Prospect Talk: Deep Diving
As a refresher on what this here column is all about, here’s the intro from last time we did this:
By far the most requested topic we received in the comments of our “Podcast For Your Eyes” as well as on Twitter is; back-end or deeper prospects that will jump up rankings. While I think this is a great idea for a future PFYE, I thought I’d allow a peek at my personal list of guys with some small write-ups. These are not in depth scouting reports or anything like that, but just reasons to like them and/or reasons to be cautious. I’ve broken them into “Back End” and “Off The Charts” types. Back enders (settle down) are guys that are either on one or two top 100 or 150 lists or even all of them but further down the rankings. They may not even be on any, but are well known in the public consciousness as “deep guys”. The off the charters are guys that are even further down than that. I’m not going to promise to tell you a name you don’t know in this section because I’ve broken too many promises already. Never again. I’m hoping this can be a recurring feature here as the season goes on and we continue to discover more and more pop-up guys.
I am not going to be using the Beyond the Boxscore list at this point as none of the guys I discuss below are on it, but beyond that, we’re getting to the point where some of these guys are more notable than they were before the season started. With that said, let’s get to the prospects.
Nick Williams – OF – Texas Rangers
Williams wasn’t exactly a popular name before the season began and he still might not be. That said, I’ve been hyping him for a while now and playing on Texas’ loaded Hickory lineup will do wonders for one’s recognition. Texas’ 2012 second round pick has recorded a healthy .289/.322/.611 slash line in Lo-A, though it does come with a 3% walk rate and a 27% strikeout rate. There are obviously issues, but there are some scouts who think that Williams ends up as the most complete hitter of those Hickory prospects.
Off The Chart
Hector Veloz – 3B – Baltimore Orioles
Veloz entered 2013 as a bucket of raw tools. He has plus raw power but also with the caveat that applies to many young latin prospects: He’s a hacker. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have knowledge of the strike zone…it is to say he really likes to swing. He can struggle with pitch recognition but as a 19 year-old in short-season ball, we can afford him some time adjust and learn. Veloz has only accrued 36 plate appearances, as short-season ball has just begun but in that small sample he has hit his way to a .353/.389/.500 slash line and connected for one home run and two doubles, showing off his plus power potential. Veloz is a deep deep guy right now and he might not last at third base which would put even more pressure on his bat. This is a guy to flag and watch, not someone to grab right now.
Carlos Contreras – SP – Cincinnati Reds
While Daniel Corcino has taken a step back this year for the Reds, Carlos Contreras has stepped up to be the next in a growing line of latin hurlers for Cincinnati. He’s averaging over a strikeout per nine innings and while his control is still an issue (3.72 BB/9), he shows promise. He’s spent the last two seasons as a reliever so there aren’t that many miles on his arm. Contreras has a 3.72 ERA on the season but given that he’s pitching in Bakersfield of the California League, it’s actually an impressive feat, and his FIP is 3.41 to boot. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Contreras to get a full season as a starter because he’s already eclipsed his career high in innings by 25. He’s someone to keep an eye on.
Luiz Gohara – SP – Seattle Mariners
Ranked 7th on Baseball Prospectus’ top ten list for Seattle, Gohara had yet to throw a professional pitch when the rankings were made. Since then he made his professional debut, throwing four innings, striking out five without walking anyone. He did give up one earned run. Gohara’s debut comes at the tender age of 16 and while he hasn’t received the publicity that fellow teen sensation Julio Urias has, pitching in the Appalachian League at that age is pretty darn impressive. Gohara has a plus fastball (89-93 MPH from left side) right now and has earned potential plus grades on both his curve (plus or better) and his change up (plus). At 6’3/220, Gohara has a mature body already, and shows some mature stuff for his age.