League Top 20 Prospects

2012 Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports






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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Todd Frazier, ss, Billings (Reds)
2. Caleb Gindl, of, Helena (Brewers)
*3. Jordan Walden, rhp, Orem (Angels)
*4. Aaron Poreda, lhp, Great Falls (White Sox)
5. Brandon Waring, 3b, Billings (Reds)
*6. Jonathan Lucroy, c, Helena (Brewers)
7. Austin Gallagher, 3b, Ogden (Brewers)
8. Robert Bryson, rhp, Helena (Brewers)
9. Reynaldo Navarro, ss, Missoula (Diamondbacks)
*10. Christian Marrero, 1b, Great Falls (White Sox)
11. Salvador Sanchez, of, Great Falls (White Sox)
12. Jaime Ortiz, 1b, Ogden (Dodgers)
*13. Jhoulys Chacin, rhp, Casper (Rockies)
14. Robert Fish, lhp, Orem (Angels)
*15. John Ely, rhp, Great Falls (White Sox)
16. Justin Reed, of, Billings (Reds)
*17. Andrew Romine, ss, Orem (Angels)
18. Jimmy Gallagher, of, Great Falls (White Sox)
19. Adrian Ortiz, of, Idaho Falls (Royals)
20. Lyndon Estill, of, Great Falls (White Sox)
* Has played in major leagues
The story of the Rookie-level Pioneer League this summer was its crop of young players, the result of an earlier draft signing deadline. Grand Junction outfielder David Dahl, the 10th overall pick in June, was one of the most impressive high school draftees ever to come through the league and won the MVP award.

Two other prep players from this year's draft, Ogden shortstop Corey Seager and Billings outfielder Jesse Winker, also ranked among the league's top five prospects. So did Idaho Falls shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, who signed for $2 million last summer and made his pro debut in the Pioneer League at age 16.

Winker was one of six Mustangs on our Top 20, more than any other team, though they weren't enough to push Billings into the playoffs. Another Mustang, righthander Jon Moscot, would have joined them if he hadn't fallen an inning short of qualifying. By contast, league champion Missoula placed only catcher Michael Perez on this list.

1. David Dahl, of, Grand Junction (Rockies)
Age: 18  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham, 2012 (1st round).
Dahl had a predraft deal to go No. 8 overall to the Pirates, but that fell through when Mark Appel dropped to Pittsburgh, paving the way for the Rockies to grab Dahl at No. 10 and sign him for $2.6 million. The fourth-youngest regular in the circuit, he topped the Pioneer League in batting (.379), hits (106), extra-base hits (41), total bases (175), slugging (.625) and OPS (1.048).

What sets Dahl apart is a plate approach that's advanced for his age. His swing stays through the ball consistently, hits with power to all fields and understands how pitchers are trying to get him out. He'll chase pitches above the strike zone at times but has the ingredients to be a plus hitter with above-average power.

Dahl has all the tools to play center in the majors, including plus speed and arm strength, but he needs to work on reading balls off the bat. He also has to improve his jumps on the bases, which could make him a legitimate threat to steal 30 or mor ebases annually.

"When you combine his mechanics with his mental approach, you get an impact-type player," Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz said. "I feel like he can be a Grady Sizemore or some type of player like that."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
280 62 106 22 10 9 57 21 42 12 7 .379 .423 .625
2. Robert Stephenson, rhp, Billings (Reds)
Age: 19  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Alhambra HS, Martinez, Calif., 2011 (1st round).
Billings' Dehler Park is the closest thing the Pioneer League has to a pitcher's park, but that doesn't overshadowed what Stephenson accomplished there before moving up to low Class A. The 2011 first-round pick signed late for $2 million last summer and made his pro debut with the Mustangs, giving up just seven earned runs in seven starts while limiting opponents to a .193 average.

Stephenson sits at 94-96 mph and touches 98 with his fastball. He also has a quality changeup, giving him the best 1-2 combination of pitches in the league. He commands both sides of the plate, and if his curveball realize his potential as a plus pitch, he can be a No. 1 starter.

"The stuff is there, the command is there and the feel for the game is there," Billings manager Pat Kelly said. "He just needs to go out and pitch for a few years."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 0 2.05 7 7 0 31 22 11 7 2 8 37 .193
3. Adalberto Mondesi, ss, Idaho Falls (Royals)
Age: 16  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 165  Signed: Dominican Republic '11.
The son of former major leaguer Raul Mondesi, Aldaberto was the youngest player in the league and more than held his own against players often four or five years older than him, even though it was his first year in pro ball. He has an advanced approach for his age from both sides of the plate, though his discipline needs improvement. He should be able to hit for average, currently has gap power and should develop into a home run threat as his skinny frame fills out.

