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.
For starters, the top prospects of each organization are not making their way to Arizona. Despite the overall lack of name brand firepower, this squad features some of the best athletes in the minors, especially in the OF.
Before we dive into the OF, let’s start on the mound.
Summary: The Peoria pitching staff is relief pitcher dominant with Seattle’s David McKay leading the way. McKay pitched across three levels, racking up 85 K’s in 59.1 IP. Tampa’s Matt Krook, acquired in the Evan Longoria trade, struck out 95 in 74 IP. His effectiveness is limited by wildness. He issued 50 free passes. The Braves vaunted pitching staff may not be in Arizona, but one nasty lefty reliever will be. Thomas Burrows fanned 86 in 67.2 IP. His best pitch is a hard breaking slider that neutralizes both sides of the plate. In the rotation, Tampa’s Brandon Lawson and Atlanta’s Jeremy Walker should see plenty of innings. Lawson has a short arm action and throws cross body. He features a FB/SL combo, topping out at 91 in my look. Walker is an athletic righty in the Braves organization. His FB touches mid-90’s but he lacks a true wipeout pitch. He does have some pitchability in his game.
Pitcher to watch: Kyle Muller, LHP Atlanta
Kyle Muller has an XL frame with a projectable body. At 6’6” and 225 pounds, Muller towers over hitters on the mound. His FB works in the low-to-mid 90’s and he can extend the plate. His CB is his best pitch—a deadly over-the-top hammer. He also throws a changeup that flashes above-average fade. Muller will turn 21 on 10/7/18 and has already had success at AA, posting a 3.10 ERA in 29 IP to go with 6 BB and 27 K. He tends to get lost in the shuffle due to the Braves staggering starting pitching depth, but this kid is a stud on the mound. A dominant performance in Arizona and Muller could find himself shooting into the back end of the Top 100 next spring.
Summary: Some really interesting low key-guys on this team. Milwaukee’s Weston Wilson is one player I’ve caught a couple looks at. I like the athletic frame and strength. He has a good feel for the barrel with a pull approach. Keeping with the theme of strong guys with power, the team also features Padres catcher Austin Allen, 3B Hudson Potts and Braves 1B Braxton Davidson. Lucius Fox of the Rays and Ray-Patrick Didder of the Braves will share the SS duties. Both players reached AA and profile as speed first defensive SS. I have seen quite a bit of both players. Long swings and pitch recognition are the biggest things they will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball. 2017 first rounders Keston Hiura (MIL) and Evan White (SEA) round out a deep IF. Both guys have advanced hit tools. Hiura has a compact swing with an advanced approach. The bat is close to MLB ready and really the only thing lacking is reps.
Player to Watch: Hudson Potts, SD
Potts and Allen are the two guys on this infield that I have not gotten eyes on. Potts, 19 years old, reached AA in 2018. Known for big time power, Potts will get the chance to show off his bat on the biggest developmental stage. He will be one of the youngest players in the league. After slashing .260/.335/.455 with 35 doubles and 19 HR, I want to see how Potts handles advanced pitching. There are some concerns with the swing and the hit tool. He may end up being a one tool guy, but when the one tool is power, he is worth the follow.
Summary: I really love the athleticism in the OF. Led by Cristian Pache (ATL) and Buddy Reed (SD), flyballs will never touch green. Pache is an 80-grade defender in CF while Buddy Reed was one of the best athletes I saw in the 2018 Futures Game. Reed is as tooled up as they come. The bat struggled in 43 AA games, so the AFL will be a good test for him. Tampa’s Joe McCarthy missed most of the season, so he will be in Arizona to get more reps. He hit 8 HR while being limited to 180 ABs. The rest of the OF features Ryan Boldt (TB), Trent Grisham (MIL), Izzy Wilson (ATL), and Ian Miller (SEA).
Player to Watch: Cristian Pache, ATL
I referenced Pache’s defense earlier. He is also a 70 runner with a 70 arm. Defense has carried his profile since 16 years old, but this season saw the 19 year old hit 9 HR after coming into 2018 with a goose egg in the HR column. Pache has a strong 6’2” frame with an athletic body that can add 20-25 pounds of muscle without losing the speed and athleticism that makes him a great defender. Based on the defense, arm and speed alone, he possesses three 70+ grade tools. The hit tool is a bit of a mess at times. He will expand the zone and take big swings with a pull approach, missing sliders away. He struggled with keeping his hands back and his front side stiff. However, the athleticism is elite and it is only a matter of time before he learns to harness his untapped offensive potential. When he does, we could be talking about the best prospect in baseball going into 2020.