League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Gulf Coast League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
1. *Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers
2. *Chris Parmelee, of/1b, Twins
3. Gorkys Hernandez, of, Tigers
4. *Chris Marrero, of, Nationals
5. Jason Place, of, Red Sox
6. Dellin Betances, rhp, Yankees
7. Adrian Cardenas, ss, Phillies
8. *Neftali Feliz, rhp, Braves
9. *Jhonny Nunez, rhp, Dodgers
10. Tom Hickman, of, Marlins
11. Preston Mattingly, ss, Dodgers
12. *Kyle Drabek, rhp, Phillies
13. Steven Evarts, lhp, Braves
14. Jesus Sanchez, c, Phillies
15. Chad Rogers, lhp, Braves
16. Josue Calzado, of, Yankees
17. D'Arby Myers, of, Phillies
18. *Zach McAllister, rhp, Yankees
19. *Carlos Monasterios, rhp, Yankees/Phillies
20. *Joe Benson, of, Twins
*Has played in big leagues
The Yankees have built one of the most productive international programs in the game, and they used that talent and the early signing of league MVP Dante Bichette to carry them to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League championship. Bichette Jr. and Ravel Santana ranked as the two best prospects in the league, sparking an offense that led the GCL in most categories by a wide margin.

Because most top draft picks don't sign until the Aug. 15 deadline, few early-rounders qualified for this prospects list. Bichette was the lone exception among the first nine players on this Top 20. He and fellow sandwich picks Blake Snell (Rays) and Joe Musgrove (Blue Jays) were the only 2011 draftees to make the cut.

Though he was just a 25th-round pick after not playing baseball in the spring, Blue Jays left fielder Eric Arce set a GCL record with 14 homers. Scouts liked his power but weren't impressed with the rest of the 5-foot-9, 205-pounder's tools.

1. DANTE BICHETTE JR. 3B, YANKEES
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 215 Drafted: HS—Orlando, 2011 (1s)

The Yankees used their top 2011 draft choice (51st overall) on Bichette, whose father Dante was a four-time all-star in the 1990s. The son led the league in hits (67), doubles (17) and RBIs (47), winning MVP honors and a league title before getting a brief promotion to the short-season New York-Penn League.

Bichette impressed GCL managers with his advanced approach at the plate, good bat speed and plus-plus power. He works the count and makes adjustments pitch to pitch, showing the ability to drive the ball to all fields when he's ahead in the count. While there's movement in his swing, scouts noticed that he lowered his hands in his set-up as the season went on, which helped him get ready to hit sooner.

While amateur scouts questioned whether Bichette would have to move to a corner outfield position, GCL evaluators said he was fine defensively at third base. He made the routine plays, showing solid actions and a strong arm.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
196 33 67 17 3 3 47 30 41 3 3 .342 .446 .505
 
2. RAVEL SANTANA OF, YANKEES
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 160 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008

For a $150,000 investment in November 2008, the Yankees signed Santana, whose raw tools compare favorably with anyone's in their system. After distinguishing himself in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League last year, Santana stood out at the plate and in center field in his U.S. debut. His season ended abruptly with a nasty injury as he broke his ankle in two places and tore some ligaments sliding into second base on Aug. 13.

Santana was one of the best athletes in the GCL. He has a wiry build, good bat speed and plus power. His hands work well at the plate and he has a solid understanding of how pitchers try to attack him. He struggled early in the season against offspeed pitches before making some adjustments that got him ready to hit earlier and helped him recognize breaking pitches better.

While Santana was one of the better hitters in the league, his best tools are in the field, where he has a chance to be a plus defender in center. His arm is one of the strongest in the minors, grading from 70-80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's also a plus-plus runner, giving him plenty of range and making him a threat on the bases.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
162 43 48 11 3 9 29 17 40 10 3 .296 .361 .568
 
3. LUIS HEREDIA RHP, PIRATES
Age: 17 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 205 Signed: Mexico, 2010

Many scouts considered Heredia the top pitcher on the international market in 2010, and the Pirates landed him by buying his rights from Veracruz of the Mexican League for $2.6 million. He was the youngest player in the GCL—he didn't turn 17 until Aug. 10—so the Pirates carefully managed his workload. He typically threw on five days' rest and only once pitched more than three innings in a start.

