This week we kick off an on-going off-season series here at Prospects Live based around debating two players with similar profiles. We’re obviously splitting hairs on these guys, but that’s the point. To dig in, have some uncomfortable conversations and provide some differing perspectives. Feel free to hop into the comments and add your two cents. Suggestions for future battles are encouraged as well. Enjoy!
We’ve been getting a lot of questions via e-mail and have tried to respond to them either written or via podcast. We encourage the questions! Feel free to email us at email@example.com or simply use the hashtag #AskProspectsLive. Ya dig? You got a questions, we got an answer! So let’s dive right in…
On Monday morning at 11 AM eastern the Miami Marlins, did something that’s become commonplace in this ownership’s tenure. They held a press conference to address a recent transaction, and tout the youth they’d recently acquired. Even for the most feverish Marlins fan, the site of “The Captain” sitting in front of a mic explaining anything has to leave you with a low grade form of PTSD. This time was different. Figurehead Derek Jeter wasn’t tasked with explaining an inexplicably underwhelming return. No, this time Jeter was proudly puffing out his chest, the victorious hero of South Beach.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions via e-mail and have tried to respond to them either written or via podcast. We encourage the questions! Feel free to email us firstname.lastname@example.org or simply use the hashtag #AskProspectsLive. Ya dig? You got a questions, we got an answer! So let’s dive right in…
Are you prepared to throw everything you know about Arizona Fall League squads out the window and fall in love with the Scottsdale Scorpions? We’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing the construction of Fall League pitching staffs. They’re a mix of good relief prospects, fringe 40-man roster types, and talented arms coming off a season with a lighter workload due to injuries or other factors. The third description best captures Scottsdale’s staff; this team is loaded with front end talent, the leading attraction for the club. Some names that jump off the roster sheet are Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez, the Astros’ top prospect Forrest Whitley, and system-mate J.B. Bukauskas. The roster features plenty more star power besides pitching, including Top 100 prospects like Taylor Trammell, Peter Alonso, and PL-favorite Andres Gimenez, and interesting under the radar types like Shed Long, Austin Listi, Garrett Williams, and Arquimedes Gamboa. The Scorpions draw from the Mets, Phillies, Giants, Astros, and Reds, one of the best talent pools in the circuit for manager Willie Harris’ to play with. Below we’ll discuss some of the top names, highlight players to watch, and detail one of the more talented rosters in the desert this autumn.
A saguaro is a tree-like cactus native to Southwestern Arizona and Northwestern Mexico. When you think of what a cactus looks like, there’s a good chance you’re thinking of a saguaro. Surprise’s surname makes for one of the better hats in the AFL, although I’m partial to Mesa’s half-sun. If I had to rank all of the hats, I would proceed as follows:
The roster for the Glendale Desert Dogs is made up of players from the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees organizations. The Glendale squad might have the weakest pitching staff of any team in the Fall League, but their outfield is absolutely stacked. The infield lacks star power but has several future big leaguers that are a bit under the radar.
The big names in the group are Anderson, Muller, and Wentz but Braves fans will be more interested to know the status of Patrick Weigel’s surgically repaired elbow. 2018 4th round pick Tristan Beck out of Stanford could be another big arm in the Braves SP pipeline.
The Peoria Javelinas’ roster is comprised of players from the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Mariners. A case could be made that the Padres, Braves, and Rays are the top three organizations in the game when it comes to prospects, but, at first glance, the Peoria squad appears to be lacking firepower.
2018 1st round pick Grayson Rodriguez is the player to watch while former top prospect Hunter Harvey looks to get his career back on track.
