. His game is still rather raw though and he may spend another year in short season before coming to Charleston.  We’ll see.

 

 

Leonardo Molina, courtesy of: c2.staticflickr.com/6/5590/14687821098_729e58c3fd_b.jpg

LF, RF, CF) Leonardo Molina- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Molina was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  He had a short stint with Charleston last season and I got a couple of looks.  He’s raw offensively but demonstrated quick wrist and above average raw power.  Looking forward to seeing more of him in 2017.

 

 

Dermis Garcia, courtesy of: pinstripedprospects.com/2014/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/DermisGarcia.jpg

3B) Dermis Garcia- Age on opening day 19, listed 6’3″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Garcia was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Big time raw power (.248 ISO) but holes in the swing (.206 BA, 40% K rate). Probably starts in Staten Island but could see Charleston in the 2nd half.

 

 

Wilkerman Garcia, courtesy of: bronxbaseballdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wilkerman-garcia.jpg

SS) Wilkerman Garcia- Age on opening day 19, listed 6′ 176 lbs, bats both and throws right. Garcia was signed out of Venezuela. Garcia had a tough year offensively in Pulaski and he’s likely going to get another year in rookie ball but he might make an appearance in the 2nd half we’ll see.

 

 

Nick Solak, courtesy of: cdn.riveraveblues.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Nick-Solak1.jpg?x77199

2B) Nick Solak- Robert Pimpsner thinks Solak may be a candidate to skip Charleston and head for Tampa.  Age on opening day 22, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Solak was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Louisville.  Not super toolsy Solak reportedly handles the bat well but there are questions about the power.

I found a much more detailed scouting report on Solak here if you’re interested, courtesy of prospect junkies:   2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Nick Solak

 

Around the Diamond

C) Donny Sands- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Sands was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft as a 3rd baseman out of high school in Tucson, AZ.  He converted to catcher after the 2015 season.

From mlb.com Yankees top 30 prospect list

“Sands has precocious feel for controlling the barrel. He made consistent line-drive contact while walking more than he struck out in his first taste of pro ball. He exhibits mostly gap power for now, but he has the bat speed, strength and hitting ability to eventually produce 15 or more homers per season.”

“He not only has impressed New York with his tools and aptitude, but also with his competitiveness and work ethic.”

Others who could see time at Catcher:

Eduardo Navas could be back, Jerry Seitz, (7th rd pick) Keith Skinner, Brian Reyes, Victor Rey and Manny Argomaniz who saw time at C, 1B, 3B and OF.

Middle Infield

2B) Nick Solak

SS) Hoy Yun Park

SS) Wilkerman Garcia

SS) Diego Castillo- Age 19, listed 6′ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Castillo was signed out of Venezuela in 2014.  He’s getting some rave reviews for his offense and defense but he hasn’t played above the GCL yet and seems like a long shot to come to Charleston this year.

Others who could see time in the middle infield: Former 2nd rounder Gosuke Katoh could be back he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS. Welfrin Mateo (2B, 3B, SS) Chris Godinez, Yonauris Rodriguez, Danienger Perez and Josh Gardiner (2B, SS)

Corner Infield

1B) Dalton Blaser- Age on opening day 23, listed 6’1″ 200 lbs, bats and throws left.  Blaser was drafted in the 8th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State Fullerton.  He saw time at both 1st and corner outfield in 2016

3B) Dermis Garcia

SS, 3B) Angel Aguilar- Age 21, listed 6′ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Aguilar was signed out of Venezuela in 2011.  He’s a candidate for either the starting 3B job or the starting SS job but he could also go to Tampa. I saw him a couple of times last season and I liked him.  He showed good hands and feet at 3rd, at the plate he’s got some pop but needs to tone down the aggressiveness.