Heredia has a big, projectable frame, good mechanics and a loose arm despite a slight stab in the back before he delivers the ball. He touched 92 mph before signing, then reached 94-95 last fall during instructional league. In the GCL, his fastball hit 95-96 early in the season and settled in the low 90s the rest of the way.

Heredia flashes an above-average changeup. His curveball has good spin with occasional power, but he's still learning to not cast it when he throws the pitch. He's very coordinated and has good feel for pitching for his age and size, though his control is still a work in progress.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 2 4.75 12 11 0 30.1 28 16 16 3 19 23
 
4. BRENNY PAULINO RHP, TIGERS
Age: 18 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 170 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009

The Tigers signed Paulino for $100,000 in 2009 with the hope that he'd fill out his long, lanky frame and add to his 85-88 mph fastball. He started doing that last year, touching 95 but also walking nearly a batter per inning in the DSL. In 2011, he showed better control, more velocity and an improved breaking ball to become one of the GCL's most dominant arms.

Paulino can carry a 92-95 mph fastball throughout a game, peaking at 97. His heater is an overpowering four-seamer with enough movement to generate swings and misses in the strike zone. With a frame that still has room to project, he could add even more power to his fastball eventually.

Paulino's fastball is his best pitch but his curveball has made strides, showing good downward break at times. His changeup is still his No. 3 pitch, though it too has its moments. While his control has improved, he still needs to be around the plate more.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 1 0.75 9 9 0 48 23 5 4 0 6 36
 
5. JOSE OSUNA 1B/OF, PIRATES
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 213 Signed: Venezuela, 2009.

Osuna tried out for teams as a pitcher in Venezuela, but his velocity dipped and the Pirates signed him for $250,000 as a hitter. He has developed quickly, showing good instincts at the plate and the ability to hit to all fields.

Osuna gets on base at a high clip, doesn't strike out much and has a good swing. He has good present strength and has the leverage and loft in his swing to hit for power. His arm and speed are average at best, so he's limited defensively to first base and left field. His bat will have to carry him.

6. RAUL ALCANTARA RHP, RED SOX
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 215 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.

On both a prospect and a performance level, Alcantara was one of the top pitchers in the GCL. He led the league in ERA (0.75), WHIP (0.60) and opponent average (.147), earning a promotion to the NY-P in August.

Alcantara has projectable size and repeats his sound delivery well, allowing him to fill the strike zone. He throws 90-95 mph and does a good job of pitching off his fastball and locating it for a young pitcher. He also has a curveball that some scouts project as a plus pitch and a changeup that could be at least an average offering, though he didn't miss as many bats as his pure stuff would suggest.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 1 0.75 9 9 0 48 23 5 4 0 6 36
 
7. JOSE VINICIO SS, RED SOX
Age: 18 B-T: B-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 150 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.

Vinicio was the Red Sox's big-ticket international signing in 2009, landing a $2 million bonus. He was expected to move slowly, because he was one of the youngest players in his signing class and had an extremely light frame, and that was the case. He repeated the GCL and stood out more at the plate than he did in 2010.

Vinicio is an instinctive, energetic player with smooth actions and good hand-eye coordination. He has stood out since his amateur days for his defensive potential, showing plus speed and range, soft hands and a strong arm at shortstop. He did commit 29 errors in 50 games this year, though scouts said many of the miscues came when he tried to get too flashy.

His slight build hinders him at the plate, though Vinicio has bat speed, bunts well and hits to all fields. He would benefit from a more patient approach, as he has a tendency to get himself out early in counts.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
179 22 52 7 5 2 18 7 33 19 10 .291 .337 .419
 
8. ADONYS CARDONA RHP, BLUE JAYS
Age: 17 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 170 Signed: Venezuela, 2010.

Cardona signed with the Blue Jays for $2.8 million, a record for a Venezuelan amateur and the highest bonus on the international amateur market in 2010. After touching 93 mph as an amateur, Cardona hit 94 during instructional league last fall and ran his fastball up to 95 this summer. He sits in the low 90s and has the physical projection to add more velocity as he continues to fill out his long, lean frame.

