15 toolsy outfielders

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courtesy of washingtonpost.com

Less than 2 weeks until opening day in the Sally I hope you guys are as excited as I am.

In the next series of articles I’m going to whip around the diamond highlighting some of the players with the loudest tools who could be coming to the Sal in 2016 (official rosters won’t be available for another week or so, so this is me speculating).  Most of the players on this list are very athletic and have very high ceilings.

Beginning with the outfield here’s 15 names I’ll be keeping an eye on. The top 10 are a near shoe in, they’re coming to the Sally.  The last 5 names are probably heading for short season and might get to the SAL in the 2nd half.

Notes from the Sally is a scouting site and once I see these players you can expect write ups on all of them.

 

Victor Robles

courtesy of mlb.com

Victor Robles, age 18, Hagerstown (Nationals) – Robles has been flying up prospect lists all Winter.  An exciting young player, a very good hitter with blazing speed and potential for average power.  He could be a roto monster.

 

Cornelius Randolph

courtesy of baseballross.wordpress.com

Cornelius Randolph, age 18, Lakewood (Phillies) – Considered one of the top prep bats in the country when he was selected 10th overall in the 2015 draft. mlb.com ranks his future hit and future power at 55 I have also seen potential 60 on both.

 

Desmond Lindsay

courtesy of justmets.mlbblogs.com

Desmond Lindsay, age 19, Columbia (Mets) Lindsay was the 2nd rd pick for the Mets.  He’s an athletic young man with good bat to ball skills and average or better pop.

 

Ronald Acuna

courtesy of flickr.com

Ronald Acuna, age 18, Rome (Braves) – The Braves challenged Acuna sending him directly to the states to start his career and he performed very well as a 17 year old in the GCL actually earning a promotion to Danville.  One of the more exciting youngsters in the 2016 SAL.  He can run, hit, has developing power and projects to stay in center field.  I’m looking forward to seeing him.

 

Eric Jenkins

courtesy of minorleagueball.com

Eric Jenkins, Hickory (Rangers) – Age 19, listed 6’1″ 170 lbs, bats left and throws right Drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft.  He comes heralded as an athletic center fielder with excellent speed and glove.  At the plate he has excellent bat speed but there are questions about how much power he will generate.

 

Micker Adolfo

courtesy of whitesox.tumblr.com

Micker Aldofo, Kannapolis (White Sox) – Age 19, listed 6’3″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right.  Adolfo was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic. Receiving $1.6 million in 2013.  By all accounts he’s a strong young man, with big time raw power and arm strength so right field seems like a natural fit.  I’m interested to see how well he hits.

 

Ryan McKenna

courtesy of sosmed.org

Ryan McKenna, Delmarva (Orioles) – The O’s 4th rd selection out of high school in Dover, NH listed 5’9″ 175 lbs, McKenna is an athletic center fielder and a plus runner and shows good bat speed.  He only got into 10 games after the draft as he missed time with a pulled hammy but he was back in time for instructs.

 

Luis Alexander Basabe

Courtesy of picssr.com

Luis Alexander Basabe, Greenville (Red Sox) – age 19, listed 6′ 160 lbs,  Basabe  is deceptively strong and has excellent speed there is a lot of swing and miss in his game right now however.

 

Jose Pujols

courtesy of baseballross.wordpress.com

Jose Pujols, Lakewood (Phillies) – Age 20, listed 6’3″ 175 lbs, Pujols has big time raw power and a cannon in right field, but remains on the raw side both offensively and defensively.   Lets see if he can begin to turn the loud tools into performance.

 

Stone Garrett

courtesy of todaysknuckleball.com

Stone Garrett, Greensboro (Marlins) – age 20, Garrett put up an impressive .284 ISO in the NYPenn league. A strong young man he also has above average speed.

 

Ivan Wilson

courtesy of bleacherreport.com

Ivan Wilson, Columbia (Mets) – age 20, listed 6’3″ 220 lbs, Potential 5 tool stud.  Wilson is extremely raw and has spent the last 3 years in rookie ball. He’s still young and if he ever figures it out, look out, the Mets could be looking at a player with plus power, plus speed and plus defense in center.

 

Isranel Wilson

Courtesy of flickr.com

Isranel Wilson, Rome (Braves) – Wilson put up a .257 ISO in the CGL as a 17 year old. That will get you noticed, he’s listed 6’3 185 lbs, he bats left and throws right and obviously a strong young man he did strikeout 34% of the time.

