League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
1. Bryan Morris, rhp (Dodgers)
2. *Josh Bell, 3b (Dodgers)
3. *Hector Gomez, ss/3b (Rockies)
4. *Sean O'Sullivan, rhp (Angels)
5. *Gerardo Parra, of (Diamondbacks)
6. *Peter Bourjos, of (Angels)
7. *Drew Stubbs, of (Reds)
8. Andrew Fie, 3b (Diamondbacks)
9. Jeremy Haynes, rhp (Angels)
10. Ryan Mount, ss, (Angels)
11. *Cole Gillespie, of (Brewers)
12. *David Herndon, rhp (Angels)
13. *Chris Valiaka, ss (Reds)
14. *Chris Carter, 1b (White Sox)
15. Steven Johnson, rhp (Dodgers)
16. *Trevor Bell, rhp (Angels)
17. *Pedro Strop, rhp (Rockies)
18. Stephen Chapman, of (Brewers)
19. Brandon Hynick, rhp (Rockies)
20. *Hector Ambriz, rhp (Diamondbacks)
* Has played in major leagues
Despite its Rookie-advanced classification, the Pioneer League plays more like the short-season New York-Penn or Northwest leagues than its sister Appalachian League. Whereas Appy Leaguers average about 20 years in age, the other three leagues come in just north of 21. To that end, half of this year's PL Top 20 Prospects list consists of players with four-year college experience, including four of the top 10.

The Angels sent their top two picks from this year's draft to the league (first-rounder C.J. Cron and third-rounder Nick Maronde, both collegians) as well as two of their top four prep picks from the 2010 draft (first-rounder Kaleb Cowart, supplemental first-rounder Taylor Lindsey). All four players performed well and ranked among the PL's seven best prospects, with Maronde the best in an exceptionally shallow pool of pitching talent in the league.

While Cron was the top 2011 draftee to play in the league, supplemental first-rounder Trevor Story stands as the PL's top prospect because he's a potential five-tool shortstop who performed well against older competition. Fellow sandwich pick Keenyn Walker also made an impression, batting .333/.431/.483 while showing top-of-the-line speed in center field and on the bases during two weeks with league champion Great Falls. The White Sox rushed Walker to low Class A Kannapolis at the end of July, however, so he didn't play enough to qualify for this list.

1. TREVOR STORY SS/3B, CASPER GHOSTS (ROCKIES)
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Irving, Texas, 2011 (1s).
Prior to signing Story for $915,000 as the 45th overall selection in the 2011 draft, the Rockies hadn't drafted a shortstop with a top-100 pick since taking Troy Tulowitzki seventh overall in 2005. Upon seeing Story for the first time, Tulowitzki said, "This kid looks just like me in high school." While Story isn't quite as physical, he shares Tulowitzki's sharp baseball instincts and has a chance for five average or better tools.

Story makes steady contact and manages the strike zone, so scouts expect he'll hit for average, possibly as high as .280 annually. He also offers significant power potential for a middle infielder, and he blasted two of his six homers to the opposite field. He collapses his back side and uppercuts at the ball to help generate power, so Colorado has worked with him to level his swing and stay above the ball longer to hit more line drives.

Story surprised Pioneer League managers with his above-average speed, which combined with his baserunning instincts make him a stolen-base threat. No one questions his ability to stick at shortstop because he has solid-average range, smooth actions and average hands. His arm grades as plus, though he committed eight of his 15 errors on throws, including his final six miscues.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
179 37 48 8 2 6 28 26 41 13 1 .268 .364 .436
 
2. TAYLOR LINDSEY 2B, OREM OWLZ (ANGELS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Scottsdale, Ariz., 2010 (1s).
The Angels and former scouting director Eddie Bane valued Lindsey more than most clubs in the 2010 draft, taking him with the 37th overall pick and signing him for $873,000. He has legitimized that faith since signing and won Pioneer League MVP honors after leading the circuit with 64 runs, 105 hits, 28 doubles and 43 extra-base hits. He also finished second in batting (.362) and third in slugging (.593).