Cardona stands out for his fastball as well as his changeup, which is advanced for his age and keeps hitters off balance. International scouts' primary concerns with Cardona were his below-average curveball and the effort in his delivery, both of which he still needs to address.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 3 4.55 10 7 0 31.2 31 17 16 2 12 35
 
9. CLAUDIO CUSTODIO SS, YANKEES
Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 155 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010.

Custodio originally signed with the Royals as Claudio Baez, but that deal fell apart when it was discovered he was using a fake name and birthdate. The Yankees landed him for $300,000 in April 2010, and in his first action in the United States, he led the GCL in runs (46) and steals (26 in 28 attempts) while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.433).

Custodio has a solid hitting approach and a line-drive swing. His power is well below average, but he doesn't chase many pitches outside of the strike zone and focuses at getting on base to use his excellent speed. He has good hands, footwork and timing at shortstop, but he has an average arm and is prone to throwing errors, so he might be a better fit at second base.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
157 46 51 9 1 1 19 22 40 26 2 .325 .433 .414
 
10. DANRY VASQUEZ OF, TIGERS
Age: 17 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 169 Signed: Venezuela, 2010.

Vasquez's $1.2 million bonus last year surprised several international scouts, but the Tigers believed enough in his bat to award him the highest international amateur bonus in franchise history. While Detroit typically has used its Dominican and Venezuelan summer teams for first-year international signees, Vasquez made his pro debut in the GCL at age 17 and wasn't overmatched.

Vasquez handles the bat well for his age with a line-drive swing and a good idea of what he's doing at the plate. He has athleticism and a thin frame with room to fill out. Gaining strength will be crucial because he'll have to hit for more than his present gap power as a corner outfielder. A below-average runner, he's a right fielder with a fringy arm that could improve as he matures physically.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
206 25 56 8 1 2 30 7 34 3 2 .272 .306 .350
 
11. JESUS SOLORZANO OF, MARLINS
Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 190 Signed: Venezuela, 2009.

After two DSL seasons, Solorzano made an impression offensively and defensively in his U.S. debut. He's one of the toolsier prospects the Marlins' Latin American program has produced of late. While low Class A outfielder Marcell Ozuna has more power, Solorzano has better speed and makes more contact.

Solorzano has the potential to be an above-average center fielder with plus-plus speed and a plus arm. He's a good athlete with bat speed and a solid swing. He has a compact frame that doesn't project to add much strength, and his below-average power ranks behind his other tools.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
194 34 58 13 4 3 31 13 30 18 7 .299 .355 .454
 
12. RODERICK BERNADINA OF, ORIOLES
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 162 Signed: Curacao, 2009.

Curacaoan infielder Jonathan Schoop is one of the Orioles' top prospects, and they may have another find from the island nation in Bernadina. He's a right fielder with impressive tools across the board.

With a quick bat and solid-average raw power, Bernadina is capable of punishing fastballs. He takes a big stride and can swing out of his shoes at times, but he has good plate coverage, takes walks and has made strides using the opposite field. He's a capable defender with average speed and arm strength.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
184 30 44 14 3 4 28 22 26 6 2 .239 .341 .413
 
13. BLAKE SNELL LHP, RAYS
Age: 19 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180 Drafted: HS—Shoreline, Wash., 2011 (1s)

The Rays had 11 of the first 75 selections in the 2011 draft and sent four of those top picks to the GCL. Snell had the best debut of any of them, relying on throwing his 88-92 mph fastball down in the strike zone to induce groundballs.

Drafted one spot after Bichette, Snell has a long, skinny frame but also has narrow shoulders, so scouts aren't certain if he'll be able to add velocity and some question his durability. His curveball and changeup are average pitches but need more consistency. He'll also have to throw more strikes.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 2 3.08 11 8 0 26.1 30 9 9 0 11 26
 
14. ALEN HANSON SS/2B, PIRATES
Age: 19 B-T: B-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 152 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.

The Pirates had two speedy middle infielders in Hanson, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, and Jodaneli Carval. Hanson topped the GCL with seven triples and finished second to Custodio with 24 steals before a late promotion to the NY-P.

