Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, June 2019
Each month, The Dynasty Guru will provide a prospect update, including notable performances (good and bad), assignments, promotions, trades, injuries, and suspensions. Most importantly, the monthly update will examine prospects with increasing and decreasing fantasy value, from the elite to the obscure.
At the beginning of June, TDG reviewed May performances for infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. Since then, several notable prospects exceeded rookie limits and others arrived in the majors. As this update only reviews performances for one month, please note this bright, flashing warning: SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!
Notable Catcher Prospect Performances
The Rising Catcher Prospect
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers. At the beginning of June, Smith admirably filled in for Austin Barnes (6-for-21, 2 HR). Upon his return to Tripe-A, he continued his hot hitting, with 6 more home runs over his next 11 games. Again in late June, Smith received a brief promotion, including a pinch-hit, walk-off home run (below). All told, he launched 9 home runs with a staggering .535 isolated slugging percentage (.286/.379/.821)! It is only a matter of time before Smith sticks in the majors. Once he does, he profiles as a strong fantasy catcher with above-average raw power, an extremely leveraged swing (50.3% FB), and a patient approach (14% BB, 4.55 pitches/plate appearance in the majors!). While Smith is unlikely to hit for average, he should provide plenty of power, and his profile plays even better in on-base percentage leagues.
🚨 Will Smith Walk-Off Homer 🚨
The #Dodgers' No. 5 prospect, who was just called up this morning, came up clutch with this walk-off homer. The @Dodgers are also the first team to have rookies hit walk-off homers in three straight games. pic.twitter.com/5dlw6qKlr4
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 23, 2019
The Major League Catcher Prospect
Zack Collins, Chicago White Sox. The tenth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft finally debuted this month. A questionable hit tool and shaky defense has slowed his ascent. Collins is a prototypical three-true-outcomes slugger, who regularly flirts with striking out or walking in half his plate appearances. In fact, he has done exactly that this year (33% K and 17% BB). Further, his extremely passive approach has been on display in his brief debut (4.94 pitches/plate appearance). Collins possesses huge, double-plus raw power, but it has yet to truly manifest in games. Most importantly, his power will continue to play down in counting stats simply because he does not put enough balls in play. As such, Collins may only have impact potential in on-base percentage formats, at least at first.
That moment when your first #MLB hit is a 447-foot blast. 👀
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 22, 2019
Luis Campusano, San Diego Padres. As predicted in March, Campusano has enjoyed a breakout season in High-A. Remarkably consistent, he has posted .927, .885, and .951 OPS percentages in April, May, and June (.349/.404/.547 this past month). Meanwhile, he has continued to exhibit impressive bat-to-ball skills and advanced plate discipline (33-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio). This progress has even earned Campusano some above-average grades for his future hit tool. At the same time, he has increased his estimated fly ball distance by 6.5% through May, tapping into his above-to-plus raw power. Despite his success, an organizational logjam at catcher likely will delay his eventual promotion to Double-A. Regardless, few catching prospects have risen as much as Campusano this year.
Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners. Hailing from Florida State, Raleigh is a polished college bat who enjoyed a strong junior season (.326/.447/.583) and debut (.288/.367/.534 in NWL) last year. A switch-hitter, he creates plenty of loft to get to his above-average raw power, which was on display this month (.299/.378/.584, 6 HR). However, his hit tool and defense (9 errors, 8 passed balls) remain questionable.
Jonah Heim, Oakland Athletics. A fourth round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Heim has slowly progressed through the minors and, now, he is on the cusp of the majors. Since his promotion to Triple-A early this month, he has been incredible, hitting .488/.511/.829 over 14 games. Heim exhibits excellent plate discipline (29-to-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio) with nominal swing-and-miss (12.4% strikeouts and 9.1% swinging strikes) and some pop.
