League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Northwest League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
1. *Tyler  Colvin, of (Cubs)
2. *Shane Lindsay, rhp (Rockies)
3. Matt Sulentic, of (Athletics)
4. *Emmanuel Burriss, ss (Giants)
5. Cyle Hankerd, of (Diamondbacks)
6. Tony Bulter, rhp (Mariners)
7. Kasey Kiker, lhp (Rangers)
8. *Matt Antonelli, 3b (Padres)
9. Mark Pawelek, lhp (Cubs)
10. Jermaine Mitchell, of (Athletics)
11. Josh Sullivan, rhp (Rockies)
12. *Chris Davis, of/1b, (Rangers)
13. Chad Tracy, c (Rangers)
14. *Chad Huffman, of (Padres)
15. Daniel Mayora, ss/2b (Rockies)
16. Brooks Brown, rhp (Diamondbacks)
17. *Andrew Bailey, rhp (Athletics)
18. Scott Deal, rhp (Athletics)
19. *Kam Mickolio, rhp (Mariners)
20. Adam Cowart, rhp (Giants)
* Has played in major leagues
The Blue Jays joined the short-season Northwest League this year with an affiliate in Vancouver and wasted little time making an impact. The Canadians boasted the league's top prospect in lefthander Justin Nicolino, and though he was promoted before the playoffs started, they took down Tri-City to win the first title in the franchise's 12 years in the NWL.

Nicolino was the lone Vancouver prospect to make this Top 20, though righthanders Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez would have ranked near the top had they pitched lone enough to qualify. Led by second baseman Cory Spangenberg, Eugene topped all clubs with six players on this list and finished with the NWL's best regular-season record at 46-30.

Spangenberg and another 2011 first-rounder, Salem-Keizer shortstop Joe Panik, were the best position prospects in the league. The top international player was Everett righthander Jose Campos, who had the NWL's most electric arm.

1. JUSTIN NICOLINO LHP, VANCOUVER CANADIANS (BLUE JAYS)
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Orlando, '10 (2).
Nicolino offers a complete package on the mound and profiles as a possible No. 2 starter. He's a lefthander with a quality three-pitch mix, command, repeatable delivery, projectable frame and all-business demeanor.

"He just has a great feel for pitching and the stuff to go with it," an American League scout said. "He just attacked people. If there's a surefire big leaguer, he's the guy."

Nicolino's fastball typically ranges from 89-92 mph and touches 94, and he locates it on both sides of the plate. His changeup is well advanced for his age. His curveball was a little slow and loopy at the beginning of the year, but he sharpened it and it should wind up being at least average.

"His changeup may be his best pitch of all, and that's what really baffled hitters early on," Vancouver pitching coach Jim Czajkowski said. "He can throw it any time, any count. If he's in trouble, he would go to it a little more. He just used it very well. If he gets out of whack with his fastball, that gets him back into the rhythm he needs to be in."

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 1 1.03 12 9 0 52 28 9 6 0 11 64 .156
 
2. CORY SPANGENBERG 2B, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Indian River (Fla.) JC '11 (1).
Spangenberg had one of the best pure bats in the 2011 draft and it showed in his debut, when he hit .384 at Eugene and earned a promotion less than a month after arriving. With a smooth lefthanded swing, fine control of the strike zone and uncanny hand-eye coordination, he should continue to hit for high averages.

Spangenberg has line-drive power for now but should hit some home runs as he adds some strength and some loft to his swing. He has well-above average speed, which helps him beat out hits and steal bases. A junior college third baseman who moved to second base after signing, he needs work defensively but has an accurate arm and makes the routine play. In addition to his tools, Spangenberg stands out with his passion. Several managers cited his intensity.

"His body language and everything just exudes that every pitch is important. He really reminds me of Dustin Pedroia in that he's a gamer," said Eugene manager Pat Murphy, who coached Pedroia at Arizona State. "He's a winner."