Others who could see time at the infield corners: 17th rd pick Mandy Alvarez (3B) could be back, Drew Bridges (3B,1B), Kane Sweeney (1B), Tim Linch (1B) Brandon Wagner (1B, 2B, 3B))

Outfield

CF) Blake Rutherford

RF) Estevan Florial 

LF) Leonardo Molina

LF-CF-RF) Carlos Vidal Could be in the mix too- Age on opening day 21, listed 5’11” 160 lbs, bats and throws left. Vidal was signed out of Columbia in 2013. I was looking forward to seeing him in the Sally last season but injuries limited him to just 19 games across 3 levels.

Pinstriped Prospects wrote this back in Jan:

“Carlos has been playing mostly centerfield but in the long-term profiles more as a left-fielder.    He has good speed and has the tools to be an above-average defender in the outfield, the question would be his bat and if it continues to stay hot as he is challenged at the higher levels of the farm system.”

Assuming Rutherford is the starting CF in Charleston it will be interesting to see if the Yanks still want to play Vidal in CF if that’s the case he might not be coming here this yr.  He could skip though Staten Island probably makes more sense after his lost year.

CF) Dominic Thompson-Williams– Age 21, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Thompson-Williams was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of South Carolina.

Others who could see time in the OF: Alexander Palma (RF,LF) might be back for a little more seasoning Jhalen Jackson also. Ricardo Ferreira (CF,LF,RF), Kendall Coleman (LF), Cesar Diaz (CF), Nathan Mikolas (LF), Ben Ruta (RF), Andy Diaz (RF), Isiah Gilliam (RF, LF), Erick Mendez (LF) and Ricardo Ferreira (CF,RF,LF)

Starting Pitching

Freicer Perez- Age on opening day 21, listed 6’8″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Perez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Robert Pimpsner mentioned Perez as somebody he’s high on so I’m already intrigued.

Austin DeCarr- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’3″ 218 lbs, bats and throws right.  DeCarr was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft out of Prep school in Salisbury Ct.  My friend Gershon Rabinowitz also of Pinstriped Prospects interviewed DeCarr recently Austin DeCarr Prepares for 2017 Following Tommy John Rehab.  Sounds like an interesting young arm, I’m looking forward to seeing him.

Drew Finley- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Finley was in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in San Diego, Ca.  I was hoping to see Finley last year in the Sally but the Yanks shipped him to the NY/Penn league instead.

For a scouting report I was looking for something current (end of 2016 season) with no luck.  Here’s a piece from Robert Pimpsner from January Yankees Top Prospect #18 – Drew Finley

Hard to know who amongst this group will be promoted to Tampa and who will be back: Luis Cedeno, Adonis Rosa, Simon De La Rosa and Nick Green.

We may also get newcomers:

Chad Martin, Juan Jimenez, Abel Duarte, Rafael Lara, Raynel Espinal and 2016 4th round pick Nick Nelson but many of these guys will make up the starting staff for Staten Island.

 

Charleston will have a lot of talent up and down the roster.  If Blake Rutherford and Estevan Florial makes the jump this year, the OF will be loaded.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the trio of pitchers Perez, DeCarr and Finley all seem to have promise.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did.  I’ll be back soon with a look at the 2017 Columbia Fireflies (Mets). Cheers.

Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

Standard

Melvin Adon courtesy of niallonbaseball.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/adon_pitches.jpg

Hey guys welcome to the next installment of the SAL team preview series.  I’m excited to get these rolling again.

Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Greenjackets are the minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Previously I wrote up the Asheville Tourists

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the rookie levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017.   And wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’m going to be wrong a lot but it’s a fun exercise and I learn a ton from it. The official rosters won’t be available until April.  As always once I see these players live you can expect write ups on many/most of them.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting reports.  A quick look at the 2017 Greenjackets schedule shows they’re are only coming to my area (Asheville, Greenville, Hickory) once in the 1st two months of the 2017 season (May 5-8 at Greenville).  I’ve set a personal goal to see all 14 teams in the Sally twice in the 1st half (April 6th through June 18th).  So I’m planning to take a run down to Columbia on opening weekend to get that 2nd look at both Columbia and Augusta. There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

In putting this preview together I studied the 2016 rosters of the the Augusta Greenjackets, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the AZL Giants.

