League Top 20 Prospects

2012 Pacific Coast League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Nashville (Brewers)
*2. Adam Jones, of, Tacoma (Mariners)
*3. Billy Butler, of/1b, Omaha Royals
*4. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Las Vegas (Dodgers)
*5. Ian Stewart, 3b, Colorado Springs (Rockies)
*6. Felix Pie, of, Iowa Cubs
*7. Carlos Gomez, of, New Orleans (Mets)
*8. James Loney, 1b/of, Las Vegas (Dodgers)
*9. Brandon Wood, 3b/ss, Salt Lake (Angels)
*10. Luke Hochevar, rhp, Omaha Royals
*11. Jeff Clement, c, Tacoma (Mariners)
*12. Mike Pelfrey, rhp, New Orleans (Mets)
*13. Edinson Volquez, rhp, Oklahoma (Rangers)
*14. Wladimir Balentien, of, Tacoma (Mariners)
*15. Troy Patton, lhp, Round Rock (Astros)
16. Eric Hurley, rhp, Oklahoma (Rangers)
*17. Billy Buckner, rhp, Omaha Royals
*18. Chin-Lung Hu, ss, Las Vegas (Dodgers)
*19. Daric Barton, 1b, Sacramento (Athletics)
*20. Geovany Soto, c/1b, Iowa Cubs
The Triple-A Pacific Coast League was deeper in prospects than usual this year, with Omaha outfielder/third baseman Wil Myers leading the way. Myers, who finished second in the minors with 37 homers, grabbed the top spot on this list along with Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.

Myers wasn't able to lead the Storm Chasers to a defense of their league championship, as they fell in the league finals to Reno. The Aces featured the PCL's two best pitching prospects in Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, as well as breakout prospect and league MVP Adam Eaton. Skaggs, Eaton and lefthander Patrick Corbin, who also made the Top 20 list, were promoted to Arizona before the playoffs.

The PCL favors hitters, a bias reflected by them claiming 13 of the 20 spots on this list. Two more pitchers, Colorado Springs lefthander Drew Pomeranz and Tacoma righty Stephen Pryor, would have made it if they hadn't barely missed qualifying. Pryor opened eyes by touching 100 mph with his fastball and pitching in the low 90s with his slider at times.

1. Wil Myers, of/3b, Omaha Storm Chasers
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 205  Drafted: Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C., 2009 (3rd round)
Drafted as a catcher, Myers switched to the outfield in 2011 to expedite getting his bat to the majors. But he didn't hit the ball with as much authority and evaluators were concerned with his lackadaisical approach. His attitude changed and he rebounded in 2012.

"He's pretty darn good," Albuquerque manager Lorenzo Bundy said. "He gives himself a chance to succeed by staying within the strike zone. When he got a pitch to hit, he didn't miss. He squared it up and hit it hard somewhere."

Myers generates above-average power with tremendous bat speed and strength. His bat stays in the hitting zone long enough that he projects to hit for a good average. Though he was very pull-oriented this season, he's capable of hitting to all fields with authority.

Myers profiles well in right field, where he gets good jumps and has a plus arm. He also played 13 games at third base for Omaha, making three errors but showing enough arm and athleticism for the hot corner. He's a fringy runner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
388 66 118 15 5 24 79 45 98 2 2 .304 .378 .554

2. Travis d'Arnaud, c, Las Vegas 51s
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Lakewood (Calif.) HS, 2007 (1st round supplemental)
Had he not torn the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while breaking up a double play in early June, d'Arnaud might have bested Eaton for the league MVP award. The injury ended the season of the best catching prospect in the minors, delaying his big league debut until 2013.

Except for his speed, d'Arnaud has solid tools across the board. He puts himself in a good position to hit by keeping the bat in the hitting zone for a long time, and he should hit for at least average power. He showed off his plus arm strength by nailing 30 percent of basestealers, and his receiving and blocking are coming along nicely.

"He was making huge strides on the defensive side," Las Vegas manager Marty Brown said. "He was really progressing well. He has put in a lot of hard work."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
279 45 93 21 2 16 52 19 59 1 1 .333 .380 .595

3. Trevor Bauer, rhp, Reno Aces
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 185  Drafted: UCLA, 2011 (1st round)
The third overall pick in 2011, Bauer reached Triple-A in mid-May and became the first player from his draft class to make his major league debut in June. He returned to Tucson after four big league starts and won twice in the playoffs to help Reno win its first PCL championship since the franchise moved from Arizona in 2009.

