Category: Team Top 10s

San Francisco Giants 2019 Preseason Top 10

San Francisco Giants 2019 Preseason Top 10

1)

Player: Joey Bart
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: While there were questions whether or not Bart could stick as a catcher coming out of high school, he proved at Georgia Tech he could not only play there but be very good behind the plate. He is a good receiver of the ball and has a plus arm at the position.  When at the plate he has a leg kick that varies in size and stride, leading to some inconsistency in his hand placement when the hips fire. He also can drift out onto his front foot too far making him susceptible to swinging over breaking balls quite often. When he does make contact it is hard contact, as he has plus plus raw power and could be a catcher who hits 30+ home runs a season, mitigating the below average grade you could put on his hit tool.

2)

Player: Heliot Ramos
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: I have little doubt Ramos can stick in center where good reads and above average speed combine with a determined approach to make the plays you expect to fall, although I could see him running into some future injury issues by running into a wall too hard chasing down a fly ball or two. If he eventually fills out too much to stay in center, his arm is more than enough to play in right where he would be a plus defender. He has plus power at the plate, but he is very aggressive his center of gravity is inconsistent through his swing. He can get out front on off-speed stuff, then be caught with his weight too far back to catch up to velocity at times. Ultimately, I do think he becomes a middle of the order bat who plays center, but there will need to be adjustments to his approach at the plate to reach that ceiling.

3)

Player: Shaun Anderson
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” Weight: 225 lbs.
Quick Report: Lost in the bullpen of the Florida Gators watching first rounder after first rounder get the starting nods, Anderson finally moved into a rotation in pro ball and hasn’t looked back. He has a sinking fastball that regularly touches 95 with some arm-side run and an above average slider that would make him a quality reliever option. His change has developed into a pitch that is already average at times but shown signs of being above average, although there are still some inconsistencies still. He breaks off a curve now and then but it hangs too often and I expect him to scratch the pitch before too long. His mechanics are solid and lower effort suggesting he will be able to eat plenty of innings as a starter, where he could become a number three starter, although a number four is more realistic.

4)

Player: Marco Luciano
Position(s): SS Opening Day Age: 17 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Thought by many to be the top IFA of the 2018 crop, there is some belief he may skip over the Dominican Summer League and start his pro career in the AZL this summer at just 17 years of age. There is already real pop in the bat with plenty more to come as he fills out. He has a swing that allows him to barrel up the ball well and will spray line drives all over the field. He currently has plus speed, but that could regress closer to above average as he fills out. He has all the tools to stick at short, but there is always some concern about how a teenage will fill out but, if he does have to move off short, he has plus arm strength that will make him a very good defensive third baseman with the power at the plate to fit the profile.

5)

Player: Logan Webb
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: Webb bounced back well from Tommy John surgery a season ago earning a late season promotion to AA and could threaten the big leagues in September. His fastball is a heavy 96 thanks to sinking run and he has a power slider. The change may improve to average, but I have my doubts it will ever be a truly viable offering. The effort in the delivery is no insignificant, although it is not enough to write him off as a potential starter. If the change does improve beyond where I see it getting to, then he could be a number three or four starter, but I think he is more likely destined to be a high leverage reliever.

6)

Player: Sean Hjelle
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Short A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’11” Weight: 225 lbs.
Quick Report: There is no mistaking Hjelle for another pitcher as he literally stands head and shoulders above his teammates. While he is a very long 6’11”, his delivery is quite controlled and balanced allowing him to have an almost unheard of for his size above average command. The fastball can touch 96 but the extension he gets with his landing leg often finishing less than a foot from the grass in front of the mound allows that to play up even more. His knuckle-curve is easily his best pitch and borders between above average and plus. The change is still inconsistent but has the makings of turning into an average pitch giving him three viable pitches he can spot and a body that can withstand the riggers of an innings eater work load. He does not have much of a ceiling, maybe a number three if absolutely everything breaks right, but he might have a floor of a number five starter, which is incredibly valuable.

