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Top 20 DSL/VSL Prospects From 2015

Daniel-Brito-2015-mj

See also: 2014 DSL/VSL Top 20See also: 2013 DSL/VSL Top 20See also: 2012 DSL/VSL Top 20See also: 2011 DSL/VSL Top 20See also: 2010 DSL/VSL Top 20


As teams become more comprehensive in their scouting and aggressive in their pursuit for competitive advantages, they have dispatched more of their scouts to the lowest levels of the minors in search of potential trade targets. Players in the complex leagues are far enough away that general managers haven’t become attached to them yet (especially with international signings) if they come up in trades, so asking for a prospect in Rookie ball is a way for a team to shoot for upside even if it comes with additional risk, which is how the Astros got Francis Martes from the Marlins’ Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in 2014. Now more than ever, teams are asking about players from the Dominican Summer League in trades. Some of them have already been traded, while other deals never materialized, with veteran general managers leaving those conversations surprised their DSL prospects are coming up in trade talks now.


There’s no level of pro ball where the players have more risk, but targeting DSL players in trades isn’t a bad idea. Our previous Top 20 prospect lists from the DSL and Venezuelan Summer League going back to 2010 have included Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Martinez, Orlando Arcia, Jorge Mateo, Francis Martes, Victor Robles, Ketel Marte, Manuel Margot, Jorge Alfaro, Dilson Herrera, Oscar Hernandez, Frankie Montas, Antonio Senzatela, Jose Urena, Keury Mella and Jeimer Candelario, among others.

In compiling the DSL/VSL Top 20 list, the focus is on the players who will make the best major leaguers, with an approach that emphasized three factors:

1. Players who are coming over to the United States this year.

2. Hitters who performed well. It’s not that good DSL performance predicts future success or that you have to hit immediately—Starling Marte batted .220/.307/.288 as an 18-year-old his first DSL season before putting it together when he repeated the DSL the next year—but the overwhelming majority of successful major leaguers who played in the DSL hit well there. If a hitter scuffles against the worst competition in pro ball, that’s a significant risk factor.

3. Pitchers who project as starters. The DSL had some huge power arms who are legitimate prospects, but there’s more value in identifying potential starting pitchers rather than just looking at who lights up the radar gun. I chose not to include any player who ranked in one of our other U.S. league Top 20 lists already last summer. Anderson Espinoza is the best prospect who played in the DSL last year, but you don’t need me to tell you how awesome he is and there isn’t much new to say about him that we haven’t written extensively already. I’d rather write about lesser-known players. While the VSL trimmed down to four teams last year and is shutting down this season, with more teams fielding multiple DSL clubs and many organizations keeping even their most expensive international signings back in the DSL for their pro debuts, the DSL was full of interesting prospects. Here are Baseball America’s Top 20 DSL/VSL prospects, with players sorted in alphabetical order. Players are listed with their ages as of today.

Daniel Brito, ss/2b, Phillies Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 165. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Normally the Phillies are aggressive sending their top international signings to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League for their first season. Brito, who signed for $650,000 in 2014, stayed back in the DSL, with fellow 2014 signings Jonathan Arauz (since traded to the Astros) and Arquimedes Gamboa splitting time at shortstop on the GCL team instead. Brito is physically underdeveloped with an skinny, long-limbed frame, but despite his lack of strength he already shows an advanced approach at the plate and a knack for hitting. Brito drew more walks than strikeouts last year, showing a sharp eye for the strike zone and good bat control of a short lefthanded swing. He makes contact with high frequency, using the middle of the field and taking pitches on the outer third the other way with a flat, line-drive stroke. He has minimal power right now, but there’s room for him to grow into more once he gets stronger, and he did grow another inch since he signed. Brito also improved his speed, going form an average runner to plus. He has an average arm at shortstop but might end up moving off the position, possibly spending more time at second base this year or perhaps going to center field.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Phillies (DSL)R.26960212335710301935228.383.344