Bauer's workouts are unorthodox, highlighted by pole-to-pole long-toss sessions, but it's hard to argue with the results. His fastball sits in the low 90s and gets up to 96 mph, boring in on righthanders. His curveball gives him a second possible plus-plus offering, and his splitter, slider and changeup all have average or better potential.

Bauer's approach can get him into trouble, however. He can overthink himself at times and has been susceptible to walks and leaving pitches up in the zone. If he can harness his control and command by attacking hitters more often and not being too fine, he has the ceiling of a No. 1 starter.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 1 2.85 14 14 0 82 74 28 26 8 35 97 .231

4. Tyler Skaggs, lhp, Reno Aces
Age: 20  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Santa Monica (Calif.) HS, 2009 (1st round supplemental)
Though Skaggs is less celebrated than Reno teammate Trevor Bauer, he's more polished and outperformed him in their first exposure to majors. While Bauer lasted just four starts with the Diamondbacks, Skaggs seemingly moved into Arizona's rotation for good in late August.

Skaggs' 88-93 mph fastball plays up because he locates it well, down in the zone with angle to both sides of the plate. His curveball is a potential plus pitch, sitting in the mid-70s with sharp break, and he also mixes in a solid changeup with fade that ranges from 78-80 mph. He's athletic, which allows him to repeat his high three-quarters delivery and command his pitches.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 2 2.91 9 9 0 53 49 22 17 4 16 45 .237

5. Anthony Rizzo, 1b, Iowa Cubs
Age: 22  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 220  Drafted: Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla., 2007 (6th round)
No. 5 on this list in 2011, before the Padres traded him to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner, Rizzo has hit .336/.405/.670 in two PCL stints. Unlike a year ago, when he was unable to carry that momentum after a big league callup, he continued to mash after summoned to Chicago.

Rizzo hits with a low hand position that tends to lead to an uppercut swing, but that hasn't diminished his ability to hit for average and also creates easy plus power. He controls the strike zone very well, has excellent strength in his forearms and wrists and has a compact stroke. He's a below-average runner but is good around the first-base bag and has soft hands.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
257 48 88 18 2 23 62 23 52 2 2 .342 .405 .696

6. Shelby Miller, rhp, Memphis Redbirds
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 195  Drafted: Brownwood (Texas) HS, 2009 (1st round)
Miller faced his first extended bout of adversity in Memphis, going 4-8, 6.17 through his first 17 starts. The Cardinals gave him 11 days off in late June, and he worked with pitching coordinator Brent Strom to get his delivery more in line with the plate. When he returned, Miller was under orders not to shake off any signs, forcing him to throw more offspeed stuff because he was becoming to reliant upon his fastball.

Everything clicked in August, when Miller went 5-1, 2.89 with a 53-4 K-BB ratio in 37 innings to earn his first big league callup. During that time, he unleashed a heavy mid-90s fastball from an easy delivery. His secondary stuff needs refinement, but his upper-70s curveball and mid-80s changeup have above-average potential.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 10 4.74 27 27 0 137 138 78 72 24 50 160 .252

7. Danny Hultzen, lhp, Tacoma Rainiers
Age: 22  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 200  Drafted: Virginia, 2011 (1st round)
The Mariners took Hultzen with the second pick of the 2011 part, in part because he was an extremely polished college lefthander. He lived up to that billing when he dominated Double-A hitters at the beginning of 2012, but he walked five in three innings in his first Triple-A start and never found his command. He totaled just 16 innings in his final five starts, walking 19 during that span.

While Hultzen battled the strike zone, there was nothing wrong with his stuff. He pitched at 90-92 mph with his fastball and touched 94 while mixing in a plus changeup and solid slider. If he can regroup quickly at the outset of 2013, he may not need much more time in the minors.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 4 5.92 12 12 0 49 49 35 32 2 43 57 .251

8. Anthony Gose, of, Las Vegas 51s
Age: 21  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Bellflower (Calif.) HS, 2008 (2nd round)
One of the most electric players in the minors, Gose has three well above-average tools in his speed, arm and center-field defense. He narrowly lost out to Reno's Adam Eaton as the PCL's most exciting player in our annual Best Tools survey of league managers.

The question with Gose is if he can provide consistent production at the plate. While he cut down his strikeout rate in 2012, he still fanned 101 times in 102 Triple-A games and struggled mightily in the majors. He has some power, but he'd be better off cutting down his swing, toning down his aggressive approach and concentration on putting the ball in play to take advantage of his speed.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
420 87 120 21 10 5 43 49 101 34 12 .286 .366 .419

9. Yasmani Grandal, c, Tucson Padres
Age: 23  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Miami, 2010 (1st round)
Acquired in the offseason Mat Latos trade with the Reds, Grandal played his way to the big leagues after just two months in Triple-A. He burst onto the scene by homering from both sides of the plate in his first start for San Diego, and he played well in the majors despite missing time with an oblique injury.