Others of Note:
- Bo Naylor, Cleveland Indians (.286/.342/.529)
- Eric Haase, Cleveland Indians (.307/.409/.600)
- Gabriel Moreno, Toronto Blue Jays (.294/.380/.471)
- Payton Henry, Milwaukee Brewers (.325/.420/.542)
- Brett Sullivan, Tampa Bay Rays (.279/.330/.558)
- Ali Sanchez, New York Mets (.382/.425/.485)
Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers. While fellow Dodgers catcher Will Smith has thrived this year, Ruiz has struggled, hitting an empty .245/.328/.336 in Double-A. Of course, his contact skills remain elite (6.4% strikeouts and 4.5% swinging strikes). However, his contact has been mostly powerless. In fact, Ruiz placed 136 out of 149 qualified hitters in Double-A in estimated fly ball distance through May. His spray chart (below) perfectly encapsulates the type of contact he has made, and his four home runs barely left the park.
Others of Note:
- William Contreras, Atlanta Braves (.191/.267/.206, promoted to Double-A)
- Sam Huff, Texas Rangers (.200/.265/.356)
- Miguel Amaya, Chicago Cubs (.200/.319/.300)
Additional Catcher Prospect Notes
- MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals strikeout watch: 96 total (27 in June).
- The Giants activated Joey Bart from the injured list.
- The Dodgers promoted top 2018 international free agent Diego Cartaya from the Dominican Summer League to the state-side Arizona League.
- Notable 2019 draftees: Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles (GCL); Shea Langeliers, Atlanta Braves (Low-A); Korey Lee, Houston Astros (NYP); Kyle McCann, Oakland Athletics (NYP)
Notable First Base Prospect Performances
The Rising First Base Prospect
Bobby Bradley, Cleveland Indians. Over the last two months, few hitters have hit for as much power as Bradley (.308/.374/.727 with 21 HR!). Consequently, the Indians finally pulled the plug on Leonys Martin and handed everyday designated hitter duties to Bradley. Although he has tons of raw power, he continues to suffer equal amounts of swing-and-miss (32% strikeouts and 18% swinging strikes). With such contact issues, Bradley likely never hits for much batting average, and may even battle the Mendoza Line. Still, the quality of his contact and his hard hit rate can alleviate some of the downward pressure his swing-and-miss places on his average.
We can confirm that Bobby Bradley hits the ball HARD.
Exit velocity: 110.1 mph 👀 pic.twitter.com/FUP69q0riq
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 25, 2019
The Major League First Base Prospect
Matt Beaty, Los Angeles Dodgers. Two years ago, Beaty was the top hitter in Double-A Texas League (.326/.378/.505). Unfortunately, he missed most of last year with a torn thumb ligament which required surgery. Now healthy, he made quick work of Triple-A and earned a promotion to the majors in May. Currently, Beaty is receiving playing time at first base and left field as a platoon bat. At the plate, he is a high-contact hitter with superb bat-to-ball skills, resulting in just 11.5% strikeouts and 6% swinging strikes over the last three years. Further, he possesses above-average pull-side raw power. In sum, Beaty has a legit bat. Given his poor defense and struggles against left-handed pitching, however, he likely will remain a platoon bat at best moving forward.
Evan White, Seattle Mariners. After yet another slow start (.248/.341/.333 through May), White finally took off in June (.366/.392/.667), including a 23-game hitting streak. At his best, he is a line-drive machine with plus pull-side power. Already, White has nearly as many home runs this year (9) as all of last year (11). There is potential for above-average hit and power tools here, though both often play down due to his pull-heavy approach and inconsistent plate discipline.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 23, 2019
Kevin Cron, Arizona Diamondbacks. A resurgent Christian Walker relegated Cron back to Triple-A, where he has continued to mash (10-for-27, 5 HR, 13 BB). In his brief debut, he flashed his huge power with 4 doubles and 4 home runs, including a stellar 15.4% barrels/plate appearance. Meanwhile, he also suffered a fair amount of swing-and-miss, which is to be expected for a large power hitter in his first taste of the majors. Ultimately, he should make enough contact to profile similarly to his brother C.J. as a slugging first baseman. Cron will be back sooner rather than later, and he is a hold in dynasty formats.