Each team has there own nuances when it comes to player development in the low minors.  The Giants recent college draftees often skip Augusta or just get a quick cup of coffee on there way to San Jose.  Particularly the higher drafted position players and I think that will be the case for the 2016 Salem-Keizer starting OF: 2nd rd pick, Bryan Reynolds, 3rd rd pick, Heath Quinn and  6th rd pick, Gio Brusa.  I think they all start 2017 in the California league and they could be joined by 5th rd pick, SS Ryan Howard.

There still projects to be a lot of interesting pieces in Augusta in 2017 lets have a look at the notables.

The Notables:

Sandro Fabian courtesy of //i.ytimg.com/vi/cMjdO81bDfk/maxresdefault.jpg

RF) Sandro Fabian- Age on opening day 19, listed 6’1″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Fabian was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.  Fabian had an excellent season in his 1st look at Stateside rookie ball.  For a scouting report here’s what Wrenzie over at Giants Perspective wrote about him:

“Fabian has five-tools with average or better potential in the works with his promising OF D and potential solid bat but he’s still very far from his ceiling. The signs of improvement though are evident and his first showing in America is a success.”

I enjoy reading Wrenzie’s work, for much more on Fabian and many other scouting reports click here http://giantprospective.blogspot.com/2016/09/sr-2016-azl-giants.html#more

 

 

Matt Krook courtesy of dailyemerald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16.03.19.emg_.KD_.UOBB_.vsUtah-2.jpg

LHP) Matt Krook- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws left. Krook was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 out of the Univ of Oregon.   This is plucked from the mlb.com top 30 Giants prospect list http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=sf

“The 35th overall pick in 2013. Krook agreed to a $1,587,700 bonus before a post draft physical raised concerns about the elbow.  Miami withdrew the offer and Krook went to the U of Oregon and dominated as a freshman before succumbing to Tommy John surgery.  He was unhittable in his return in Spring 2016 but severe control problems dropped him to the Giants in the 4th round.”

“Krook’s fastball works 92-94  with outstanding life, he also has a devastating power curveball that can be a double-plus offering at it’s best.  He also flashes solid sliders and changeups.  In terms of stuff he has everything you need to become a frontline starter.”

“Pitchers often need time to regain there control/command after reconstructive elbow surgery and that has been the case with Krook. He has had to dial back on the velocity in order to find the strike zone and he has had trouble maintaining his high 3/4 release point. He does have an easy delivery and SF excels at polishing pitchers so there’s hope for him.”

I have no insider information but I suspect Krook will start in Augusta.  He continued to struggle post draft with the command/control issuing nearly 1 walk per inning. Probably not a candidate to skip a level to get to the extreme hitters parks in the California league.   I’m looking forward to seeing him.

 

Jalen MIller courtesy of i.ytimg.com/vi/cO7irROIONQ/maxresdefault.jpg

2B Jalen Miller- Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Miller was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Sandy Springs Ga (Atlanta Metro).  Miller played all of 2016 in Augusta and struggled offensively like many prep bats do.  I got multiple looks and I liked Miller, he’s a little raw offensively particularly with pitch recognition but he’s got quick wrists that generate above average bat speed and the ball jumps off of his bat.  He’s an above average runner and shows good hands and feet at 2nd Base.  I think he comes back at least for the 1st half of 2017.

 

Kelvin Beltre, courtesy of //cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000vyLKHygZhNw/s/860/860/MiLB-070615-021-LG.jpg

3B Kelvin Beltre- Age 20, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Beltre was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  He spent all of 2016 with Augusta and missed significant time do to injury (he broke his arm the day before I got my 1st look at the Greenjackets).  He’s had difficulty staying on the field thus far in his career and he’s missed some vital development time but at 20 he’s still at an age appropriate level so if he can stay healthy and get 500 at bats in 2017 he may put himself on the map in prospect circles.  Everything I’ve ever read about Beltre suggests he’s raw but toolsy, hopefully he can start putting things together in 2017.