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
86 20 33 10 0 1 20 31 15 10 4 .384 .545 .535
 
3. JOSE CAMPOS RHP, EVERETT AQUASOX (MARINERS)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Signed: Venezuela '09.
Campos first opened eyes in the United States when his fastball topped out at 98 mph during instructional league last fall. He sat at 92-95 mph during his official U.S. debut this summer and led the NWL with a 2.32 ERA and 85 strikeouts.

Campos mostly relies on his fastball, pounding the strike zone and getting good downward plane on the pitch. He needs to improve his curveball and changeup, which show flashes of being at least average but lack consistency. He repeats his delivery well and does a good job of not showing emotion on the mound.

"I've never seen anybody who can pitch like that with his fastball," the AL scout said. "He locates it pretty good and it's got deception and it's got angle and it's got movement. It's a pretty good testament when somebody can pitch like that with their fastball."

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 5 2.32 14 14 0 81 66 34 21 4 13 85 .214
 
4. JOE PANIK SS, SALEM-KEIZER VOLCANOES (GIANTS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 193. Drafted: St. John's '11 (1).
Panik wasn't viewed as a first-round talent by all teams before the Giants drafted him 29th overall in June, but he received nearly unanimous praise from NWL observers. The league MVP led the circuit in batting (.341), hits (92), runs (49) and RBIs (54). He's not flashy but he can do a little bit of everything.

Panik grinds out quality at-bats, sprays line drives with a smooth lefthanded stroke and has some gap power. He has solid speed and range, and while his raw arm strength is fringy, he makes up for it with quick hands. He needs to improve on plays in the hole but should be able to stay at shortstop.

"He's a blue-collar shortstop and he's going to play in the big leagues," a National League scout said. "He's very sound defensively, his feet are always in good position and he has enough arm. I'd hate to move him from short to second because I think it's going to put too much pressure on the bat, but he's an average runner and heady player."

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
270 49 92 10 3 6 54 28 25 13 5 .341 .401 .467
 
5. JACE PETERSON SS, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 21. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. Drafted: McNeese State '11 (1s).
A four-sport standout in high school, Peterson is a quality athlete who doubled as a defensive back and shortstop at McNeese State. He grows on managers and scouts by bringing his football mentality to the diamond every day, competing to his fullest and soaking up coaching.

Peterson has a compact, muscular frame and good bat speed. He has a short stroke and a patient approach, as evidenced by his league-high 50 walks. Add in his solid speed and terrific instincts on the bases, and one scout projected that he could hit .270 with 12-15 homers and 25-30 steals annually in the big leagues.

At shortstop, Peterson has better range up the middle than to the hole and is still learning the finer points of defense such as reading hops and how to position his feet. His athleticism, above-average arm and work ethic give him a chance to stay at shortstop.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
276 48 67 9 5 2 27 50 53 39 10 .243 .360 .333
 
6. MATT ANDRIESE RHP, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Drafted: UC Riverside '11 (3).
The third of three Padres 2011 draftees on this list, Andriese projects as a mid-rotation workhorse who generates strikeouts and groundouts. He throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot, which helps give his 91-94 mph fastball some sinking action. His best secondary pitch is an 85-86 mph splitter that he uses as his changeup.

Andriese also throws a curveball that can be confused with a slider because of its shape and hard break. His body is a little soft and his delivery could be smoothed out a bit, but that doesn't prevent him from throwing strikes.

"He's a guy who has a good feel for pitching," the NL scout said. "I loved his mound presence and he's got stuff. He mixes three pitches and all of them are average, if not a tick above."

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 1 1.51 12 8 0 42 29 8 7 0 10 42 .197
 
7. ROUGNED ODOR 2B, SPOKANE INDIANS (RANGERS)
Age: 17. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 170. Signed: Venezuela, '11.
Signed out of Venezuela in January for $425,000, Odor was the youngest player in the Northwest League this year and one of the youngest pros in the United States. The nephew of Indians Double-A hitting coach Rouglas Odor, Rougned handles the bat well from and profiles as an above-average hitter with some gap power. He hangs in well against lefthanders and has bunting skills, though he can get too pull-happy at times.

