My list for this year:
- Francisco Rios: He was on our list last year, #19. He had a poor season, 4.29 ERA in 86 innings at New Hampshire, with few strikeouts (63) and too many walks (39). He throws low-mid 90s fastball, has a good curve and slider and yet he’s not getting the results we’d expect. I was still kind of hopeful for him, many pitchers have a hard time on their first look at Double A, but the drop in strikeouts (going from 8.1/9 in 2016 to 6.6 last year) and the jump in walks (going from 2.2/9 to 4.1) isn’t good. He turns 23 in May, he needs a really good year to get back onto the prospect lists.
- Harold Ramirez: He was on our list last year, way up at #12 (in retrospect way too high) and he’s on a lot of lists still. He came over in the Francisco Liriano trade, from the Pirates, along with Reese McGuire, for Drew Hutchison. At one time he was a big prospect. Baseball America had him as number 95 on their top 100 prospect list before the 2016 season. He had a pretty lousy 2017 season, hitting .266/.320/.358, with 6 home runs and 5 steals. In 2016 he hit .311/.360/.407. We thought he might be a potential fourth outfielder, but, he doesn’t do much well. He has little power, not enough speed to steal bases and, though he has played all 3 outfield spots, his defense isn’t terrific. He’s 23 now and half a dozen outfielders have leaped over him on the ladder to the majors. He needs a very good year.
- Yorman Rodriguez: Yorman had a terrific 2017 season, He hit .333/.362/.414, with 3 home runs in 62 games, mostly for Bluefield. I had him on my just missed out list last year as well. Quite good numbers for a 19-year-old catcher. The reasons he missed out on the Top 40 list are: His .333 average was pretty empty, not much for power and it was driven by a high BABIP. He had 7 walks and 25 strikeouts. And, there are questions as to whether he should stay at catcher. His bat looks good for a catcher, for a first baseman, it’s kind of lacking. All that said, in 3 minor league seasons, he’s hit .329/.383/.434 in 190 games. If he can continue hitting and continue to play catcher, he’ll get on our list.
- Miguel Hiraldo: Miguel was a international signing, this summer, getting himself a $750,000 signing bonus. He’s a shortstop, though he might end up moving to second or the outfield. MLB.com says:
He can play shortstop and there’s a chance he stays at the position, but there is also a belief that he might end up at third base. Second base is also a possible destination for the versatile fielder, as is the outfield.
This much is certain: Hiraldo is a hit-first prospect and he has a chance to be a special player on offense. Scouts like Hiraldo’s approach and his swing. He’s a mature player with quick hands, a plan at the plate and he can hit the ball hard to all fields. He’s also been praised for his makeup and how he plays the game.
When we get some stats to look at, we’ll see if he can make the list.
- Kevin Vicuna: Kevin was an international signing back in 2014. He’s, reportedly, played great defense at short, but hasn’t hit much yet. His glove has carried him up the ladder. He played in Vancouver, Lansing and Dunedin last year, hitting .269/.322/.303 with 16 walks, 68 strikeouts and 17 steals. If his bat could catch up to his glove....
- Nick Hartman: Nick was our 9th round pick in 2016. He spent most of 2017 at Lansing, getting in 4 appearances in Dunedin at the end of the season. In total, he had a 2.76 ERA in 36 games. In 45.2 innings, he allowed 40 hits, 16 walks with 42 strikeouts. His fastball can hit 95 and he has a good curve. He’s 23, it would be good to see him move up a level or two this year.
- Kirby Snead: Kirby is a 23-year-old, lefty pitcher. Our 10th round pick in 2016, the pick right after Hartman. He had a 1.79 ERA, splitting time between Dunedin and Lansing. In 42 games, he pitched 55.1 innings, allowed 42 hits, 25 walks with 56 strikeouts. I like lefty relievers who can strikeout out more than a batter an inning.
And here are a few guys that, aren’t ‘just missed out’ players, but guys I’m kind on interested in following. I wouldn’t consider them prospects, but just guys who I’m curious to follow.
- Reggie Pruitt: Pruitt was 29th on our list last year, mostly because of his ‘athletic ability’. He is still learning turn that athletic ability into baseball ability. Last year was his third in professional baseball, and at least with that bat, he’s not improving, he hit .229/.297/.297 with 2 home runs and 28 steals in 72 games. He’s just 20, but there is no real sign that he’s figuring out how to hit.
- Wilfri Aleton: He was #37 on our list last year, then he had a bad year in Vancouver. A LHP, he had a 5.07 ERA in Vancouver. Splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen he pitched 55 innings, allowed 69 hits, 18 walks with 41 strikeouts and that will drop you off our list.
- Tim Lopes: Tim was 36th on our list last year. He’s a 23-year-old infielder who came over in the Pat Venditte trade from the Mariners. He played in New Hampshire, last year, hitting OK, .271/.338/.390 with 7 homers and 19 steals in 128 games. He split time between second and third base. His big brother, Christian, was banished to the Rangers this winter.
- Kacy Clemens: The son of he-who-we-can-swear-about, was drafted in the 8th round of the 2017 draft. We seem to have a liking for sons of former players. He had a pretty decent first pro season, hitting .274/.379/.413 in 62 games for the Canadians, with 4 home runs, 38 walks and 52 strikeouts. He played first base. He’s 23 now. He’s got a long ways to go to match MLB star sons Vlad Guerrero and Bo Bichette.
- Justin Dillon: 10th round pick last year, a RHP out of California State University. He pitched in 13 games, 5 starts, for the Canadians. In 23 innings he allowed 17 hits, 4 walks with 28 strikeouts. He’s 24, so he was facing younger opponents