 

Blake Perkins

courtesy of studentsports.com

Blake Perkins, Hagerstown (Nationals) – age 19, listed 6’1″ 165 lbs, bats both and throws right.  Perkins was the Nats 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft out of high school in Buckeye AZ (Phoenix area).  An athletic center fielder with good speed who’s a little raw at the dish.  After ditching the switch hitting in high school and just batting from his natural side (right) he has returned to switch hitting as a pro.

 

Telmito Agustin

courtesy of iconsportswire.com

Telmito Agustin, Hagerstown (Nationals) – He’s 19 listed 5’10 160 lbs, he bats and throws left.  He has put up impressive numbers with the bat and he has great speed.  It will be interesting to see how much power develops.

 

Isaiah White

courtesy of milb.com

Isaiah White, Greensboro (Marlins) – age 19, drafted in the 3rd round in the 2015 draft.  White is extremely fast, uber aggressive at the plate and decent pop.  We’ll have to see how the hit tool develops.

 

Others that I strongly considered for this list:

DJ Stewart, Casey Hughston, Amalani Fukofuka, Jason Heinrich, Carlos Vidal, Ronny JeBavy, Jeff Hendrix, Jhalen Jackson, Rhett Wiseman, Trey Amburgey, Ledarious Clark, Leudy’s Baez, Roman Collins, Byron Murray and Steven Duggar.

 

Previewing the 2016 West Virginia Power

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1st round pick, Ke’Bryan Hayes courtesy of bucsdugout.com

Rounding out my 2016 SAL team preview series here’s my look at the West Virginia Power.

The Power are a Pittsburgh Pirates franchise and when putting this preview together I scoured the WV Black Bears, Bristol Pirates and GCL Pirates rosters.  I then reached out to the guys at Pirates Breakdown to learn the teams tendencies in regards to promotions and league assignments in the low minors.  Minor League Coordinator Justin Frazee (on Twitter @justpa) fielded my questions.

Question #1   Do high school draftees and international signees ever skip multiple levels of stateside rookie ball or do they hit 2 or all 3 of GCL, Bristol and WV Bears? Or to put it simply do they ever go from the GCL to the West Virginia Power?

Justin – “The GCL and Bristol are both very similar, from what I have seen you typically play one or the other if high school draftee just due to sheer age and inexperience. WV Black Bears would be the landing spot for college draftees and guys who were in the GCL or Bristol the previous year. If a guy impresses the organization while in the lower two, they can get bumped up like Ke’Bryan Hayes did last year to WVBB.  He will be with the WV Power to start the year this season, and is a headline-stealing prospect within the organization.  Otherwise, it’s rare to see a guy make the jump to WV Power direct from GCL.”

Question #2   Do college draftees or other prospects ever skip the WV Power and head for Bradenton after leaving WV Black Bears?

Justin – “We are highly unlikely to see anyone make the jump from the WV Black Bears to Bradenton and skip over the WV Power. The reasoning is because of organizational depth at most positions. The only way it happens is if a position is open at Bradenton and we have a highly regarded prospect that can jump a level. Kevin Newman went to the Power for a short time last year and will likely be the SS at Bradenton this year due to Cole Tucker just coming back from injury and will likely need time at WV Power. Theoretically we could see Newman make the jump to Altoona at some point this summer if Tucker is progressing nicely and gets sent up to Bradenton.”

 

piratesbreakdown.com is an excellent resource for all things Pittsburgh Pirates and I’m enjoying their coverage from Bradenton and Pirate City.  They’re good guys and I wouldn’t hesitate to reach out again.

 

Notes from the Sally is a scouting site and once I see West Virginia (on the preliminary schedule for 4/12 and 6/25, I will add a 3rd date because my goal is to see every team 3 times).  You can expect write up on many of the players listed.

 

The Notables-

3B) Ke’Bryan Hayes

courtesy of flickr.com

Ke’Bryan Hayes, age 19, listed 6’1″ 210 lbs, bats and throws right. Hayes was drafted 32nd overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Tomball, Tx (Houston area). The son of former major leaguer Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan is also a 3rd baseman and he has the tools to potentially stay at the position long term.  At the dish he displays very good bat speed, he’s got a level swing and he sprays the ball all over the yard.  He projects to have at least average power long term.