Even with his impressive hitting ability, Odor stands out most for his glove. He handled a switch from shortstop to second base smoothly, showing a nose for the ball with above-average arm strength and speed. He also made an impression with his instincts, intelligence and swagger.

"He made a double play on a ball up the middle and just flipped it with his glove like a big league guy would do, and you just don't see that type of play," Spokane manager Tim Hulett said. "For one thing, you just don't see guys gutsy enough to try it in the minor leagues, let alone accomplish it. He's got good, quick, soft hands."

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
233 33 61 8 4 2 29 13 37 10 4 .262 .323 .356
 
8. JORGE ALFARO C, SPOKANE INDIANS (RANGERS)
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Signed: Colombia, '10.
Signed out of Colombia for $1.3 million, Alfaro has a strong frame and excellent bat speed. He puts on a show in batting practice, launching balls out to all fields. He's overly aggressive in games, leading to a lengthy stroke and too many swings and misses.

"When he settles in and becomes OK with hitting the ball middle-away, he's got power to the right-center gap," Hulett said. "There's no part of the park that can hold him."

Alfaro also needs to tone down his defensive game. He has soft hands and a well above-average arm, though he sometimes slashes at balls and threw out just 22 percent of basestealers this year. He's more athletic and moves better than most catchers.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
160 18 48 9 1 6 23 4 54 1 0 .300 .345 .481
 
9. JESUS GALINDO OF, SALEM-KEIZER VOLCANOES (GIANTS)
Age: 21. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, '09.
Galindo has game-changing speed and used it to lead the NWL in runs (49) and steals (47). He also has good instincts, making him a merciless terror on the bases. His eight swipes of third base equaled the number of times he was caught stealing.

"He has the best guts and courage that I've seen since Rickey Henderson when running the bases," Salem-Keizer manager Tom Trebelhorn said. "I had Ricky Henderson in the Northwest League as a 17-year-old kid in 1976. This kid, he'll look right in there and you can see it in his eyes. He's telling the catcher and he's telling the pitcher and he's telling the other manager, 'I'm running,' and he goes."

A natural righthanded hitter, Galindo improved his lefthanded stroke immensely since the start of spring training. He'll never hit for power and needs to focus on making more contact and hitting more groundballs to take full advantage of his speed. Defensively, he covers center field from gap to gap and has plus arm strength.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
239 49 66 9 3 2 20 25 46 47 8 .276 .353 .364
 
10. REGGIE GOLDEN OF, BOISE HAWKS (CUBS)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 210. Drafted: HS—Wetumpka, Ala. '10 (2).
Built like a linebacker and nearly as strong, Golden shows explosive raw power. He already has homered in a game at Wrigley Field—the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game—and projects to hit many more there if he makes it to the big leagues.

"The ball comes off of his bat as hard as I've seen," the NL scout said. "He's got a long ways to go because he will swing and miss a lot, but he hit one and I don't know if they ever found it."

Golden doesn't pull off balls as much as he did in high school, though he frequently chases pitches out of the zone and will need to cut down on his strikeouts. He's not a burner and doesn't get out of the box well, but he's a solid runner underway. He has improved defensively since signing and should be an average defender with a solid arm in right field.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
231 36 56 10 5 7 39 28 68 5 2 .242 .332 .420
 
11. JABARI BLASH OF, EVERETT AQUASOX (MARINERS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Miami Dade JC '10 (8).
Blash struggled in low Class A at the start of the season but had more success in Everett, leading the league in extra-base hits (30) and slugging (.574). He stands out immediately for his chiseled physique—Murphy said he looked like a stronger version of former all-star Eric Davis—and his power.