 

Melvin Adon courtesy of https://niallonbaseball.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/adon_step_back.jpg

RHP) Melvin Adon- Age 22, listed 6’3″, 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Adon was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.  Adon has an electric arm and he frequently gets clocked in the triple digits.  He was not a name I was familiar with until I started researching for this piece.  Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs recently wrote this about Adon:

“Adon was touching 100 during extended spring training, but struggled to find the strike zone. He was so undercooked for a 22-year-old that scouts anticipated an assignment to the AZL despite his age. He was sent to the Northwest League and struggled there. When he came back for instructional league, Adon’s body looked better than it had during the spring and he flashed better strike-throwing ability before things fell apart in an instructional-league finale that included four walks and a hit batter in two innings. Things unravel for Adon when his arm action gets long and his slot drops down to a near sidearm level. When he’s driving the ball down a bit more his fastball sits 95-98 with late arm-side action and is nearly unhittable when he locates. His slider and changeup are both below average and I think the changeup has more potential as Adon doesn’t really show the natural ability to get around the baseball and spin his slider. He projects as a reliever for me. He’ll be 23 in June, hasn’t even pitched above the Northwest League, and hasn’t had on-paper success anywhere. He’s worth following because the arm strength is so incredible and because he showed signs of strike-throwing life during instructional league.”

For the rest of Longenhagen’s piece ranking the top Giants prospects click here.Prospect Reports: San Francisco Giants

 

Around the Diamond

C-  There’s no obvious choice here but any of:  Adam Sonabend, Zack Bowers or Matt Winn could be back in Augusta and newcomers: Dylan Manwaring, John Riley, Connor Sabanosh, Ryan Matrange could make an appearance.  There’s also Cody Brickhouse and Jeffrey Parra but they’re still teenagers and probably staying in rookie ball.   We’ll see if anybody emerges from this group.

Middle Infield

2B- Jalen Miller

2B- Kevin Rivera- age 20, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats both, throws right.  Rivera was drafted in the 14th rd of of the 2014 draft out of HS at the Carlos Beltran Baseball academy PR/FL.  Rivera had a very good year as the starting 2nd baseman in Salem-Keizer in 2016.

SS- Hector Santiago- age 19, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Santiago was drafted in the 12th round of the 2015 by the Giants out of high school in Salinas, Puerto Rico.  I haven’t found much out there at this point.  I love the size for a SS prospect assuming he has enough agility to handle the position.  He hasn’t hit as a pro yet but he’ll spend all of the 2017 season as a 19 year old. Time is certainly on his side.

There’s not a lot of SS depth in the low minors so if the Giants decide to give Santiago another year in short season than one of MIller or Rivera will likely see some significant time at short in 2017 (Miller was a high school shortstop).

Other candidates in the middle infield:  Manuel Geraldo could be back, he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS in 2016. Tyler Brown missed a large chunk of the season but when healthy he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS.  Richard Amlon played both 2B and SS.  Brandon Van Horn is another player who might see playing time at SS in 2017.

Corner Infield

1B- Ryan Kirby- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats left throws right.  Kirby was draft in the 12th rd of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of San Diego.  There’s not a lot out there on Kirby right now.

3B- Kelvin Beltre-

Manuel Geraldo may also be a factor at 3rd

Other candidates for the Corner Infield Positions: John Riley, Catcher may also see time at 1st base,  Nick Hill saw time at both 3B and all three OF spots. Robinson Medrano was the primary 1st baseman in the Az league and Nathanael Javier played 3rd.