 

SS) Cole Tucker

courtesy of baseballamerica.com

Cole Tucker, age 19, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats both and throws right. Tucker was drafted 24th overall in the 2014 draft out of high school in Phoenix, Az.  Tucker spent last season with the WV Power but only got into 73 games because of a shoulder injury.  Justin from Pirates Breakdown think’s he’ll be back with the Power at least to start 2016.  Good news for me as I never got to see him last season.  According to mlb.com  “Tucker has the tools to play shortstop for a long time, with solid actions, hands and range. Outside of the shoulder, the only thing that could push him off of shortstop is if he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame a lot as he matures. There’s clearly strength to be added, which will help him at the plate. He already has very good at-bats, knows the strike zone, and was flashing some extra-base authority as he continues to learn how to switch hit.”

 

RHP) Mitch Keller

courtesy of milb.com

Mitch Keller, age on opening day 20, listed 6’3″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Keller was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft out of high school in Ceder Rapids Ia. Keller pitched just 19 innings last year in a injury marred season.   According to mlb.com  “Mitch is tall and projectable, with a fastball that now sits in the 90-94 mph range. When he’s not trying to overthrow, he has good sink on it, with the potential to be a ground-ball machine. He can really spin his breaking ball, an 11-to-5 curve that could be above-average in the future. He’s shown some feel for a changeup, but lack of mound time hasn’t allowed him to cultivate his third pitch.  There’s at least some chance that Keller starts the year in extended Spring Training and then heads to the Black Bears.  If that happens, there’s some chance we see him in the 2nd half.

 

RHP) Luis Escobar

courtesy of eluniversal.com

Luis Escobar, age 19, listed 6’1″ 155 lbs, bats and throws right. Escobar signed out of Columbia in July 2013 as a 17 year old.  A converted infielder Escobar throws a low- to mid 90’s heater, a curve that shows promise, and a change that needs work.  The delivery is high energy.  He’s young, raw and high risk but there’s a lot to work with.  There’s some chance he starts with the Black Bears but either way we could see him in the 2nd half.

 

OF)  Casey Hughston

courtesy of baseballessential.com

Casey Hughston, age 21, listed 6’2″ 200 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Hughston was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Alabama as a draft eligible sophomore.  Baseball America said “An intriguing player thanks to his average-or-better tools across the board. Listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Hughston has the strength and bat speed to provide left handed power in the heart of Alabama’s lineup.” “Hughston has the speed for center field, but his outfield actions play better in the corners and Alabama has used him in right field. Scouts see him as more of a fourth outfielder right now, but if he can find a more consistent approach at the plate or prove he can play center field, he could develop into something more.”.

 

Around the Diamond

 

Catcher

In the mix at catcher are: 11th round pick Christian Kelley, undrafted free agent Chris Harvey, Daniel Arribas, 24th rounder John Bormann, Tomas Morales and Erik Lunde. Harvey and Bormann also saw time at 1B.  Lunde also saw time at 2nd base,

 

Middle Infield

Cole Tucker is likely the starting shortstop

2nd Base likely comes down to 2 players:

7th round pick Mitchell Tolman (also plays 3rd) and Trae Arbet (I also saw it listed as Trey) the Pirates 5th round pick in the 2013.  Neither is all that toolsy but both can handle the bat. My guess is it will be Tolman and Arbet starts with the Black Bears.

Other middle infielders who may see time with the Power:

(SS-2B) 13th round pick Logan Ratledge, (2B-SS) Erik Forgione (2B-3B)  Raul Siri, (2B,SS,3B) Carlos Ozuna and (2B,3B,SS) Bealyn Chourio.

 

 

Corner Infield

Ke’Bryan Hayes will likely be the starting 3rd baseman

Carlos Munoz who had a really strong year offensively will likely be the starting 1st basemen. Looking forward to seeing him.

Also in the mix at corner infield:

Julio De La Cruz, Jose Salazar, and 35th round pick Jordan George.

 

Outfield

Casey Hughston is likely going to be the center fielder.  We might also get a look at Sandy Santos;  from afar he looks interesting.

The rest of the outfield, 12th round pick Ty Moore in Left, Alexis Bastardo who plays center and right, 25th round pick Logan Hill who primarily played right after the draft.  And from the Bristol squad, Nick Buckner who played right, Edgar Figueroa who played all 3 outfield spots, and Henrry Rosario who played center and left.

 

 

Starting Pitching

In addition to Mitch Keller and Luis Escobar there’s also high end picks;  5th round pick Brandon Waddell, 6th round pick JT Brubaker, 8th round pick Seth McGarry, and 9th round pick Brett Helton.