7)

Player: Jake Wong
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: Short A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 215 lbs.
Quick Report: Grand Canyon has only recently become a full-fledged Division 1 program, but Wong was selected in the third round a year ago and they could see Quinn Cotton go even higher this year. He has a fastball-curve-change arsenal whose ceiling relies heavy on how the secondary offerings come along. His fastball is an easy above average offering, regularly sitting 94-96 with a good downhill plane, it is the curve that is intriguing. The pitch is inconsistent and can be quite flat at times, but when he really snaps it off it simply falls off the table and will have even the best hitters swinging right over the top. The change has shows signs of being decent, but is well behind the other two offerings, although his good body control allows him to spot it rather well. He may have the upside of a quality number three starter, but there is quite a bit of risk he ever sees anything close to that ceiling.

8)

Player: Alexander Canario
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 18 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 165 lbs.
Quick Report: Canario has the tools to be a special player and plenty of time to put them together, but he is still quite raw. The bat speed is truly plus, problem is the bat plane is about as long as you are going to find as he looks to show off his plus raw power, leading to a lot of swings and misses. If he shortens up the swing and allows his natural bat speed and the strength to come, he will be able to turn that raw power into game power, but he doesn’t make enough contact to do so yet. In the field, he has average to better tools when it comes to glove, speed, and arm, so he has the makings of a future center fielder. This is a guy who has the ceiling of an All Star, but the floor of washing out before seeing AA. I lean more towards him making the adjustments to become a quality big leaguer, but there is a lot of work to do before that becomes something Giants fans can count on.

9)

Player: Heath Quinn
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: Quinn is an odd evaluation as I like him more than I probably should as you could argue he will never even have an average tool, but I think he could put it all together and be a positive WAR left fielder. His best tool by far is the raw power, although he does not make enough hard contact in games to really tap into that power as much as the Giants would like to see. On the bases and in the field he is, well, slow, although his instincts in both spots prevents him from being a liability in either location. He has plenty of arm, but he takes quite a long time to release the ball, leading to it playing average or lower despite the ball coming out with well above average velocity. There is a good chance he ends up as a bench piece with pop, but I still feel he has a reasonable chance to meet his ceiling of an everyday left fielder.

10)

Player: Gregory Santos
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Short A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: The second arm, along with Shaun Alexander, the Giants acquired from the Red Sox in the Eduardo Nunez deal, Santos has plenty of upside. His fastball sits 94-96 with plenty of downhill action that makes it hard to barrel up. His slider is a potential plus offering although it currently lacks consistency and can sit and spin too often. The change will be the pitch that determines his future as it currently is an offering that gets hit hard, but there is some late action to it that suggest it could become an average offering. He has a stiff front leg that his body fights against too much and would need to be cleaned up for him to make it as a starter long term. His ceiling is a number two starter, although I am not sold on the delivery or change so I think there is a higher likelihood he becomes an impact reliever.

Others of Note:

Aramis Garcia – C – 26 – MLB
Chris Shaw – OF – 25 – MLB
Luis Toribio – 3B – 18 – Rookie
Ray Black – RHP – 28 – MLB
Tyler Beede – RHP – 25 – MLB
Jairo Pomares – OF – 18 – DNP
Jacob Gonzalez – 3B – 20 – Low A

San Diego Padres 2019 Preseason Top 10

Fernando Tatis Jr
Fernando Tatis Jr. in Spring Training 2018, now the Opening Day shortstop in San Diego. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Position(s): SS/3B Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: News recently came out that Tatis Jr. will be on the roster on Opening Day (mere hours from when this is being posted) and is widely ranked as one of the top three prospects in all of baseball. The Padres got Tatis from the White Sox in the James Shield trade before he took the field as a pro, and it is about to haunt the White Sox. Tatis is a genuine five tool player with a plus bat, plus power, can really run with an arm that plays anywhere on the field. His glove may be his lightest tool, but even that is above average and leaves no doubt he will be the shortstop for the long term. He has Hall of Fame potential, but that is getting well ahead of ourselves, although it shouldn’t be too long before he makes his first All-Star game.

2)

Player: MacKenzie Gore
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: The number three pick in the 2017 draft, Gore did not get as many innings as season ago as most would like due to blister issues, but the pure stuff is second to none. I got to see Gore a good amount during his pro debut both on the mound and off, and what stood out was his desire to seek out senior members of the organization and pick their brains, looking to improve his mental side as well as his physical side of the game. He has a big leg kick but incredible balance with an effortless 3/4 slot deliver that allows him to have plus command for his young age. The fastball is up to the high 90s but sits in the mid-90s with some late run. His slider is far and away his worst pitch but has shown the ability to have good two plane break, it is just inconsistent. Both the curve and change are plus offerings allowing Gore to have the ceiling of a true ace.