PL observers believe Lindsey will continue to hit for a high average because he makes consistent contact and distributes line drives all over the field with loose wrists and a buggy-whip lefthanded swing. His leg kick sometimes throws him off balance against offspeed pitches, though he's able to compensate with supreme hand-eye coordination. He hangs in well against lefties, hitting .343 and slugging .586 against them this season while making steady contact.

Scouts project average power for Lindsey because he squares up so many balls. He has below-average speed, which prompted his move from shortstop in high school to second base in pro ball, and he rates as a generic defender. He led league second basemen in assists (168), double plays (44) and fielding average (.976) because he makes routine plays well.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
290 64 105 28 6 9 46 13 46 10 4 .362 .394 .593
 
3. JOC PEDERSON OF, OGDEN RAPTORS (DODGERS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Palo Alto, Calif., 2010 (11).
The son of cup-of-coffee big leaguer Stu Pederson, Joc led the Pioneer League with 64 RBIs and ranked in the top five in several offensive categories in his first extended taste of pro ball. A 13-pitch, left-on-left showdown with Orem's Nick Maronde, the league's top pitching prospect, convinced Owlz manager Tom Kotchman of Pederson's potential.

"He can hit," Kotchman said. "The bat plays because he has a good approach and strong bat speed. He sure plays a lot older than 19."

Pederson drew comparisons ranging from Gerardo Parra to Brian Giles for his potential as a corner outfielder with a short stroke, feel for hitting and discerning batting eye. He improved steadily, batting .390 with seven homers in August after he made adjustments to start pulling inside pitches.

Some evaluators felt that Pederson, a football standout in high school, offered little physical projection, prompting them to hedge on his future power potential—though 15-20 homers annually seem possible. He runs well enough to steal bases efficiently but not enough to handle center field every day, while his solid-average arm strength suggests he could handle either corner.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
266 54 94 20 2 11 64 36 54 24 5 .353 .429 .568
 
4. C.J. CRON 1B, OREM OWLZ (ANGELS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 235. Drafted: Utah, 2011 (1).
Cron didn't let a torn labrum or the NCAA's lower-octane metal bats slow him down at Utah this spring, when he hit .434 and led Division I with an .803 slugging percentage. After signing for $1.467 million as the 17th overall pick in the 2011 draft, he kept on mashing with Orem until he dislocated his right kneecap during a swing on Aug. 7. He had surgery on the knee in September and faced another operation to repair his right shoulder.

The son of former major leaguer and current Tigers Double-A manager Chris Cron, C.J. has plus-plus raw power than could translate to 30 homers annually. PL managers wondered if he'd be able to maintain a high batting average because he can be beat inside with good fastballs and didn't command the strike zone, though scouts who saw him as an amateur didn't share those concerns. The latter group commended his hand-eye coordination, approach and ability to make adjustments.

Because of his pre-existing shoulder surgery, Cron serving exclusively as a DH for Orem. He's a bottom-of-the-scale runner with adequate range at first base, though he threw well enough to play catcher prior to this season.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
143 30 44 5 1 13 41 10 34 0 0 .308 .371 .629
 
5. ROSELL HERRERA SS/3B, CASPER GHOSTS (ROCKIES)
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Casper had the two best shortstop prospects in the league, as Trevor Story and Herrera shared the position and also spent time at third base. Signed for $550,000, Herrera struggled in his 2010 pro debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League but reversed course this season, impressing PL observers with his high-energy approach and switch-hitting potential.

"His offensive potential is spectacular," Casper manager Tony Diaz said. "He's got a line-drive, middle-of-the-diamond hitting approach, with good hand-eye coordination, especially from the left side."

Herrera did most of his damage as a lefty, batting .301/.393/.486 with five of his six homers. One scout noted that he has a lot of excess motion in his hitting setup, but that his bat is always on time. He should mature into a plus hitter with at least average power because his swing works from both sides of the plate.