"He might have the highest ceiling in the league because of his youth," Diaz said. "This guy may show up in three years hitting 30 bombs in the big leagues."

With plus speed, range and arm strength, Mondesi can be a difference-maker on the bases and at shortstop. Playing his home games on the league's worst infield surface contributed to his 23 errors in 47 games, but he made plays no other shortstop in the league could make. His tools and lithe, athletic body mean he's in little danger of ever having to move off of shortstop.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
207 35 60 7 2 3 30 19 65 11 2 .290 .346 .386
04. Corey Seager, ss, Ogden (Dodgers)
Age: 18  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Northwest Cabarrus HS, Concord, N.C., 2012 (1st round).
While Seager's older brother Kyle is having a solid season with the Mariners, make no mistake about it: Corey has the higher ceiling. Drafted 18th overall in June and signed for $2.35 million, Seager has the tools to hit for average and power. He sometimes gets anxious and pull-happy at the plate, but he also shows the ability to drive the ball to all fields.

The big question with Seager is where he'll end up on the diamond. He has solid range and a plus arm, though he's already big and figures to outgrow shortstop and move to third base. He's an average runner with good instincts on the bases.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
175 34 54 9 2 8 33 21 33 8 2 .309 .383 .520
05. Jesse Winker, of, Billings (Reds)
Age: 18  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Olympia HS, Orlando, 2012 (1st round supplemental)
Yet another teenager making an impressive debut in the Pioneer League, Winker led the circuit with a .443 on-base percentage. One of two Olympia HS (Orlando) players drafted in the sandwich round in June—Padres righthander Walker Weickel was the other—Winker went 49th overall and signed for $1 million.

Winker's bat is his best tool. He has an advanced feel for hitting and plate discipline. More of a line-drive hitter right now, he has loft in his swing that eventually should produce 20 or more homers on an annual basis.

An average runner, Winker profiles as a corner outfielder who most likely fits in left field because of his fringy arm strength. He needs to work on getting better reads and angles on balls, but he has the potential to become an average defender
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
228 42 77 16 3 5 35 40 50 1 3 .338 .443 .500
06. Eddie Butler, rhp, Grand Junction Rockies
Age: 21  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Radford, 2012 (1st round supplemental).
Like Winker, Butler is a 2012 supplemental first-rounder who signed for $1 million. He's not physically imposing, but he has a pair of plus pitches that helped him lead the league in ERA (2.13), opponent average (.230) and WHIP (1.06).

Butler's fastball averages 94-95 mph with heavy sink, getting as high as 97, and he backs it up with a quality slider. His below-average changeup holds the key to his future, and how well he defines it will determine if he's a starter or reliever. He has average command and a competitive makeup.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 1 2.13 13 12 0 68 59 18 16 1 13 55 .225
07. Michael Perez, c,
Age: 19  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Colegio Vocacional Para Adultos, San Juan, P.R., 2011 (5th round).
In his first full season as a pro, Perez displayed all the tools to become a regular catcher in the majors. He led the league by throwing out 52 percent of basestealers—the league average was 29 percent—while showing solid power potential. "For a complete prospect, there's not a better catcher in this league," Missoula's manager Andy Green said.

Perez profiles as a .250-.270 hitter with 20-homer power. He's prone to strikeouts but has shown an ability to use the whole field and make adjustments, encouraging signs for a young hitter.

Behind the plate, Perez throws well and has above-average receiving skills. His footwork and exchange are excellent for his age. He does need to get stronger to handle the everyday grind of catching.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
225 43 66 16 5 10 60 20 72 0 1 .293 .358 .542
08. Sam Selman, lhp, Idaho Falls Chukars
Age: 21  B-T: R-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 165  Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2012 (2nd round).  Signed by:
After an inconsistent college career at Vanderbilt, Selman dominated in his first taste of pro ball. The league's pitcher of the year, he led the circuit with 89 strikeouts. If he hadn't fallen one-third of an inning shy of qualifying, he also would have topped the Pioneer League in ERA (2.09), strikeouts per nine innings (13.3) and opponent average (.204).