Grandal profiles as an offensive catcher who will provide average defense. He has a balanced approach from both sides, hitting to all fields with solid power. He has lapses with passed balls at times, but he should become an average receiver with arm strength to match. He erased 29 percent of PCL basestealers.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
194 40 65 18 0 6 35 37 35 0 0 .335 .443 .521

10. Jedd Gyorko, 2b/ss, Tucson Padres
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 195  Drafted: West Virginia, 2010 (2nd round)
Drafted for his bat in 2010, Gyorko has lived up to expectations. He has hit .319/.385/.529 in the minors and delivered 30 homers and 100 RBIs between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He makes consistent hard contact with a sound approach and short stroke, and he figures to hit for a high average and average power.

With Chase Headley in San Diego, the Padres began playing Gyorko at second base this year in order to get his bat into their lineup in their near future. He's passable at second base, but he's a below-average runner who lacks the range and quickness desired there. His best fit is at third base, where he has a solid arm and makes the routine plays.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
369 62 121 24 0 24 83 34 68 4 3 .328 .380 .588

11. Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Omaha Storm Chasers
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Highland (Ill.) HS, 2008 (1st round supplemental)
Odorizzi has moved to the front of the pack of Royals pitching prospects after a strong season during which Omaha teammate Mike Montgomery regressed. Montgomery got rocked in the PCL for the second straight year, posting an ERA (5.69) nearly double that of Odorizzi (2.93) and earning a demotion to Double-A in mid-July.

Odorizzi generates a lot of swings and misses with his fastball, throwing it at 90-92 mph and topping out at 94 while using a deceptively easy delivery. His secondary pitches need some refinement, though his curveball, slider and changeup are all effective. He attacks the zone and shows exceptional poise on the mound for a 22-year-old.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 3 2.93 19 18 0 107 105 41 35 12 40 88 .246

12. Adam Eaton, of, Reno Aces
Age: 23  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 5-8 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Miami (Ohio), 2010 (19th round)
Signed for $35,000 as a Miami (Ohio) senior in 2010, Eaton finally is getting noticed for his tools rather than his lack of height. He won the PCL MVP and rookie of the year awards after leading the league in hitting (.381), on-base percentage (.456), runs (119), hits (186), doubles (46), steals (38) and total bases (263). He continued to perform well after the Diamondbacks installed him as their leadoff hitter in September.

Eaton's game revolves around his plus-plus speed, and he's able to use it consistently because he puts the ball in play frequently. He won't hit many home runs, but he gets on base and has some gap power. Capable of playing all three outfield positions, he has a solid arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
488 119 186 46 5 7 45 53 68 38 10 .381 .456 .539

13. Dan Straily, rhp, Sacramento River Cats
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 215  Drafted: Marshall, 2009 (24th round)
Straily burst onto the prospect scene this season by leading the minor leagues with 190 strikeouts in 151 innings. His success comes more from pitchability than raw stuff as he lacks a true plus pitch, but he continued to thrive after joining the Oakland rotation for the stretch drive.

His fastball sits at 89-91 mph and peaks at 93, playing up because he consistently locates it down in the zone with good downhill plane. He gets swings and misses with his average slider because he pitches off his fastball so well. He also shows feel for an average changeup and an aptitude for keeping hitters off balance.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
6 3 2.03 11 11 0 67 40 15 15 3 19 82 .167

14. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss, Las Vegas 51s
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 180  Signed: Cuba '10
Hechavarria has shown little prowess with the bat except during his 127 games with the 51s the last two seasons, during which he hit .312/.363/.424. Those numbers may be the result of the offensive environment in Las Vegas and the PCL as the whole rather than his offensive potential, but his plus defense and speed should be enough to keep his bat in the lineup.

"He's not a burner but he has good instincts," Brown said. "His range is very good. It feels like he's moving before the ball is hit."

Hechavarria has quality range and arm strength, though he tends to flip his throws to first base. He offers some bat speed and employs an all-fields approach, giving him the chance to hit for average if he develops some more discipline. He doesn't offer much power and more likely will fit at the bottom of a big league batting order than at the top.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
443 78 138 20 6 6 63 38 86 8 2 .312 .363 .424

15. Brett Jackson, of, Iowa Cubs
Age: 23  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 210  Drafted: California, 2009 (1st round)
No. 8 on this list a year ago, Jackson wasn't as impressive in his second tour of the PCL. He still showed average or better tools across the board, but he had more trouble making contact than ever. He led the league with 158 strikeouts in just 407 at-bats, and his problems continued in his first stint in the majors, where he fanned in 50 of his first 100 at-bats.