Roberto Ramos, Colorado Rockies. Last year, Ramos broke out, hitting .269/.368/.574 with 32 home runs between High-A and Double-A. Many dismissed his performance in the California League as a product of his hitting environment and age (23). While he continued to hit for power in the Eastern League, he struggled with swing-and-miss (32.9% strikeouts and 18% swinging strikes). This year, Ramos has continued, and built upon, his breakout in Triple-A (.302/.396/.588), including a particularly hot June (.375/.457/.713, 7 HR). There is still some swing-and-miss, and the Pacific Coast League has inflated his numbers, but he has double-plus raw power and maybe enough hitting ability to stay afloat in the majors.
Others of Note:
- Nate Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (.318/.453/.529)
- Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox (.279/.340/.558)
- Matt Thaiss, Los Angeles Angels (.290/.427/.560)
- Taylor Jones, Houston Astros (.388/.515/.613)
- Mike Ford, New York Yankees (.266/.386/.596, 8 HR)
- Jose Marmolejos, Washington Nationals (.493/.532/.831)
- Sean Bouchard, Colorado Rockies (.319/.377/.637)
- Luis Castro, Colorado Rockies (.286/.426/.610)
Grant Lavigne, Colorado Rockies. A competitive balance selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, Lavigne enjoyed a loud debut at just 18 years old in the Pioneer League (.350/.477/.519). As such, most, including me, had great expectations for him this year, especially hitting at McCormick Field in Asheville. Unfortunately, Lavigne has hit for little power, including 0 home runs in June (.258/.355/.312), and his estimated fly ball distance through May has fallen 7.5% from last year.
Others of Note:
- Will Craig, Pittsburgh Pirates (.218/.288/.287)
- Jake Gatewood, Milwaukee Brewers (.170/.212/.287 with 43 strikeouts)
Additional First Base Prospect Notes
- Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins has battled injuries all year, including a wrist injury which delayed his start by a month. Meanwhile, he has received playing time at first base and right field (53/47 split).
- While Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles hit .288/.306/.508 in June, he also had an ugly 33-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Questionable plate discipline continues to plague his promising hit tool.
- Ibandel Isabel, Cincinnati Reds returned from a two-week absence on a tear (15-for-41 with 5 home runs).
- Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals received a late assignment to Low-A in June (.264/.349/.528).
- Heriberto Hernandez, Texas Rangers finished second to Malcom Nunez in hitting in the Dominican Summer League last year (.292/.464/.635). In his state-side debut, he is off to a strong start in the Arizona League (.310/.382/.552).
- In case you missed it, 18-year-old Robert Perez, Seattle Mariners spent nearly a month in Triple-A before a reassignment to the age-appropriate Northwest League.
- J.J. Matijevic, Houston Astros returned from suspension this month.
- Notable 2019 draftees: Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox (TBD); Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies (NWL); Logan Wyatt, San Francisco Giants (TBD); Tristin English, Arizona Diamondbacks (NWL)
- Notable June promotions: Lewin Diaz, Minnesota Twins (High-A to Double-A); Curtis Terry, Texas Rangers (Low-A to High-A)
Notable Second Base Prospect Performances
The Rising Second Base Prospect
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays. Yet another slow starter, Biggio hit just .146/.327/.220 over his first 14 games. For patient owners, he delivered 5 home runs over his next 17 games (.288/.386/.610). As a hitter, Biggio certainly is patient, with a 21 walks (17.2%) and 4.40 pitches/plate appearance. Given his extremely passive approach (32.6% swings!), he will resemble a three-true-outcomes slugger despite reasonable swing-and-miss (7.6% swinging strikes). In addition, his leveraged swing is also extreme, resulting in 19.9° launch angle and 49.2% fly balls. As such, Biggio taps into every ounce of his above-average raw power. Finally, he also has some speed (average-to-above) and already has accumulated 4 stolen bases. All told, he is an underrated source of power and speed, and a potential fantasy darling in on-base percentage formats.
"What a night for Cavan Biggio!"
