|PREVIOUS 31st TEAMS|
In 2003, we began a tradition of compiling all of the extra scouting reports that were written for the Prospect Handbook but didn’t quite make it into the book. Sometimes trade acquisitions squeeze other prospects out of a Top 30, and sometimes we just change our minds. We called the group of extra players The 31st Team. Last year, as a premium for people who buy the Handbook directly from us, we included a supplement with a bonus prospect for each team. So that now functions as The 31st Team. But we still have leftover scouting reports, hence the creation of . . . The 32nd Team.
The inaugural edition of The 32nd team featured 17 players, several of whom graduated to the 2010 Prospect Handbook. The most notable was Mariners third baseman Alex Liddi, who led the minor leagues with a .345 batting average last season. This year’s 32nd Team consists of 25 players. That brings the final count of Handbook-related scouting reports to 958: 30 for each team, 30 more in the bonus supplement, two Cuban defectors in the Appendix and this, The 32nd Team.
Nathan Adcock, rhp, Pirates
Born: Feb. 25, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Radcliff, Ky., 2006 (5th round). Signed by: Brian Williams (Mariners).
Adcock joined the Pirates in a seven-player deal last July, as Pittsburgh sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and received Adcock, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno and minor league righthanders Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic. The trade liberated Adcock from the hitter-friendly high Class A California League, but he didn’t pitch any better after making a move to the Carolina League. The Pirates put Adcock on a strict pitch count after the trade because he occasionally had been bothered by elbow tenderness in 2008 and 2009. He can dial his fastball up to 94 mph, though it normally sits at 88-92. He has smooth mechanics and could throw harder if he adds strength. He also has a hard curveball and changeup that both need refinement. To find success against more advanced hitters, he’ll have to throw more strikes and locate his pitches better in the zone. Adcock needs to make a lot of strides if he’s going to cut it as a starter, and he may project better as a reliever. He likely will begin 2010 in Double-A.
Aaron Altherr, of, Phillies
Born: Jan. 14, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Avondale, Ariz., 2009 (9th round). Signed by: Brad Holland.
Altherr is the kind of prospect the Phillies are becoming known for: an athlete first and baseball player second. Scouts from other organizations love his physique and raw ability, but point out just as quickly that he’s raw and a long way from becoming a premium prospect. Tall and muscular, he stood out more as a basketball player in high school until he batted .446 and starred as a pitcher last spring. A tremendous power display in a predraft workout persuaded the Phillies to spend a single-digit pick on him, and they signed him for $150,000 as a ninth-rounder. While he’s inexperienced and hasn’t seen a lot of quality pitching, Altherr showed signs in instructional league of being able to make adjustments and displayed good hand-eye coordination. With his strength and leverage, he has eye-popping raw power, even if he hasn’t started to tap into it yet. He has average speed and a below-average throwing arm, but scouts believe both tools will improve as he trains specifically for baseball and leaves hoops behind. He played all three outfield spots in his debut and projects as a left fielder. He’s slated for short-season Williamsport this summer.
Adron Chambers, of, Cardinals
Born: Oct. 8, 1986. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Pensacola (Fla.) JC, 2007 (38th round). Signed by: Steve Turco.
Chambers used a bus ticket to make an impression on the Cardinals. A premium high school athlete coming out of Pensacola, Fla., he went to Mississippi State as a defensive back and played regularly during his sophomore season before an on-campus incident in 2006. He was involved in an incident with another student in a dormitory and was charged with misdemeanor assault. He was suspended from the football team and withdrew from school, enrolling at Pensacola JC and giving baseball a shot. He then hopped on a Greyhound bus to Memphis for one of St. Louis’ predraft workouts. His drive, above-average speed and hitting potential led the Cardinals to draft him in the 38th round in 2007 and sign him for $40,000. Chambers was one of high Class A Palm Beach’s most consistent hitters last season, batting .283/.370/.400 out of the leadoff spot and leading the club with 47 walks. He’s aggressive on the basepaths and can steal bases on sheer speed, though refining his technique would allow him to swipe more bags and improve his 64 percent success rate from 2009. He has gap power, which he showed by hitting a minor league-best 16 triples last year. Defensively, his good range and solid arm strength allow him to handle all three outfield spots. Chambers will advance to Double-A this season.
Maikel Cleto, rhp, Mariners
Born: May 1, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 218. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2006. Signed by: Ramon Pena (Mets).
One of seven players acquired by the Mariners in the December 2008 three-team trade that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets, Cleto fires mid-90s fastballs and struck out nearly a batter per inning as a starter in low Class A as a 20-year-old last season. That sort of profile typically warrants a ranking in a Top 30. Cleto’s case is a bit different, however, in that he essentially lost a year of development time between an investigation into his identity and an oblique strain. He stayed behind in the Dominican Republic until June, when his identity was verified and he got a work visa for entry into the United States. A physical righthander with a slinging arm action, Cleto sits comfortably at 92-94 mph with his fastball, maxes out at 96 and holds his velocity deep into starts. He shows advanced control of his fastball, which has sinking life down in the zone. He’s still developing his secondary stuff, which is made more difficult by the way he dramatically slows down his delivery when not throwing heat. Cleto’s slurvy, high-70s breaking ball features inconsistent rotation, and he shows little faith in his below-average changeup. Seattle wants Cleto to focus on getting a more balanced delivery for improved command and feel for his secondary stuff, but he didn’t have ample time to implement it in 2009. He could head to high Class A in 2010, this time with a full spring training under his belt.
Lucas Duda, 1b/of, Mets
Born: Feb. 3, 1986. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Southern California, 2007 (7th round). Signed by: Steve Leavitt.
One of the better power prospects in the Mets system, Duda has a big frame, strength and a long swing that delivers plenty of power when he connects. He entered 2009 primarily hitting to the opposite field, but he learned to pull homers out of the ballpark. He has a solid eye at the plate, but as the season went along he wasn’t as selective as he had been in the past. Pushed to left field at Double-A Binghamton when Ike Davis came up from high Class A St. Lucie and took over first base, Duda is a poor outfielder with little range or arm strength. He had Tommy John surgery while in college at Southern California. He’s merely adequate at first base, and his bat will have to carry him. He’s a below-average runner as well. He missed the final four weeks of the regular season with a strained knee, then hurt his right wrist two games into an Arizona Fall League stint. With Davis and Nick Evans likely ticketed for Triple-A Buffalo to open 2010, Duda may have to return to Binghamton to start the season.
David Duncan, lhp, Astros
Born: June 1, 1986. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-9. Wt.: 230. Drafted: Georgia Tech, 2008 (5th round). Signed by: Lincoln Martin.
Duncan began 2009, his first full pro season, at high Class A Lancaster, one of the worst pitcher’s parks in the minors. He went 0-9, 8.51 in two months, with his difficulties compounded by the fact that the Astros wouldn’t let him use his 82-84 mph splitter. It’s his best pitch, but he tended to rely on it too much. Duncan found more success after a demotion to low Class A Lexington, where Houston let him use his splitter again. The rest of his repertoire is below-average. A tall, lanky lefthander throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, Duncan also has an 86-89 mph fastball and a slow, loopy curveball. Though he doesn’t miss many bats, he does do a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. Some scouts think he profiles better as a reliever than as a starter. He’ll return to Lancaster in 2010.
Allan Dykstra, 1b, Padres
Born: May 21, 1987. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 245. Drafted: Wake Forest, 2008 (1st round). Signed by: Ash Lawson.
Dykstra’s raw power prompted the Padres to select him 23rd overall in 2008, but a post-draft physical raised concerns about the long-term health of his right hip, which had been surgically repaired when he was in high school. San Diego initially agreed to a $1.4 million bonus, but shaved the amount to $1.15 million when it came to terms with him at the signing deadline. Dykstra has yet to miss time because of his hip. While in college, Dykstra developed the habit of diving across the plate to attack offspeed pitches on the outer half. The Padres have stressed a more directional swing that forces him to stride toward the pitcher and not cut off his swing. Dykstra has taken to the instruction, even though it cost him early results, as he batted .226 with 103 strikeouts in 125 games in low Class A last year. He showed an incredibly patient approach in leading the minors with 104 walks, and he finished with a strong September as Fort Wayne won the Midwest League championship.He was also a team leader. Dykstra struggled most when pitchers worked him hard inside, as he appeared to lock up and not cover the inner part of the plate. Stiff actions limit him at the plate and on defense, though he throws well for a first baseman. Dykstra looks the part of power-hitting first baseman, and he’ll continue his trek at high Class A Lake Elsinore, where he made his 2008 pro debut.