Hanson's advanced feel for hitting and line-drive stroke produce gap power. He has good hand-eye coordination, which helps him cover the plate and make athletic plays at shortstop. He's a plus runner who can make plays up the middle and in the hole, but his average arm may be a better fit at second base.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
198 42 52 13 7 2 35 21 34 24 6 .263 .352 .429
 
15. JOE MUSGROVE RHP, BLUE JAYS
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 230 Drafted: HS—El Cajon, Calif., 2011 (1s)

The Blue Jays had four picks in the supplemental first round this year and used the 46th overall choice on Musgrove, an extra-large high school righthander. He has a sound delivery and fires heavy 90-94 mph fastballs with some scouts seeing him touch 98 mph as an amateur.

Musgrove will flash a hammer curveball but more often it's a slurvy pitch with three-quarters break, and he'll throw an occasional split-change. He'll need to refine his secondary pitches and learn to repeat his delivery, though he did a good job of throwing strikes in his first crack at pro ball.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
0 1 4.57 8 7 0 21.2 17 12 11 1 4 16
 
16. ETHAN STEWART LHP, PHILLIES
Age: 20 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 210 Drafted: New Mexico JC, 2010 (47)

A 47th-round pick out of New Mexico JC in 2010, Stewart looked like a potential steal in his pro debut this summer. The Canadian has an average fastball that peaks at 92 mph, with a loose arm and big, physical frame to possibly add more velocity.

Stewart keeps hitters off balance by mixing all of his pitches, including an average curveball and a changeup that has shown improvement. He's extremely prepared, keeping a book on the hitters he saw dating back to last year before he even pitched in a professional game.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
4 4 3.62 11 11 0 54.2 57 32 22 5 21 54
 
17. VICTOR DeLEON RHP, CARDINALS
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.

DeLeon went winless and tied for the GCL lead with six losses, but his arm strength ranked among the best in the league. His fastball sits at 93-95 mph and he can run it up to 97. He doesn't miss as many bats as his velocity would suggest because his fastball flattens out when he leaves it up in the zone.

His control and command need plenty of work, though DeLeon throws more strikes when he dials down his velocity. His slider has its moments, but both it and his changeup are below-average pitches. Some scouts see DeLeon as a power-armed middle reliever down the road.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
0 6 4.47 10 9 0 50.1 56 32 25 2 24 30
 
18. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ LHP, ORIOLES
Age: 18 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 175 Signed: Venezuela, 2010.

The Orioles paid Rodriguez $175,000 to sign before the 2010 season, and he rewarded them with an encouraging pro debut in the DSL. He pitched well again in his first stint U.S. stint, posting a 1.81 ERA that would have ranked second in GCL if he hadn't barely missed qualifying.

Rodriguez doesn't have top-end stuff, but he has an advanced feel for pitching for his age and could profile as a back-of-the-rotation starter. He throws strikes with an 88-91 mph fastball that features good sink and tail and peaks at 93. He has a solid breaking ball that's effective when he throws it to the back foot of righthanders, and he'll flash an average changeup.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 1 1.81 11 10 1 44.2 28 17 9 0 17 46
 
19. AUSTIN BRICE RHP, MARLINS
Age: 19 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 205 Drafted: HS—Pittsboro, N.C., 2010 (9).

Brice pitched briefly in the GCL in 2010 after signing for $205,000 as a ninth-round pick, but the Marlins knew he was raw and sent him back this summer for additional seasoning. He was one of the toughest pitchers to hit in the league, ranking first in strikeouts per nine innings (10.2), but also finished first with 33 walks.

After touching 94 mph in high school, Brice sat around 92-94 and maxed out at 96 this year. He also has a hard breaking ball that flashes tough downward action. His changeup is a distant third pitch and his control still needs a lot of work.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
6 0 2.96 11 9 0 48.2 32 20 16 2 33 55
 
20. RAFAEL MONTERO RHP, METS
Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 170 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2011.

Montero moved quickly in his first pro season. After he dominated in four DSL starts, he moved to the GCL, where he was just as successful before ascending to Rookie-level Kingsport and short-season Brooklyn.

Montero's best pitch is his fastball, which sits at 90-93 mph and touches 95 with late hop, making it tough for hitters to pick up. His fastball plays up because his command of the pitch was so advanced for Rookie ball. He'll need to improve his secondary pitches, a fringy changeup and a below-average breaking ball, though he throws them both for strikes.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2 1 4.24 4 4 0 17 17 8 8 2 6 9