The St. Louis Cardinals have arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball — Alex Reyes continues to miss bats at an unworldly pace. Not to be overlooked, however, Luke Weaver is making a strong push to be right behind Reyes en route to the big leagues.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect is known simply by three letters. SRF. Just one year after a disastrous Florida State League debut, Sean Reid-Foley is back in Dunedin. This time, however, he is hotter than the Sunshine State’s summer, as one of the best pitchers in the league.
The Atlanta Braves brass are at it again. This time they shipped 31-year old journeyman pitcher Lucas Harrell and 27-year old lefty reliever Dario Alvarez, who has spent the bulk of his career in he minor leagues, to the Texas Rangers for the exciting big bat of second baseman Travis Demeritte.
I live in Atlanta, Georgia. Being a minor league writer is very tough because there isn’t a team less than an hour away from me. There’s a lot of travel involved when I don’t want to watch a prospect on MiLB.TV and in person.
That being said, when I drive to a game — especially one that is featuring two of the more highly touted pitching prospects in Low-A ball — I have high expectations.
ROME, GA — The Atlanta Braves went into full rebuild mode last season. John Hart took the helm and began a new era of Braves baseball, getting a lot of big money stars off the books in exchange for a bevy of elite, young prospects. They also made a big haul in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
The 2011 and 2012 seasons were big ones for the development of the future Texas Rangers. In 2011, Texas opened up the bank on the international free agent market, spending $8 million on two teenagers named Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman. The following season, they snagged big names like Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, and Nick Williams in the MLB Draft.
While four of those names have become baseball’s top prospects in the game, Guzman has idled away in A-ball, seemingly searching for the skill set and maturity that the Rangers saw in him five years ago.
There is a lot to like about Mike Clevinger. He looks a lot like Jacob deGrom when he takes the mound, his long hair flying through the air as he hurls the ball to the plate. He loves the spotlight, as evidenced by last season’s Governor’s Cup performance. When you meet him, he has a care-free attitude, always laughing with a smile on his face, seemingly the happiest 25-year old to be wearing a baseball uniform.
He’s also happens to be an outstanding pitcher.
Aroldis Chapman has been on the move quite a bit the past few months. Just 31.1 innings and 20 saves after sending Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda and Caleb Cotham to Cincinnati for the fastest throwing pitcher in the land, the New York Yankees turned him into an arguably bigger haul.
It’s been a bit over a month since the MLB Draft. The top ten picks were nearly an even split between bats and arms, with six pitchers going in the first ten picks and four bats rounding it all out.
Let’s take a peak at how those bats are doing since signing.
1-1 Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia Phillies ($6.1-million signing bonus)
While Zack Collins was my personal favorite bat in the draft, Moniak was hands down my favorite all around player. I felt the Phillies were wise going for a bat — either Corey Ray, Kyle Lewis or Moniak — with this year’s pitching options, and thus far it seems that they have chosen wisely.
Moniak went hitless in his June 25th Gulf Coast Phillies debut, but has been hitting ever since. Heading into Sunday he is slashing .315/.378/.397 with one double, triple and home run while swiping three of six stolen base attempts. He has struck out a bit, posting a 14-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 77 plate appearances, but that is hardly alarming at 18 years of age. He saw a seven game hitting streak come to an end yesterday, in which he went 11-for-29 (a .379 batting average).
1-2 Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds ($6.2-million signing bonus)
Senzel was the easiest pick in Mock Drafts. He filled a glaring need for the Reds and was arguably the most major league ready bat in the top picks. He has shown it thus far in his brief debut.
Surprisingly, Senzel didn’t hit all that well in the Pioneer League. He hit .152 in ten Rookie League games, but did show great plate awareness striking out five times and walking six. Since jumping up to the Midwest League of Low-A ball, he has been on fire.
He is slashing .333/.435/.536 since his promotion. He went 6-for-14 in his first three games in Low-A and posted a big 4-for-5 night on July 18th in which he launched his first career home run. He is showing advanced plate presence at the next level as well, walking 13.8 percent of the time while striking out 17.5 percent of his plate appearances. After posting a rather unlucky .172 BABIP at the Rookie Level, he has been helped by a .373 BABIP in Dayton, but I think that is more indicative of the solid contact he makes as opposed to bad positioning in the field.
How are Corey Ray and Zack Collins performing? Head on over to my full article at Minor League Ball and find out by clicking on the link below:
Dermis Garcia likes to hit home runs. The New York Yankees one-time shortstop prospect doesn’t bring too much else to the table right now. But he likes to hit home runs and a lot of them.
Garcia came to the Yankees when they went on their international market spending frenzy back in 2014 and 2015. Signed for $3.2-million at the age of 16 out of the Dominican Republic, the 6-foot-3, 200 pound right-handed hitter was widely considered a top ten international free agent. Most saw his exciting raw power, with the ability to hit mesmerizing long balls, but strongly questioned how his video game-esque hitting would translate from the batting cage to pro ball stateside.
Those concerns were justified in his GCL debut. Garcia slashed .159/.256/.188 with a horrific 32.1-percent strikeout rate in just 78 plate appearances. Strangely enough, you would think such a free swinger wouldn’t know how to take a walk, yet he drew a free pass nearly 12-percent of his plate appearances, which is promising for a 17-year old getting his first taste of pro ball. That power was nowhere to be found, as he hit no home runs and two doubles.
Perhaps that is because he was saving it for 2016. His sophomore campaign in Pulaski has been well documented of late. In just 97 plate appearances, Garcia has launched 10 home runs, some of epic proportions such as the one below from Baseball America’s Josh Norris that made it’s way around social media the other day.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) July 20, 2016
Garcia is posting an insane 158 wRC+ backed by his power surge, which also includes four doubles. His strikeout rate has risen as high as some of his moonshots (38.1-percent), but so has his walk rate (13.4-percent). He recently came off a streak where he launched four home runs in a four-day span. Garcia is slashing .250/.366/.655 with a 1.021 OPS, so — minus the strikeout issues — a very impressive stat line to say the least.
For more on the big bat of the Yankees Dermis Garcia, head on over to Minor League Ball for my full analysis and projections by clicking on the link below: