Monday, March 4, 2019

Down East Wood Ducks 2019 Prospect Prevew


The Wood Ducks have a number of interesting prospects that should be in the orange and green in 2019.  The potential outfield of Bubba Thompson, Leody Taveras and Julio Pablo Martinez could be as good defensively as any major league outfield.  The Rangers have a seemly endless supply of borderline prospects that have have some skill.





Name
Hans Crouse
Age
9/15/98 (20)
Height and Weight
6'4" 180 lbs
Acquired
2nd round 2017
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
73 overall by Baseball Amercia
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
2
MLB Org Ranking
1
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely to start in Hickory, but should be promoted to Down East by mid year.

Crouse is a promising right hander that is one of the few Rangers pitching prospects that have avoided Tommy John surgery.  Crouse is a hard thrower with top the rotation upside.






Name
Bubba Thompson
Age
6/9/98
Height and Weight
6' 2" 186
Acquired
1st round 2017
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
48 by baseballprospectus.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
3
MLB Org Ranking
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely

Thompson wisely goes by Bubba rather than his given name Leslie.   He was a football star from Alabama that was committed to playing football at University of Alabama before signing with the Rangers. Easy to compare to top Reds prospect, Taylor Trammell given that they both have a football background.  Thompson is more skilled defensively while Trammell is the more polished hitter.  






Name
Julio Pablo Martinez
Age
3/21/96 (23)
Height and Weight
5'9" 174 lbs
Acquired
2017-2018 international signing
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
78 by baseballprospectus.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
4
MLB Org Ranking
2
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely

Martinez was a coveted signing last March after defecting from Cuba.  The Rangers signed Martinez for 2.8 million and they took things slowly with him in 2018.  However, he will be twenty three before the 2019 season starts and this should be a pivotal year for JPM.  Obviously coming to the United States is a big adjustment, but Martinez' numbers in short season were disappointing given his age and background.





Name
Leody Taveras
Age
9/8/98 (20)
Height and Weight
6'1" 190 lbs
Acquired
2015 international signing
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
47 by baseballprospectus.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
5
MLB Org Ranking
6
Chances of being in the Carolina League
The Rangers have been aggressive with Taveras, but repeating High A at least initially seems logical.

Long on athleticism and short on stats, Taveras has seemingly been on prospect rankings for years but is still quite young.  This is a big year for Taveras after a disappointing 2018 season.





Name
AJ Alexy
Age
4/21/98 (20)
Height and Weight
6'4" 217 lbs
Acquired
Traded from the Dodgers in the Yu Darvish deal
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
484 by dynastyguru.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
11
MLB Org Ranking
20
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely

Alexy was drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2016 draft.  A high school draft pick from a cold weather area can take a while to develop. The 130 strikeouts in 108 innings stand out, but so do the 52 walks.  





Name
Tyler Phillips
Age
10/27/97 (21)
Height and Weight
6'5"200lbs
Acquired
16th round 2015
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
240 by dynastryguru.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
17
MLB Org Ranking
14
Chances of being in the Carolina League
95%


Despite his size, Phillips is not an over powering pitcher.  Like Alexy, Phillips is a late round high school draft pick from a cold weather area.  Unlike Alexy, walks are not an issue.  In 2018 Phillips walked 16 in 133 innings.  After dominating in Hickory for the final two months on the season, Phillips was finally promoted to Down East for his last start where he allowed two hits in five innings.   



Name
Pedro Gonzalez
Age
10/27/97
Height and Weight
6'5" 190 lbs
Acquired
Traded from the Rockies in the Jonathan LuCroy deal
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
21
MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely to start the year back in Hickory until playing time in the outfield is available for the Wood Ducks

Gonzalez is big strong and athletic but has not put it all together.  The Rockies signed Gonzalez for 1.3 million in 2014 as a shortstop before converting him to the outfield.   He did add some power in 2018, but still has too many holes in his swing.



Name
Reid Anderson
Age
8/22/95 (23)
Height and Weight
6'3" 213 lbs
Acquired
17th round in 2017
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
23
MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely

It might be a stretch to consider Anderson a prospect, but he showed great improvement in Hickory.  In 2017 Anderson was 1-11 and finished 2018 on a big roll. Anderson was a late round draft pick from a small college (Millersville University).