Others in the mix:  Dario Agrazal, Luis Paula, Hector Garcia (nice K rate).  And from Bristol:  There’s a trio of interesting high school arms from previous drafts;  Trey Supak ,Gage Hinsz ,and Billy Roth (not sure any of them pitch for the Power this year but its possible.) 10th round pick Logan Sendelbach, and Neil Kozikowski could also factor in. 

The Power are going to be a strong squad in 2016, particularly at corner infield, middle infield, and starting Pitching.

The Pirates were a fun system to explore.  I’m looking forward to seeing these young men in action.

This puts a bow on the 2016 team previews I hope you got as much out of them as I did.

Just a couple of weeks from opening day, the fund raising continues please help the site if you can I expect to see 50 games this Summer.  Raising $$ to help defray the costs of that.

Here’s the PayPal button

 

 

 

Previewing the 2016 Rome Braves

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Kolby Allard courtesy of outsidepitchmlb.com

Continuing with the SAL team previews here’s my look at the Rome Braves.

The Rome Braves share there nickname with the parent club the Atlanta Braves and when putting this preview together I scoured the Danville and GCL rosters.  I then spoke to Braves prospect guru Garret about how the Braves handle promotions in the low minors and general league assignments.

Question #1)  In regards to high school draftees and International signees do they typically hit both levels of stateside rookie ball or do they sometimes skip Danville and head straight for Rome?

Garrett:  “Typically high school and young international free agents will play both levels of rookie ball. Older international free agents will skip up to whatever level they are ready for, but the Braves are patient with young players and if anything usually play it a little too slow with prospects.”

Question #2) Do college draftees ever skip Rome after leaving Danville?

Garrett:  “I can’t remember any major college prospects that have skipped over Rome. With most better college prospects the Braves like to have them end the first pro season with Rome and then may skip them over the High A team if they are ready for AA.”

You can find Garrett on Twitter @BravesMILB.  He also writes for “SB Nations” “Talking Chop”.  He’s very knowledgeable on the talent laden Braves farm system and an excellent resource that I would reach out to again.

The official rosters wont be available until early April so this is me speculating.  Notes from the Sally is a scouting site and once I see the Rome Braves (on the preliminary schedule for 4/16, 5/24, 8/22, 8/30) you can expect write ups on many of these players.

The Notables

LHP) Kolby Allard

courtesy of mlb.com

Kolby Allard- Age 18, listed 6’1 175 lbs, bats and throws left.  Allard was drafted 14th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in San Clemente, Ca (halfway between LA and San Diego).  A power lefty Allard was considered the top prep arm in the draft and would have likely gone higher than 14th but a stress fracture in his back during the Spring likely scared a few teams away.  When healthy he features two dominant pitches in a mid 90’s fastball and a power 1-6 curve.  With just 6 innings of pro ball and back surgery in the off season it’s no slam dunk he makes it to Rome this year.

 

RHP)  Touki Toussaint

courtesy of milb.com

Touki Toussaint- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Toussaint was drafted 16th overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft out of high school in Coral Springs Fl (Fort Lauderdale area). Toussaint was born in Haiti and somebody correct me if I’m wrong please, but I believe no one of Haitian decent has made it to the bigs yet.  So we have another reason to root for him.  He’s got electric stuff.  The fastball sits 92-94 it touches 95 with a heavy sink and it runs in on right handers.  He mixes in a nasty fall off the table curve ball when he gets on top of the pitch, and a change that flashes above average with nice fade. The problem is he gets out of sync with his delivery and loses his release point.  A lot of stuff to dream on here, we just have to hope the Braves can fix him.  I think there’s a good chance he’s back in Rome to start the year.

 

3B) Austin Riley

courtesy of scout.com

Austin Riley- Age on opening day, 19, listed 6’2″ 230 lbs, bats and throws right.  Riley was drafted 41st overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Southaven, Ms (Memphis, Tn area). A strong young man Riley has plus raw power and some feel to hit.  He was a two way player in high school and has plenty of arm strength for 3rd base.

 

RHP) Mike Soroka

courtesy of the calgaryherald.com

Mike Soroka- Age 18, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Soroka  was drafted 28th overall in the 2015 draft from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Soroka wasn’t a high profile prep player and the Braves took him a lot earlier than the draft experts had him going. He’s not a player I know a lot about but prospect guru David Lee (writes for the Augusta Chronicle and Baseball Prospectus) said the Braves did very well with this pick. Here’s a snippet from his very detailed scouting report. Click here for the full article http://chronicle.augusta.com/content/blog-post/david-lee/2016-02-26/braves-top-30-no-12-mike-soroka

“Soroka is one of the most projectable pitchers in the Braves system stocked full of talented arms. He has the frame to add strength that could help bump up the velocity, and it’s already low-90s with hard sink and run. His changeup is currently ahead of his breaking ball and could develop as high as plus, but the breaker has the framework to be a knockout pitch itself. There’s a lot of work ahead for Soroka and it’s going to take time, especially if they try to tinker with a delivery that closes him off and affects his arm slot. But there’s a lot to like here, and these grades could jump quickly if he develops as expected. The Braves did very well to get Soroka at 28th overall.”

 

CF) Ronald Acuna

courtesy of flickr.com

Ronald Acuna- Age 18, listed 6′ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Acuna was signed by the Braves out of Venezuela in 2014.  The Braves challenged Acuna sending him directly to the states to start his career and he performed very well as a 17 year old in the GCL actually earning a promotion to Danville.  One of the more exciting youngsters in the 2016 SAL.  He can run, hit, has developing power and projects to stay in center field.  I’m looking forward to seeing him.

 

Around the Diamond

 

Catcher

2nd round pick Lucas Herbert was Koby Allard’s catcher in high school he’s known for being a good receiver and also his leadership qualities.  He can handle the bat and has some potential for power. Also in the mix are Trey Keegan, Jonathan Morales, Alejandro Flores, Carlos Martinez and Collin Yelich.

 

Middle Infield

Luke Dykstra likely starts at 2nd base

There’s some chance Luis Valenzuela comes back.  He came over from KC and finished the year as the Rome SS.  21st round pick Kurt Hoekstra got the lion share of starts at shortstop in Danville after the draft so he’ll likely be a factor, Yeudi Grullon played both 2B and short in the APPY.   Alejandro Salazar is also a possibility as is Angel Perez.

 

 

Corner Infield

In addition to Austin Riley at 3rd base there’s late round picks Robert Nesovic who also played 1st base and Jake Lanning who also plays 2nd base.

The starting 1st Baseman will likely be young Venezuelan slugger Juan Yepez, converted catcher Carlos Castro and undrafted free agent Jeff Campbell.

 

Outfield

In Addition to Ronald Acuna who’s likely the starting center fielder, Leudys Baez will probably be back in left.  He’s got a fast bat with an uber aggressive approach.  12th rounder Justin Ellison mostly played left field in rookie ball but has seen time in center and right. Ray-Patrick Didder moved from shortstop to center field in Danville last year, he also played some right. Corner outfielders Kelvin Estevez and Jose Morel.

The wild card here is (RF-CF) Isranel Wilson who put up an ISO of .254 as a 17 year old in the GCL.  He’s probably ticketed for short season but we could get a 2nd half look.

 

Starting Pitching

In addition to Allard, Toussaint and Soroka, some of the other starting pitchers who could see time with Rome:  Ricardo Sanchez could be back, 4th round pick Josh Graham, 5th round pick Ryan Clark, 8th rounder Ryan Lawlor, Patrick Weigel, Matt Withrow, Jhon Martinez and Luis Gamez.

If we see a rotation of Allard, Toussaint, Soroka, Sanchez and Graham. That would be insanely good for the low-A level.

The Braves are a fun system to explore and there’s a lot of talent in their low minors.

Rome looks to be in the upper echelon in regards to talent in the 2016 SAL as are Hagerstown, Hickory, and Asheville.

Next on Notes from the Sally is a look at the 2016 West Virginia Power as I close out the Sal team preview series.

Why Single-A?

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courtesy of justinehyde.wordpress.com

Why Single-A?  It’s a piece I’ve been thinking about for a while, it’s not an accident that I chose to write exclusively about the Sally. It’s not just because of geographic location (although that helps).  Full season Low-A offers some unique challenges for the players from the college draftees who better destroy the level or risk being left behind, to the teenagers who are facing much older competition and a 140 game season.  Most of course won’t make it to the show which leads me to my number one reason for only writing about the Sally.

I love this level of minor league baseball because they’re kids right out of rookie ball and the book hasn’t been written yet about any of them.  There is pedigree with top draft picks and high end International talent here.  But for the other 90-95% this is where they begin to make a name for themselves.  If I go to a double-A game I know who to look for, for the most part.  It’s still good but it’s different.  Who will be this years breakout stars?  The 4th rounder, the 13th rounder, the 22nd rounder, the 30th rounder?  It’s a mystery and I’m always excited to see it unfold.

 

 

2016 Lexington Legends Preview

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Ashe Russell courtesy of heraldcourier.com

Continuing with the preview series here’s my look at the 2016 Lexington Legends.

The Legends are a Kansas City Royals franchise and in putting this preview together I scoured Idaho Falls, Burlington and the Arizona Royals rosters.  I then spoke to Royals prospector Clinton Scoles about how the team manages promotions and league assignments in the low minors.

Question #1: With three levels of rookie ball do high school draftees and international signees ever skip more than one level and head for Lexington, or do they typically hit two or more?

“Typically high end HS talent starts in rookie ball the same yr they are drafted. Like Russell/Watson going to Burlington last year & then the next year go to Single A.”

“International talent takes a step at a time. DSL when they are 16, Arizona, Idaho Falls & Burlington at 17 and then Single A at 18. The exception has been Mondesi who they have been ridiculously aggressive with mostly due to his familiarity w/ the US & his ability to fit into a clubhouse, Cuthbert and Bonifacio are better examples of how they handle the upper end international talent. If an international player has assimilated to the US they will push a tad quicker, example Cuthbert. Had he continued to hit like he did the first half of his first single A season the Royals will push a guy.”

“It will depend on their skill in fall ball & during the spring. If they have shown they can perform with older players then they will push them.”
“They have handled Lexington differently than they did teams in the Midwest league. Prior, they would always hold high end pitchers back until May or June when temperatures would warm up while position players would start with the club.”
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 Question #2 Do college draftees ever skip Lexington after leaving Idaho Falls or Burlington?
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“Aaron Crow, Colon skipped single A as did Finnegan but that is a 1st round high level college guy only thing for them and they only take those types if they can get a high end talent later in the 1st or 2nd rounds.”

“Crow-Myers
Colon-Eibner weak & conservative draft cause they stacked their ’11 draft w/ tons of high end hs picks
Finnegan – Griffin/Blewett”
“Wouldn’t expect a pick like that this year with no 1st round pick.”
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You can find Clint on Twitter @ClintScoles, and you can find his writing at pinetarpress.com.  He’s very knowledgeable on all things Royals minors and I would reach out to him again.
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One last note, Notes from the Sally is a scouting site and once I see Lexington (on the preliminary schedule for 4/19, 5/2 and 7/5).  You can expect write ups on most of these guys.

 

 

The Notables

Ashe Russell

courtesy of mlb.com

Ashe Russell – age 19, listed 6’4″ 201 lbs, bats and throws right. Russell was selected 21st overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Indianapolis, In.  According to mlb.com he features 2 plus pitches in the fastball and slider.  He didn’t throw a change in high school but he’ll need to develop one now.

 

Nolan Watson

courtesy of kansascity.com

Nolan Watson – age 19, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Watson was selected 33rd overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Indianapolis, In.  According to mlb.com Watson had a velocity spike the spring before the draft and now sits 92-95 and all 3 of his secondary pitches slider, curve and change all grade average or better.

 

Marten Gasparini

courtesy of mlbforlife.com

Marten Gasparini – Age 18, listed 6′ 195, bats both and throws right. Gasparini was signed out Italy in 2013 for $1.3 Mil breaking the record for highest bonus ever given to a European player previously held by Max Kepler who was signed out of Germany for $800K.  A toolsy shortstop with plus speed.  Gasparini is one of the guys I’m most looking forward to seeing this year.

 

Amalani Fukofuka

courtesy of milb.com

Amalani Fukofuka – Age 20, listed 6’1″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 draft out of high school in Union City, Ca (San Francisco area).  A high school wide receiver Fukofuka is raw and athletic with a fast bat. A high risk and reward type of player.  It should be fun to watch him develop.

 

Garrett Davila

courtesy of the gastongazette.com

Garrett Davila – Age 19, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats and throws left. Davila was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 out of high school in Gastonia, NC (Charlotte area). According to mlb.com Davila is a command and control lefty who had a velocity spike into the low 90’s, he also mixes in a developing Curve and change.  He didn’t pitch post draft because the Royals want him to get stronger.