Harold Garcia, 2b, Phillies
Born: Oct. 25, 1986. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 188. Signed: Venezuela, 2004. Signed by: Jesus Mendez.
Garcia languished for three seasons in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League, even after posting a .273/.450/.424 season in 2006. He finally made it to the U.S. in 2008 and pounded Rookie-level Gulf Coast League pitching for a .511 slugging percentage (third in the league) while helping the Phillies to the league title. He then keyed Lakewood’s championship run in the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2009, igniting the offense as the leadoff hitter. Garcia’s solid gap power and ability to turn on inside pitches sets him apart from slap-hitting, speedy middle infielders. A switch-hitter, he has work to do from the right side of the plate, where he has much less pop. He has plus speed and uses it aggressively. Garcia endears himself to managers and scouts by playing with energy, and he’s a solid if streaky defender at second base. He also has experience at third base, but his arm strength is a bit short for the left side of the infield. Garcia wasn’t protected on the 40-man roster, and at 23 he has only year in full-season ball under his belt. The Phillies likely will challenge him with a jump to Double-A in 2010.
Troy Hanzawa, ss, Phillies
Born: Sept. 12, 1985. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 155. Drafted: San Diego State, 2008 (16th round). Signed by: Darrell Conner.
Hanzawa has followed a long road to prospect status. He played in 13 games in two years at Hawaii, where he was granted a redshirt season, then transferred to Yavapai (Ariz.) JC, where he helped the Rough Riders reach the championship game of the 2006 Junior College World Series. He then transferred to San Diego State, batting .307 as a junior and .370 as a senior before signing for $2,500 as a 16th-round pick in 2008. Hanzawa lacks physicality and won’t hit .370 with wood bats, but he has premium defensive skills. He’s adept at going into the hole, and his average range plays up due to his tremendous defensive instincts. His above-average arm and focus help him make the routine play as well as the spectacular. Hanzawa’s offensive ceiling is limited as he lacks power, and he needs to focus on making more consistent contact. He has average speed but can be too aggressive on the bases. Scouts compare Hanzawa to defensive stalwarts such as Jorge Velandia, who has played parts of eight seasons in the majors, and Augie Ojeda, a similarly built player who has been a semi-regular for the Diamondbacks the last two seasons. Hanzawa will move up to high Class A in 2010 and must make better contact to have an Ojeda-like career.
Anthony Hewitt, of/3b, Phillies
Born: April 27, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Salisbury, Conn., 2008 (1st round). Signed by: Gene Schall.
The Phillies had four of the first 71 picks in the 2008 draft, and their extra choices made them more willing to roll the dice. They gambled with their top selection, taking Hewitt 24th overall and signing him for $1.38 million. Hewitt was considered the best athlete in the 2008 draft class, but he has yet to answer concerns about his hitting ability. He has batted just .214 with a 132-16 K-BB ratio in 94 pro games, and he’ll face greater offensive demands after moving from third base to the outfield in instructional league. Hewitt has a lot of work to do on pitch recognition, strike-zone judgment and swing path. When he does connect, he generates immense raw power from a physique that has drawn Ron Gant comparisons. The Phillies believe in Hewitt’s work ethic, intelligence and aptitude and are far from giving up on him. He has a strong arm and above-average speed, though he’s still learning to use it on the bases. He’ll get his first chance at full-season ball at low Class A Lakewood this year.
Brian Jeroloman, c, Blue Jays
Born: May 10, 1985. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Florida, 2006 (6th round). Signed by: Joel Grampietro.
Jeroloman headed into the 2006 season as one of the best college catching prospects in the nation, but he fell to the sixth round after hitting .242 for Florida. He has batted .241 in four seasons of pro ball, though he has distinguished himself with his defense and ability to draw walks. Jeroloman could be a backup catcher in the big leagues based solely on his plus defensive tools. He has a strong arm and consistently registers pop times around 1.9 seconds. He led Double-A Eastern League catchers in fielding percentage (.993) and ranked second in throwing out basestealers (43 percent) last season. He handles a pitching staff well and has good agility behind the plate, allowing him to block balls in the dirt. Jeroloman’s offense remains a question. He shows good patience at the plate, but his swing gets long and he doesn’t make enough contact or hit for enough power to offset his strikeouts. He battled a hip injury in 2009 and missed out on the Arizona Fall League after surgery to repair a labrum tear in his hip. J.P. Arencibia has passed him on the Blue Jays’ catching depth chart, but Jeroloman could carve out a role as Arencibia’s future caddy in Toronto.