Selman works with a 92-94 mph fastball that flashes as high as 96, making him a true lefthanded power arm. His best secondary pitch is his slider, a plus offering at times and one that overmatched Pioneer League hitters. He's in the process of developing a changeup and refining his command.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 4 2.09 13 12 0 60 45 21 14 1 22 89 .199
09. Mark Sappington, rhp, Orem Owlz
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 209  Drafted: Rockhurst (Mo.), 2012 (5th round).  Signed by:
The Angels kept a tight rein on Sappington at Orem, holding him to tight pitch and innings limits after he worked 96 innings in the spring at NCAA Division II Rockhurst (Mo.). He didn't post big numbers in his pro debut, but with a fastball that sits at 94-95 mph and touches 97, he had one of the biggest arms in the league.

Along with the fastball, he throws a curveball that's a plus pitch at times and an improving changeup that can develop into an average offering. His big frame is built for durability and allows him to throw his pitches on a tough downhill plane. He has a complicated delivery that features some effort, which detracts from his command and eventually could land him in the bullpen.

"I think he's at worst a solid No. 3 starter," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said. "He's pitching at 95 and he's tired. This one could be real interesting next year."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 1 5.15 15 12 0 37 31 25 21 3 16 34 .220
10. Dan Langfield, rhp, Billings Mustangs
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 196  Drafted: Memphis, 2012 (3rd round).
Langfield ranked 15th in NCAA Division I with an average of 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings during the spring, then upped that rate to 13.1 at Billings. He has a 93-94 mph fastball that he can bump up to 96 when he wants, but the quality of his secondary offerings is what set him apart from other Pioneer League pitchers

Langfield's slider is a plus pitch, and his hard curveball and his changeup are both average. His below-average command prevented him from ranking higher on this list and could make him a reliever in the long run. If the Reds move him to the bullpen, he could move quickly.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 0 2.68 15 5 0 37 27 12 11 1 17 54 .196
11. Jeff Gelalich, of, Billings (Reds)
Age: 21  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 180  Drafted: UCLA, 2012 (1st round supplemental).
Gelalich hit .284 with four homers in his first two seasons at UCLA, then batted .351 with 11 homers this spring. That performance helped the Bruins reach the College World Series and boosted him into the supplemental first round. A hand injury marred his production at Billings and he never really got to show off the skills that made him a star at UCLA.

Gelalich's simple approach and ability to barrel the ball should make him a solid hitter with average power. A right fielder who could play center in a pinch, he has solid speed and arm strength and gets good jumps on balls. He has fine baserunning instincts, adding another dimension to his package.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
127 27 31 7 2 2 9 14 42 4 1 .244 .336 .378
12. Chris Beck, rhp, Great Falls Voyagers
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Georgia Southern, 2012 (2nd round).
Beck opened 2012 as a potential top-10-overall pick but slid to the second round after a mediocre spring at Georgia Southern. Though he got knocked around some more at Great Falls, it's hard to ignore his stuff.

Becks sits at 90-92 mph with his fastball and reaches 95 at times. He complements his heater with a slider that has the potential to become a plus pitch and a below-average changeup that could become average with work. His command is slightly below average, though it showed improvement during the summer.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 3 4.69 15 6 0 40 51 27 21 3 12 36 .297
13. Wilfredo Rodriguez, c, Grand Junction (Rockies)
Age: 18  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 200  Drafted: Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R., 2012 (7th round).
The youngest catcher in the league, Rodriguez is far from a finished product by showed glimpses of the talent that could make him a big league regular. Using a short stroke built for line-drive contact, he batted .319. He presently has gap power but could produce more home runs if he adds some loft to his swing.

Rodriguez has an average arm but threw out just 21 percent of basestealers because he needs to improve his footwork. While his receiving will require more attention as well, he has the work ethic to make it behind the plate. He's a well below-average runner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
166 26 53 14 1 2 27 13 23 1 1 .319 .370 .452
14. Julian Yan, of, Grand Junction (Rockies)
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180  Signed: Dominican Republic '08.
In his fourth year in Rookie ball and second straight in the Pioneer League, Yan led the circuit with 16 homers. Some evaluators grade his raw power as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. "There's 30 home runs in there at the major league level," Diaz said.

Yan strikes out a lot and doesn't project to hit for a high average, though he did show more patience at the plate this summer when opponents began to pitch around him. He's an average runner who can steal an occasional base. His well above-average arm fits well in right field and could lead to a career on the mound if hitting doesn't work out.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
255 50 72 13 1 16 57 21 82 9 4 .282 .357 .529
15. Ross Stripling, rhp, Ogden Raptors
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Texas A&M, 2012 (5th round).
Stripling threw 126 innings during the spring at Texas A&M, so the Dodgers kept him on strict pitch counts after he signed. That didn't stop him from making his mark on the Pioneer League, as he breezed through opposing lineups in short stints and posted a 1.24 ERA with a 37-6 K-BB ratio.