3)

Player: Luis Urias
Position(s): 2B/SS Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’9” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: It appears Urias is the short term casualty of an active off-season by the Padres and the Tatis call-up, as it appears he will start in AAA despite getting in a dozen MLB games a season ago. Unlike Tatis, Urias is not a guy who possesses much in terms of power, instead he is more of a doubles guy, but the hit tool is very good and he could hit .300 in the future. The open stance leg kick does see him out on the front foot a bit much and he gets off his back foot in his swing, sapping the home run power that could be in the bat. In the field he is a sure handed fielder who could be a solid shortstop, although with Manny Machado and Tatis now in San Diego, Urias’ future is at second base where he could be a truly plus defender.

4)

Player: Francisco Mejia
Position(s): C/OF Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height: 5’10” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Somebody who will never be considered a plus defender is Mejia. I saw him a good amount of him the season he was in the Fall League playing third base as the Indians were trying to find a spot for him in the big league lineup, that experiment did not go well. Eventually the Indians sent Mejia to the Padres for their top two relievers, Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, and Mejia is trying to carve a role for himself at the big league level. He is a below average receiver behind the plate but has a massive arm that allows him to really control the running game well. Problem is Austin Hedges stands ahead of him on the depth chart and Hedges is about as good a defensive catcher as you will find. Mejia is seeing some time in a loaded Padres outfield but, regardless of where he end up defensively, Mejia has hit and will be able to hit at any level and be an above average bat in any lineup.

5)

Player: Chris Paddack
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height:  6’4” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: One of the more surprising announcements when it comes to names who have made the big league roster is Chris Paddack. He has just seven starts at AA, but the Padres are making him their number four starter to start the season. He has a mild short arm delivery at times, but the effort isn’t concerning and the ball jumps out of his hand, regularly touching 95-96 on the gun. His change is arguably the best in minors, and now is one of the better ones in the big leagues. The curve tends to come out of an arm slot that shows more bend than his other pitches, making it a distant third offering. He can spot both the fastball and change remarkably well and that duo is enough to be a future number three starter, and the Padres feel it is already enough to be a number four. If he can turn the curve into at least an average offering, he could be an elite mid-rotation arm.

6)

Player: Adrian Morejon
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’ Weight: 175 lbs.
Quick Report: I remember the first time I saw Morejon pitch. It was on the backfields in Peoria, I was getting looks at some high minors guys (I believe it was Logan Allen) when I hear a few pops of a catcher’s glove behind me. I walked down the small hill between fields 1-2 on the Padres side and watched Morejon buzzing fastballs by quality Padres prospects Hudson Potts, Buddy Reed, amongst others. To go with that he has a solid change already that could develop into a plus pitch and a curve that is big league ready. The delivery has some balance and consistency concerns as he has a heavy body lean towards the third base side that can leave the change and curve floating high in the zone in a very hittable spot. If he cleans up the mechanics some and goes from just below average command to merely average, he could be a solid number two starter, but the command is just enough of a concern to keep him behind the big league ready Paddack for me.

7)

Player: Luis Patino
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: In practically any other system Patino would be a slam dunk top five prospect, but he started last season in extended spring before heading to the Midwest League for 17 starts. He has a fastball that runs up to 99 but sits in the mid-90s although it lacks run. His slider could play in the big leagues today and has the makings of a truly plus offering. He has a curve and change that are well behind his fastball and slider, but both flash signs of at least being average. The delivery is high effort with the arm getting quite whippy at times and a wide inconsistency in his arm slots. There is a chance he ends up a power reliever, although there is also the upside of being a potential number two starter.

