Alex Jackson- Jackson dominated the California prep scene from 2012-14, and was the best power hitting prep bat in the 2014 draft class. A big physical kid, stood six-foot-two and 215 pounds, Jackson had double-plus raw power and was such a good prep hitter that several teams were planning on drafting him and moving him out from behind the plate to draw the most out of the bat. That’s exactly what the Mariners did when they selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft. You know the story from here. Whether it was the shoulder injury, or the aggressive initial assignment by the Mariners, Jackson didn’t hit. The Mariners front office was reshuffled, and as it often goes, the old GM’s guys are sent out and that’s exactly what happened here. Jackson was sent to the Braves for Max Povse and Rob Whalen. The Braves also moved him back to his old high school position after hiring the Mariners former minor league catching coordinator.
He had a mini breakout in 2017 when he hit a combined .267/.328/.480 with 19 homers. He gets to his power because he’s so strong, but he struggles with elite velocity and doesn’t have the bat speed to hit for a high average. He struggled in the high minors in 2018 hitting .201/.286/.360. He’s on the 40-man and gets the call after Brian McCann gets placed on the Injured List. For Triple-A Gwinnett thus far in 2019 Jackson is one-for-seven with three strikeouts. Jackson was ranked 14th on the Braves top 30 list.
Jason Martin- Martin has hit at every stop. He’s had to. He’s five-foot-nine and has had to earn every opportunity so far. The former 8th round pick of the Astros owns a .270/.343/.443 triple slash with average pop and speed. In fact, Martin has average tools across the board and no plus skill. A swing change (launch angle!) has worked and provided Martin with more power while not sacrificing average. He’s consistent and has hit between .270 and .278 for four straight minor league campaigns. He can play center but fits best in left field due his below average arm. Martin projects as a long-term fourth outfielder, and he’s ready for the big leagues. He was part of the return for the Pirates in the Gerrit Cole deal. Martin was ranked 20th on the Pirates top 30 list.
Josh Fuentes- Despite winning the 2018 Pacific Coast League MVP, Fuentes will always be known as Jonah Arenado’s cousin. Oh, and Nolan too. Fuentes mashed in Albuquerque last season posting a .327/.354/.517 line with 39 doubles and 14 homers. That followed up a .307/.352/.517 line at Double-A Hartford. He can clearly hit, and he will make contact as he has posted strikeout rates between 16-20% at every stop. The problem is he’s over aggressive and the walk rate has dropped all the way down to 3.4%. Don’t blink when Fuentes is at the plate or you’ll miss it. Despite the strong offensive numbers the ceiling for the 26 year-old Fuentes is corner bench bat. With today’s shrinking benches players with that skill set are destined to ride the shuttle from Triple-A to the bigs. Getting to the big leagues as an undrafted free agent speaks volumes about the work ethic and makeup here. Fuentes was ranked 23rd on the Rockies top 30 list.