Stripling's stuff played up in two- and three-innings outings, with his fastball working at 92-94 mph (up from 88-91 with the Aggies) and peaking at 96. His 12-to-6 curveball shows flashes of being a plus pitch, and his changeup has a chance to become an average offering.

While Stripling could make this list on stuff alone, he also has an advanced feel for pitching and keeps hitters off balance with his pitch selection. He's athletic and repeats his delivery well, allowing him to work all four corners of the strike zone. He could advance quickly through the minors.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 0 1.24 14 12 0 36 26 7 5 0 6 37 .193
16. Brandon Brennan, rhp, Great Falls Voyagers
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 220  Drafted: Orange Coast (Calif.) CC, 2012 (4th round).
After redshirting during his freshman season with Oregon, Brennan transferred to Orange Coast (Calif.) JC and pitched his way into the fourth round of the 2012 draft. As with his Great Falls teammate Beck, Brennan didn't blow anyone away with his debut but his stuff offers promise for the future.

Brennan normally works at 91-93 with his fastball, which features heavy sink and generates plenty of groundouts. He also throws an average slider and a changeup that has a chance to become average in the future. If he can improve his below-average command, he has the makings of an innings-eating starter.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 2 4.34 14 7 0 37 44 27 18 2 16 31 .282
17. Jayson Aquino, lhp, Grand Junction Rockies
Age: 19  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 170  Signed: Dominican Republic '09.
Aquino opened the summer with his third stint in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and didn't join Grand Junction until August. Once there, he made his present felt by winning four of his seven starts and improving his pro record to 22-6, 1.39.

Aquino's fastball regularly sits in the 89-91 range, but he could develop consistent low-90s velocity once he develops physically. His best pitch now is his plus changeup, which also helps his fastball play up, and his inconsistent curveball has the potential to become an average pitch. He has very good control for his age and a mindset of attacking the strike zone.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 0 1.87 7 7 0 43 32 13 9 2 11 36 .198
18. Seth Mejias-Brean, 3b, Billings (Reds)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Arizona, 2012 (8th round).
Mejias followed winning the College World Series at Arizona with a fine pro debut. Kelly likened him to a seven-time all-star.

"Of all the college guys, I think he's been the most impressive, production-wise, in this league," Kelly said. "I saw Scott Rolen in Double-A when I managed there, and he kind of reminds me of him. I see Seth being that kind of defender and having that kind of power."

While the Rolen comparison is a bit much, Mejias-Brean has the approach to hit for a solid average with 15 or more homers per season. He's an impact defender at third base, with plus range and a strong arm. He has deceptive speed and is a smart baserunner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
179 35 56 12 2 8 40 21 29 6 0 .313 .389 .536
19. Wendell Soto, ss, Orem (Angels)
Age: 20  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 170  Drafted: Riverview HS, Sarasota, Fla., 2010 (3rd round).
Soto spent his first two pro seasons in the Arizona League and when he struggled at low Class A Cedar Rapids at the start of 2012, he got another taste of Rookie ball at Orem.  He re-established himself as a prospect with the Owlz by turning in the best offensive performance of his career.

Still just 20 despite being drafted in 2010, Soto is a switch-hitter who's better from the left side. He has some gap power, though he needs to tone down his approach and focus more on making contact. He's an average runner.

Soto projects as a serviceable hitter whose real value comes from his defense. He's an asset at shortstop, where he got to balls most shortstops in the league couldn't. His arm grades as average rather than plus, but it's accurate and won't hinder his ability to play the position at a high level.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
234 45 77 18 5 4 37 20 51 8 1 .329 .381 .500
20. Ismael Guillon, lhp, Billings Mustangs
Age: 20  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 185  Signed: Venezuela '08.
Guillon was one of the league's most improved players from a year ago. After posting a 6.57 ERA in 2011, he cut it to 2.29 this summer before a promotion to low Class A. His control also took a dramatic step forward, with his K-BB ratio doubling from 1.3 to 2.6.

"It's been like night and day," Kelly said. "To see the growth in him over the last year is what's really been impressive to me."

Guillon sits from 89-92 mph with his fastball, and his deceptive delivery means the pitch gets on hitters quickly. He has tremendous feel for a plus changeup that's his best pitch. His ability to improve a curveball that grades as a 30 on the 20-80 scouting scale ultimately will determine his ceiling.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 1 2.29 11 10 0 51 39 16 13 1 24 63 .203