Diego Castillo, ss, Yankees Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 170. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Watch Castillo for a day or two in a showcase and he might not show you anything special. But watch him play in games over an extended period of time and it’s evident why the Yankees signed him for $750,000 on July 2, 2014 from Jose Montero. Castillo was one of the most polished, fundamentally sound players in the 2014 signing class, with excellent instincts in all phases of the game. He modeled his swing after Derek Jeter, setting his hands up high in the same spot with the same pre-pitch waggle. He has a simple, compact swing with good path through the hitting zone, keeping his weight back with an inside-out approach geared toward shooting line drives up the middle and to the opposite field. There’s minimal swing-and-miss in his game and he doesn’t chase many pitches outside the strike zone. Castillo doesn’t have much power, however, and might never hit more than 10 home runs in a season. Castillo is an average runner who doesn’t have the same loud physical tools as fellow Yankees shortstop prospects Jorge Mateo and Wilkerman Garcia, but he projects to stick at the position. His instincts and internal clock allow him to slow the game down, with good anticipation to go with smooth actions, good hands and footwork. His arm strength is slightly above-average with sharp accuracy for his age.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Yankees1 (DSL)R.33156239437911804016295.373.444

Israel Cruz, rhp, Rangers Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 170. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

The Rangers’ DSL program included Anderson Tejeda, a 17-year-old lefthanded-hitting shortstop who ranked third in the DSL in slugging by batting .312/.393/.522 in 55 games in his pro debut and showed plus arm, though he probably won’t stick at the position. Joining him was center fielder Pedro Ogando, who is already 21 but is a 70 runner who hit .371/.420/.474 (second in the DSL batting title race) with 29 stolen bases in 57 games, pretty good for a $5,000 sign. They also had Cruz, who was repeating the DSL after signing for $30,000 just before the 2014 season started. Cruz is a skinny, athletic pitcher with a quick arm who signed throwing 87-91 mph, but he now sits in the low-90s and has touched 95 mph. Cruz has good feel for pitching for his age, throwing strikes and mixing three pitches, with his changeup a tick ahead of his curveball and a chance to develop three average pitches to slot in at the back of a rotation.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Rangers2 (DSL)R122.631211005546201602334.229

Yennsy Diaz, rhp, Blue Jays Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 160. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

When the Blue Jays went to an International Prospect League game in 2014, they were going to follow up on a different player they had their sights on, but Diaz ended up impressing them even more. They signed him from Juan Herrera (known as “Mon”) for $70,000 shortly after July 2 in 2014, when he was touching 91 mph with a loose arm and threw strikes well for his age. That’s a fraction of the $1.6 million they paid that year for Venezuelan righthander Juan Meza, but it was Diaz who saw his stuff and stock spike last year, starting in the DSL and jumping to the Gulf Coast League at the end of July. Diaz isn’t tall, but he’s a quick-twitch athlete with long limbs and quick arm speed. That has helped his fastball rise to sit in the low-90s and peak at 97 mph. His athleticism and body control help him repeat his mechanics and throw strikes, with his changeup flashing average and more advanced than his curveball.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Blue Jays (DSL)R331.9310600373014801639.217
Blue Jays (GCL)R114.745301192411100719.316

Estevan Florial, of, Yankees Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.

Florial—or Haniel De Oleo, as he was known at the time—was expected to be one of the top prospects eligible to sign on July 2, 2014. Instead, Major League Baseball declared him ineligible to sign for one year, after which he came forward with a new name and a slightly different date of birth on a Haitian birth certificate. After Florial became eligible to sign, the Yankees landed him from Bernardo Tatis in March 2015 for a $200,000 bonus, one of their final signings of their monster 2014-15 spending period. Florial has outstanding tools, with scouts hanging 70s on his speed and arm strength in center field. He has good bat speed and plus raw power, ranking second in the league in slugging. He uses the middle of the field and hit home runs to all parts of the park last summer. Florial filled up the stat sheet with hits, doubles, triples, home runs, walks and stolen bases, though his 23 percent strikeout rate was high but still reasonable.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Yankees1 (DSL)R.313572245170118753306115.394.527

Manuel Geraldo, ss, Giants Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013.

The Giants won the 2015 DSL championship, with intriguing prospects in their corner outfielders Beicker Mendoza and Sandro Fabian, with Mendoza having the easier swing and better pure hitting ability, while Fabian has more present power. The most exciting prospect on the team was Geraldo, who received their third-biggest bonus of 2013 when he signed for $375,000 from Laurentino Genao’s program. Geraldo had a decent debut in 2014 then broke through last year repeating the DSL, impressing the Giants so much that they are sending him to low Class A August this year. Geraldo was a good athlete when the Giants signed him, but he returned last year with more strength and quickness. He’s a plus runner with a 70 arm, with the range and footwork to project as a true shortstop. Geraldo’s defense and athleticism stood out more than his bat as an amateur, but getting stronger helped his hitting. He has solid bat-to-ball skills, though he drives the ball into the ground at a high clip and probably won’t ever be a power threat.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Giants (DSL)R.328652745090114337214518.383.431

Moises Gomez, of, Rays Age: 17. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 195. Signed: Venezuela, 2015.

The Rays had a trio of promising position prospects in their academy teams last summer, with Jesus Sanchez standing out the most and middle infielder Vidal Brujan showing a good bat and speed. In the VSL, the Rays had Gomez, who was born on Aug. 27, 1998, so had he been born one week later, he wouldn’t have been eligible to sign until July 2, 2015. Instead, he was one of the youngest players eligible to sign in 2014, but despite training with former major league outfielder Juan Rivera, Gomez didn’t garner much attention, waiting until April 2015 to sign with the Rays for just $40,000. Despite playing all season at age 16, Gomez had a standout offensive season in the Venezuelan Summer League, ranking fourth in the league in OBP and second in slugging. A short porch in left field helps the Rays’ VSL hitters, but Gomez has the tools that should translate in his jump to the U.S. After a slow start, Gomez showed good strike-zone discipline and hitting ability using the middle of the field. He has quick bat speed with an intriguing combination of strength, power and above-average speed to play center field.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Rays (VSL)R.31747180385710263423289.393.494

Nelson Gomez, 3b, Yankees Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 220. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

Gomez and Miguel Flames were big bats for the Yankees in the DSL, with Flames spending more time at first base than catcher last year. Gomez drew the Yankees’ second-highest bonus in their big 2014 signing class, getting $2.25 million after playing in the Dominican Prospect League and training with Victor Baez. Gomez was a physical righthanded hitter with huge raw power, though a lot of scouts were skeptical whether his swing-and-miss tendencies would allow his power to translate against live pitching. Gomez did strike out 24 percent of the time, but it didn’t impede his power from showing up in games, as he led the DSL with 11 home runs. He could have added two more to his total had he not been robbed twice by outfielders making leaping grabs over the fence. Gomez’s combination of strength and bat speed generates well-above-average raw power. He does a solid job of managing his at-bats and showing patience at the plate, walking in 13 percent of his plate appearances. At times Gomez keeps his swing short, but he’s prone to getting long and selling out for power with a pull-heavy approach, so finding the right blend of contact and power will be key for him. Gomez has a plus arm and third base and his hands are fine for the position, but he’s already a large human being and isn’t particularly athletic, so he will have to improve his footwork and agility to stick at third and avoid a move to first base.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Yankees1 (DSL)R.24358230455691115534661.350.435

Pedro Gonzalez, of, Rockies Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

Gonzalez was Colorado’s big-ticket international signing in 2014, when he got $1.3 million after training with Amauris Nina. Gonzalez was a tricky player to evaluate because of his unusual frame and skill set. He had a long, gangly build at 6-foot-4, 160 pounds, with a narrow frame and a high waist to go with big hands and feet, so much of Gonzalez’s future depended (and still does) on his physical development. Gonzalez primarily played shortstop last season, with some time at third base as well, but now his days in the infield are over. Gonzalez was still 6-foot-4 at instructional league this fall, but when the Rockies opened camp in January, he had grown to 6-foot-6. Gonzalez outgrew the infield, but as he got stronger, his speed went from fringy to above-average, so the Rockies are putting him in center field, where they have been pleased with the early returns, though as he fills out he might end up in a corner. Gonzalez showed surprising home run power in his pro debut, but it came at the expense of a 29 percent strikeout rate. Gonzalez has a fluid swing in BP, but in games he became too power-happy and pull-conscious, trying to get underneath the ball with extreme lift. Gonzalez has good coordination for his size, but as a long-armed hitter, he will always have to work to keep his swing efficient and flatter to put more balls in play as he tries to find a better balance between contact and power. Gonzalez is still getting used to his growing limbs, but he earns widespread praise for his intelligence and ability to make adjustments. Gonzalez will follow a typical Rockies blueprint of returning to the DSL to start his second season before heading off to Grand Junction when the Rookie-level Pioneer League season starts, with fluent English skills that should help his transition.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Rockies (DSL)R.25163251466314283319818.318.418

Brayan Hernandez, of, Mariners Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

The Mariners had other DSL hitters who performed better than Hernandez last year, including instinctive second baseman Luis Rengifo and offensive-minded catcher Onil Pena, while Juan DePaula is a lanky righthander up to 94 mph who had success filling up the strike zone in his pro debut. While the numbers weren’t great, Hernandez still showed flashes of brilliance with considerable upside if it all comes together. The Mariners signed Hernandez out of Henderson Martinez’s program on July 2, 2014 for $1.85 million, the highest bonus of the year for a Venezuelan player. Hernandez is an above-average runner who glides around center field with an easy stride and good range, though his arm is below-average. Hernandez has strong, quick wrists and added strength to his lean, athletic frame last year, with average raw power and good exit velocity off his bat when he makes contact. His swing is simple, but he didn’t show the plate discipline or bat control some scouts were expecting, so his overall offensive performance suffered. The ingredients are still all there for Hernandez to be an exciting player if he can develop his offensive approach.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Mariners2 (DSL)R.2245017432398222218449.295.328

Resly Linares, lhp, Rays Age: 18. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

Linares signed with the Rays for $275,000 in September 2014 after training with Pablo Lantigua and playing in the International Prospect League. Linares was throwing in the upper-80s, ticking 90-91 mph with a projectable body and feel to spin a breaking ball. Over the past year, his velocity has picked up, sitting in the low-90s and touching 94. His breaking ball has continued to improve as well, becoming a plus pitch, with few hitters in the DSL accustomed to seeing a plus breaking ball from a lefthanded pitcher. He also shows feel for his changeup, giving him a chance for three average to plus pitches. Linares is a good athlete with an extremely loose arm and an easy delivery that he repeats well for his age, helping him throw a lot of strikes. His 1.11 ERA would have ranked second in the DSL had he thrown enough innings to qualify for the league leaderboard.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Rays (DSL)R031.11141400492910601559.178

Carlos Perez, c, White Sox Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 160. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Perez makes this list for the second year in a row. One of Perez’s older brothers is Angels catcher Carlos Perez, a former DSL Top 20 prospect himself who is coming off his rookie season. They have another older brother who is also named Carlos Perez. He’s also a former catcher who played in the minor leagues for the Cubs from 2005-08 and trained his little brother when he signed with the White Sox for $50,000. It’s rare to see swing-and-miss from Perez, who struck out in just three percent of his plate appearances. His swing is short, fluid and direct, with Perez showing good balance and a preternatural knack to barrel the baseball. His hitting approach is advanced, using the whole field and staying within the strike zone. There isn’t much power in Perez’s bat and he doesn’t project to have more than occasional pull-side home run pop. Perez has an average arm and is further along defensively than his brother was at the same age, though he did commit 12 passed balls in 47 games. Perez doesn’t have any loud tools, but his bat control and hitting approach should carry him up the ladder.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015White Sox (DSL)R.333471623254831212255.424.438

Franklin Perez, rhp, Astros Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Perez grew up pitching in Venezuela’s youth leagues, but when he was 14, he moved to third base while training in Carlos Guillen’s academy. Perez had a strong arm but never got the hang of hitting after a year of giving third base a try, so he went back to pitching and made a seamless transition, prompting the Astros to sign him for $1 million on July 2, 2014. Perez threw strikes and struck out more than a batter per inning in his pro debut, first in the DSL and then in the Gulf Coast League, though he had a combined 4.50 ERA. Perez has added around 15 pounds since signing, helping his fastball rise to sit at 88-92 mph and touch 94. He projects to be even bigger and stronger, likely growing into a plus fastball. He gets swing-and-miss on a curveball with big break, with his changeup his third pitch but he already shows feel for that offering. Perez has also just started to introduce a slider into his repertoire. Perez has good mechanics, athleticism and body control, repeating his delivery well for his age and throwing plenty of strikes.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Astros Orange (DSL)R124.37119003534221711144.250
Astros (GCL)R024.8051001519980317.292

Roniel Raudes, rhp, Red Sox Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 165. Signed: Nicaragua, 2014.

The Red Sox had a promising group of arms in their DSL clubs last year, even beyond Anderson Espinoza. Acosta (a $1.5 million signing in 2014) was slowed by ankle injuries but is still an intriguing prospect, Victor Garcia touched 96 mph with more than a strikeout per inning and 21-year-old reliever Victor Diaz showed an enormous albeit erratic arm up to 102 mph. Raudes is the most polished of the group with a starter profile. When the Red Sox sign Raudes for $250,000 out of Nicaragua on July 2, 2014, he had a lean, athletic build and threw strikes but his fastball was just 84-87 mph. His velocity increased last year, ranging from 88-92 mph. He still isn’t overpowering anyone, but he works quickly, fills up the strike zone and can put hitters away with an above-average curveball. Raudes, whose uncle was a standout pitcher on the Nicaraguan national team, has advanced feel for pitching. He commands his fastball well for his age, hitting his spots at the knees and changing eye levels up in the zone when he needs to elevate. He had no problem jumping to the GCL in August, posting an ERA of 0.90 in four regular-season starts, then throwing five shutout innings with seven strikeouts and one walk in the Red Sox’s 1-0 championship victory.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Red Sox (DSL)R433.52111000544621213363.228
Red Sox (GCL)R300.9044002013220616.191

Jeffrey Rosa, rhp, Nationals Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.

The DSL had a host of power arms, many of whom had limited feel for pitching but are intriguing prospects. Victor Diaz (Red Sox) and Angel Felipe (Rays) both touched triple digits and Jorge Guzman (Astros) touched 99, but their control is still crude. Luis Mora (Braves) has been up to 98 and Junior Marte (Cubs) up to 96, with both pitchers making significant progress with their strike-throwing ability from the previous season. Rosa had arguably the best combination of stuff, size and performance, even if his feel for pitching is still raw. The Nationals scouted Rosa while general manager Mike Rizzo was on a trip in the Dominican Republic, with the team’s scouts drawn to Rosa’s dynamic arm speed and a fastball up to 92-93 mph. Rosa, 19 at the time, signed for $10,000 just before the DSL season started. After getting on the team’s shoulder strengthening program and making adjustments to his mechanics to get better separation and stay on top of the ball better, Rosa’s velocity jumped into the mid-to-upper 90s and reached 100 mph. He fastball has good angle and tailing movement, with enough physical projection that there’s a chance his fastball could climb even higher. Rosa throws a solider slider and will have to learn a changeup to stick as a starter, though he might ultimately fit better in a bullpen role.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Nationals (DSL)R143.051313005638251932969.191

Jesus Sanchez, of, Rays Age: 18. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

Sanchez ranked as the No. 27 international prospect for July 2, 2014 when the Rays signed him for $400,000 after he trained with Tony Mota and Rudy Santin. At the time, Sanchez earned praise for his ability to hit in games from the left side, though his speed and arm strength would likely limit him to left field. Since signing, his bat has come as good or better than advertised while his other tools have picked up, significantly boosting his stock. Sanchez has an advanced hitting approach, controlling the strike zone with a good eye at the plate. He has a sound swing with loft, good bat control and does a good job of going with where the ball is pitched and hitting to all fields. With strong hands and wrists, Sanchez has started to show more sock as he’s filled out and could have above-average power. Sanchez was a solid athlete when he signed, but since then he got faster and improved his arm strength. He’s now an above-average runner who spent most of his time in center field (with some time in right as well), collecting eight assists in 40 games in center.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Rays (DSL)R.33561239368013744520328.382.498

Antonio Santos, rhp, Rockies Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.

In the United States, teams get excited about the high school players they draft who are 18 years old. In the Dominican Republic, someone who develops at 18 is considered a late bloomer, even though the track record of Latin American pitchers who reach the big leagues is filled with players who were not signed as 16-year-olds. Santos was a passed over player who became eligible to sign in 2013, but he developed into a prospect of interest to major league teams last year when he was 18. He had a strong frame and was throwing 92 mph when he signed with the Rockies for $50,000 last year on July 2, but his stuff quickly jumped and he had little problem carving through DSL lineups in his pro debut. Santos sits at 92-95 mph and he’s reached as high as 97. It’s a promising combination of power and pitchability, as Santos is a strike-thrower who has shown feel for both his curveball and his changeup.

YearClub (League)ClassWLERAGGSCGSVIPHRERHRBBSOAVG
2015Rockies (DSL)R120.7565002423720517.245

Miguelangel Sierra, ss, Astros Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 182. Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Sierra signed for $1 million on July 2, 2014 after training with Gustavo Salazar. He impressed scouts at the time with his game polish, which immediately translated into a strong DSL campaign, though his performance took a nosedive after the Astros promoted him to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in late July. Sierra is a smart, fundamentally sound and highly instinctive player for his age. Sierra projects to stick at shortstop, where he’s athletic but not flashy. An average runner, Sierra has a good internal clock, getting quick reads off the bat with good footwork, soft hands, a solid-average arm and a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. Sierra’s offensive game drew mixed reviews before he signed, but he hit well in the DSL, where he had the fifth-highest OPS among 17-year-olds in the league. He did strike out 24 percent of the time in the DSL, but he showed a mature approach with good pitch recognition. Sierra has strong wrists and has started to show sneaky power as he’s begun to fill out, giving his line drives some extra carry, though power doesn’t project to be a big part of his game.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Astros Orange (DSL)R.30245169315117231920488.406.479
Astros (GCL)R.160247561221018334.267.213

Christopher Torres, ss, Mariners Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.

Torres and his trainer, Orlando Mazara, thought they had an agreement to sign with the Yankees for $2.2 million on July 2, 2014. Instead, according to Mazara, the Yankees backed out of their agreement with Torres, who settled for a $375,000 bonus with the Mariners that year in August. Torres’ strength is his defense. He doesn’t have the classic wiry shortstop build, with a thicker lower half and average speed, leading some scouts to project him as a second baseman when he was an amateur, citing his lack of first-step quickness. Others saw a true shortstop, and Torres played the position well last year. He’s an instinctive defender who knows how to position himself and gets good reads off the bat. Torres has smooth hands and fluid actions, surprising scouts with his ability to make acrobatic plays. His arm strength increased to plus and he can make throws from different angles, though like a lot of young shortstops he will rush his throws. There was more division on Torres’ bat as an amateur, with his strengths and weaknesses both evident in his pro debut. He’s an extremely patient hitter, drawing a walk in 19 percent of his plate appearances, though he also had a 20 percent strikeout rate. Torres has grown two inches since signing, so there’s more physical projection there now, but he’s mostly a gap hitter who drives the ball with more authority from the left side. If Torres can increase his decent bat-to-ball skills, his plate discipline could help him become a high OBP shortstop.

YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Mariners2 (DSL)R.25164215405483230515620.399.344

Juan Uriarte, c, Mets Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Mexico, 2014.

Last year, the Mets brought over Ali Sanchez, a Venezuelan catcher with advanced catch-and-throw skills and a contact-oriented bat who caught scouts’ attention in the GCL. They should have another quality catching prospect making his way to the United States this year in Uriarte, whom the Mets signed from the Mexico City Red Devils shortly after July 2 in 2014. Uriarte isn’t quite as refined with his receiving as Sanchez, but he has a plus arm and projects to stay behind the plate. While he’s not a pure hitter, he has a good combination of plate discipline and power for a catcher. He controls the strike zone and uses the middle of the field, though he can get too pull-minded. He’s strong and takes an aggressive swing, hitting the ball with good exit speed off the bat and a chance for 15-plus home runs in his prime.

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YearClub (League)ClassAVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBOBPSLG
2015Mets1 (DSL)R.230321131026512189130.304.345
Mets2 (DSL)R.339205913206011610121.487.492

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