Outfield

LF- Gustavo Cabrera-  Age on opening day 21, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Cabrera was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.  His career was in jeopardy the next year when a freak accident nearly cost him his hand.  He saw his 1st significant action in 3 years in 2016, I missed Cabrera’s brief run in the Sally last season but he’s a player that I’ve been waiting to see for a long time.

LF- Jacob Heyward- Age 21, listed 6’3″ 210 lbs, bats and throws right.  Heyward was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Miami.

CF-  Johneshwy Fargas- I think there’s a good chance he comes back for a 3rd season.  Bryan Reynolds will likely be the starting CF in San Jose.  And there doesn’t appear to be another logical fit unless they deem Mikey Edie as ready to make the jump.

RF- Sandro Fabian- 

It’ll be interesting to see if both Cabrera and Heyward make the trip and how the playing time is divvied up.

Other OF candidates- Ashford Fullmer could be back, he played all 3 OF spots in 2016, Juan Rodriguez, Woody (Roger) Edwards, Julio Pena, Malique Ziegler, Jose Layer, Luis Lacen, Byron Murray

Starting Pitching

LHP Matt Krook-

RHP Melvin Adon-

LHP- Mac Marshall-  Age on opening day 21, listed 6′ 181 lbs, bats right and throws left. Marshall was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 draft out of Chipola Junior College.  He got a cup of coffee late with Augusta and struggled to find the strike zone. That’s been a persistent issue so far in his career

 

These guys made up the bulk of the starting rotations for the 2 rookie ball levels it’ll be interesting to see who gets the the last 2 spots: Matt Solter, Victor Concepcion, Raffi Vizcaino, Garrett Williams, Caleb Baragar, Alex Bostic, DJ Myers, Stephen Woods.

I thought the 2016 Augusta Greenjackets were in the upper echelon talent wise.  This team probably falls more mid pack but there are quite a few players I’m looking forward to seeing. As always once I see this team there will be write ups on many of the players. I hope you got as much out of this as I did.  Cheers

I’ll be back soon with a look at the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees).

 

Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

Standard
Riley Pint, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Riley-Pint-2015-bm.gif

Riley Pint, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Riley-Pint-2015-bm.gif

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series at Notes from the Sally.  I’m excited to get it rolling as there looks to be a lot of talent on the horizon.

In this series I scour the rookie levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’m going to be wrong a lot but it’s a fun exercise and I learn a ton from it. The official rosters won’t be available until April.  As always once I see these players live you can expect write ups on many/most of them.

1st up will be the Asheville Tourists as I work alphabetically around the league.  The Tourists are the minor league Colorado Rockies and they typically are one of the more talented teams in the league.  It’s also my home park, I live about a mile away and frequently walk to McCormick field.

The notables:

Riley Pint, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/04/14/images/mlbf_532377583_th_45.jpg

Riley Pint, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/04/14/images/mlbf_532377583_th_45.jpg

RHP) Riley Pint– Age 19, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Pint was drafted 4th overall in the 2016 draft by the Rockies out of high school in Overland Park Ks (Kansas City Metro). According to mlb.com’s top 30 Rockies list:

“Pint had the highest ceiling in the 2016 draft so the Rockies were delighted to get him at 4.  He consistently works 93-97 and tops out at 102.  His power curve is already a plus pitch and he can manipulate it into a harder slider where desired.  The change up also plays as plus with good fade.  He comes with some risk though, there’s effort in the delivery and he struggles to repeat his mechanics and arm slot.”

 

Tyler Nevin, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/4/6/135545546/cuts/tyler_nevin_960_hi9j31kc_5op3bdsm.jpg

Tyler Nevin, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/4/6/135545546/cuts/tyler_nevin_960_hi9j31kc_5op3bdsm.jpg

3B Tyler Nevin-  Age 19, listed 6’4″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Nevin was drafted 38th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Poway, Ca (San Diego Metro). I was looking forward to seeing Nevin last season but a hamstring injury cost him nearly all of 2015. According to mlb.com

“Nevin  sprays line drives from gap to gap and has a good approach at the plate.  Some scouts are questioning if he’s a 3rd baseman long term”.