 

Around the diamond

Catcher

Chase Vallot  and/or Xavier Fernandez could be back in Lex. and Luis Lara and Meibrys Viloria  (who the org is high on) could see time too.

Middle Infield

At shortstop it will likely be Marten Gasparini.

At 2nd base 21st round pick Austin Bailey got into 30 games with Lexington primarily as a 2nd baseman, he could be coming back. Also in the mix at 2nd base is 2014 4th rounder D.J. Burt, and late rd pick Brian Bien got a cup of coffee at Lexington in 2015.

Corner Infield

2014 9th rd pick Brandon Thomasson has spent his time at 1st base and corner outfield.  Taylor Ostrich could also see time at 1st.

At 3rd base, 20 yr old Aussie Ryan Dale and returnee Angelo Castellano could both get starts, as could Trey Stover.

Outfield

I love the outfield depth.  In addition to Fukofuka who’s mostly spent time in center and right, there’s 5th round pick Roman Collins in left, and 6th round pick Cody Jones in center.  We may also see 11th rounder Ben Johnson and Rudy Martin both of which had seen time at all 3 outfield positions.  Also in the mix for playing time in the outfield are late round picks Luke Willis, Tanner Stanley and Colton Frabasilio who spent time at both catcher and left field post draft.  .

Starting Pitching

In addition to Ashe Russell, Nolan Watson and perhaps Garrett Davila we’ll likely get some of these pitchers: Todd Eaton, Derek Gordon, Carter Hope, Daniel Concepcion, Dylan Sons, and Julio Pinto.

 

I enjoyed my look at the Royals system.  This is a talented squad particularly in the outfield, at shortstop, and starting pitching.

 

I’ll be back soon with a look at the Rome Braves

 

1st annual support the site fund raiser

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Anderson Espinoza courtesy of snapshots.blogs.goupstate.com

Hey guys, this is my 1st annual fund drive to help counteract the costs that I’ll be incurring this baseball season.  This will be a March ritual here at notes from the Sally.

As many of you know this is a scouting site and I only do live in person scouting.  I have set the goal to see every team in the SAL three times in 2016, so that’s a minimum of 42 games this season and I think that number will be closer to 50 by the time September rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, I love to do this, it’s my passion.  But I can certainly use your help to defray the costs of the thousands of hours of work I put into all this.

When I started this site back in August I had three options to help offset the costs.

  1. Put it behind a paywall – I’d prefer not to do that
  2. Bring in advertising – Not a fan, almost always looks tacky and takes away from the site
  3. Do an annual support the site fund drive.

If you enjoy the site and the content please click the link and support the site via PayPal.  I will put every dollar raised to good use. Thanks.

For those that were having trouble with the PayPal link, I switched to a different plug in so it should be good to go now thanks.

Previewing the 2016 Lakewood Blueclaws

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Continuing with the SAL team previews, here’s my look at the 2016 Lakewood Blueclaws.

The Blueclaws are a Phillies franchise and when putting this preview together I scoured the Williamsport Crosscutters and GCL Phillies rosters.  I then spoke to Phillies prospect guru Matt Winkelman to learn how the Phillies handle promotions in the low minors and league assignments in general.

Question #1:   In regards to high school draftees and international signings do they typically stop at both levels of stateside rookie ball or do they sometimes go straight from the GCL to Lakewood?

“Depends on age and how advanced the player is. They have jumped some advanced bats (Crawford) to Lakewood.  It is similar on pitching side, Elniery Garcia got jumped because of his command, Franklyn Kilome did not.  Also on pitching side, workload is a factor, they have to think the guy can handle a full workload.  On a practical side of this, I think Randolph goes to Lakewood and Medina/Falter do not (at least to start). 

Question #2:   In regards to college draftees do they sometimes skip Lakewood after leaving Williamsport?

“Absolutely, it is dependent on who is at Clearwater though, the system is more full which has backed up promotions.   In a normal year I would say Tyler Gilbert would be a lock to jump Lakewood, but the Clearwater rotation is pretty full already.”

You can find Matt on Twitter @Matt_Winkelman, he also owns Phillies Minor Thoughts  philliesminorthoughts.com which is among the best team oriented prospect sites around IMO.  He was very generous with his time and an excellent resource that I would reach out to again.

The official rosters won’t be available until early April so this is me speculating.

This is a scouting site and once I see Lakewood (they’re on the preliminary schedule for 5/4, 5/6, 7/12) you can expect write ups on most of these players.

