The Draft will be here before we know it. Here’s the top 50 players to keep your eye on leading into June.
Sometimes less is more. For example, the extended moment of commentator silence after a pivotal, game-changing play. That’s how I wanted to treat this post. These videos will do a much better job explaining various skills than my words ever could. Enjoy.
|Position Players - Hit|
|Overall Hit||Vlad Guerrero||Keston Hiura||Carter Kieboom||Tyler Nevin||Nico Hoerner|
|Strikezone Awareness||Vlad Guerrero||Ryan McKenna||Tyler Nevin||Austin Listi||Lucius Fox|
|Barrel Control||Vlad Guerrero||Carter Kieboom||Keston Hiura||Esteban Quiroz||Austin Listi|
|Bat Speed||Keston Hiura||Vlad Guerrero||Nico Hoerner||Jazz Chisholm||Jahmai Jones|
|Raw Power||Peter Alonso||Luis Robert||Vladimir Guerrero||Will Craig||Darick Hall|
|Game Power||Peter Alonso||Vladimir Guerrero||Luis Robert||Will Craig||Keston Hiura|
|Speed||Nick Heath||Julio Pablo Martinez||Estevan Florial||Taylor Trammell||Andres Gimenez|
|Baserunning Acumen||Keston Hiura||Daulton Varsho||Ronnie Dawson||Skye Bolt|
|Position Players - Defense|
|Overall Defense||Cristian Pache||Lucius Fox||Jazz Chisholm||Ali Sanchez||Cole Tucker|
|OF Range||Cristian Pache||Nick Heath||Ryan McKenna||Luis Barrera||Daniel Woodrow|
|IF Range||Lucius Fox||Jazz Chisholm||Andres Gimenez||Cole Tucker||Yu Chang|
|Instincts||Lucius Fox||Cristian Pache||Ryan McKenna||Laz Rivera||Yu Chang|
|Hands||Jazz Chisholm||Lucius Fox||Cole Tucker||Yu Chang||Hudson Potts|
|Feet||Cole Tucker||Jazz Chisholm||Andres Gimenez||Nico Hoerner||Santiago Espinal|
|Arm||Monte Harrison||Cole Tucker||Khalil Lee||Cristian Pache||Skye Bolt|
Putting together videos for defense would be an arduous and often fruitless endeavor. Cristian Pache and Lucius Fox were definite standouts here. Both are incredibly tooled-up and instinctive players. They will contribute at the major league level regardless of the utility of their bats. Jazz Chisholm is special all around and might have been the most tooled-up player in the whole league. Laz Rivera made a crazy diving stop at Camelback Ranch one day to cut off an errant OF throw and saved multiple runs from scoring. It was an incredible display of instincts. Picking only five was hard for some of these categories. There were some serious tools on display this fall.
|Ease of Delivery||Miguel Diaz||Jon Duplantier||Gregory Soto||Melvin Adon||Tyler Viza|
|Command||Jordan Yamamoto||Forrest Whitley||Mike Shawaryn||Tyler Viza|
|Arm Speed||J.B. Bukauskas||Jordan Sheffield||Darwinzon Hernandez||Dalbert Siri||Gerson Bautista|
|Deception||Jackson McClelland||Trent Thornton||Justin Lawrence||Jordan Mills||Mike Shawaryn|
|Extension||Nate Pearson||Ryan Castellani||Brett Hanewich||Evan Kruczynski|
|Fastball||Nate Pearson||Melvin Adon||Miguel Diaz||Justin Lawrence||Jackson McClelland|
|Slider||J.B. Bukauskas||Garrett Williams||Nate Pearson||Matt Wivinis||Ryan Castellani|
|Curveball||Jordan Yamamoto||Darwinzon Hernandez||Justin Steele||Forrest Whitley||Jon Duplantier|
|Changeup||Forrest Whitley||Travis Radke||Ryan Castellani||Jesus Castillo||Mike Shawaryn|
If you could imagine baseball being played in heaven, or whichever divine afterlife you choose, what would it look like? What would the park or stadium be like? Who’s playing in the game? All-time greats? Kids? Angels? Victoria Secret Angels? While you ponder an all model baseball game, and question if the trade off of in-game quality is worth the eye candy. Let me tell you about my heaven.
It’s quite possible that Ralph Liftshitz (@prospectjesus) inception’d this idea into my mind last night when I was sleeping. But it’s a good idea, so fuck it, let’s roll with it! The collective pace of fall baseball in Arizona would aptly be described as frenetic. Prospects here, prospects there, prospects everywhere. From the start of instructs to date, I’ve seen 13 of the top 40 MLB Draft picks from 2018 (only counted game action). Having seen 2 previously, that makes 15 total. I love lists. You love lists. Your Gradma loves lists, so does her dog. Before this turns into the worst haiku of all time, let’s rank the top 10 draftees I have seen in person.
We all dig the long ball, but what do 100 mph fastballs do for you? I personally get pretty excited, however, when I see a pitcher back up the heater with a 79 sweeping curveball, now we’re cooking!
The Welsh here with a live look at one of the hardest throwers in the Arizona Fall League, Nate Pearson. I’m lucky enough to live out in Arizona, where baseball seems to never take a break.
Kristian Robinson, OF - Diamondbacks VIDEO
Age: 17 (12/11/00)
Strong as hell, can’t believe he’s 17. Prototype body, will only get bigger; elite athlete. Thick thighs. Slightly open base stance with hands near head. Short stride forward. Limited lower body use, relies on upper body strength which is prolific. Hit massive HR to L/CF. Below average OF arm in morning drills. Possible LF future but the bat should carry the profile even if there is a move down the defensive spectrum.
Brice Turang, SS Brewers - 1st Round VIDEO
Smooth at short, solid hands, IF actions, and reactions. Quick first step and nice range to get to ball off Sugilio’s bat. Plus arm. Patient hitter; took 11 pitches:zero swings in first two ABs. Wide base stance, kept weight back and bat path was linear, maybe a slight uppercut in his one swing in his third AB.
The body is phenomenal and Whitley had me reconsidering “what is the ideal frame for a pitcher?” As I jotted my notes, per usual, I found myself writing prototype pitcher frame. Is it though? Conventional wisdom says a prototype body for a pitcher is something like 6’3” 220 lbs. Whitley stands at 6’7”, warranting the LOL shorthand in my notes (lots of legs).
Independent League Baseball – If you haven’t seen an indy ball game, do yourself a favor and get on that. You won’t truly have an appreciation for the professional baseball landscape as a whole until you do. Off the top of my head there are EIGHT LEAGUES OF GUYS just trying to get an opportunity in the minors, and that is mind-boggling.
2B/SS Adam Hall- Solid defender with good first-step quickness, but looks like more of a 2B than a SS. Made nice play to his right with Jeter-esq jump throw to second for a force out. Upright stance and stays upright through swing. Mostly hands and little lower half. Linear bat path. Will take outside pitches to opposite field. VIDEO
Thunk. Thump. Splat. A 2017 Nissan Versa sped southbound down I75 cresting at around 95 mph. Bugs spattered across the car’s windshield forming a Pollock bereft of color. Stewing, I silently cursed my own stupidity. F****** idiot! Having originally planned to see Blue Jays camp in Dunedin, a last minute audible had me headed from Tampa to Fort Myers. Most instructs games start at 1 PM, but this was scheduled for noon, something I had not realized until 9:30 AM. I pulled into the parking lot at 11:54 and hastily checked the backfields before realizing the game was to be played at JetBlue Stadium. Scouts had already assembled behind home. I sat quietly, slightly askew down the first base line, futilely hoping to not attract attention.
I’ve been to the Yankees backfields a lot in 2018. Often times, there are a few fans, few scouts, and lots of players and coaches in the stands. Most of the time, crowds are light and there are plenty of spots to post up and get video and scout. However, I was not prepared for the circus of the Instructional League. Maybe it was news that Albert Abreu would be starting. Maybe it was the 3 weeks of no local baseball. Whatever it was, the crowd was reminiscent of a Minors Spring Training game. The bleachers were packed and there was a buzz in the air.
Steven Jennings, RHP, 19 years old Video
2017 2nd round pick. Thin frame w/ projection. FB 86-88 T90, mostly straight. Changes speed on Curveball(CV), ranging 76-80 mph. Flashed a true hammer with tight spin. Also throws a SL 82-83. Inconsistent shape.