 

Colton Welker, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CoGVr6wWIAAaxqj.jpg:medium

Colton Welker, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CoGVr6wWIAAaxqj.jpg:medium

3B) Colton Welker- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Welker was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Parkland, Fl (Fort Lauderdale area).   According to mlb.com:

“An advanced hitter for a teenager, Welker has the potential to hit for power and average.  Though Welker has below average speed he has good instincts on the bases and in the field.  He took to the hot corner immediately and has the arm strength and accuracy to make all the plays.”

I asked a few knowledgeable folks who write about the Rockies and and they all think that both Nevin and Welker will be in Asheville in 2017. But if Nevin hits he could move up to Lancaster pretty quickly. Which echoes what I was thinking.  It’ll be interesting to see how they divvy up the playing time among the two.  They could rotate between 3B and DH and one or both could get reps at 1B too.

 

Pedro Gonzalez, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Pedro-Gonzalez-Batting-2014-bm.jpg

Pedro Gonzalez, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Pedro-Gonzalez-Batting-2014-bm.jpg

CF) Pedro Gonzalez- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gonzalez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. According to mlb.com:  “Gonzalez’s combination of tools and projectable frame made him one of the more intriguing prospects on the 2014 International market. He has tremendous power potential but his naturally long swing does lead a lot of swing and miss.  The converted shortstop, he probably ends up in right long term where his strong arm will be an asset.”

Gonzalez is high on the list of players I’m looking forward to seeing in 2017.

 

Manuel Melendez, courtesy of milb.com/images/650513/t4364/180x270/650513.jpg

Manuel Melendez, courtesy of milb.com/images/650513/t4364/180×270/650513.jpg

CF-RF-LF) Manuel Melendez– Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 165 lbs, bats and throws left.  Melendez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.  “Ryan Shoppe” of SB Nations Purple Row wrote this in June while previewing the Grand Junction Rockies 2016 season.

“If it wasn’t for Pedro Gonzalez, Melendez would probably be the best player coming stateside this year and he may still prove to be that. Currently lacking the power that Gonzalez possesses, Melendez has the better eye and more consistent approach.  He also has plus speed.  If Melendez unlocks some power as he matures he may turn into an elite 5 tool prospect.”

Here’s a link to the Shoppe piece: http://www.purplerow.com/2016/6/22/11966054/colorado-rockies-prospects-introducing-the-grand-junction-rockies

 

Around the Diamond

C) Brian Serven–  Age 21, listed 6′ 215lbs,  bats and throws right. Serven was drafted in the 5th rd of the 2016 draft out of Arizona St. He has a reputation as a good defensive catcher.  We’ll see how the hit plays.

Others in the mix at Catcher:

(Joel Diaz (C, 1B), Wilkyns Jimenez, Steve Leonard, Campbell Wear, Will Haynie)

Corner Infield

1B) Jacob Bosiokovic- Age on opening day will be 23, listed 6’5″ 240 lbs, bats and throws right.  Bosiokovic was drafted in the 19th round out of Ohio St.  I wasn’t able to find much about him but: He showed some decent pop post draft and also stole 17 bases.

3B) Tyler Nevin, Colton Welker

Others in the mix for corner infield:

(Luis Castro (1B), Hunter Melton (1B), Wesley Jones (3B, 2B) Taylor Snyder (played all over the infield) Tyler Follis (3B, LF)

 

Middle Infield

2B) Jonathan Piron- Age on opening day 22. Listed 6′ 195 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Piron was acquired out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He started 2016 in Asheville before moving down to short season.  I got a couple of looks, he showed good feet and a strong arm at both 2B and 3B. At the dish he’s got an aggressive approach and a long swing.  He’s got some decent pop but some contact issues as well.