At 6-foot-4 and still growing, Herrera probably will play his way off shortstop and wind up on a corner or possibly in center field. His range is adequate and his arm is average for shortstop, but his actions are long and he tends to drop his arm angle on throws to first base, costing him accuracy. A quality athlete with running speed, he presently lacks the baserunning instincts to pose as a stolen-base threat.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
243 38 69 6 8 6 34 27 62 5 4 .284 .361 .449
 
6. KALEB COWART 3B, OREM OWLZ (ANGELS)
Age: 19. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Adel, Ga., 2010 (1).
A two-way standout as BA's 2010 High School Player of the Year, Cowart attracted more attention from scouts as a pitcher but preferred to hit. The Angels liked his potential as a switch-hitting third baseman with power and signed him for $2.3 million as the 2010 draft's 18th overall pick. Cowart began his 2011 campaign on fire, going 18-for-33 (.545) in his first nine games, but his bat cooled considerably and he hit .248/.312/.388 afterward.

Cowart shortened his swing and improved his path from the left side during the season, managing to hit for a higher average as a lefty (.295) than he did from his natural right side (.247). Managers and scouts liked his middle-of-the-field hitting approach, though he'll need to manage the strike zone better to hit for average as he moves up. He produced power in equal measures from both sides of the plate, and he could top out near 25 homers once he learns to pull the inside pitch consistently.

Cowart's athleticism and first-step quickness stand out at a position dominated by sluggers with limited mobility, and the solid-average defender topped PL third basemen with 128 assists and 17 double plays. Throwing errors sometimes resulted when he didn't set his feet, but his plus-plus arm strength affords him more time than the typical third baseman.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
283 49 80 12 3 7 40 25 81 11 4 .283 .345 .420
 
7. NICK MARONDE LHP, OREM OWLZ (ANGELS)
Age: 22. B-T: B-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Florida, 2011 (3).
Maronde ran up a 6.15 ERA and lost his rotation spot as a Florida sophomore but rebounded to pitch well in relief as a junior this spring as the Gators finished runner-up at the College World Series. He moved back into the rotation after signing and looked at home, showing above-average velocity, size and the potential for three pitches.

Maronde's fastball fluctuated from 89-96 mph in the Pioneer League, most often sitting at 92-93. He comes right at batters with an up-tempo delivery and has added movement to his four-seam fastball. He also has picked up a two-seamer that sometimes sinks so dramatically that it resembles a splitter.

Maronde relied heavily on his fastball in college, but his 80-85 mph slider was a plus pitch at times in the PL. Neither lefties nor righties could square up his slider when it was at its best, and Maronde frequently threw it for called strikes. He throws an average changeup with the same velocity as his breaking ball, so choking back on it further would add separation and enhance its effectiveness.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 11 5 0 0 2.14 46 36 12 11 5 15 50 .214
 
8. TONY CINGRANI LHP, BILLINGS MUSTANGS (REDS)
Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Rice, 2011 (3).
Like Nick Maronde, Cingrani faltered as a starter in college in 2010 before thriving as a reliever this spring and becoming a third-round pick. The highest-drafted college senior in 2011, Cingrani paced all PL pitchers with at least 50 innings in ERA (1.75), strikeouts per nine innings (14.0), K/BB ratio (13.3), opponent average (.190) and WHIP (0.80). He fell 10 innings short of qualifying for official league leadership.

Cingrani's secret to success is a deceptive 92-94 mph fastball delivered from a solid 6-foot-4 frame. "Hitters just seem to swing through his fastball because it has so much late action," Billings manager Pat Kelly said. Cingrani shortened his arm swing as a senior, but it's still long enough to concern scouts about his long-term command.

He has good feel for an average changeup, which he camouflages with solid arm speed, not to mention flailing limbs. His slider showed improvement during the season as Mustangs catchers called for the pitch consistently. Even if he never hones a third pitch, Cingrani could profile as a high-leverage reliever.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13 13 3 2 0 1.75 51 35 11 10 1 6 80 .190
 
9. WILL SWANNER C, CASPER GHOSTS (ROCKIES)
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Carlsbad, Calif., 2010 (15).
Swanner ranked No. 10 on this list a year ago after turning pro out of high school for $490,000. The Rockies liked his power bat—he mashed seven homers in 18 games in his debut—but wanted to see the young catcher clean up his receiving and strike-zone discipline before promoting him to a higher level. He took steps toward accomplishing those goals this season before tearing a ligament in his left thumb in mid-August and missing all but three games the rest of the way.

