Friday, November 20, 2015

40-man Additions

These are the 40-man additions that I've seen in the past year. If your team isn't on the list, then I didn't see any of your dudes. Sorry, but I'm not going to write on anyone I didn't personally see. Not for this exercise, anyway.

Dbacks
Gabby Guerrero -  He's got power but the approach and body are major concerns and I can't put more than a future 4 on him because of them.

Braves
Mallex Smith, OF - Stocky, twitchy, fast fourth OF type.

Orioles
Parker Bridwell, RHP – Will bump the mid-90s in relief (he did last AFL) but doesn’t have it when he starts. Has a 55 changeup, 40 curveball. Lots of effort here and likely a reliever

Red Sox
Marco Hernandez, SS – Was just told by an ops guy this week that he’s had a resurgence of sorts. No in-person looks but I’ll ask around and get some info here if I can because he might be a guy again.
Williams Jerez, LHP – A 2011 2nd rounder as an outfielder who converted to pitching in 2014. He’s had success and been up to 94 with an above average slider.
Pat Light, RHP – After a disappointing start to his career Light was up to 99 early this year.

Cubs
Willson Contreras, C - Contreras was a sexy target for sellers during the deadline but the Cubs wouldn't move him. He's got all the traits of a big time power hitter. Plus-plus bat speed, some natural loft, huge torque, the ability to move the bat around a bit...it's all very enticing. On top of that he has a chance to catch though he won't be great back there. This guy was Rule 5 eligible last year and nobody took a shot. Now he's a top 100 prospect for sure.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B? - Candy can hit. I put a future 60 on the bat after seeing plenty of him this Fall and he's got 55 raw power that plays down in games because he's willing to swing at (and hit) pitches he can hit for singles instead of waiting for something he can really drive. It's a mild case of Vitters Disease. Defensively he's a butcher at third base but you hate to waste the arm across the diamond so maybe he ends up in an outfield corner where you just deal with a lack of range and hope the arm makes up for it somewhat. If the body goes backwards (it truly might, this is a squat, thick young man) then it's to first base he goes and he's a fringe regular. If he somehow becomes viable at 3B we're talking a 50/55 OFP with an chance to make an All Star team or two during his prime, but that outcome is pretty far right tail.
Pierce Johnson, RHP - Johnson's got decent stuff; a low 90s, moving fastball, an above average breaking ball and average changeup projection. The delivery is more about hip swing than leg drive, and it's tough to repeat that, especially deep in games, and the control Johnson shows in the first inning isn't there in the fifth or later. I think he's a Vance Worley-esque backend starter.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B - Yes, there's bat speed but there's a lot of effort, only 50 or 55 power and a bad approach. It's not for me.

White Sox
Brandon Brennan, RHP – 92-93 this fall with armside run, slider and change are both 40s. AA depth relief arm for me.
JB Wendelken, RHP – Low 90s, average change.

Reds
Stephen Johnson, RHP – John was acquired in the Marlon Byrd deal and was sitting in the upper-90s, touching 100, when I saw him early in the spring. In Fall League the velo was down (94-95), the slider was fringe-y and the delivery doesn’t allow for average command. He’s a middle-inning arm at best unless the slider or command improve.

Indians
Dylan Baker, RHP – His stuff is great but he can’t stay healthy. He threw five innings in A-ball this year so it’s hard to say how he looks, but right before he blew out last fall he was up to 96 with a 55 slider and average changeup.

Rockies
Raimel Tapia, OF -  I'm very skeptical of Tapia. Yes, there's feel for the bat head. Yes, he can run. Yes, his measurables indicate projection. But the approach turns me off. Not simply because of the oddities associated with it, I can live with different, but the fact that he does things that actively undermine his ability to hit. I can see why some think he's a future above average everyday player but I'm gonna take the under.
Carlos Estevez, RHP- Mid to upper 90s fastball, slider that comes in anywhere from 45-55. If he can learn to locate that slider consistently then we're talking about a high-leverage arm. He's a big leaguer regardless, in my opinion.

Tigers
Jairo Labourt, LHP – Part of Detroit’s return for David Price. 93-96, 55 slider, mature body, reliever delivery and command. He’s young so there’s more hope for him than most with overwhelming bullpen traits. I think he’s a setup guy.

Montreal Roberton, RHP – 93-96 with an above average slider and fringe average changeup. The control isn’t where you’d like a 25 year old relief arm’s to be but he throws enough strikes to be a big leaguer as far as I’m concerned. He was a great find in the 29th round out of Coahoma CC in Mississippi, though Robertson did fall in part because he had TJ in college.

Royals
Bubba Starling, CF -  Starling can absolutely play CF and has a comfortably plus arm but the bat simply hasn't come. He's made some changes to the way he strides over the past year but his footwork is still harsh and clunky and the bat path is still inefficient. The fact that he's made adjustments to his footwork and not the hands (which really need the work) is kind of frustrating, but altering the way hands work during a swing is much harder to do. I think he's a big leaguer and the possibility that he somehow puts it all together will always exist (it always does with athletes of this caliber) but the clock is ticking.
Brett Eibner, OF - Plus raw power, can play all three outfield positions. Lots of swing and miss though, as he doesn't move the bat around the zone very well. He could carve out a role as a platoon guy or be a bat-first 4th OF. 

Dodgers
Jharel Cotton, RHP - I wrote about Cotton in my ESPN AFL piece from Sunday so I'll let you check that out for more extensive coverage. In short, I think Cotton is very good and has the stuff to be a third or fourth starter. 90-95, 60 change, 50 curveball and cutter.

Marlins
Austin Brice, RHP -  He's a reliever all the way but has been up to 97 with an above average slider. One of the higher-probability big league arms I saw this year. Think he's a middle relief arm.
Jake Esch, RHP- 89-93 with run, average slider, 35 changeup. That's what I saw, but scouts were talking him up as Fall League progressed. He was a two way guy in college so patience is acceptable here and, honestly, the discrepancy between my notes and the public discourse here means I need to double back and get some second opinions from scouts.

Brewers
Orlando Arcia, SS – He deserves a much more extensive writeup than I care to give him on a 40-man additions list. A truly impressive talent who I think is an All Star talent.
Jacob Barnes, RHP  - 91-96 with varying sink (two seamer and four seamers mixed in there) with an above average mid-80s slider and plenty of strikes. He’s a high-probability 7th inning arm.
Damien Magnifico, RHP – One of many Fall Leaguers to touch 100mph, Magnifico will also show you a 55 slider but he really struggles to repeat his release. It impacts his control and slider quality. You hope he can find some modicum of consistency because the arm is so good but we’ve seen guys like this flame out more often than we see them succeed. If it clicks though, look out.

Twins
Taylor Rogers, LHP – It’s simply not for me. Fringe stuff across the board, though he fills up the zone. Depth arm who makes a spot start on double headers and the like.
Adam Brett Walker II, OF – I never got a chance to see his fabled power because he never made solid contact in front of me. 30 future hit, 30 arm, a chance the body gets to the point where 1B is the only option left. I’m out.

Mets
Brandon Nimmo, OF – Not corner-worthy power but he works counts and hits and should be a good defender in a corner. Second division regular.

Phillies
Roman Quinn, CF – A 70 runner who might hit enough to play every day in CF and be an average regular, though his injury history presents more risk than is already associated with a profile like this. Sometimes bodies like Quinn’s get to the big leagues and are simply physically overmatched.
Jimmy Cordero, RHP – Purely an arm strength stash like many of the other names on this list. Keep the arm, cross your fingers.
Edubray Ramos, RHP – 93-96 with a mid-80s slider that’s anywhere from a 50 to a 60. Not athletic. I think he’s a middle-reliever.