"He split a bat down the middle, from the end down to the handle, and hit a ball over our left fielder's head that hit the bottom of the wall," Hulett said. "In the next at-bat, he hit a home run in which he broke his bat. He is some kind of strong."

Blash's swing gets too long at times and he has some holes on the outer half of the plate, so he may not hit for a high average. He also can be too passive and gets himself into a lot of two-strike counts. An average runner once he gets going, he fits best in right field with his plus arm.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
195 26 57 16 3 11 43 28 65 10 3 .292 .393 .574
 
12. BEN WELLS RHP, BOISE HAWKS (CUBS)
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Drafted: HS—Bryant, Ark. '10 (7).
Wells pitches mainly off his fastball, and spent much of 2011 trying to achieve a balance between velocity and movement. Early in the season, he sat at 87-91 mph with his heavy two-seamer. As the year went on, he learned how to get the best of both worlds, peaking at 94 while maintaining above-average sink.

"He's just an absolute gamer," Boise manager Mark Johnson said. "I wish I had five starters like that. He's going to be something special. I haven't seen a sinker like his in a while, it's just a power sinker that he can throw over and over and over."

Wells flashes an average changeup at times, though his curveball is below average. While he has a fleshy build with some baby fat remaining on his frame, he has a loose arm and throws strikes.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 4 4.66 16 15 0 77 83 47 40 4 19 53 .265
 
13. MATT WEST RHP, SPOKANE INDIANS (RANGERS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Bellaire, Texas '07 (2).
Originally signed as an infielder, West got off to a bad start in pro ball when he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs just two months after signing in 2007. He never put it together at the plate, hitting .241/.344/.364 over four seasons and topping out in low Class A. His best tool was always his arm, so the Rangers gave him a shot on the mound this year.

The early returns were excellent, as West thrived as Spokane's closer. His fastball sits between 94-96 mph and touches 98. He mixes in a hard breaking ball that he can command and started working with a changeup toward the end of the season. He working to get more angle on his fastball, as it sometimes flattens out.

His compact, muscular frame, power stuff and the fact that he's a conversion project elicit Jason Motte comparisons. Texas will have to add West to its 40-man roster this winter or expose him to the Rule 5 draft.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 2 3.12 23 0 9 26 23 9 9 3 1 35 .242
 
14. PIN-CHIEH CHEN OF, BOISE HAWKS (CUBS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Signed: Taiwan '09.
A second baseman in his 2010 pro debut, Chen moved to center field this year and put his well above-average speed and solid arm strength to better use. He's still learning how to read balls off the bat and had difficulty going back to make plays early in the season, but made progress as he gained experience.

Chen has excellent bat control and uses his hands well in his swing to consistently square balls up. He has almost no power and doesn't project to develop any because he has a thin frame with narrow shoulders. He understands his limitations and uses a slap-and-dash approach to get on base.

"Not knowing the numbers, I'd have guessed he hit .340 this year," Johnson said. "He always smokes the ball and has a real knack for squaring it up. He just needs to lift and get stronger. He's like a pitchfork, but he has some unbelievable, God-given hands."

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
229 34 69 14 4 2 30 25 44 20 6 .301 .363 .424
 
15. KEVIN QUACKENBUSH RHP, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 207. Drafted: South Florida '11 (8).
A senior sign out of South Florida drafed in the eighth round in June, Quackenbush signed for $5,000, the lowest bonus in the top 10 rounds this year. His fastball is much bigger than his bonus, as he sits at 91-92 mph and touches 95 while spotting it to all four quadrants of the strike zone.

"I haven't been in there against it, but I'm saying the hitter doesn't see it real good," Murphy said. "His fastball plays mid-90s because of the angle and deception."