"He's an interesting guy because it's so hard to find offense at catcher," one scout said. "He swings for the downs and misses a lot, but his power is impressive."

Few Pioneer League batters struck out as frequently as Swanner, who struggles to identify breaking balls, but he balanced that by connecting for 10 homers in little more than half a season. He makes enough hard contact to hit .260 with 20-plus homers in the majors.

Swanner's inexperience behind the plate remains evident and he still has work to do as a receiver. He committed nine passed balls in 31 games and threw out just 19 percent of basestealers. He has solid-average arm strength, but his long arm action hinders his release times.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
159 33 42 14 1 10 24 20 60 1 2 .264 .357 .553
 
10. RYAN WRIGHT 2B, BILLINGS MUSTANGS (REDS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Louisville, 2011 (5).
Wright hit .349 at Louisville as a three-year starter, and he led the U.S. college national team last year with a .361 average. Geared to hit for average with strong contact skills and a smooth righthanded swing, he finished one hit shy of .300 in his pro debut.

Wright's power and speed grade out as fringe-average, yet he popped seven home runs in 40 games for the Mustangs and stole six bases in seven tries. Similarly, he topped double digits in homers and steals as both a sophomore and junior with the Cardinals. His coordination and instincts allow him to play above his tools on both offense and defense.

He committed only one error in 37 games at second base, where his range and arm rate as average. "He makes the routine plays, but is a little funky looking on defense," Helena manager Joe Ayrault said. Wright profiles as an everyday second baseman, and he also has the versatility to serve as a utilityman after starting at five different positions at Louisville.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
161 28 48 11 2 7 32 9 27 6 1 .298 .348 .522
 
11. JAMES BALDWIN III OF, OGDEN RAPTORS (DODGERS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Southern Pines, N.C., 2010 (4).
Like Joc Pederson and C.J. Cron, Baldwin boasts big league bloodlines. His father James pitched for seven clubs in 11 seasons, making one all-star team. The younger Baldwin dabbled with pitching in high school, but his plus speed, athleticism and lefty stick sealed the deal as a position player.

Baldwin's long, lean frame drew physical comparisons with center fielders both past (Devon White) and present (Dexter Fowler). His well above-average speed plays on the bases (he finished fifth in the league with 22 steals) and on defense, where he can outrun his mistakes. He throws well and his wiry frame offers plenty of room to project future strength.

Several PL managers expressed reservations about his swing, however. Baldwin struggled to make contact, batted .183 against lefthanders and hit just .149/.277/.245 away from Ogden's hitter haven.

"He'll show you plus tools, but I wouldn't bet the house on him hitting good pitching," one manager said. "We threw him nothing but fastballs and he couldn't catch up."

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
196 47 49 9 3 10 39 18 74 22 5 .250 .348 .480
 
12. SEAN BUCKLEY 3B, BILLINGS MUSTANGS (REDS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 220. Drafted: St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC, 2011 (6).
Buckley's father Chris is the Reds' scouting director, but there was little nepotism involved when Cincinnati drafted him in the sixth round in June. In any other ballpark, Sean might have led the Pioneer League in home runs, but Billings' Dehler Park is the most neutral venue in an extreme hitter's league. He mashed 11 homers on the road and just three at home to rank third in the PL with 14 bombs.

Buckley's tantalizing power from the right side will be his calling card. He hits with authority to all fields, and his natural power stroke carries the ball to right-center. He swings and misses enough that he doesn't project to hit for a high average.