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 18, 2019
Two players who compare favorably to David Fletcher graduated this month.
Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals. Following a terrible start to his major league career (.205/.244/.291), Lopez has begun to turn things around over his last 12 games (.340/.400/.426). A high-contact, slap-hitter, he has made little authoritative contact (18.5% hard hits) and provided no speed (1-for-2 SB). Ultimately, his upside is modest, but, if he hits near the top of the lineup (mostly second), he can squeeze some value through batting average, runs, and some stolen bases.
Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels. Like Lopez, Rengifo has rebounded from a slow start, hitting .281/.330/.438 with 3 home runs in June. Further, he is far from powerless, with borderline-average raw power and plenty of hard contact (38.1%). After stealing 41 bases last year, however, he has just 3 on 8 attempts this year. Regardless, Rengifo does have average-to-above speed and solid instincts so double-digits stolen bases over a season is a realistic expectation.
The Major League Second Base Prospect
Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers. The return of Travis Shaw temporarily forced the demotion of Hiura back to Triple-A, where he continued tearing the cover of the ball (.321/.406/.655, 8 HR). Meanwhile, Shaw continued his collapse (.167/.310/.313). Eventually, the Brewers had enough, bringing back Hiura and optioning Shaw at the end of the month. Few second basemen carry as much upside as Hiura, who is a potential plus hitter with plus power and average-to-above speed.
Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins. It is difficult to ignore a prospect who has begun his major league career 23-for-52 (.442/.524/.558). Only David Fletcher (there he is again!) has less swing-and-miss than Arraez (4.8% strikeouts and 2.8% swinging strikes). A career .331 hitter in the minors, he is a natural hitter who utilizes a short swing and next-level bat-to-ball skills to slap the ball to all fields. Prior to the 2018 season, I noted, “Arraez is a potentially elite hitter.” With all that said about his fantastic hit tool, he has next to no game power due to his approach, and average-to-below speed. Arraez certainly could hit an empty .300, but such performance carries little fantasy value.
Others of Note:
- Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals
- Thairo Estrada, New York Yankees
Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox. Since his promotion to Double-A in early June, Madrigal has caught fire (.384/.444/.452). Over his first 19 games, he has almost no swing-and-miss (1 strikeout, 1.7% swinging strikes) and 9 stolen bases. If you like Luis Arraez, Madrigal has comparable levels of elite swing-and-miss with elite speed (26 stolen bases). Whether he will develop game power is an open question. Some believe he will due to his double-plus hit tool and semblance of raw power. Others believe his diminutive size (5’7″ and 165 pounds) and present production point to no future power. Even without much power, Madrigal still has impact potential with a high average, and plenty of runs and stolen bases.
Nick Madrigal. All hustle. 🏃♂️💨
— Birmingham Barons (@BhamBarons) June 26, 2019
Isan Diaz, Miami Marlins. Last month’s rising second base prospect, Diaz has not stopped hitting. In fact, he has been even better in June (.337/.433/.730, 8 HR)! Diaz possesses plus raw power, a potential average hit tool with an all-fields approach, and solid second base defense. With Starlin Castro continuing to struggle, and the Marlins looking to the future, Diaz, who is already on the 40-man roster, should arrive soon.
Luisangel Acuña, Texas Rangers. The younger brother of Ronald Acuña, Luisangel signed with the Rangers for $425,000 last summer. Now, he leads the Dominican Summer League in hitting (.420/.510/.545). Acuña lacks his brother’s physicality (listed at just 5’10” and 155 pounds) and likely is a second baseman long-term. However, he has a promising hit tool, some pop, and plus speed.