8)

Player: Logan Allen
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Left Height: 6’3” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: Allen is not the flashy, radar gun darling that is so popular in today’s game, but his pitch mix and approach on the mound gives him a very high floor. His fastball rarely tops 93 and will have a digit that begins with an 8 at times, but it has cutting action to it making it play well above the velo would suggest. His best secondary offering is his change that doesn’t have a ton of velo gap but comes out of the same arm slot and speed as his fastball and can really drop late. He has a slider that is just a slower, bigger cutting version of the cut fastball while his only true breaking ball would be his curve that is rather easy to read thanks to its loopy action, but given the pitch mix it plays really well. He might have an upside of a number three starter, but a likely future of a number four who is a quality start machine while never being dominant.

9)

Player: Michel Baez
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’8” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: Baez is the first pitcher on the list that I truly believe will end up as a reliever long term rather than a starter, but that could be a dominant high-leverage reliever. He has an incredibly long body that is every bit of the 6’8” he is listed. He does not take full advantage of his length in his extension through his delivery, and he allows his upper half to drive the command of his pitches, causing some command concerns. The fastball has a good plane and regularly touches 98 but can get flat when he attacks the upper half of the zone. The slider just spins too often, but when it is at its best the late, sharp, downward break can be unhittable. His change I doubt will ever be a viable offering, which is why I think he is a future closer, although there is an outside chance he develops into a mid-rotation arm.

10)

Player: Josh Naylor
Position(s): 1B Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 5’11” Weight: 250 lbs.
Quick Report: This legitimately might by my favorite person in Minor League Baseball as he is a competitor but will have you keeled over laughing at least a handful of times a game. Based on his stocky frame, you expect a pure power hitting pull hitter, but he has an impressive approach at the plate and could develop into a guy who can hit .280. The raw power is everything you would anticipate, and he has the upside of hitting 30 home runs, the real concern with him is in his defense. He has long been a first baseman where his is serviceable with the glove, but the Padres tried him out in left field in AA last season where he actually has a very good arm for the position, but his well below average speed and raw reads led him to posting just a .913 fielding percentage. He is probably best suited for an AL club, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit his way to San Diego this season.

Others of Note:

Cal Quantrill – RHP – 24 – AAA
Anderson Espinoza – RHP – 21 – DNP
Hudson Potts – 3B – 20 – High A
Tirso Ornelas – OF – 19 – Low A
Esteury Ruiz – 2B/3B – 20 – Low A
Jacob Nix – RHP – 23 – MLB
Ryan Weathers – LHP – 19 – Low A
Buddy Reed – OF – 23 – AA
Jeisson Rosario – 19 – Low A
Luis Campusano – C – 20 – Low A
Xavier Edwards – SS – 19 – Short A

Los Angeles Dodgers 2019 Preseason Top 10

Keibert Ruiz
Keibert Ruiz. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Keibert Ruiz
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 225 lbs.
Quick Report: While the Dodgers weakest position at the big league level is catcher, they need to be patient and allow Ruiz to get a full season at AAA under his belt before taking over behind the dish in LA. He is a switch-hitting catcher that has a big leg kick from both sides of the plate, but the hit tool is truly plus and could be the best contact bat from behind the plate since Buster Posey. The power is average at best, but he could easily run into 15 or so home runs while hitting .290. I was once down on Ruiz behind the plate but I saw a lot of improvement with the glove last season with less of a jab approach and he did a better job blocking the ball although he sometimes still goes for the flash snag rather than smothering the ball. He has the potential to be a multiple time All-Star at a position most teams sacrifice offense for the defense, he can be a star bat and solid average defender.

2)

Player: Alex Verdugo
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’ Weight: 215 lbs.
Quick Report: Coming out of high school, there was real debate as to whether Verdugo should be a pitcher or hitter, but the Dodgers sent him to the outfield from day one and never looked back. The arm he had as a pitcher plays well in the outfield where he can play very good right field, but also has the instincts and first step to potentially stick in center despite below average speed. He has always had plus raw power but hasn’t been able to fully tap into it and I am starting to wonder if he ever will. Even if the power never truly comes to fruition, the bat skill is very good as demonstrated by his career minor league average sitting above .300. He is a long term starting option for the Dodgers, likely in right field, and could be a quality bat near the top of the lineup.