He throws well enough to hold down third base or right field. Buckley's range at the hot corner is fringy, but he runs well enough underway that he could handle a corner outfield post.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
225 38 65 11 3 14 41 23 73 6 4 .289 .372 .551
 
13. NICK MUTZ RHP, OREM OWLZ (ANGELS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Cotati, Calif., 2011 (9).
Mutz didn't pitch this spring after leaving Dakota State (S.D.), an NAIA program, following the 2010 season. Working off a tip, the Angels worked him out prior to this year's draft. They drafted him in the ninth round and signed him for $100,000 in late July after following him in the Cape Cod League, where he showed above-average arm strength but walked 13 and allowed 20 hits in 16 innings.

The Angels plugged Mutz into the Orem bullpen but envision developing him as a starter next season because he throws two quality pitches and began experimenting with a changeup after turning pro. He ranges from 92-96 mph with his fastball and also throws a darting 82-85 mph slider that has the makings of a plus pitch. His arm action is loose and he locates his pitches well down in the zone.

When he joined the Owlz, Mutz tended to leave his pitches up and to his arm side, but the Orem coaching staff helped tone down his max-effort delivery and eliminate a head snap that prevented him from finishing his pitches. He has a resilient arm that bounced back well on days after making multi-inning relief appearances.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12 0 2 3 2 2.31 23 20 10 6 4 5 25 .225
 
14. SCOTT SNODGRESS LHP, GREAT FALLS VOYAGERS (WHITE SOX)
Age: 21. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Stanford, 2011 (5).
Snodgress had little success in three years at Stanford, going 4-7, 5.47 in just 100 innings. He performed much better in the pro ranks, where the emphasis fell on development and not results. Great Falls led the Pioneer League in team ERA at 4.45, and Snodgress led Voyagers starters at 3.34.

Snodgress pitches at 92-93 mph with tailing action and tops out near 95. Tall and lanky, he features plenty of funk in his delivery and batters have difficulty squaring up his pitches. He worked to improve his fastball command to set up his secondary pitches: a curveball with occasional plus bite and solid-average potential, and a changeup that has farther to go.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
16 12 3 3 0 3.34 59 61 32 22 5 17 68 .259
 
15. DAVID GOFORTH RHP, HELENA BREWERS
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 188. Drafted: Mississippi, 2011 (7).
A starter at Mississippi in the spring, Goforth worked exclusively out of the bullpen in his pro debut. He threw in the mid-90s for the Rebels and sat comfortably at 96-98 mph with his four-seamer at Helena, touching 100 on multiple occasions.

"Hitters couldn't even square him up when he threw it right down the middle," Diaz said. "Even when he fell behind batters in those 2-0, 3-0 counts, they'd look fastball and still couldn't hit it."

Goforth pairs a low-90s cutter and a slurvy mid-80s slider with his plus-plus fastball, but both are fringy pitches. The same goes for his changeup. If he can develop an average secondary pitch, he'll profile as a set-up man or possibly a closer.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
19 0 0 4 2 4.43 41 44 25 20 5 10 42 .272
 
16. YADIEL RIVERA SS, HELENA BREWERS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Caguas, P.R., 2010 (9).
Rivera's scouting report today reads very similar to the one attached to him in the 2010 draft: He makes playing shortstop look easy, but his bat is too light to profile as more than a utility player or second-division regular. After spending April in extended spring training, Rivera batted .194 in 32 games at low Class A Wisconsin before heading to Helena.

The unanimous choice among managers as the league's top defensive shortstop, Rivera makes all the routine plays and then some with solid-average range and arm strength. He has sure hands and handled more total chances than any PL shortstop, leading all of them with 233 assists and 47 double plays. He moves well laterally though he's a fringe-average runner who attempted just 10 stolen bases in 74 games.