Name
Jason Bahr
Age
2/15/95
Height and Weight
6'5" 190
Acquired
Traded from the Giants in July 2018 for cash
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
27
MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
Possible

Bahr was a 2017 5th round draft pick out of Central Florida.  Bahr was really good with the Giants for the first couple of month of 2018 with the Giants at Augusta in the Sally League and was promoted to San Jose in the Cal League where he had three strong starts.   In July, Bahr was traded along with Austin Jackson and Cody Gearin to the Rangers for cash in an odd deal. 

The Rangers made it clear that Bahr was the guy they wanted. https://www.mlb.com/news/rangers-trade-for-jason-bahr-austin-jackson/c-284808556

Bahr was up and down with the Wood Ducks so it is possible he will be assigned back to the Down East to begin the 2019 season.



Name
Diosbel Arias
Age
7/21/96 (22)
Height and Weight
6'2" 190 lbs
Acquired
2017 international signee
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
259 by rotowire.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking
19
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Possible

A Cuban defector, that the Rangers signed for $700,000 in 2017.  Arias was much more productive than the highly touted Julio Pablo Martinez in Spokane.  Arias can play all over the infield, but his best position is third base.  Incredibly Arias only play eight games between the 2014-2015 Cuban season and 2018.  Even if Arias is assigned to Hickory, he could be up quickly to the Wood Ducks if he is productive.



Name
Tyreque Reed
Age
6/6/97
Height and Weight
6'2" 260 lbs
Acquired
8th round 2017
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
257 by rotowire.com
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely

Reed is a 1B/DH only, that will need to hit and hit with a lot of power to make the majors.  Reed should get a chance with the Wood Ducks in 2019 but if he is not productive he could lose his spot to Curtis Terry quickly. 


Name
Curtis Terry
Age
10-6-96 (22)
Height and Weight
6'3" 264 lbs
Acquired
13th round in 2015
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
Will likely be assigned to Hickory and if continues to hit, could be in promoted to Down East mid year.

2019 will tell a lot about whether Terry is a legitimate prospect or if he was just too advanced for the hitter friendly Northwest League.  Like Reed, Terry is solely a 1B/DH.  Terry hit 15 homers with a .337/.434/1.040 in 67 games in Spokane.   




Name
Demarcus Evans
Age
10/22/96 (22)
Height and Weight
6'5" 275 lbs
Acquired
25th round in 2015
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking
24
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Possible, but also possible he skips Down East and goes to Frisco.

The massive Evans essentially came out of nowhere to put up eye popping numbers as a reliever in Frisco.  Evan struck out 103 batters in 56 innings holding hitters to a .149 batting average.  His control was poor the first half of the year (21 walks in 23 innings), but much better in the second half (6 walks in 33 innings).



Name
Sam Huff
Age
1/14/98 (21)
Height and Weight
6'4" 230 lbs
Acquired
7th round in 2016
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking
21
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Good

Shares his name with a very tough old football player.  Huff skipped Spokane and went from the AZL in 2017 to Hickory in 2018.  He has good power (18 homers), but has some holes in his swing ( 140 strikeouts in 118 games).  Huff is interesting if he sticks at catcher.  He threw out 29% of base stealers in Hickory.


Future Carolina League Prospects
The Rangers also have some interesting names to keep an eye on, that are more likely to reach Down East in 2020.

Cole Winn (SP)- The Rangers first round  pick in 2018 out of high school.  He has yet to pitch professionally.

Sherten Apostel (3B)- Acquired from the Pirates in the Keone Kela trade.  Potentially a big time bat.

Cole Ragans (SP)- The Rangers first round pick in 2016.  Ragans had Tommy John surgery in March 2018.  Could possibly be in Wood Duck in the second half of 2018 if there are no set backs.

Alex Speas (RP)-  A 2nd round draft pick in 2016, Speas was having a great season in Hickory when he got hurt and had Tommy John surgery in June 2018.

Kyle Cody  (SP)- A talented 6'7" pitcher that has been plagued by injuries.  Cody had Tommy John surgery in July 2018.

Jonathan Ornelas  (3B)-The Rangers third round draft pick in 2018.  Ornelas got his professional career off to a good start in the AZL.

Owen White (SP)- The Rangers 2nd round in 2018.  

Morgan Englert (SP)-  The Rangers 3rd round draft pick in 2018.  The Rangers paid Englert more than double the slot value.




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