Ramon Lebron, rhp, Tigers
Born: Jan. 2, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2006 Signed by: Julian German/Ramon Perez.
Lebron is one of the most intriguing pitchers in the lower levels of the Tigers system. He has a long and loose build and is able to fire fastballs from 94-96 mph. The rest of his game is still a work in progress, no surprise for someone who has yet to reach full-season ball. His changeup ranks ahead of his slider at this point, though both need refinement. He’s still learning how to repeat his delivery and to command and mix his pitches. Lebron likely will spend 2010 in low Class A and continue to pitch out of the rotation to further develop his pitches. If he can’t cut down on his walks, he’ll become a hard-throwing reliever—a commodity which Detroit has a large supply of in the minors.
Luis Marte, rhp, Tigers
Born: Aug. 26, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2005. Signed by: Ramon Pena.
Marte appeared to have turned a corner when he starred at high Class A Lakeland in the first month of the 2008 season, but he has had trouble staying healthy since. He missed two months with a sprained elbow that summer, then six weeks with shoulder soreness in 2009. When healthy, Marte throws his fastball at 92-93 mph and keeps the ball down in the zone despite standing just 5-foot-11. He throws strikes and backs his fastball up with a hard slider in the low 80s and a changeup. Though he has been primarily a starter as a pro, Marte’s future likely lies in the bullpen. He might hold up better under a reduced workload, and it would also allow him to focus on his fastball and slider. His stuff also might play up in shorter stints. If he’s healthy, Marte could open 2010 in Triple-A.
Joe Martinez, rhp, Giants
Born: Feb. 26, 1983. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 193. Drafted: Boston College, 2005 (12th round). Signed by: Glenn Tufts.
Martinez led the Double-A Eastern League with a 2.49 ERA in 2008, then surprisingly made San Francisco’s 2009 Opening Day roster as a long reliever. He earned a victory in the season opener, but a Mike Cameron line drive fractured his skull in three places two days later. Martinez showed no fear when he got back on the mound in July and earned his way back to the majors in September. A smart competitor with fringy stuff, he’s at his best when inducing groundballs with his 86-88 mph sinker. He also throws a curveball and changeup, with the latter grading as his best pitch. Martinez does all the little things well, such as holding runners, fielding his position and laying down a sacrifice bunt. He’ll again be a candidate for a long-relief role in spring training but is more likely to begin the season in the Triple-A Fresno rotation.
Justin Miller, rhp, Dodgers
Born: Aug. 2, 1987. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Johnson County (Kan.) CC, 2007 (6th round). Signed by: Mitch Webster.
Miller got more playing time as a right fielder at Johnson County (Kan.) CC, but scout Mitch Webster liked him more as a closer and persuaded the Dodgers to draft him as a pitcher. Miller has struggled in pro ball, going 11-26, 4.69 and losing all seven of his starts last summer at high Class A Inland Empire. He induces his share of grounders with a heavy sinker that tops out at 92 mph and a slider that darts and dives, but he has struggled to throw strikes or develop feel for a changeup, which could mean he’ll eventually wind up back in the bullpen. Miller’s lack of pitching experience is still evident in his mechanics, which can become a mess, with his arm slot changing from one pitch to the next. He’ll once again try to solve high Class A in 2010.
John Murrian, c, Tigers
Born: June 15, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 208. Drafted: Winthrop, 2009 (9th round). Signed by: Grant Brittain.
Murrian played with future first-round picks Matt Wieters and Justin Smoak at Stratford High in Goose Creek, S.C., before heading to Winthrop. Murrian led the Eagles in batting as a freshman and had a solid three-year career, becoming just the sixth Winthrop player taken in the top 10 rounds of the draft. He signed for $100,000 as a ninth-rounder last June, then had a solid debut at short-season Oneonta. Murrian is big and physical with an ideal frame for a catcher. He has a short swing for a big guy with strong hands, quick hips and good bat speed. He can hit the ball to all fields, but his power is mostly to the pull side at this point. Behind the plate, Murrian is good at blocking balls and has a quick transfer and release on throws to second. He also shows a good ability to call games. Murrian needs to work on his footwork behind the plate, and while his arm is strong he needs to improve his accuracy. He threw out just 26 percent of basestealers in his pro debut. Slumps tend to get him down and he can’t maintain his swing. He’s a below-average runner. Murrian has the potential to be an everyday big league catcher and figures to begin 2010 at low Class A West Michigan.