 

the Notables

 

LF) Cornelius Randolph

Courtesy of mlb.com

Cornelius Randolph- Age 18, listed at 5’11” 205 lbs, bats left and throws right.  Randolph was drafted 10th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Griffin Ga. Considered one of the top prep bats in the country Randolph sprays the ball around to all fields and has an excellent approach at the dish.  It will be interesting to see how much power he’ll generate as he fills out.  A high school shortstop the Phillies immediately slotted Randolph in left field which does put added pressure on the bat. A little bit surprising they didn’t try him on the dirt first.  I’m looking forward to seeing him.

 

RHP) Franklyn Kilome

Courtesy of flickr.com

Franklyn Kilome- Age 20, listed at 6’6″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right. Kilome was signed for $40,000 in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic. According to Chris King formerly of Fangraphs, now 2080 Baseball: Kilome’s fastball velocity spiked (now sitting mid to upper 90’s with sink) and he started to show more consistency with his secondary pitches. He’s got work to do with his command, but the sky is the limit for this kid. Here’s a link to the article.  Well worth the read.  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/phillies-sleeper-righty-franklyn-kilome-has-a-velo-spike/

 

 

3B) Lucas Williams

Courtesy of iconsportswire.com

Lucas Williams Age 19, listed 6’1″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Williams was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Dana Point, Ca (halfway between LA and San Diego). Williams was a pop up guy in part because he played all over the diamond in high school. He played shortstop during his senior year and his stock soared, and pre-draft the scouts seemed to like his chances to remain at shortstop. The Phillies moved him to 3rd to start his pro career and like Randolph above that does put more pressure on the bat.  Williams has good bat speed and wheels.

 

RF) Jose Pujols

Courtesy of philliesminorthoughts.com

Jose Pujols Age 20, listed 6’3″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Pujols signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 for $540,000.  Pujols has big time raw power and a cannon in right field, but remains on the raw side both offensively and defensively.   Lets see if he can begin to turn the loud tools into performance.

 

RHP) Adonis Medina

Adonis Medina Age 19, 6’1″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Medina signed for $70,000 in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic    According to Matt Winkelman, Medina throws a low to mid 90’s fastball, flashes a plus curve and a potential above average to plus change.  Or #2 starter upside.  You can read the whole scouting report here. http://philliesminorthoughts.com/player-pages/pitchers/adonis-medina/

 

 

Around the diamond

 

Catcher

Austin Bossart, Gregori Rivero, Joel Fischer could return and the wild card is Edgar Cabal.

 

 

Middle Infield

2nd base

10th rd pick Josh Tobias, age 23, seems like a potential candidate to skip Lakewood.  Others in the mix at 2nd base: Grenny Cumana could return he saw time at 2nd and short, William Cuicas could also return and he’s played 2nd, short, and third.  And Luis Espiritu and Cuicas split time between 2nd and 3rd.

Shortstop

We may see a possible return from Emmanuel Marrero, Cumana could also be a factor here.  William Cuicas could also see significant playing time.

 

 

Corner Infield,

1st base- The player I’m hoping to see is 18 year old Luis Encarnacion, he can handle the bat and has decent power potential. He’s probably headed for Williamsport though.  Others we could see at 1st: Branden Haden, Jesus Posso and Scott Tomassetti (the later two have also seen time behind the plate).

3rd base is interesting. In addition to Lucas Williams there’s Jan Hernandez a player with loud tools but approach issues.  Williams could potentially start in Williamsport

 

 

Outfield

Pujols will likely be in right field, the starting center fielder seems to be one of: 13th round pick Zack Coppola or Carlos Duran, and Cornelius Randolph should start in left.

Other candidates for playing time in the outfield: Gustavo Martinez might be back (he’s seen time in both corners) Mark Laird (he plays both left and Center) Andrew Almaro (plays right field and 1st base). And from the GCL there’s center fielders Juan Luis and Jesus Alastre and Greg Pickett who plays right.

 

 

Starting Pitching

In addition to Kilome and perhaps Medina, Shane Watson might return. Also newcomers:  6th round pick Tyler Gilbert, Alejandro Arteaga, Jose Taveras, Mitch Gueller and from the GCL side, 5th rd pick Bailey Falter and Felix Paulino.

The Phillies are a fun system to explore and there’s a lot of talent here.

Up next is a look at the 2016 Lexington Legends (Royals)