3)

Player: Dustin May
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’6” Weight: 210 lbs.
Quick Report: There is little doubt May has the best hair in the system, and he just might have the best stuff too. He is incredibly lean although he has started to fill out recently and it has resulted in an uptick in fastball velocity. That fastball now sits in the mid-90s with plenty of downhill plane and sink to go with a lot of run out of the lower 3/4 slot. His breaking ball is slurvy in shape but not effectiveness as it has a two plane shape with late break that some call a curve, while other call it a slider, I just call it pure filth. His change shows good late fade and he has started mixing in a cutter. He has a big leg kick that typically gets away from pitchers of his length, but he repeats it well with very good command. His upside is as a number two starter, although mid-rotation is more likely.

4)

Player: Gavin Lux
Position(s): SS/2B Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: Lux really struggled in his first full season in 2017 but the Dodgers pushed him to High A to open 2018 and he performed well enough to earn himself a late season promotion to AA at the age of 20. He is a difficult player to evaluate as he doesn’t really have any plus tools, or even above average, outside of his athleticism, but he just may be a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. His speed and quickness makes him a high quality base runner and translates to range up the middle where he can play short or second, although the arm gets tested when going to backhand at short. He has a pull happy swing that does create good pop, but there is a late twitch in the hands that leads to inconsistencies in his bat positioning and can leave him late on good velo. Ultimately he is probably a streaky everyday player or high quality defensive utility player with good pop.

5)

Player: Will Smith
Position(s): C/3B Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: Have I mentioned before I have a bit of a defensive catcher fetish? Smith might be the best defensive catcher in the minors with plus feet, glove work, and arm, he has a very high floor thanks to the D. He is sneaky athletic that has allowed him to see time at both third and second, although he will only see time at second in the big leagues in a pinch while he is solid at third. At the plate he has an advanced approach has his OBP as a pro more than 100 points higher than his average, the problem is that average is .236. The bat will never improve to even grade out as average as it is a long swing that has led to a lot of strikeouts since being drafted, but he has enough power that he could run into 20 or so a season if he makes enough contact.

6)

Player: DJ Peters
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’6” Weight: 245
Quick Report: Peters has silly raw power and has seen the majority of his action in center as a pro, although his future is likely as a right fielder. The bat is all power and no contact as he is a guy who will flirt with the Mendoza Line at times, but the plus plus power potential is a profile that fits in today’s game. The bat is long that does leave him vulnerable to elite velo, but he is athletic enough to fight off more pitches than his strikeout rate would suggest. On the bases he is an average to better runner which is surprising given his size, although he will likely slow a good amount as he ages. In an organization with less outfield talent, I would say Peters could impact the big league lineup this season, but the Dodgers will be in no rush to get him to the big leagues but he still may find himself at Chavez Ravine come late summer.

7)

Player: Mitchell White
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’5” Weight: 230 lbs.
Quick Report: A guy with three pitches that flash plus and the mechanics and build to be a true innings eater shouldn’t be this low, but the results haven’t matched the stuff thus far in White’s pro career. His fastball runs up to 97 with movement and he has a curve that is already plus to go with a cutter/slider look that has the makings of a plus pitch. The changeup is well behind the rest of the pitches as is the command. It is hard to explain why he doesn’t have more success with the stuff and ability he has but I have noticed he dips the glove below the top of the letters on his shirt when throwing a breaking ball while staying even with the top of the letters when throwing a fastball. I am sure this tipping of his pitches has been picked up on by the Dodgers brass, but he also shows the ball early in his delivery and that combo keeps him lower on the Dodgers list but he could rocket up the ranks with some minor adjustments this season.

8)

Player: Dennis Santana
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: Santana left his big league debut with a shoulder injury and missed the remainder of the season. The fastball sits in the mid-90s and has late run from a stiff postured low 3/4 slot that limits the amount of downhill plane he is able to put on the ball. His slider is big and sharp making it a potential plus pitch. The Dodgers will likely give him a chance to stick as a starter as he opens the season at just 22-years old, he turns 23 in April. The probably long term role for Santana is as a high leverage reliever that will allow the fastball and slider to both play as plus and he can fully cut ties with a change that is well below average currently. I hope to see him transitioned to the bullpen full time right from the jump, but I do expect him to get one last chance to prove he can stick as a starter.

9)

Player: Tony Gonsolin
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 204 lbs.
Quick Report: With a fastball that can hit triple digits and a splitter second to only Casey Mize in Minor League Baseball, Gonsolin has incredible upside but turns 25 this season and has some mechanical concerns that would be tough to see going away. He lands with a stiff front leg that makes him really fight against his lower half to get that plus velocity. He has a slider that is ok and a curve that is above average, although he gets his hand outside the ball when throwing both making them easy to read out of the hand. The command is fringy, so he has a realistic upside of a number four starter, but the Dodgers could opt to move him back to the bullpen where the splitter/power fastball combo would play really well in the late innings.

10)

Player: Jeter Downs
Position(s): 2B/SS Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: The Dodgers pulled one of the more surprising moves this offseason when they dealt Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati for Homer Bailey, who they released the next day, and prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs. I think the Dodgers came away winners in the deal as they dealt away guys that were at positions of depth and got a pair of viable prospects, the best being Downs. He has smooth actions in the field that will allow him to play both middle infield positions well, although he is better as a second baseman than at short where his arm plays about average. He isn’t one who will ever hit for much power, but he does a good job driving the ball into the pull gap and can end up with a lot of doubles. The bat is quick and well controlled with little wasted movement which allows him to adjust to off-speed offerings well. I think he ends up as an everyday second baseman, but he could end up settling as a utility player who can fill in at a number of positions.

Others of Note:

Edwin Rios – 1B – 24 – AAA
Josiah Gray – RHP – 21 – Rookie
Connor Wong – C/2B – 22 – High A
Yadier Alvarez – RHP – 22 – AA
Jeren Kendall – OF – 22 – High A
Diego Cartaya – C – 17 – DNP

Colorado Rockies 2019 Preseason Top 10

Tyler Nevin
Tyler Nevin in the AFL. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Brendan Rodgers
Position(s): 2B/SS Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Rodgers is one of the better prospects in baseball and would probably be listed as a future shortstop or third baseman if not for Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado blocking him at the big league level. He saw just 19 games at AAA a season ago, but he should be hitting home runs in Coors Field before this season comes to an end. He has a remarkable ability to make solid contact regularly and possesses plus power that translates to above average power in games with more projection to come. He isn’t the fastest runner, but he has enough range and instincts in the field to be an above average defender at any infield position and enough arm to play any position on the field. He has the potential to be a future All-Star, but the Rockies just hope he can help solidify their infield at some point in 2019.

2)

Player: Garrett Hampson
Position(s):2B/SS Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: One of a long list of former Dirtbags to go on to make the big leagues, Hampson looks poised to open the season as the Opening Day second baseman. He can fly on the bases and he can steal plenty of bags, snagging 36 in 68 games in his pro debut before stealing 51 bags in the California League a year later and 38 over three levels including two at the highest level a season ago. Defensively he can hold down any of the three premier infield positions and he gets the bat on the ball very well. He will never hit for much power even at Coors, but the speed and hit tool make him a potential impact player.

3)

Player: Colton Welker
Position(s): 3B Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: Welker started seeing some time at first base last season, which may prove to be valuable given Arenado has signed an extension, but he is plenty good enough defensively to stay at third base. He has a busy stride and leg kick at the plate but makes plenty of contact and keeps his balance better than one would expect. He does strike out a good amount, but he also draws a good number of walks to make him somewhat of a three true outcome profile. The power is above average raw, but he started to show signs that he will tap into all of it in game action a season ago even if it was just 13 home runs at the launching pad in Lancaster.

4)

Player: Peter Lambert
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height:  6’2” Weight:185 lbs.
Quick Report: Lambert has the perfect pitch mix for someone who will call Coors Field home, as his fastball has heavy sink and runs up to 96 but plays even better thanks to his change that borders on plus. He also mixes in a curve that has plus potential and a slider that is at least an average offering. He has good command, although the high arm slot does limit the horizontal movement at times, but the downhill plane is always solid. The delivery is repeated well, although he gets very minimal drive off his back leg leading to a higher effort delivery than you typically want from a starter. I don’t ever see him being an innings eater, but a guy who can pitch in the middle of a rotation and keep the team in the ballgame every fifth day is a reasonable projection for Lambert.