Pirates
Josh Bell, 1B/OF -  Bell looked horrendous at first base during his early work there. It was so bad that I'm concerned it simply won't work and he'll just have to be an outfielder, which is just fine for every org that isn't the Pirates. Bell's much better hitting from the left side where I have a future 55 on the bat and 55 on the power. From the right he's a 40 bat with 40 power. So much of Bell's swing is derived from the upper body and hands as his lower half just isn't very coordinated.
Gift Ngoepe, 2B – It’s pronounced en-WEE-pay. I love that he might wear a big league uniform but he isn’t a prospect for me. Depth bat without much going for him.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP- I'll tell you right now that I'm the low man on Glasnow so if you're looking for me to tell you that he's got ace potential just move on now and save yourself the frustration. I think this guys is a reliever. I know the stuff is incredible. Mid to upper 90s with some natural cut, a future 70 breaking ball. I get it. I just don't think he's going to throw enough strikes and, at 6-8, have a hard time buying into it ever coming. If I'm wrong I'll eat a whole murder of crows.

Padres
Jose Rondon, SS – I’m a big fan of the glove and think he hits enough to get on the field.

Giants
Clayton Blackburn, RHP - His stuff was so bad during last year's AFL that I NP'd him. Reports are much better than that but it's what I saw.
Adalberto Mejia, LHP - Mejia is ready to pitch in t he big leagues right now and I expect him to make an impact in the Giants rotation in 2016. He'll sit in the low 90s with an above average breaking ball and changeup and above average control. No true plus pitch, but he knows how to move all three of his pitches around to toy with hitters and get swings and misses anyway. I think he's a good fourth starter.
Kyle Crick, RHP - The velo was down when I saw him but he's usually 92-96. The slider is still above average while the other pitches lag behind. It's a reliever's command and might be so bad that it strikes a fatal blow to his career.
Steve Okert, LHP - Jeremy Affeldt reincarnate. And maybe better than that.

Cardinals
Charlie Tilson, OF – Plus runner, plus arm, doesn’t have natural plate coverage and the swing gets slappy if he has to protect the outer half. He tracks well and I think he’ll make a good amount of contact (55 hit) but produce very little power (30). If I knew he could play a good CF then I’d say he’s got a chance to be a second division regular but 4th outfielder seems more likely as I believe the body will fill out and slow him down a bit.
Dean Kiekhefer, LHP – Short armed delivery from a low slot. Those two things don’t often go together. LOOGY at best. Fastball 85-89, average breaking ball, change below. I don’t know what this delivery looks like from the left-handed batter’s box and I haven’t seen enough guys who throw like this to gauge how hitters deal with it based on observant experience either.
Aledmys Diaz, 2B – Stocky, strong, contact-oriented bat path. He was a late Fall League addition so I’m still combing over video and notes but for now I think he’ll hit (50/55) and the body might be strong enough for some of that contact to be authoritative because he’s just a physical dude so average game power is possible. It’s 2B only for me so it’ll have to get there for him to profile.\

Mariners
Patrick Kivlehan, OF/1B/3B – I think he’s a AAA depth bat but there’s definitely sneaky power here. I just doubt he gets to enough of it to profile in a corner and righty-hitting bench OFs need to be passable in CF or be able to play somewhere on the dirt if needed. Kivlehan has played 3B but never in front of me so maybe he has a way up at the hot corner.
Boog Powell, OF – Bench OF.

Rangers
Connor Sadzeck, RHP - Another of the many Fall League arms who touched 100 and whose pure arm talent merits continuous looks and developmental resources just in case things click. Post-TJ Sadzeck was 96-101 with a 45 breaking ball and 40 change.
Nomar Mazara, 1B/RF - Quite simply the best combination of power and hit in the minors. Middle of the order bat of the future.

Blue Jays
Brady Dragmire, RHP – 92-95, low 3/4s slot, fastball has some sink when located down and to arm side. Average slider. Premium middle relief arm who will be death to righties.

Nationals
Chris Bostick, 2B/OF – Everything is a 40 or 45 and that package might be enough for an injury-induced cup of coffee here and there but he’s a AAA depth guy for me.
Spencer Kieboom, C – He juuuust does enough to catch (had him popping 2.00 and 2.06 this Fall) and has above average pull power though it requires a high-effort, stiff swing to get to it. He’s got a backup’s profile on paper but beauty is in the eye of the evaluator when it comes to backup catchers. I’m a glove-first guy myself.
Nick Lee, LHP – Low 90s, average changeup, below average slider. Reports on his curveball are good but I didn’t see one in the Fall League.

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