RHP: Ryan Conroy, Gray Fenter, Hector Guance, Brenan Hanifee, Hunter Harvey, Yeankrlos Lleras, Marcos Molina, Jarrett Montgomery, Tim Naughton, Luis Perez, Grayson Rodriguez, Cody Sedlock, Collin Woody, and Jake Zebron
LHP: Cody Hacker, Matthew Hammonds, Zach Matson, Drew Rom, and Jayvien Sandridge
To call the Yankees minor league pitching staff loaded is an understatement. We could write 10,000 words just on their teenage pitchers. Five of which have average FB velocities of 98+ mph. Roansy Contreras and Luis Gil were superb in short-season ball. Luis Medina has the best raw stuff of any pitcher in the minors. 19-year old Deivi Garcia ascended all the way to AA in his first taste of full-season ball.
RHP: Albert Abreu, Pedro Barrios, Jhony Brito, Roansy Contreras, Derek Craft, Pedro Espinola, Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Yoendrys Gomez, Rodney Hutchinson, Nolan Martinez, Luis Medina, Anderson Munoz, Tanner Myatt, Nick Nelson, Glenn Otto, Juan Then, Alexander Vizcaino, and Miguel Yajure
LHP: Anderson Severino
2017 1st round pick Tanner Houck and 5th round pick Alex Scherff are the big names headlining the pitchers in Red Sox camp.
RHP: Eduard Bazardo, Brayan Bello, Durbin Feltman, Tanner Houck, Francisco Lopez-Soto, Chris Machamer, Joan Martinez, Alexander Montero, Andrew Politi, Aldo Ramirez, Roniel Raudes, Yasel Santana, Zach Schellenger, Alex Scherff, Chase Shugart, Miguel Suero, and Thad Ward
LHP: Yoan Aybar and Josh Taylor
Newly acquired Shane Baz, 2017 1st rounder from Pittsburgh. Baz was included in the Archer deal. 2018 first rounders Matthew Liberatore, Shane McLanahan, and 2017 1st round pick Brendan McKay.
RHP: Shane Baz, Taj Bradley, Vincent Byrd, Eleardo Cabrera, Tanner Dodson, Miguel Lara, Easton McGee, Michael Mercado, Joel Peguero, Tommy Romero, Simon Rosenblum-Larson, Joe Ryan, Jhonleider Salinas, Alan Strong, Alex Valverde, and Stephen Yancey.
LHP: Matthew Liberatore, Resley Linares, Jose Lopez, Shane McLanahan, Brendan McKay, Luis Moncada, Steffon Moore, Francisco Sanchez, Nick Sprengel.
Camera-wielding drones buzzed overhead, and there was no shade to be found save for the unintentional sort—in the shadow of a large pole or beside the small building strategically placed in the center of the quad fields. Ninety minutes into the second camp day, I had finally mustered enough “courage” to approach members of the Toronto Blue Jays staff who had been running the start of their instructs camp. My untrained eye deduced these men fell into three categories: coaches, player development staff, and video crew. (And a mysterious forth category, polo shirt question mark?)
The facilities at Salt River, which is the spring training home to the Diamondbacks and Rockies, are considered to be the best in baseball and the Salt River team should be amongst the top in the Fall League. The 2018 Salt River Rafters will be comprised of prospects from the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Nationals, Marlins, and Twins organizations. The collection of offensive talent and athleticism on this team will be hard to top with as many as six top-100 prospects selected for this team. Brendan Rodgers and Carter Kieboom are two of the most well known prospects here, but there are plenty of others to get excited about.
After finishing as the runner-up to Peoria in 2017, the Solar Sox bring a somewhat sub-par roster into 2018 league play. The highlights include a strong infield, some athletic outfielders, and a strong defensive catcher in Jake Rogers. Then again, this is the Arizona Fall League, who cares about records and such? We’re here for the prospects. A product of your affiliates organizational depth, Mesa draws from the Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Angels, and A’s. Not exactly the strongest group to pull from when the Tigers, Angels, and A’s don’t send their biggest name talent. That’s not to say there isn’t a strong group of future major leaguers to follow, but more on that below it’s the 2018 Mesa Solar Sox Preview.