5)

Player: Tyler Nevin
Position(s): 3B/1B Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: Nevin has battled injuries his entire pro career, but it was an injury to top prospect Brendan Rodgers that opened a roster spot for him in the Arizona Fall League, where he went on to win the batting crown. He has plus raw power which he taps into quite well already and has a good approach at the plate. The bat is quick and has little wasted movement, allowing him to hit for the solid average. Defensively he is somewhat limited, possessing enough arm to stick at third but the quickness is somewhat of a question. There is a long list of players who have an opportunity to hold onto the first base job in Colorado long term, but Nevin might be the one most ideally suited for the position.

6)

Player: Ryan Rolison
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Right Throws: Left Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: Rolison’s value is heavily tied to whether or not he can stick as a starter, something scouts are mixed on. He has a unique delivery, coming from a traditional 3/4 slot, but firing it across his body leaving the release point out in the left-handed batter’s box. This makes him deadly against lefties but could make his pitches easier to see for righties as he advances through the minors. The fastball sits in the low-90s, but the unique release allows it to have plenty of downhill plane and arm-side run to it. He has a big breaking ball that is a plus curve, although he can add some velo to is and sharpen it to show more of a slider shape at times. The change is coming along but the run it features suggest it will be able to be at least average. If he is able to stay healthy and improve on his command, he could become a solid number four starter, but if he does get relegated to the bullpen he will be unhittable for lefties although righties may be able to hit him, which could prove to be an issue if MLB institutes the three batter minimum rule.

7)

Player: Ryan Vilade
Position(s): SS Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: Another of the many players on this list that can play all the positions around the infield, Vilade has plus power thanks in large part to elite bat speed and loft in the bat plane. He does have some bat wrap that the bat speed negates, but he will need to quiet that some as he reaches the high minors and the pitching gets better. He is already a below average runner, although he has good enough instincts and glove to be a quality fielding shortstop. The arm can play anywhere, although he doesn’t have the raw athleticism to move to the outfield, so a utility infielder with pop is his likely future role, while he could reach a ceiling of an everyday bat.

8)

Player: Riley Pint
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: The fourth overall pick in 2016, Pint has been less than stellar in his pro career, and injuries limited him to just over eight innings a season ago. Despite that, he still possesses a fastball that regularly touches triple digits and a plus curve. Add to that a slider and change that are both above average, and you could be talking about a future ace worthy of the fourth overall pick. Problem is he hasn’t stayed healthy and the command is light years from where it needs to be. He has a high effort delivery that sees his arm carry a lot of whipping action and some short arm to it before ending in a low 3/4 slot. This likely makes his future as a starter a long shot, but with four pitches that could all grade out to plus in short stints could mean he has a future as a dominant closer.

9)

Player: Grant Lavigne
Position(s): 1B Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’4” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: I wasn’t fond of the Lavigne selection at 42 overall a season ago as he was a teenager who had already had to lose a good chunk of weight and is from New Hampshire without a successful track record on the showcase circuit. He went out to Grand Junction and lit up the Pioneer League posting a .350/.477/.519 triple slash line and got Rockies fans excited about his future. There is no doubt he has plus raw power, and the bat quick enough with a good plane to suggest he could keep hitting for a high average. The weight concerns me and the bat does get long when he is looking to tap into that plus raw power. Defensively he is limited to first base and can be solid there. Ultimately, there is a real possibility he becomes an above average everyday player in the big leagues, but there are still a lot of questions in his game for me and I will continue to be conservative in my ranking on him.

10)

Player: Yonathan Daza
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 210 lbs.
Quick Report: .370-.325-.303-.341-.306, those are the averages posted by Daza in each of his seasons since coming stateside. Clearly he has a knack for putting the bat on the ball despite some leg kick that is reminiscent of a less open stance version of Andres Galarraga’s swing. Unlike Galarraga, Daza will never hit for much power, but he will put the ball in the gap plenty where he has enough legs to have a solid OPS on the weight of doubles and triples. In the field he plays as good a center field as anyone in the Rockies system, and has one of the better outfield arms as well. He is probably destined to be a very good fourth outfielder long term, but I would not be shocked to see Daza eventually take the center field job and not let it go.

Others of Note:

Justin Lawrence – RHP – 24 – High A
Ryan Castellani – RHP – 22 – AA
Sam Hilliard – OF – 24 – AA
Terrin Vavra – SS – 21 – Short A