Others of Note:
- Nick Solak, Tampa Bay Rays (.293/.383/.596, 9 HR)
- Joshua Rojas, Houston Astros (.267/.353/.535, 5 HR, 8 SB)
- Devin Mann, Los Angeles Dodgers (.286/.353/.637, 9 HR)
- Esteban Quiroz, San Diego Padres (.306/.386/.597)
- Trent Giambrone, Chicago Cubs (.267/.344/.651, 10 HR)
- Riley Mahan, Miami Marlins (.325/.365/.538, promoted to Double-A)
- Ivan Castillo, San Diego Padres (.355/.368/.579)
Tucupita Marcano, San Diego Padres. As an initial matter, Marcano is enjoying a fine campaign in Low-A (.279/.335/.352, 103 wRC+), even including his June struggles (.219/.266/.274). Further, he makes tons of contact and limits swing-and-miss (10.3% strikeouts and 4.8% swinging strikes). By all accounts, he possesses a potential plus hit tool. The issue is his lack of power (1 HR) and speed (5-for-13 SB). In fact, over 161 state-side games, he has just 2 home runs and 20 stolen bases (57% success rate).
Others of Note:
- Shervyen Newton, New York Mets (.159/.256/.203)
Additional Second Base Prospect Notes
- As predicted, the Astros reassigned 19-year-old Luis Santana to the New York-Penn League from Double-A.
- Omar Estevez, Los Angeles Dodgers is on a rehab assignment in the Arizona League.
- Eddy Diaz, Colorado Rockies is already showing off his elite speed in his state-side debut, with 2 triples and 8 stolen bases in his first 13 games.
- Notable 2019 draftees: Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers (TBD); Tyler Callihan, Cincinnati Reds (APP); Chase Strumpf, Chicago Cubs (AZL); Josh Smith, New York Yankees (TBD)
- Notable June promotions: Vidal Brujan, Tampa Bay Rays (High-A to Double-A); Rodolfo Castro, Pittsburgh Pirates (Low-A to High-A); Andy Young, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A to Triple-A); Yonny Hernandez, Texas Rangers (High-A to Double-A); Jean Carmona, Baltimore Orioles (NYP to Low-A)
- Notable June injuries: Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (right shoulder impingement)
Notable Third Base Prospect Performances
The Rising Third Base Prospect
Sherten Apostel, Texas Rangers. Another breakout pick of mine, Apostel struggled through early May (.163/.245/.239). Since then, however, he has been one of the best hitters in the South Atlantic League, hitting .313/.388/.599 with 11 home runs. Still raw at the plate, Apostel has made significant progress in the span of a few months, adapting to the more advanced arms in Low-A. Further, he has exhibited reasonable swing-and-miss (9.9% swinging strikes) despite his swing length. When he connects, he flashes explosive contact to all fields. Regardless of present performance, however, Apostel is all about projection, with a 6’4″ frame which promises potential plus or better raw power. Given his progress, it is easy to dream on future average-to-above hitting ability and plus game power.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves. It was only a matter of time before Riley started to fall back to Earth. This past month, he continued his power barrage with 7 more home runs, but saw his average plummet 90 points before a strong final two games. Although Riley has massive, 70-grade raw power, he also suffers substantial swing-and-miss (32.2% strikeouts and 20.1% swinging strikes). At the moment, his poor contact rate (65.4%) is offset by his hard hit rate (49.5%). Over time, his batting average likely will regress to .250-.260 with more stable luck on balls in play.
Others of Note:
- Dawel Lugo, Detroit Tigers
The Major League Third Base Prospect
Edwin Rios, Los Angeles Dodgers. Repeating Triple-A this year, Rios took awhile to get going, hitting just .217/.271/.386 through May. A resurgent June (.321/.387/.679), however, lead to a call up and two starts to finish the month. Despite his recent success, Rios has really struggled with shaky plate discipline and swing-and-miss issues this year (36.3% strikeouts and 18.5% swinging strikes). Further, he is a well below-average defender and slow as molasses. Nevertheless, Rios possesses mammoth raw power to all fields and could run into some home runs.