Because his fastball is so effective, Quackenbush rarely had to use his below-average secondary pitches. He mixed in a slurvy breaking ball, but could scrap that to focus on his changeup. He continued to dominate with his heater after a promotion to low Class A, where he had a 0.84 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 21 innings.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 0 0.44 17 0 9 21 13 1 1 0 6 33 .188
 
16. DONAVAN TATE OF, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Cartersville, Ga. '09 (1).
Since being the third overall pick in the 2009 draft, Tate has had setback after setback. He had a sports hernia and a broken jaw in 2009; concussion-like symptoms, a shoulder strain and a stomach virus in 2010; and a hyperextended knee and a sprained right wrist this year. He also has failed two drug tests, both related to marijuana, and served a 25-game suspension this summer.

On the rare occasions when he's on the field, Tate shows the flashes of brilliance that led the Padres to give him a $6.25 million bonus two years ago. The son of former NFL running back Lars Tate is a natural athlete with plus speed, center-field defense and arm strength. He has bat speed and strength, too, but he has difficulty making consistent contact or hitting for power with a swing that can get loopy.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
127 24 36 8 4 0 20 25 32 17 5 .283 .406 .409
 
17. ZEKE DeVOSS 2B, BOISE HAWKS (CUBS)
Age: 21. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 171. Drafted: Miami '11 (3).
One of several above-slot signings for the Cubs in the 2011 draft, DeVoss parlayed his extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore into a $500,000 bonus in the third round. He quickly won over Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, who attended a game in Boise and saw him draw three walks and obliterate the catcher in a play at the plate.

A switch-hitter with patience and above-average speed, DeVoss profiles as a prototypical leadoff hitter. He has enough strength in his tightly wound frame to drive some balls into the gaps. He split time between second base and the outfield in college and in his pro debut, and he has the hands and enough arm strength to stay in the infield.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
132 28 41 8 1 0 14 32 28 14 4 .311 .458 .386
 
18. WILL LAMB LHP, SPOKANE INDIANS (RANGERS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 180. Drafted: Clemson '11 (3).
A two-way player at Clemson, Lamb spent more time in the outfield as an amateur but became a full-time pitcher as a pro. While he still needs plenty of polish on the mound, his upside is evident as a big lefthander who can reach 95 mph with his fastball.

Lamb usually pitches at 91-92 mph. He mixes in a sharp curveball that he can throw to both sides of the plate, shows feel for a solid changeup and knows how to set up hitters. He's need to work on throwing more strikes, holding runners and maintaining his stuff deeper into games.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 1 3.89 12 7 0 37 35 17 16 3 23 42 .248
 
19. JOHN BARBATO RHP, EUGENE EMERALDS (PADRES)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Drafted: HS—Miami '10 (6).
The Padres lost Karsten Whitson to the University of Florida despite offering the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft a $2.1 million bonus. When San Diego couldn't sign Whitson, it spent $1.4 million to sign another Gators recruit in Barbato.

Barbato's body has gotten soft since he turned pro, but he still shows glimpses of the talent that earned him a seven-figure bonus. His fastball ranges from 90-94 mph and touches 95. He also throws a hard curveball, but too often he buries the pitch and hitters know to lay off of it.

Barbato is working to develop a changeup, though his secondary pitches are currently below average. He also needs to improve his conditioning and ability to throw strikes.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 4 4.89 15 13 0 57 52 39 31 4 31 50 .248
 
20. KYLE HENDRICKS RHP, SPOKANE INDIANS (RANGERS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Dartmouth '11 (8).
An economics major at Dartmouth, Hendricks brings a heady presence to the mound. He does more than just outsmart hitters, though, as he has legitimate stuff too.

While he pitched exclusively in relief for Spokane, Hendricks mixes four pitches and has a starter's profile. He uses a sneaky 89-91 mph fastball that can get as high as 94, a sharp curveball, an occasional slider and a plus changeup. The changeup is his best pitch and one he's willing to throw in any count.

"You watch him pitch and you can never tell what he's throwing," Hulett said. "His pitching tempo is always the same, whether its a fastball or a changeup. He's just got a good idea out there with great composure and great presence on the mound."

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2 2 1.93 20 0 3 33 20 7 7 0 4 36 .169