Previewing the 2017 Hagerstown Suns

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

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

Previously I covered:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Lets meet the notables

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Sheldon Neuse

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Around the diamond

 

Catcher

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Middle Infield

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

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

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

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

 

SS) Carter Kieboom

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Corner Infield

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

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

3B) Sheldon Neuse

3B) Anderson Franco

 

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

 

Outfield

LF) Nick Banks

CF) Blake Perkins

RF) Juan Soto

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

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

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

 

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

 

Starting Pitching

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Previewing the 2017 Greenville Drive

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

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

Previously I previewed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Lets meet the notables

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Around the diamond

Catcher-

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Middle Infield

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

SS) CJ Chatham

 

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

 

Corner Infield

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

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

3B) Bobby Dalbec

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

 

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

 

Outfield

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

 

CF- Yoan Aybar

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Starting Pitchers

LHP) Jason Groome

RHP) Shaun Anderson

RHP) Mike Shawaryn

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Previewing the 2017 Greensboro Grasshoppers

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

 

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

Previously I covered:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

The Columbia Fireflies (Mets) Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

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

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

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

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

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

Lets meet the notables

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Around the Diamond:

Catcher:

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Middle Infield

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

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

mlb.com wrote this about Lara last Summer:

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

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

Other choices in the middle Infield:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Corner Infield

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

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

mlb..com wrote this of James Nelson:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Outfield

CF, LF) Stone Garrett

CF) Thomas Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Starting Pitching:

LHP) Braxton Garrett

RHP) Tyler Kolek-  

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

mlb.com had this to say about Cabrera

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

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

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

mlb.com had this to say about Holloway:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Previewing the 2017 Delmarva Shorebirds

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Cody Sedlock and Austin Hays^

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

Previously I covered:

The Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

The Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

The Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

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

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

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

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

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

Lets meet the notables

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Around the diamond

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

 

Middle Infield

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Corner Infield

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

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

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

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

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

 

Outfield

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

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

RF) Austin Hays

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

 

Starting Pitching

RHP) Cody Sedlock

RHP) Ofelky Peralta

LHP) Keegan Akin

RHP) Matthias Dietz 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

RHP) Riley Pint- Asheville

CF) Blake Rutherford- Charleston

LHP) Thomas Szapucki- Columbia

CF) Desmond Lindsay- Columbia

RF) Estevan Florial- Charleston

CF) Pedro Gonzalez- Asheville

RF) Sandro Fabian- Augusta

CF-RF-LF) Manuel Melendez- Asheville

RHP) Justin Dunn- Columbia

3B) Kolton Welker- Asheville

3B) Tyler Nevin- Asheville

RHP) Merandy Gonzalez- Columbia

RHP) Melvin Adon- Augusta

LHP) Matt Krook- Augusta

3B) Kelvin Beltre- Augusta

RHP) Freicer Perez- Charleston

RHP) Austin DeCarr- Charleston

RHP) Drew Finley- Charleston

2B-SS) Luis Carpio- Columbia

LF) Gustavo Cabrera- Augusta

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

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

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

Previewing the 2017 Columbia Fireflies

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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

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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.