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies. The third overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Bohm disappointed in his debut last year (.252/.335/.324). As such, many questioned his bat despite the limited sample size. In fact, Bohm is the only college hitter selected in the top 10 over the past 9 drafts to start his career in Low-A. Thus far, he has answered his doubters, breezing through two levels to Double-A. Between High-A and Double-A, Bohm hit .321/.409/.543 in June. On the year, he has demonstrated a disciplined approach with minimal swing-and-miss (13.7% strikeouts and 8% swinging strikes). While Bohm has plus or better raw power, his hit-over-power approach causes his power to play down in games. Still, he has enormous upside should he find a balanced approach.
Bohm is right at home!
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 28, 2019
Ty France, San Diego Padres. Upon the return of Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres optioned France back to Triple-A. There, he has picked up where he left off, obliterating the Pacific Coast League (.351/.449/.838, 10 HR). On the year, he has a silly 38.1% line drive rate and 51.8% home run-to-fly ball rate with reasonable swing-and-miss. At his best, France is a solid average-to-above hitter with above-average raw power. However, a crowded major league roster likely relegates France to Triple-A until an injury opens up another opportunity.
Sheldon Neuse, Oakland Athletics. A disastrous performance in Triple-A last year (.263/.304/.357 with 172 strikeouts) caused Neuse’s stock to plummet. This past month, he truly rediscovered his stroke (.396/.473/.677), including an epic 23-for-33 stretch. Notably, Neuse has cut his strikeout rate by 10% and his swinging strike rate by 5% while doubling his walk rate. This is a different hitter this year.
Others of Note:
- Kean Wong, Tampa Bay Rays (.329/.370/.526)
- Brandon Howlett, Boston Red Sox (.353/.477/.529)
- Joe Rizzo, Seattle Mariners (.295/.374/.500)
- Zach Green, San Francisco Giants (.299/.382/.714)
- Dylan Busby, Pittsburgh Pirates (.280/.352/.561)
- Austin Listi, Philadelphia Phillies (promoted to Triple-A)
- Kevin Padlo, Tampa Bay Rays (.319/.443/.710)
Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals. Over his first 22 games, Gorman had his way with the Midwest League (.329/.398/.683). Since then, he has been terrible, hitting just .193/.312/.332 with 66 strikeouts (29.9%). This complete collapse has received little attention, and it should create some renewed doubt regarding his hit tool.
Others of Note:
- Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies (.182/.242/.341)
Additional Third Base Prospect Notes
- Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates missed nearly three weeks with a fractured left index finger.
- Hudson Potts, San Diego Padres missed most of June with an undisclosed injury.
- Notable 2019 draftees: Josh Jung, Texas Rangers (TBD); Brett Baty, New York Mets (GCL); Kody Hoese, Los Angeles Dodgers (AZL); Davis Wendzel, Texas Rangers (TBD); Nick Quintana, Detroit Tigers (Low-A); Aaron Schunk, Colorado Rockies (NWL); Rece Hinds, Cincinnati Reds (APP); Drew Mendoza, Washington Nationals (TBD)
Notable Shortstop Prospect Performances
The Rising Shortstop Prospect
Marco Luciano, San Francisco Giants. At just 17 years old, Luciano has turned heads this year, from extended spring training to his brief state-side debut in the Arizona League. Over his first 10 games, he has already hit 7 extra base hits and launched 4 home runs (.333/.458/.744). Some even consider Luciano a future superstar, with elite bat speed and easy plus raw power. Plus, his wiry and athletic 6’2″ frame promises even more power to come. If any prospect has a chance to enjoy a Wander Franco meteoric rise, it is Luciano.
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres. An awkward split, resulting in a left hamstring strain, sidelined Tatis Jr. for over a month. Since his return, he has been a man possessed, hitting .383/.457/.691 with 5 home runs and 6 stolen bases. While it is difficult to argue with his actual production (.337/.405/.613), Tatis Jr. has massively overperformed (.440 BABIP, .235 xBA and .456 xSLG). Still, he is a special player with plus or better raw power, plus speed, and a solid hit tool. For some, Tatis Jr. is already a top 10 dynasty player, if not top 5.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 30, 2019
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays. With the graduation of Tatis Jr., Franco is now the top fantasy prospect. In late June, he received a promotion to High-A, where he has been incredible in his first week of action, going 10-for-18 with 2 home runs (.556/.609/.944). The Rays notoriously promote prospects slowly, and Franco likely spends the rest of the year in High-A Florida State League. How he handles the pitcher-friendly FSL will be telling. So far, so good!
