Prospect Report: Twins' Julien Clobbers A Pair Of Home Runs
Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins — Julien kicked off Tuesday’s action with his first home run of the spring. The blast came off of Braves righthander Ian Anderson and left the bat at 106.1 mph and traveled a projected 411 feet. He wasn’t done yet. Julien added a second blast later in the game, this time off of Kyle Wilcox, which produced an exit velocity of 106.6 mph and a projected distance of 360 feet.
David Hensley, SS, Astros — Hensley already has a World Series ring on his finger. And now he has his first home run as a member of big league spring training. Hensley hit his home run off of Jose Quintana and produced an exit velocity of 104.1 mph.
Luis Ortiz, RHP, Pirates — Ortiz began to open eyes last season when the Pirates chose to skip him over High-A. Those eyes opened wider and wider as the season went along and then he became the first Pirates pitcher since Gerrit Cole to throw a fastball better than 100 mph. His first spring start was two scoreless innings with a hit and a strikeout. His fastball topped at 98 mph and he got three swinging strikes, including a changeup to finish a punchout of Franchy Cordero.
Gordon Graceffo, RHP, Cardinals — Graceffo broke out in 2022 and might pitch his way to the big leagues at some point in 2023. The righthander made his spring debut on Tuesday against the Nationals. He pitched two scoreless innings and allowed one hit.
Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays — Toronto’s top prospect announced his presence with authority on Tuesday. The lefty spun a scoreless inning with strikeouts of Matt Vierling and Javier Baez. Tiedemann got both strikeouts swinging—he retired Vierling on an 86 mph changeup and got Baez to wave at a 99 mph sinker.
Kyren Paris, 2B, Angels — Paris has dealt with a litany of injuries in recent years but showed hints of his potential toward the end of 2022, which he split between High-A Tri-City and Double-A Rocket City. He struggled mightily in the Arizona Fall League, where he went 70 plate appearances without an extra-base hit. He got two such hits on Tuesday, when he smacked a double and a triple against the A’s.
Logan O’Hoppe, C, Angels — O’Hoppe had one of the better seasons in the minor leagues in 2022—during which he was traded from the Phillies to the Angels for outfielder Brandon Marsh. He clocked his first home run of the spring on Tuesday as part of a 1-for-2 effort against Oakland before yielding to Jose Godoy.
Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies — There’s little doubt that Tovar will play standout defense at shortstop. If he hits, then he could be a special ballplayer. The leader in the clubhouse to be the Rockies’ Opening Day shortstop clocked his first home run of the spring on Tuesday as part of a two-hit effort against the Rangers.
Jack Leiter, RHP, Rangers — After a trying professional debut in 2022, Leiter—the Rangers’ first-round selection in 2021—will look for a reset in the coming season. The Vandy alum made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday and earned a win by spinning a scoreless inning with a strikeout against the Rockies.
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Rangers — Texas surprised the world on the first day of the 2022 draft by selecting Rocker with the No. 3 overall pick. Rocker’s career arc is well documented, from a supernova of a career at Vanderbilt to a first-round pick by the Mets in 2021 that was scuttled by an issue with his physical. He went to the MLB Partner Atlantic League to pitch during the summer, then didn’t pitch again until the Arizona Fall League, where he earned mixed reviews. Rocker’s spring debut came Tuesday, when he chucked a scoreless inning that was finished by a Warming Bernabel double play.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs — Alcantara was one half of the haul the Cubs received for first baseman Anthony Rizzo two summers ago. In 2022, he starred all season at Low-A Myrtle Beach and could have climbed higher were it not for top Chicago prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong patrolling center field at High-A. Alcantara collected two hits in three trips in his spring debut on Tuesday.
Sal Frelick, OF, Brewers — The Brewers are bursting with high-end outfield talents, and Frelick is among the very best. The Boston College alum showed off all of his gifts on Tuesday, when he went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and a nifty catch in center field.