Rivera tended to get pull-happy in the PL's cozy ballparks, and he has just enough power to get himself in trouble. He finished second in the league with 91 strikeouts because he swings big and often comes up empty. Rivera hit for the cycle in Casper on July 19, improving his batting average .339, but hit just .192 the rest of the way with seven walks and 53 strikeouts.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
330 47 82 14 7 8 38 14 91 7 3 .248 .285 .406
 
17. KEVAN SMITH C, GREAT FALLS VOYAGERS (WHITE SOX)
Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 240. Drafted: Pittsburgh, 2011 (7).
Smith originally went to Pittsburgh as a quarterback on a football scholarship before deciding to concentrate exclusively on baseball prior to the 2010 college season. He excelled for both Rookie-level teams in the White Sox system in his pro debut this summer, batting a combined .355/.448/.626 and ranking as the No. 20 prospect in the Appalachian League.

Smith started 5-for-48 (.104) at Great Falls before finding his stroke and hitting .492 with 14 extra-base hits in his final 17 games. The barrage continued in the playoffs with Smith catching every game and hitting .478 with two homers, three doubles and eight RBIs in Great Falls' five-game march to the league title.

Though he was 23 years old when the season ended, Smith's ceiling is higher than it appears because of his lack of baseball experience. He makes consistent contact, recognizes breaking-ball spin and hits with power to all fields.

The White Sox believe Smith will refine his defensive game enough to profile at catcher because he's so athletic and motivated. He erased 35 percent of PL basestealers, showing average arm strength and solid footwork. He still needs to streamline his throwing mechanics and soften his receiving skills.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
107 22 34 12 2 2 16 14 16 1 0 .318 .417 .523
 
18. DANNY WINKLER RHP, CASPER GHOSTS (ROCKIES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Central Florida, 2011 (20).
Casper finished with the league's worst record at 27-49, in large part because its pitching staff anchored them to the bottom of the standings with a 5.91 ERA. Ghosts pitchers allowed 517 runs in 76 games, and the lone bright spot among them was Winkler, a 20th-rounder with a quick arm who could pitch high-leverage relief innings in the big leagues one day.

Used exclusively as a starter in his pro debut, Winkler pitched at 91-94 mph early in games before fading to 89-91 by the third inning. The fact that he navigated the Pioneer League with 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings, while allowing just six homers in 12 starts, speaks the quality and command of his solid-average fastball

Winkler's go-to pitch is his putaway slider, which features plus depth and generates plenty swings and misses. His changeup is less refined and grades comfortably below-average.

G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12 12 4 3 0 3.92 57 63 31 25 6 19 65 .273
 
19. KYLE WALDROP OF, BILLINGS MUSTANGS (REDS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Fort Myers, Fla., 2010 (12).
The Reds signed 12th-rounder Waldrop away from a South Florida commitment last year for $500,000, the equivalent of late second-round money. He also intended to play football for the Bulls, and didn't focus solely on baseball until he turned pro in August 2010.

Unlike many ex-footballers, Waldrop has a quick swing that he repeats. He has just enough loft in his stroke to project solid-average power down the line, and he showed present ability by ranking second in the Pioneer League with nine triples and third with 22 doubles. After batting .233 in the first half, Waldrop began using the opposite field in the second and batted .310/.324/.545 in his final 35 games.

Waldrop lacks the speed to handle center field, and his fringe-average arm may not play in right, where he spent most of 2011. He conceivably could add arm strength as his body grows more accustomed to baseball.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
278 38 76 22 9 5 29 10 65 4 4 .273 .305 .471
 
20. DANNY MATEO 2B/3B, IDAHO FALLS CHUKARS (ROYALS)
Age: 20. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 178. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008.
Mateo batted just .218 with little patience or power in the Arizona League a year ago, but this year he finished fifth in the Pioneer League batting race at .348. The switch-hitter drew praise for his strong hands and smooth actions in the batter's box, even if his other tools don't quite measure up.

"I really liked his lefthanded swing and middle-of-the-field approach," Diaz said. "He was OK righthanded, but more advanced from the left side."

Mateo played 23 games at second base and 17 at third, but also spent 16 games at DH. He doesn't have a lot of speed or quickness and doesn't project to have enough power to profile at a corner position, making him a potential infield tweener. His best chance to be a regular will come if he can cut it defensively at second base.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
224 33 78 9 4 4 40 17 43 0 1 .348 .389 .478