SS) Garrett Hampson- Age 22, Drafted in the 3rd round out of Cal St Long Beach.  According to mlb.com’s top 30 Rockies prospects: “Hampson has plus speed and gap power to go with smooth infield actions and an average arm for SS.”

Jose Gomez is also in the mix for a starting job in the middle infield or utility spot.  Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gomez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013. According to Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs:

“Gomez is an average runner with an average arm and could be a 45 or 50 at shortstop at maturity.  He has mature bat to ball skills and hit well for his age in the Pioneer league this year but lacks power projection because the body is already pretty maxed out.  He’s got a long-term utility profile.”

Here’s a link to the rest of Eric Longenhagen’s piece on Rockies prospects: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-24-prospects-colorado-rockies/

One of Gomez and Piron will be the starting 2nd baseman with the other coming off of the bench IMO

Others in the mix in the middle infield:

(Max George or Scotty Burcham (could return to Asheville) Anthony Brito, Jose Rodriguez and Tyler Orris)

 

Outfield:

CF) Pedro Gonzalez

LF) Manuel Melendez

RF) Willy Abreu- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs.  Bats and throws left.  Abreu was drafted by the Rockies in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Miami.  He’s a strong young man but there are holes in the swing.

Other candidates for the outfield:

(Terry McClure (LF,CF)(could be back) Vince Fernandez (RF, LF, CF), Cole Anderson (LF), Luis Brito (RF, LF) Tyler Bugner (LF) Steven Linkous (LF,CF) Daniel Suero (CF))

One of this group will likely see fairly significant time as the 4th outfielder.

Starting Pitching

RHP- Riley Pint

RHP- Robert Tyler- Age 21, listed 6’4″ 226 lbs, bats and throws right.  Tyler was drafted 38th overall in the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Georgia. According to mlb.com

“Tyler was one of the hardest throwers in the 2016 draft.  He has no trouble sitting in the mid 90’s and hitting triple digits with the fastball. In addition to the velocity, his heater is nasty because it runs and sinks and he delivers it on a steep downhill plane.  He also can flash a plus change up but he hasn’t shown much feel for spinning the ball, and now uses a knuckle-curve as his breaking pitch.”

“Tyler has difficulty repeating his mechanics and battles his command and control on a regular basis.  Many scouts believe he’s destined for the bullpen.”

RHP- Mike Nikorak- Age 20, listed 6’5″ 205 lbs, bats and throws right.  Nikorak was drafted 27th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Stroudsburg, PA.  I was expecting him in Asheville last season but so far he’s struggled in 2 season of rookie ball. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs shared his thoughts on Nikorak recently:

“Nikorak was once a potential top 10 pick, as his velocity and curveball both looked incredible during his showcase Summer.  By the next Spring his stuff had ticked down and he was out pitched by other prep arms in Eastern Pa down the stretch.  Nikorak has struggled to throw strikes as a pro. He was 88-91 during the instructional league in 2015 and 87-92 the Spring.  Colorado has been working to improve his arm action.”

Here’s a link to the full Longenhagen piece, It’s well worth the read: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-24-prospects-colorado-rockies/

RHP- Javier Medina- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Medina was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Tucson, Az.  I haven’t found much written about him lately but he had a reputation of command over stuff at draft time.

Each of these guys also saw a significant number of starts in rookie ball and could play a significant roll in Asheville in 2017.

(Breiling Eusebio, Erick Julio, Antonio Santos, Michael Zimmerman, Rico Garcia, Alejandro Requena, Bryan Baker, Ty Culbreth, Yohander Quintana, Luis Guzman).

While I’m just getting started with the previews I think when it’s all said and done Asheville will be among the more talented teams in 2017 with Riley Pint and Pedro Gonzalez 2 of the more compelling prospects in the league.  I hope you got as much at of this as I did. The Augusta Greenjackets team preview should be up in the middle of next week. Cheers.