CJ Abrams, San Diego Padres. The sixth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Abrams is easily adapting to professional ball. In just 9 games, he already has 20 hits and 3 stolen bases in the Arizona League (.476/.489/.667). Known for his elite speed, Abrams can also hit and some even project above-average raw power at peak. Currently, he favors contact over power. Even if his game power does not quite take off as anticipated, Abrams still has 10+ home run and 40+ stolen base potential.
— The Welsh (@IsItTheWelsh) June 19, 2019
Jeter Downs, Los Angeles Dodgers. The California League, and specifically hitter-friendly Rancho Cucamonga, is treating Downs well. This past month, he flashed his power (7 HR) and speed (7 SB) upside (.278/.357/.577). Nearly all his offensive tools are average, but play up due to his heady, aggressive approach. Specifically, he maximizes his pull-side average raw power with a leveraged swing (51.6% FB). In addition, Downs steals plenty of bases despite average speed due to strong instincts. Be careful reading too much into his performance, as he has hit just .237/.328/.391 away from home.
Others of Note:
- Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (.333/.408/.524, 7 SB)
- Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals (.322/.451/.544)
- Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers (.348/.423/.543, promoted to Triple-A)
- Noelvi Marte, Seattle Mariners (.317/.372/.500, 9 SB)
- Ryan Vilade, Colorado Rockies (.340/.356/.557)
- Mauricio Dubon, Milwaukee Brewers (.342/.373/.567)
- Edmundo Sosa, St. Louis Cardinals (.298/.388/.548)
- Chad De La Guerra, Boston Red Sox (.354/.446/.719)
- Donnie Walton, Seattle Mariners (.376/.471/.494)
- Robbie Glendinning, Pittsburgh Pirates (.379/.450/.586, promoted to Double-A)
Wander Javier, Minnesota Twins. I’m sorry Dusty, but Javier had a bad month, hitting just .163/.247/.263, including an uninspiring 4-for-48 stretch to end the month. Likely rusty after his long absence, he will require patience.
Others of Note:
- Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins (.240/.243/.375, 20-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio)
- Luis Garcia, Philadelphia Phillies (.170/.284/.273)
- Jeremy Eierman, Oakland Athletics (45 strikeouts)
Additional Shortstop Prospect Notes
- Luis Garcia, Washington Nationals, still the youngest player in Double-A Eastern League, had a rebound performance in June (.312/.333/.385).
- Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs and Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates are on rehab assignments in rookie ball.
- Terrin Vavra, Colorado Rockies is enjoying a strong season in Low-A (.328/.410/.517). However, he is old for the level (22), plays in a bandbox (.256/.331/.372 away), and scouting reports remain pessimistic.
- Notable 2019 draftees: Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals (AZL); Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies (TBD); Keoni Cavaco, Minnesota Twins (GCL); Greg Jones, Tampa Bay Rays (NYP); Will Wilson, Los Angeles Angels (PIO); Logan Davidson, Oakland Athletics (NYP); Braden Shewmake, Atlanta Braves (Low-A); Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles (TBD); Brady McConnell, Kansas City Royals (PIO); Cameron Cannon, Boston Red Sox (NYP); Matthew Lugo, Boston Red Sox (GCL); Nasim Nunez, Miami Marlins (GCL); Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees (APP); Kyren Paris, Los Angeles Angels (TBD);
- Notable June promotions: Tyler Freeman, Cleveland Indians (Low-A to High-A); Alexander Vargas, New York Yankees (DSL to GCL); Taylor Walls, Tampa Bay Rays (High-A to Double-A); Jeremy Pena, Houston Astros (Low-A to High-A); Logan Warmoth, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A to Double-A); Alex De Jesus, Los Angeles Dodgers (DSL to AZL)