DURHAM, N.C.—The Charlotte Knights ranked No. 1 on our list of most talented teams in the minors, largely on the strength of three high-profile prospects acquired in trades this offseason. Second baseman Yoan Moncada came over from the Red Sox in a four-player package for lefthander Chris Sale, and righties Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez were part of the freight the Nationals paid for outfielder Adam Eaton. Charlotte spent four games in Durham over the past week matching up with the Bulls, who ranked just behind the Knights on the talented teams list.
Giolito and Lopez each pitched in the series—as did 2015 first-rounder Carson Fulmer—with mixed results. Giolito had issues commanding his stuff, was hit hard when he was in the zone and left after just four innings. Lopez’s stuff was better than Giolito’s, but he, too, had issues with command. His fastball and slider were good enough that he blew away hitters for stretches at a time, but he occasionally left pitches over the middle and paid dearly.
Baseball America spoke to scouts who watched the series and got their opinions on Giolito and Lopez, as well as other players who have played around North Carolina in the season’s early stages.