We’re at the midway point of the season, which means it’s a good time to check in on the progress of each organization’s top prospect entering the season. Today we’ll go through the National League, then hit on the American League clubs next week.
Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP Jarrod Parker: After a quick whip through the high Class A California League, Parker moved up to Double-A Mobile, where he has shown a fastball that can sit 92-96 mph with a plus slider and the makings of a potentially above-average changeup. A line drive off his wrist slowed the 20-year-old Parker down a bit, but he’s on pace to be one of the youngest pitchers in the big leagues by 2010.
Atlanta Braves, RHP Tommy Hanson: The most dominant pitcher in the Triple-A International League to start the season, Hanson finally got the call to the big leagues in June. In six starts, Hanson has a 2.25 ERA, though his 23-18 K-BB mark is nothing special. The strikeouts have been low and the walks have been high, but based on his track record, his fastball and a pair of yo-yo breaking balls, Hanson should start adding more strikeouts to his resume soon.
Mets farmhand Jenrry Mejia was placed on the disabled list at Double-A Binghamton yesterday with a strained finger. The injury forces him out of the Futures Game, and he’s been replaced on the World roster with righthander Francisco Samuel.
The righthanded Samuel is an easy choice logistically, as he plays for the hometown organization; with the game being played Sunday in St. Louis, it’s easier to add a Cardinals farmhand at the last minute, especially one playing nearby at Double-A Springfield. Samuel, 22, is 3-3, 4.28 with 20 saves this season for the Cardinals and has 40 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings. However, he’s walked 28 in that span. [...] Continue Reading »
While subscribers can see a more in-depth look at the top 25 prospects and will get a listing of the organizations who have improved their stock and which teams have slipped, we do want everyone to be able to see the listing of the Top 25 Prospects at the midseason.
So here it is. And let us know what you think of the list by leaving comments.
Baseball America correspondent Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox signed 16-year-old righthanders Mario Alcantara and Raul Alcantara (no relation) from the Dominican Republic.
Both Alcantaras are 6-foot-3, though according to Speier, Raul Alcantara likely received the higher bonus. The Red Sox are also expected to sign Dominican shortstop Jose Vinicio for around $2 million at some point after he turns 16 on Friday.
Rudy Owens isn’t the kind of pitcher who will light up radar guns or prospect rankings. But look at the top of the South Atlantic League’s ERA leaderboard and that’s where you’ll find him.
The 21-year-old lefthander with low Class A West Virginia leads the SAL in both ERA (1.79) and wins (10) and went 8-1 in the season’s first-half despite pitching for a team that finished last in its division.
Owens was a member of the last class of draft-and-follows. The Pirates took him in the 28th round of the 2006 Draft out of Mesa (Ariz.) High, then saw Owens flash low-90s velocity at Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) CC, prompting them to ante up $390,000 to sign him and keep him out of the ’07 Draft. Owens spent his first two pro seasons in short-season leagues, compiling an uninspiring 4-10, 5.06 record in the process. Not that those numbers are comforting for Sally League hitters, who are hitting .194 against Owens.
Owens employs a standard three-pitch arsenal of a four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup. His fastball clocks in at 88-91 mph on most nights and Owens looks like your typical pitchability lefthander, though that’s a label his pitching coach, Jeff Johnson, is hesitant to apply. [...] Continue Reading »
Since the beginning of June, a number of intriguing young players have switched organizations in trades for big leaguers. That list includes Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke, Lastings Milledge and Chris Perez. You can read all about them at Trade Central.
But as July dawns and teams continue to complete trades at a furious pace, we want to keep readers and other information seekers advised of those prospects who are switching organizations. Because full Trade Central reviews often take a back seat to other responsibilities here at BA, we present here a thumbnail review of the prospect involved in Tuesday’s White Sox-Diamondbacks deal.
The White Sox traded 23-year-old Triple-A first baseman Brandon Allen to the Diamondbacks for 27-year-old righthanded reliever Tony Pena, who had gone 5-3, 4.24 in 37 games for Arizona, racking up 26 strikeouts and 11 walks in 34 innings. Pena has serverd as an important piece of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen since his callup in July 2006.
But it’s Allen who catches our eye here. Chicago’s fifth-round pick in 2004 from Montgomery (Texas) High, he broke through last season with a Carolina League-leading .527 slugging percentage. The physical (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) lefthanded batter crushed 29 home runs in all between Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, in two home parks not exactly renowned for nurturing home run hitters.
This season, Allen was batting .282/.348/.436 with eight home runs in 76 games, most of them back with Birmingham. He earned a promotion to Charlotte a couple weeks ago, though he had batted just .246 with a lone homer and no walks in 15 games. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: June 20-27
Previous installment: June 14-20
Numbers in parentheses indicate draft rounds. Visit our Draft Database for school and signing information. Subscribers can view scouting reports for many top picks as well as search for players by last name or state.
Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here. And don’t forget the Prospect Injury Report, which includes updates on Daniel Schlereth and Michael Ynoa.
We’ll be back later this week with another installment, updating transactions through July 4.
