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|PREVIOUS 32ND TEAMS|
Last year's edition of the 32nd Team featured 15 prospects, most notably Jose Quintana, who jumped from high Class A and went 6-6, 3.76 as a rookie with the White Sox in 2012. No one else appeared in the majors, though lefthander Scott Snodgress jumped to No. 6 on our current White Sox prospect list.
Our latest 32nd Team includes 29 prospects. Because the existence of these reports is due to fortune more than anything else, we do not make an attempt to rank the players; they are listed below in alphabetical order:
Sergio Alcantara, ss, Diamondbacks
Born: July 10, 1996. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 155. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2012. Signed by: Junior Noboa.
The nephew of former major league infielder Anderson Hernandez, Alcantara was one of the top prospects in 2012's international signing class. The switch-hitting shortstop signed just after turning 16 on July 10 for $700,000, the second-highest international bonus given by the Diamondbacks in 2012. With solid instincts, smooth hands and a plus arm, Alcantara was regarded as the top defensive shortstop on the Dominican market last year. His glove is well ahead of his bat now. Until he fills out and matures physically, it's uncertain what kind of hitter Alcantara will be. His swing plane is decent, but he leaks open on his front side and doesn't do much to drive the ball. He's a fringy runner now but could add speed as he gets stronger. Alcantara will begin his pro career in 2013, most likely with a year or two in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League until he gains strength and experience.
Mike Blanke, c, White Sox
Born: Oct. 17, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 230. Drafted: Tampa, 2010 (14th round). Signed by: Joe Siers.
Blanke made the Rookie-level Pioneer League all-star team in 2010, but he has had a hard time building on the success he had in the minors' most hitter-friendly circuit. He has spent much of his two full pro seasons with high Class A Winston-Salem, where he has batted .238/.303/.384. Blanke has a lot of work to do as a hitter. He offers strength at the plate and can punish mistakes, but he has trouble catching up to quality fastballs and making consistent hard contact because his swing gets too long. White Sox coaches felt Blanke made major strides with his receiving last season, though he still needs work. He has plus arm strength and threw out 31 percent of basestealers last year, but his accuracy leaves something to be desired. He's a well below-average runner, like most catchers. Blanke's ceiling appears to be as a backup catcher who can provide adequate defense and a little power, but he's going to have to produce more to get a shot in Chicago. He'll advance to the Double-A Southern League, a circuit that's tough on hitters, in 2013.
Bobby Borchering, of/3b, Astros
Born: Oct. 25, 1990. B-T: B0R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Fort Myers, Fla., 2009 (1st round). Signed by: Ray Blanco (Diamondbacks).
The Diamondbacks made Borchering the 16th overall pick and gave him a $1.8 million bonus out of the 2009 draft, but his progress was slow. He repeated high Class A to start 2012 and mashed 18 homers in 81 games to earn a midseason promotion. The Astros acquired him and outfielder Marc Krauss from the Diamondbacks in late July for Chris Johnson. It's all about the bat for Borchering, who has hit 24 homers in each of the last two seasons. He's aggressive to a fault and has plenty of swing and miss in his pull-happy approach. He has power from both sides of the plate but won't hit for a high average. He hit just .130 after the trade and .158 in the Arizona Fall League. Arizona had moved Borchering from third base to the outfield corners, but Houston tried him back at the hot corner. His below-average speed and subpar range and arm convinced the Astros that the Diamondbacks knew what they were doing, and Borchering will be a left fielder moving forward. He'll return to Double-A Corpus Christi to open the 2013 season, and he has a lot to prove.
Hudson Boyd, rhp, Twins
Born: Oct. 18, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 263. Drafted: HS—Fort Myers, Fla., 2011 (1st round supplemental). Signed by: Billy Corrigan.