Jackson has plus raw power and makes hard contact—when he makes contact. He struggled to catch up to inside fastballs this summer, and he also had problems with offspeed pitches. Even when he didn't produce offensively, he showed above-average speed, arm strength and defense, though he probably fits better in right field than in center in the long term.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
407 66 104 22 12 15 47 47 158 27 5 .256 .338 .479

16. Nick Franklin, 2b/ss, Tacoma Rainiers
Age: 21  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Lake Brantley HS, Altamonte Springs, Fla., 2009 (1st round).  Signed by: Chuck Carlson
Since leading the low Class A Midwest League with 23 homers in his first full pro season in 2010, Franklin has totaled 18 homers in the last two years. He still has good pop for a middle infielder, though he might be more of a doubles threat than a home run hitter. A switch-hitter, he shows more life in his bat from the left side of the plate.

Franklin split time between second base and shortstop at Tacoma. An average runner with an average arm, he can make the routine plays at shortstop but fits better at second base. Dustin Ackley's presence in Seattle may mean that Franklin will have to stick at short to win an everyday job in the majors.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
267 39 65 15 5 7 29 24 68 3 2 .243 .310 .416

17. Leonys Martin, of, Round Rock Express
Age: 24  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190  Signed: Cuba '11
Martin signed for $15.6 million in May 2011, receiving the second-largest bonus ever given to a Cuban defector. He has yet to claim a regular role in Texas, but he would have led the PCL in slugging (.610) and OPS (1.033) if he had enough at-bats to qualify. He missed most of May after tearing a ligament in his left thumb diving into first base on a drag bunt, and spent much of the summer sitting on the Rangers' bench.

While he has the bat speed to hit for average, Martin's still learning his swing path. He shows plus raw power during batting practice but more gap power during games. His plus-plus speed currently plays better in center field than it does on the bases, and he can play right field thanks to his above-average arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
231 48 83 18 2 12 42 24 39 10 9 .359 .422 .610

18. Derek Norris, c, Sacramento River Cats
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Goddard (Kan.) HS, 2007 (4th round
Traded to the Athletics last December in a blockbuster deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals, Norris' led to a second deal between the two teams. When Oakland deemed Norris ready for everyday play in August, it sent veteran Kurt Suzuki to Washington for catching prospect David Freitas. Norris struggled with the A's but showed good offensive potential for a catcher in the PCL.

He makes hard contact and has solid power, and while he can get pull-conscious, he makes up for low batting averages by drawing a lot of walks and posting high on-base percentages. He handles himself fine behind the plate and has an average, accurate arm that caught 32 percent of PCL basestealers. He's more athletic and a better runner than most catchers.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
218 39 59 14 2 9 38 21 41 5 1 .271 .329 .477

19. Matt Adams, 1b, Memphis Redbirds
Age: 23  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 230  Drafted: Slippery Rock (Pa.), 2009 (23rd round)
Adams batted .454 at NCAA Division II Slippery Rock (Pa.) and .316 in his first three minor league seasons, and he continued to pound pitchers in the PCL. He wasn't as potent during the month he spent in St. Louis, but showed flashes of his offensive upside. After he returned to Memphis, his season ended a month early when he had bone spurs from his right elbow.

Adams is a big man with tremendous strength and relatively short arms than enable him to maintain a compact swing and hit for high averages with plus power. His bat will have to carry him, because he's a well below-average runner limited to first base. He's an adequate defender with a bat that easily profiles for the position.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
258 41 85 22 0 18 50 15 57 3 1 .329 .362 .624

20. Pat Corbin, lhp, Reno Aces
Age: 22  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Chipola (Fla.) JC, 2009 (2nd round)
Along with Skaggs, Corbin was part of the four-player package the Diamondbacks received from the Angels for Dan Haren in July 2010. He opened 2012 in Double-A and made just four starts before getting called up to Arizona. He spent the rest of the season on the Phoenix-Reno shuffle, joining the big league rotation for good at the beginning of August.

Corbin's fastball usually ranges from 87-92 mph, and it's effective because it has life and he commands it down in the strike zone. His changeup is a potential plus pitch, and he also features an average slider with late break and some depth. He excels at throwing strikes, but his command could use some fine-tuning.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 2 3.44 9 9 0 52 57 24 20 4 15 55 .266