Signed: RHP Alex Thieroff (NDFA—Southern Indiana)
Draft pick signed: C Roidany Aguila (18)
Released: 2B Greg Bordes
Recalled: RHP Leo Rosales
Added to 40-man roster: C Luke Carlin, OF Alex Romero
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Billy Buckner
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Sean Morgan, LHP Daniel Schlereth, 1B Dan Kauffman
Reinstated from DL: RHP Bryan Augenstein, RHP Matt Elliott, RHP Jarrod Parker, LHP Wade Miley, SS Justin Parker
Released: LHP Steve Evarts, C Craig Maddox
Recalled: LHP Boone Logan
Placed on 7-day DL: LHP Francisley Bueno, LHP Jose Ortegano
Reinstated from DL: RHP Yeliar Castro, RHP Jaye Chapman, LHP Steve Evarts
A supplemental first-round pick from a Tampa high school in ’06, Evarts pitched in just three games of full-season ball in his four pro seasons with Atlanta. While he pitched effectively, he ran afoul of the law in December ’06 after police arrested him and charged him with damaging a car with a baseball bat. The legal trouble—and subsequent suspension—led to his being held back in Rookie ball the next season. Evarts, 21, has spent most of the past two years on the disabled list and hasn’t pitched since April 18, 2008, when he threw six strong innings for low Class A Rome. [...] Continue Reading »
READING, PA.—Yohan Flande signed with the Phillies as a relative unknown. Flande still flies under the radar, though the lefty with Double-A Reading is starting to change that with his selection to the Futures Game on Sunday.
“Last year, (the organization) knew who I was but nobody like this. That was my goal this year, let everybody know,” Flande said through a translator. “I want people to notice me and see what I’ve got; I can pitch.”
Flande, 23, first showed the Phillies that he could pitch in 2004. As a lanky 18-year-old in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Flande impressed Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli with his live arm.
Agostinelli decided to take a chance on Flande, thinking he might turn out to be more than met the eye.
The Indians got on the board for July 2 with a pair of signings, agreeing to terms with Dominican righthander Noel Cabral and shortstop Jorge Martinez.
Cabral throws in the mid- to high-80s and is a second cousin of Angel Berroa.
Another big name is off the board, as 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Rosell Herrera has signed with the Rockies.
Herrera is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound switch-hitter from Santo Domingo with projectable power. The Rockies also signed four more players: lefthander Jayson Aquino, shortstop Juan Ciriaco and righthanders Carlos Medrano and Alberto Mendez.
The Rays have signed a pair of Venezuelan prospects: third baseman Cesar Perez and shortstop Juniel Querecuto.
Perez, who is around 6-foot-2, 180 pounds stands out for his offensive potential. Querecuto isn’t as big as Perez and doesn’t have his projectable power, but he runs and throws well and has good feel for the game.
Add Jurickson Profar to the Rangers’ July 2 signing haul.
The Rangers officially announced the signing of Profar, a 16-year-old from Curacao who will begin his career as a shortstop, though he is also a prospect as a pitcher. Texas also officially confirmed the previously reported signing of 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Luis Sardinas, as well as the signings of three other players:
• Luis Mendez, a switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela
• Chris Garia, a switch-hitting center fielder from Curacao
• Luis Daniel De la Torre, a lefthander from Mexico
Multiple sources confirmed that the Rangers have signed 16-year-old Luis Sardinas, a switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela.
No terms of the deal are available, but the bonus is believed to be at least $1 million. Sardinas, who is 6-foot, 150 pounds, was one of the best defensive shortstops on the market this year from Latin America with excellent hands and good range. The Rangers are also expected to sign Jurickson Profar a righthander/shortstop from Curacao.
The Padres have made their first signing since the beginning of the international signing period, agreeing to a deal with Dominican center fielder Yoan Alcantara.
Alcantara, a 16-year-old from San Cristobal, is a good athlete with plus speed and a plus arm.
The Royals have signed Cheslor Cuthbert, a power-hitting third baseman from Nicaragua. Scouts have told BA that they believe Cuthbert received a seven-figure bonus, which would be a record for a Nicaraguan player.
Cuthbert, 16, stands out at the plate, where he shows above-average bat speed and power.
We’ve already reported that the Astros signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Yonathan Mejia. The Astros have since officially announced four more international signings:
• Alexander Martinez, a 16-year-old righthander from Nicaragua
• Kilby Pena, a 16-year-old lefthander from the Dominican Republic
• Enderson Franco, a 16-year-old righthander from Venezuela
• Luca Martone, a 16-year-old infielder from Italy
Reds scouting director Chris Buckley confirmed to BA correspondent John Fay that the Reds have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Humberto Valor. More later.
Scouting Europe is nothing new for the Twins. Their latest addition is 16-year-old German outfielder Max Kepler, who several scouts have said is the best European prospect to come along in years.
The exact bonus isn’t known, but there is talk that Kepler’s bonus could be the highest in European history, which is believed to be the $800,000 the Twins gave lefthander Alexander Smit from the Netherlands in 2002. Kepler has a San Francisco-based agent, Paul Cobbe of Sosnick-Cobbe Sports.
Kepler, who is 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, has been attending a private school and training at an academy in Regensburg, Germany. One scout said Kepler could have five average or better tools in the future.
"Kepler is the toolsiest kid we’ve ever had in Europe," said the scout. "No question."
Baseball America subscribers can read more about Kepler.
The Phillies have signed Lino Martinez, a 6-foot lefthander from Venezuela. Martinez, 16, throws 86-88 mph with good feel for a changeup. Martinez’s breaking ball is a work in progress, but he has some athleticism and a good delivery.
Martinez signed for $325,000, a comparable bonus to what the Phillies gave Dominican outfielder Domingo Santana earlier this year. Santana is currently in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Two newspapers in the Dominican Republic are reporting that the Mariners have signed Dominican outfielder Guillermo Pimentel. ESPN’s Jorge Arangure confirmed the signing with Pimentel’s trainer, saying the bonus was for the long-rumored $2 million that Pimentel was expected to receive.
Pimentel, 16, was one of the best hitters available on the market thanks to a short swing and plus-plus power potential. Pimentel’s $2 million bonus is so far the third-highest thus far for a Latin American player behind Cardinals outfielder Wagner Mateo ($3.1 million) and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez ($3 million). The Rangers were believed to also have strong interest in Pimentel.
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