Efrain Nieves, lhp, Brewers
Born: Nov. 15, 1989. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Gurabo, P.R., 2007 (7th round). Signed by: Manolo Hernandez/Charlie Sullivan.
Nieves had his ups and downs when he got his first taste of full-season ball in 2009. He appeared a bit fatigued early in the season, perhaps from pitching in winter ball. He lost the feel for his curveball and changeup, making him a one-pitch pitcher in many outings. That proved to be a problem because he can’t overpower hitters with a fastball that sits at 88-91 mph. Nieves must rely on command and mixing his pitches. His changeup may be his most reliable pitch, and he also throws a curveball and a slider. He pitched well for Puerto Rico at the World Cup in September, showing good poise for a teenager. Nieves must continue to work on hitting his spots to prove he can be a starter at the top level. Otherwise, he might have to settle for being a lefthanded specialist out of the bullpen. He’ll spend 2010 at high Class A Brevard County.
Lester Oliveros, rhp, Tigers
Born: May 28, 1988. B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Venezuela, 2005. Signed by: Ramon Pena.
The Tigers generally aren’t big spenders in Latin America, but they do get good bang for their buck. Oliveros signed for Just $8,500 out of Venezuela in 2005, but he has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in the minors while running his fastball up to 94 mph. He sometimes leaves it up in the strike zone too much, so he’s working on creating a better angle to the plate and staying on top of it to better. Oliveros also throws a slider that can reach 85 mph as well as an adequate changeup, though his secondary pitches are still hit and miss. If he can develop more consistency with his pitches and command, he’ll profile well as a middle reliever. He should spend this season in Double-A Erie.
Brooks Pounders, rhp, Pirates
Born: Sept. 26, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: HS—Temecula, Calif., 2009 (2nd round). Signed by: Sean Campbell.
First baseman Brad Pounders had a couple of 30-homer seasons in the Padres system in the mid-1980s, but he topped out in Triple-A. His son Brooks has the talent to make it a step further after signing for $670,000 as a second-round pick in June. Pounders has a big, strong frame that belies the velocity on his fastball, which usually sits at 89 mph. His best pitch is a hard slider that he throws in the low 80s. He needs to improve his changeup after using it sparingly in high school, and he uses his curveball mainly for show at this point. He also has to work on his command, which wavers at times. With his clean mechanics and size, he has the look of an innings eater. Unlike most high school pitchers, Pounders is physically maxed out and doesn’t have much projection remaining. He’ll open his first full pro season in low Class A.
Zach Quate, rhp, Rays
Born: Sept. 12, 1987. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Appalachian State, 2009 (14th round). Signed by: Brad Matthews.
In his first pro summer, Quate was one of the biggest surprises from the Rays’ 2009 draft class. Undrafted as a junior at Appalachian State in 2008, he turned heads that summer by posting a 1.31 ERA for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, earning team MVP honors and leading them to their first-ever Alaska Baseball League title. He built on by starring as a senior, when he converted all 11 of his save opportunities for the Mountaineers while fashioning a 1.09 ERA. After signing for $7,500 as a 14th-round pick, he made good on all 13 his save chances at short-season Hudson Valley. Quate throws an average fastball and a plus slider from a low three-quarters arm angle. He uses both sides of the plate with both pitches, with his slider breaking toward the back foot of lefthanders. He has an advanced feel for how to retire hitters, as well as the confidence and maturity to win most battles. Quate missed instructional league when he returned to school in the fall to finish work on his marketing degree. Nevertheless, he has a chance to move rapidly in 2010, just as Matt Gorgen did in the Tampa Bay system a year after going in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. He could jump to high Class A out of spring training.
Robert Ray, rhp, Blue Jays
Born: Jan. 21, 1984. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Texas A&M, 2005 (7th round). Signed by: Andy Been.