After Boyd and Dan Vogelbach teamed to lead Bishop Verot High (Fort Myers, Fla.) to the state 3-A championship in 2011, both went in the top two rounds of the draft and signed for seven-figure bonuses. While Vogelbach has thrived in the Cubs system, Boyd hasn't matched his success since signing for $1 million as the 55th overall pick. The Twins knew Boyd well because Fort Myers is also their spring-training home and understood they were going to have to keep after his conditioning. But they want him to also think about his pitching, not just his weight. Trimmer last season at 263 pounds, Boyd still elicits Jonathan Broxton comparisons for his size and thick lower half. He was expected to be a power pitcher like Broxton but hasn't shown that explosiveness as a pro, rarely hitting the 94s he showed in high school. Instead, Boyd often pitches with an upper-80s two-seam fastball and works at 90-91 mph with his four-seamer. His competitiveness and pitchability helped him rank third in the Rookie-level Appalachian League with a 2.95 ERA in his pro debut last summer. He flashed a plus curveball as an amateur and still has a feel for spin, but his curve lacks its former power. He throws a changeup as well. With lesser stuff than he had as an amateur, Boyd gets pounded when he leaves the ball up in the strike zone. The Twins hope he'll regain his past velocity as he continues to improve his body, and they're encouraged by his success last year. He has a shot to open 2013 in their low Class A Cedar Rapids rotation.
Yordy Cabrera, ss, Marlins
Born: Sept. 3, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Lakeland, Fla., 2010 (2nd round). Signed by: Trevor Schaffer (Athletics).
Cabrera moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age 14 to join his father Basilio, who manages in the Tigers chain. The oldest high school player in the 2010 draft class at 19 years and nine months, he went 60th overall to the Athletics and signed for $1.25 million. He has batted just .230/.297/.351 in three pro seasons, and Oakland sent him to the Marlins in a three-team trade in October. The A's got Chris Young and cash from the Diamondbacks, with Arizona receiving Heath Bell and cash from Miami and Cliff Pennington from Oakland. Cabrera has bat speed and raw power to dream on, but he doesn't recognize pitches well and chases breaking balls out of the zone. He'll cover the plate well in batting practice, then will lose the outer half in game situations. Until he can make more contact, he'll have a difficult time tapping into his above-average power potential. Despite good hands and actions on defense, Cabrera has racked up 61 errors in 159 games at shortstop. He shifted to third base in the Arizona Fall League, a concession that he's too big and inconsistent for the middle of the diamond. His plus arm is strong enough for either position, though his throws tend to sail at times. He's an above-average runner when healthy, though he was slowed by a stress fracture in his back (which has since healed) in 2012. The A's laud Cabrera's work ethic. He should open the year in high Class A.
Damion Carroll, rhp, Rays
Born: Jan. 31, 1994. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 198. Drafted: HS—King George, Va (6th round). Signed by: Lou Wieben.
The Rays signed Carroll for $187,500 in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, with the realization that the raw righthander would require plenty of work after an amateur career that included as much emphasis on basketball as it did on baseball. He didn't hit the showcase circuit following his junior year of high school but impressed scouts who saw him pitch for his American Legion team. The buzz spread during his senior year, but subsided as the spring progressed because he couldn't find the strike zone with consistency. Carroll's rawness was evident in his pro debut, when he walked 19 in as many innings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, though he also struck out 20. Carroll has a strong, physical frame with excellent athleticism and a low-90s fastball that touches 95. He should add more velocity as he refines his mechanics. All of his secondary pitches need work, though his curveball cuts diagonally and down through the strike zone when he has a good feel for it. Carroll's ride to the top will take some time but the rewards could be substantial. Rookie-level Princeton is his likely destination for the 2013 season.
Eury de la Rosa, lhp, Diamondbacks
Born: Feb. 24, 1990 B-T: L-L. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 167. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008. Signed by: Junior Noboa.
De la Rosa has been on a steady climb through the Diamondbacks system since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, posting a 2.48 ERA and 265 strikeouts in 243 innings. He conquered Double-A last season, earning a spot on Arizona's 40-man roster and a Triple-A assignment for 2013. De la Rosa pitches with a deceptively funky delivery, coming at the batter from an extreme angle on the first-base side with a variety of arm angles between sidearm and low three-quarters. He mixes four pitches, with the best being his low-90s fastball and his effective slider. He also throws a curveball and changeup. While he's toughest on lefthanders and profiles as a lefty specialist, de la Rosa has been effective against righthanders throughout his career. His fastball gets in on righties, who batted just .225 against him last season. Despite his small stature, he's durable and a tough competitor.
Juan Diaz, ss, Indians
Born: Dec. 12, 1988. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2006. Signed by: Patrick Guerrero/Bob Engle (Mariners).
Diaz signed with the Mariners out of the Dominican Republic and reached low Class A by age 18 despite not showing much with the bat. Midway through 2010, Seattle traded him and Ezequiel Carrera to the Indians for Russell Branyan and cash. Diaz spent most of 2012 in Double-A, but he made his major league debut with a five-week cameo at the end of May and finished the last three weeks of the season in Triple-A. Despite being 6-foot-4 and having just 30 speed on the 20-80 scale, he's at least an average if not better defender at shortstop. His plus arm is his best tool, while his hands are solid and he reads the ball well off the bat. Offensively, there's not much going on. A switch-hitter, Diaz has a choppy swing plane and an undisciplined approach that results in a lot of outs. He occasionally will put a charge into the ball to his pull side, but he has below-average power. Diaz doesn't profile as a regular, but he could make it back to the big leagues in a backup role.
Bobby Doran, rhp, Astros
Born: March 21, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 235. Drafted: Texas Tech, 2010 (4th round). Signed by: Jim Stevenson.
Doran pitched at Seward County (Kan.) CC for two seasons before turning down the Pirates as a 36th-rounder in 2009 in order to transfer to Texas Tech. A year later, he signed with the Astros as a fourth-rounder. He had an injury-plagued, disastrous 2011 season at high Class A Lancaster, but he returned there last year and conquered perhaps the minors' toughest pitcher's park. Doran has one of the harder fastballs among Houston's minor league starters, sitting comfortably at 90-94 mph and touching 95 with his four-seamer. His fastball tends to straighten out when he throws at the top end of the register, so he has come to rely more on a low-90s two-seamer. He also uses a changeup, a short slider and a curveball, but none grades out as more than fringy on a consistent basis. He needs to improve against lefthanders, who abused him during his short stint in Double-A. He keeps a good tempo, pitches aggressively and throws strikes. Doran's ceiling is as a No. 4 starter, and his fastball velocity might play better in the bullpen. He figures to return to Double-A to start 2013.
Granden Goetzman, of, Rays
Born: Nov. 14, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Palmetto, Fla., 2011 (2nd round). Signed by: Evan Brannon.
The Rays love what they see from Goetzman when he's on the field, but he rarely has been healthy since signing for $490,000 as the 75th overall pick in 2011. A groin injury limited him to 25 games shortly after signing, and a stress fracture in his back allowed him to play only 12 games last summer. Doctors believe the back injury dates to his high school days. Goetzman has a loose, athletic frame that has the potential to generate above-average power as he continues to mature. He got off to a torrid start at Rookie-level Princeton last summer, demonstrating the ability to drive the ball and the above-average speed to steal bases. His hands work well at the plate and he has excellent hand-eye coordination. A shortstop in high school, Goetzman is one of the top defensive outfielders in the Tampa Bay system. He has enough speed and arm strength to man any of the three outfield positions. He remains a raw prospect but has five-tool ability provided he can stay on the field.
Roberto Gomez, rhp, Rays
Born: Aug. 3, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 178. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010. Signed by: Eddy Toledo.
Gomez was already 20 when the Rays signed him in May 2010 out of the Dominican Republic. A late bloomer, he has made up for lost time by earning pitcher of the year honors on Tampa Bay's Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in 2011 and leading the system with a 2.48 ERA last year. Gomez has a tall, lanky frame with a live arm. He does a good job of pitching off his 92-93 mph fastball and commands it well to both sides of the plate. His mid-80s slider has a short, sharp break, while his changeup is inconsistent but shows promise. Gomez has a good mound presence and will challenge hitters. His pitches might play up if he moved to the bullpen, as some scouts project he will, but the Rays want to keep developing him as a starter. He'll advance to high Class A this year.
Nick Goody, rhp, Yankees
Born: July 6, 1991. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Louisiana State, 2012 (6th round). Signed by:Andy Cannizaro.
Goody was a two-way player as an amateur, playing shortstop behind Mets prospect Justin Nicolino at University High in Orlando, then at State JC of Florida for two years. The Yankees drafted him in the 22nd round in 2011, but he went to Louisiana State and saved 11 games while averaging 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings. New York took him again last June, signing him for $140,000 in the sixth round, and he made pro ball look easy by posting a 1.12 ERA and a 52-9 K-BB ratio in 32 innings while reaching high Class A. He resembles David Robertson a bit physically and has similar deception in his delivery. Goody hides the ball well, and hitters don't catch up to his fastball, which sits at 90-91 mph and touches 93. He commands his heater well. He's working to add a changeup from the same arm slot to help combat lefthanders. Mostly he attacks them with a solid slider that he throws in the lower 80s. His slider has good power and late, short break, helping him get groundballs as well as strikeouts. Goody has put himself on the fast track, and he's likely to close at either high Class A Tampa or Double-A Trenton in 2013.
Dean Green, dh/1b, Tigers
Born: June 30, 1989. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 255. Drafted: Barry (Fla.), 2011 (11th round). Signed by: Rolando Casanova.
Green started for three years but posted underwhelming numbers at Oklahoma State, and he transferred to NCAA Division II Barry (Fla.) after going undrafted in 2010. He batted .400 with 19 homers as a senior, catching the attention of the Tigers' South Florida area scout, Rolando Casanova and Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who saw him play against his grandson Colin. Signed for $12,500 as an 11th-rounder, Green has a big, strong frame with a thick lower half. He has a powerful but balanced lefthanded swing and a knack for squaring up the ball, projecting as an average hitter with average power. Elbow soreness restricted Green to 105 games last season, most of which came at DH. When he's healthy, he's limited to first base as he's a well below-average runner. It's all about the bat for Green, but his sound mechanics, feel for hitting and strength give him a chance to be useful off the bench. He'll turn 24 in 2013, so the Tigers may start to push him, beginning with an assignment to Double-A.
Teoscar Hernandez, of, Astros
Born: Oct. 15, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2011. Signed by: Felix Francisco.
Houston made a splash in 2010 when it signed Dominican outfielder Ariel Ovando for $2.6 million, trumpeting the signing with a splashy press release that compared him to the likes of Cliff Floyd and Fred McGriff. But Hernandez, who signed for just $20,000 in February 2011, has surpassed Ovando as a prospect. The Astros scouted Hernandez as a favor to then-Latin American director Felix Francisco, whose brother-in-law was a friend of Hernandez's family. He showed exciting physical tools in his U.S. debut last year. Hernandez has present strength in his wiry frame, solid athleticism and excellent bat speed that make it easy for scouts to project plus power. He's susceptible to chasing breaking balls, and pitch recognition will be a major key for him going forward. He has other ways to help a ballclub, however, including a plus arm and average speed. Hernandez has played both center and right field, and he'll probably wind up in the latter position. He's a project with upside who's ticketed for a full season in low Class A in 2013.
Zack Jones, rhp, Twins
Born: Dec. 4, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Drafted: San Jose State, 2012 (4th round). Signed by:Elliott Strankman.
A 24th-round pick in 2009 by the Royals, Jones opted for college and was a two-way player at San Jose State. His pitching load as well his ERA rose every season, but he had 22 career saves and spent part of his junior season in 2012 in the Spartans rotation. The Twins targeted power arms in last year's draft, and Jones had the best fastball of the group. Signed for $356,700 in the fourth round, he works in the mid-90s and touched 100 mph during instructional league. His fastball tends to straighten out at its highest velocity, and he'll never have true command of the pitch. His delivery involves plenty of effort, but he gets the most out of his athletic frame. Jones throws a solid slider in the mid-80s that has its moments. Jones struggles to throw consistent strikes and may have to tone things down a bit to repeat his delivery. He could move quickly as a reliever after striking out 34 in 20 innings and reaching low Class A in his pro debut. It's not out of the question that he could be the closer at high Class A Fort Myers in 2013.
Tom Koehler, rhp, Marlins
Born: June 29, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Stony Brook, 2008 (18th round). Signed by: Steve Payne.
After being honored as the Double-A Southern League's top pitcher in 2010, Koehler lost his focus and struggled for much of the following year in Triple-A. He regained some of his aggressiveness last spring and earned a spot in the Triple-A all-star game after a strong first half. Despite tapering off late in the year, he was summoned to Miami in September to work in middle relief. Koehler throws four pitches and has a good feel for pitching, but his stuff is a little short for a starter and he lacks a true putaway pitch. His 91-94 mph fastball is a solid pitch with good downhill angle, and he hit 96 when working in relief. He throws an 86-88 mph cutter but sometimes uses it too much, robbing it of effectiveness. He commands his curveball down in the strike zone and likes to use it as a chase pitch. He also shows good feel for an average changeup. Koehler uses a high three-quarters delivery and wraps his wrist in the back. His control and command are just average too. With a strong spring, Koehler could make Miami's Opening Day roster as a middle reliever.
Euclides Leyer, rhp, White Sox
Born: Dec. 28, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 172. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010. Signed by:Rafael Santana/Miguel Peguero.
While the White Sox were conspicuously inactive in Latin America for much of the last decade, they have picked up the pace in recent years. There have some intriguing Dominicans in the lower levels of their system, including Leyer, lefthander Jefferson Olacio and outfielder Antonio Rodriguez. All are raw but showed promise in instructional league during the fall. The most advanced of the group is Leyer, who has had a visa the last two years and advanced to low Class A at the end of last season. Athletic and projectable, Leyer already works at 90-91 mph with his fastball and can hit 94. His secondary pitches and command are still works in progress. He'll return to low Class A for 2013, with the goals of working 100 innings while adding more strength and maturity.
Luis Marte, rhp, Tigers
Born: Aug. 26, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 200. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2005. Signed by: Ramon Pena.
Marte spent his first four seasons in pro ball as a starter, which gave him the innings necessary to work on all of his pitches. He has taken well to relieving since changing roles in 2010 and got back to Detroit last year after making a brief big league debut in 2011. Marte has a stocky build but doesn't have a big fastball. Instead, he gets by with deception in his quick delivery. His best pitch is an 86-87 mph splitter, which he sets up with an 88-93 mph fastball. He also throws a below-average slider, and he can run into trouble because all of his pitches arrive with similar velocity. Marte throws a fair amount of strikes and could be a solid middle-relief option for the Tigers, but durability likely will be an issue because he has missed time in each of the last five seasons with various injuries. He'll compete for a big league job in spring training.
Kevin Mattison, of, Marlins
Born: Sept. 20, 1985. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: UNC Asheville, 2008 (28th round). Signed by: Joel Matthews.
A $1,000 senior sign in 2008, Mattison forced his way onto the Marlins 40-man roster with a dynamic showing in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. Last spring, he reverted to the same habits that had perplexed club officials throughout his career. A legitimate 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, Mattison has game-changing speed but doesn't use it to his advantage. He has just enough power to get himself in trouble. He tries to reach the fences and logs too many flyouts. He's fast enough to beat out most grounders to the left side, but he won't go the other way with any regularity, even on outside pitches. He's also reluctant to bunt and lacks the discipline to work walks. His swing gets long and he misses far too many pitches. Mattison still runs the bases on pure speed and must refine his basestealing technique and get better jumps. He's a plus defender who covers the gaps in center field, though his jumps and reads could improve. His arm is average. Mattison's speed and glove alone should earn him a big league job, but unless he overhauls his offensive approach he'll be limited to pinch-running and providing late-inning defense. The Marlins designated him for assignment in late January, making room on the 40-man roster for righthander Sam Dyson.
Matt McBride, of/1b, Rockies
Born: May 23, 1985. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Lehigh, 2006 (2nd round supplemental). Signed by: Brent Urcheck (Indians).
After agreeing to acquire Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Joe Gardner from the Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez in July 2011, the Rockies asked pro scout Ty Coslow to name a fourth player to be included in the deal. Coslow's choice was McBride, who batted .344/.365/.535 at Triple-A Colorado Springs and had two tours with Colorado in 2012. McBride excels at putting the bat on the ball with a short, quick stroke and a low-maintenance swing. He uses the opposite field well and can hit breaking balls, but he has limited home run power due to his flat stroke. He doesn't strike out often but rarely walks. His only free pass with the Rockies came in his 80th plate appearance. McBride offers value as a utility player because he can catch. He's nothing special behind the plate, with a below-average arm and shaky receiving skills, so he doesn't profile as a potential regular there. He has caught 26 games the past five seasons, including eight in Triple-A last year. Primarily a right fielder and first baseman now, he offers little defensive value at either spot. His arm and below-average speed limit him in the outfield, and he's stiff at first base. The Rockies outrighted him off their 40-man roster in November, so he may be destined for spending most of 2013 back in Triple-A.
Jio Mier, ss. Astros
Born: Aug. 26, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Bonita, Calif., 2009 (1st round). Signed by: Doug Deutsch/Bobby Heck.
The Astros selected Mier 21st overall in the 2009 draft, four spots ahead of Mike Trout. Considered the top prep shortstop on the board, Mier signed for $1,358,000 and posted an .864 OPS at Rookie-level Greeneville. But he never has matched that performance, struggling mightily in 2010 and 2011 before benefiting last year from a second stint at high Class A Lancaster, a notorious hitter's haven. A hamstring injury sidelined him early in May and wound up costing him three months, but he returned in August to help the JetHawks win the California League championship. Mier made real strides in improving his swing path by working with hitting coordinator Ty Van Burkleo. Mier lowered his hands, making him quicker to the ball and on time more often. His .805 OPS represent a 164-point improvement over what he did at Lancaster in 2011, and he posted similar numbers in the Arizona Fall League. The power he showed in his pro debut appears illusory, however, as he won't do more than drive an occasional ball into the gaps. Mier doesn't have a tool that stands out. He's a solid defender at shortstop with soft hands and an accurate, strong arm. His speed and range are less than ideal for shortstop and weren't helped by his hamstring pull. He played mostly third base in the AFL and could be setting up for a utility role, especially after Houston drafted shortstops Carlos Correa and Nolan Fontana in the first two rounds last June. Mier will compete with Fontana to be Double-A Corpus Christi's starter at shortstop in 2013, with the loser heading to Lancaster.
Scott Oberg, rhp, Rockies
Born: March 13, 1990. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Connecticut, 2012 (15th round). Signed by: Mike Garlatti.
After missing all of 2011 following Tommy John surgery, Oberg returned to go 5-0, 0.99 with nine saves in 22 games at Connecticut last spring. The first Huskies pitcher to post a sub-1.00 ERA since 1976, he signed for $85,000 as a redshirt junior in the 15th round. He made the Rookie-level Pioneer League all-star team in his pro debut, leading the circuit with 13 saves. Oberg is fearless, with an icy demeanor on the mound. He throws strikes and gets a lot of groundballs. His fastball sits in the low 90s and reaches 95 mph, boring in on righthanders. His curveball is a strikeout pitch with 12-to-6 break. The Rockies had him focus on his changeup in instructional league, where he improved his feel for the pitch and was able to throw it to righthanders and when behind in the count. A potential set-up man, Oberg will move up to low Class A this year.
Ariel Ovando, of, Astros
Born: Sept 15, 1993. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010. Signed by: Felix Francisco/Rafael Belen/Jose Ortiz.
When the Astros signed Ovando for $2.6 million in 2010, they proclaimed the move as evidence of their new commitment to Latin America. He has yet to come close to living up to his signing bonus, though most scouts believe in his power potential. His long frame generates plenty of leverage, though it also adds length to his stroke. His 118 strikeouts in 103 pro games are evidence of the holes in his swing and his inexperience. Scouts think he has a chance to develop above-average power, but they project him as a below-average hitter and aren't enthused by the rest of his game. Ovando is a well below-average runner, and his lack of athleticism and speed led to Houston working him out at first base in instructional league. That's a better fit for him than the outfield, where he spent his first two pro seasons. Shoulder issues have affected his throwing arm, which never was a consistently average tool anyway. It's all going to come down to the bat with Ovando, thought teams don't give up on his big raw power easily. He'll probably play at short-season Tri-City in 2013.
Noah Perio, 2b, Marlins
Born: Nov. 14, 1991. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 170. Drafted: HS—Concord, Calif., 2009 (39th round). Signed by: John Hughes.
Better known in high school for his football prowess, Perio lasted 39th rounds in the 2009 draft because he was strongly committed to play baseball at Texas. The Marlins were able to sign him for $150,000 and viewed him as one of their top position prospects following his strong full-season debut at low Class A Greensboro in 2011. He found the going much tougher in high Class A last year, when his OPS dropped 125 points. Wiry and athletic, Perio makes good contact and keeps the barrel of the bat level through the zone. He has strong hands and wrists, but his swing often lacks looseness and fluidity. He runs into trouble when he tries to hit for power, which won't be his strength, and he needs to be more selective at the plate. Perio isn't very physical and seemed to almost melt in the heat and humidity of the Florida State League. He'll need to get stronger to improve both his endurance and his ability to drive the ball. He has solid speed but doesn't project as a big basestealer. His range and hands are good enough for second base, but slow grounders and tough double plays expose his below-average arm. Perio probably would be best off returning to high Class A to begin 2013.
Evan Reed, rhp, Marlins
Born: Dec. 31, 1985. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Cal Poly, 2007 (3rd round). Signed by: Todd Guggiana (Rangers).
The Marlins acquired Reed and righthander Omar Poveda from the Rangers in a July 2010 deal for Jorge Cantu. Reed tore an elbow ligament in his first outing after the trade and missed most of 2011 rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. He was back at full health last year, and when he's on, his stuff compares with that of any reliever in Miami's system. Reed's electric fastball sits at 92-94 mph and reaches 97-98 with good life. He owns a hard slider with late tilt that can be an out pitch, though it's too inconsistent. He has a tendency to get around his slider too much and tries to place it instead of throwing it and letting it run. Reed also throws a sinking changeup that he'll mix in occasionally to give lefthanders a different look. But when his slider's not on, he's essentially a one-pitch guy, and he lacks the command to pull that off. He leaves too many fastballs out over the plate, a sin for which Triple-A hitters made him pay dearly in 2013. He needs to locate better and forget about trying to blow fastballs past every hitter. He projects as a set-up man and needs to show he can get Triple-A hitters out before he'll get his first big league opportunity.
Nate Roberts, of, Twins
Born: Feb. 25, 1989. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Drafted: High Point, 2010 (5th round). Signed by: Ricky Taylor.
Roberts went to three colleges in three years. He hit .311 as a freshman at Northwestern, then transferred to Parkland (Ill.) JC and batted .515 to lead the Cobras to the 2009 Division II Junior College World Series championship. He turned down the Rays in the 48th round that summer and moved on to High Point, where he hit his way into the fifth round of the 2010 draft by leading NCAA Division I with a .573 on-base percentage (helped by getting hit by 25 pitches) while adding 19 homers and 36 steals. Roberts has spent his two full pro seasons in low Class A because he missed half of 2011 with a knee injury and started late in 2012 because of shoulder and elbow problems. He hasn't had a major surgery but has missed development time. An injury opened an opportunity for him, however, when he replaced a dinged-up Joe Benson in the Arizona Fall League after the 2012 season. Roberts won the AFL's slash-stats triple crown with a .446/.565/.662 line. He has a loose, line-drive swing and stays short to the ball, making him a strong fastball hitter who can catch up to good velocity. He excels at getting on base and continues to rack up hit-by-pitches, with 30 in 95 games last year (including the AFL). Roberts lacks the leverage or torque in his swing to hit for enough power to profile as a starter on an outfield corner, and he's a modest defender whose average speed doesn't fit in center field. He does have excellent baserunning instincts, ranking second in the Twins system with 27 steals in just 76 games last year. His arm strength is fringy. Roberts isn't a typical outfield prospect, but his hitting results aren't typical either. The AFL may give a kick-start to a player who will open 2013 in Double-A as a 24-year-old who has yet to play a full, healthy season as a pro.
Kyle Skipworth, c, Marlins
Born: March 1, 1990. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: HS—Rubidoux, Calif., 2008 (1st round). Signed by: Robby Corsaro.
Skipworth's bat enticed the Marlins into drafting him sixth overall in 2008—one pick after the Giants grabbed Buster Posey—and paying him a $2.3 million bonus. But a player who set a California high school record with hits in 18 straight at-bats has struggled offensively as a pro. Though he established a new career best with 21 homers while repeating Double-A last year, the rest of his line was a carbon copy of 2011. Skipworth has legitimate power and can hit the ball as far as anyone in the Miami system. His problem is making contact, which is exacerbated by frequent experimentation with his approach and stance. While he still chases too many pitches, he's learning to work counts and has done a better job of keeping his front side quiet. Skipworth likely never will be better than a below-average hitter, however, and his career batting average (.219) and on-base percentage (.282) don't inspire conference that he'll be able to solve big league pitching. His struggles are even more pronounced versus lefties, against whom he guesses a lot and is susceptible to sweeping breaking balls. Skipworth's defense took a quantum step forward last year, when he finally shed his big-bodied awkwardness and gained some agility. He's now blocking balls that had shot through his legs or off his pads in the past. He has a solid arm and good accuracy on his throws, helping him boost his caught-stealing percentage from 23 in 2011 to 35 last year. A slow runner, he's no threat on the bases. Added to the Marlins' 40-man roster in November, Skipworth will head to Triple-A in 2013.
Alex Torres, lhp, Rays
Born: Dec. 8, 1987. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 170. Signed: Venezuela, 2005. Signed by: Carlos Porte (Angels).
Acquired along with Sean Rodriguez and Matt Sweeney from the Angels in the August 2009 Scott Kazmir trade with the Angels, Torres had two solid seasons in the Rays system and made his big league debut in 2011. But last season was a nightmare, as his command regressed terribly and he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen so he could try to improve the consistency of his mechanics. Though he's undersized, Torres generates impressive velocity for a lefthander and flashes three pitches with the potential to be solid or better. His fastball sits in the low 90s at times and features nice sink. His cutter/slider has some bite to it, and his changeup sinks as well. Torres throws across his body, which creates deception and generates movement on his pitches but also leads to control issues. Once projected as a possible No. 3 starter, Torres has the Rays scratching their heads regarding his future. He led the Venezuelan League with 86 strikeouts in 60 innings during the offseason, but continued to fight his control by issuing 27 walks. His 2013 campaign will go a long way in determining his long-term role with Tampa Bay.
Tyler Waldron, rhp, Pirates
Born: May 1, 1989. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Oregon State, 2010 (5th round). Signed by:Greg Hopkins.
Waldron's inconsistency during his college career has carried into pro ball. After one season at Pacific, he transferred to Oregon State and began 2010 as the Beavers' Friday-night starter. He pitched his way into the bullpen by the end of his draft year, and has gone 23-24, 4.62 in three seasons since the Pirates signed him for $173,500. Waldron lacks a true plus pitch but has four offerings that could be average. He throws an 89-93 mph fastball, a cutter, a slurvy breaking ball and a changeup. He throws strikes but his command isn't as sharp as his control. Waldron added velocity to his pitches when used in the Arizona Fall League after last season, and Pittsburgh plans on using him as a reliever in 2013. He'll open the season in Double-A and could move quickly if he starts locating his pitches better.