Ray worked his way through the Blue Jays system and broke through to the big leagues last May, making four big league starts before a shoulder injury derailed his season. His shoulder bothered him in 2006-07 as well, eventually leading to labrum surgery. When he’s healthy, Ray has a sinking fastball that sits at 86-87 mph and touches 91. He also mixes in an average slider. His curveball shows flashes of being an average and he has worked with a splitter, using it as a change of pace. Ray relies on his command because he doesn’t have a real knockout pitch. He showed his shoulder was sound when he pitched 24 innings in the Arizona Fall League, going 2-1, 4.81, so he’ll battle for a job in the Toronto rotation in spring training.
Wilfredo Solano, ss, Athletics
Born: Jan. 15, 1993. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Venezuela, 2009. Signed by: Julio Franco.
The Athletics didn’t open their checkbook in Latin America last year the way they did in 2008, when they dished out $4.25 million to sign Dominican righthander Michael Ynoa, but they did spend $1 million to land Solano, one of the better shortstops in the 2009 class. Solano’s bat is his feature attraction. He didn’t begin switch-hitting until a couple of years before signing, but he shows short, compact swings with leverage from both sides of the plate. He stays on balls well and has a mature approach for his age, displaying a willingness to use the whole field. He has power potential and does hit some homers in batting practice, but he has yet to show much pop in games. Though his hands work well at short and he has a strong enough arm, his physical frame and thick lower half make it look like he’s destined to move to third base down the road. He’s an average runner. Oakland lauds Solano as an intuitive player who makes adjustments quickly and should be able to pick up English without much trouble. While he has intriguing upside, he’s a long ways from the major leagues, and probably won’t make his U.S. debut until 2011.
Jose Vallejo, 2b, Astros
Born: Sept. 11, 1986. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2004. Signed by: Rodolfo Rosario/Manny Batista (Rangers).
Vallejo made an impression on the Astros’ player-development staff while playing against their farm clubs as a member of the Rangers. Houston targeted Vallejo, acquiring him along with righthanded reliever Matt Nevarez in an August trade for Ivan Rodriguez, then sent him to the Arizona Fall League after the season. Vallejo didn’t show much at the plate in 2009, and though he does have some bat speed and strength, he hasn’t hit for power or shown the patience to get on base at an acceptable rate. His best tool is his well above-average speed, which he has used to steal bases at an 85 percent success rate in pro ball. He wasn’t as aggressive on the bases last season as he had been in the past. Defensively, Vallejo offers good hands, actions, and agility. He has a solid arm that was strong enough for him to play some third base in the AFL. Vallejo profiles as a utility player, though he lacks the skill to play shortstop. He should return to Triple-A in 2010.
Justin Wilson, lhp, Pirates
Born: Aug. 18, 1987. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 233. Drafted: Fresno State, 2008 (5th round). Signed by: Sean Campbell.
One of the heroes of Fresno State’s improbable 2008 College World Series championship, Wilson pitched a complete game to beat Georgia in the clincher. He signed too late to make his pro debut that summer, and the Pirates aggressively placed him in high Class A to start his pro career. He struggled at first, going 3-6, 6.29 in his first 17 starts before going 3-2, 1.90 in his final 11. Wilson’s fastball fluctuates from 87-93 mph and moves so much that he has a hard time keeping it in the strike zone. He also throws a curveball and a slider. The most encouraging part of his first pro season was the improvement he made with his changeup. He doesn’t offer much in the way of projection but is powerfully built and could be a durable innings eater. He’ll jump to Double-A in 2010 and with his polish, he could reach Pittsburgh the following season as a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever.
Austin Wood, lhp, Tigers
Born: Nov. 2, 1986. B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Texas, 2009 (5th round). Signed by: Tim Grieve.
Wood earned national attention with his heroics in the longest game in college history. In an NCAA regional playoff against Boston College last June, Wood entered in the seventh inning and held the Eagles hitless for 12 1/3 innings. He pitched 13 scoreless innings and struck out 14, receiving no decision as Texas won in 25 innings. The performance boosted Wood’s stock and the Tigers made him a fifth-round pick, signing him for $100,000. Wood wasn’t as sharp after throwing 169 pitches against Boston College, and Detroit handled him carefully after he signed following the College World Series. He made just four appearances in the minors before impressing team executives in instructional league. Woods best pitch is his changeup, which he mixes well with an 89-91 mph fastball that runs and a tight slider. He commands all three pitches and could really move quickly through the minors. It’s not out of the question that Wood could end 2010 as a situational lefty in Detroit’s bullpen.