Sunday, June 2, 2019

May's Top 50 Prospects in the Carolina League

May's Top 50 Prospects in the Carolina League 

I did not rank players that got promoted to AA before the middle of the month.  The following players that were in April's rankings were promoted mid month or prior so they are not included in May's rankings.

Luis Robert (1)
Tyler Phillips (10)
Seth Beer (13)
Bryan Abreu (14)
Eli Morgan (26)
Jackson Tetreault (34)
Drew Rasmussen (35)
Cristian Javier (37)
Mason McCoy (42)

1. Nolan Jones 3B (Lynchburg-Indians) (Prev 3) I finally got a chance to see Jones in person last week.  He certainly standouts with his size and patience.  Jones has started to hit with power and cut down on his errors in May.

2Nick Madrigal 2B (Winston Salem-White Sox) (Prev 2) It was expected that Madrigal would have a brief stay in Winston Salem and spend most of the year in Birmingham.  However, Madrigal has not hit as well as expected, but was still promoted to Birmingham on June 5th.  He did a have a good month on the basepaths with 11 steals in 12 attempts in May.

3.  Leody Taveras CF (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 4) Taveras, Aramis Ademan and Mario Feliciano  are notable players in the 2nd year in the Carolina League that are much improved.  Taveras doesn't turn 21 until September and has been extremely consistent through the next two months of 2019 on the best team in the league.  Speed (18 for 21) and defense are Taveras' greatest assets.  

4.  DL Hall LHP (Frederick-Orioles) (Prev-5)- Hall has a rather ordinary 2- 2 record with a 4.11 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.  However, a deeper dive shows a 2.62 FIP and a 38.8% strikeout percentage.  The .388 BABIP is an indication that he has not has much luck.  Hall does not turn 21 until September.

5.   Daniel Lynch LHP (Wilmington-(Royals) (Prev 8) - I am a sucker for tall pitchers.  Lynch had a scoreless stretch of 22.1 inning earlier this month.  He left his June 1st start with a arm injury.  However, at this point it seems to be pre cautionary and they are not even bothering with a MRI.

6.  Brady Singer RHP (Wilmington-(Royals) (Prev 7)  Singer has a very solid couple of months  with Wilmington before getting promoted to NW Arkansas.

7.  Jarren Duran CF (Salem-Red Sox) (Prev 18) Duran finally got promoted to AA Portland on June 3rd after batting .404 in April and winning Carolina League Player of the Month honors in May.  Duran was the 220th player taken in the 2018 draft and one year later is one the "buzziest" prospects on baseball.

8.  Anderson Tejeda SS (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 6) I assumed that Tejeda would begin the year in AA Frisco after a strong 2018 season for Down East.  However, Tejeda was sent back To Down East.  After starting the year very hot, Tejeda had a rough May (.191/.291/ .599) and is still in the Carolina League while many of the other top prospects have been promoted.  Tejeda was placed on the IL with shoulder discomfort on May 31st.

9.  Jackson Kowar RHP (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev 9) Kowar has mostly been solid for the Blue Rock, but not as consistent as Brady Singer or as dominant when he is on as Daniel Lynch.

10.  Kyle Isbel CF(Wilmington-Royals) (Prev 12) Isbel got off to an excellent start, but got injured and has not played since April 17th. According to reports Isbel's orginal injury was either a hamstring or a head injury.  He was close to returning and then broke his hamate bone.
11. Miguel Amaya C (Myrtle Beach-Cubs) (Prev 11) Amaya is the first of four similarly rated catchers.  Amaya just turned 20 in March.  While his overall stats are not impressive, the 32 
strikeouts to 27 walks are.  Strong defensively.
12. Mario Feliciano C (Carolina-Brewers) (Prev 22) Feliciano was one of the younger players in the 2016 draft.  He does not turn 21 until November.  Feliciano is leading the Carolina League in homers. 

 13.  Bubba Thompson CF (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 15) Out with a broken hamate since April 16th.  Thompson was originally supposed to miss 4 weeks but there have no additional details on his return.  Athletic but inexperienced, Thompson is missing valuable playing time.

14.  Sam Huff C (Down East-Rangers) (Prev NA)  Huff was leading all of the minor leagues in homers on May 9th when he was promoted from Hickory to Down East.  Huff was continued to mash with the Woodies (.348/.398/.985).  It is tough to get a feel for whether his defense is good enough to stick at catcher although he has thrown out 18 of 32 base stealers so far this year.

15. MJ Melendez (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev 16) Melendez is very strong defensively and still young enough (he turns 21 in November) that repeating a young level is all right. Look for Melendez to show a similar level of improvement in 2020 as Leody Taveras, Mario Feliciano, Aramas Ademan and Jonathan Arauz have shown in 2019.

16.  Tristan Lutz RF (Carolina-Brewers) (Prev 23) The Carolina League was an aggressive assignment for Lutz and he struggled in April.  However, Lutz showed impressive progress in May (.272/.376/.865).

17.   Nick Pratto 1B (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev 16) A lot of the same comments about MJ Melendez apply to Pratto as well.  Pratto will likely return to Wilmington to begin the 2020 and I expect he will be one of the better players in the league.

18. Juan Hillman LHP (Lynchburg-Indians) (Prev 36)   Hillman was a 2015 2nd round draft pick who has been much better in the Carolina League in 2019 than he was in the Midwest League in 2018.  He just turned 22. Hillman had a strong May (.193 BAA and 0.93 WHIP).

19.  Aramis Ademan SS (Myrtle Beach-Cubs) (Prev 24) Ademan continues his impressive turnaround from a poor 2018 season in May.  Ademan's strength is his glove work at shortstop.
Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe

20.  Kris Bubic  LHP (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev NA) Bubic was the 40th pick in the 2018 draft out of Stanford.  He was exceptional at Lexington (47.2 innings allowing 27 hits and 15 walks with 75 strikeouts.  Bubic was promoted to Wilmington on May 21 and has 3 starts so far (an exceptional one, a decent one and a not so great start).

21.  Michael Baumann RHP (Frederick-Orioles) (Prev-20) Baumann was solid in May (20.1 innings allowing 16 hits with 6 walks and striking out 27) but did not have any dominant appearances like he had a couple of times in April.  At times Baumann has trouble commanding his off speed pitches.

22.  Jean Carlos Mejia  RHP (Lynchburg-Indians) (Prev 36) Mejia is a large 22 year that that the Indians put on their 40 man roster than exposing him in the Rule V draft.  He got off to a great start with Lynchburg in 2019, then missed a month with an injury.  Mejia struggled in his first three games back and then had a strong start on June 1st.  However, Mejia exited his next start on June 7th and is back on the IL with an abdominal strain.

23. Bryan Mata RHP (Salem - Red Sox (Prev 25) Mata had a successful return on June 7th after missing about a month with a right shoulder strain.  Despite having a 100 innings of Carolina League experience, Mata is still the youngest player in the league having turned 20 in May. Mata's walk percentage has improved from 17.7% in 2018 to 8.2% so far in 2019.

24.  Seuly Matias RF (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev 21) To say that Matias had a rough May would be understatement. Matias' slash line was .092/.205/.376 with no homers and 48 strikeouts in 76 at bats. Matias has tremendous power and a great throwing arm but it does not matter much if he cannot make better contact.  Matias is still young (he turns 21 in September) but I have more questions about Matias than I do about his teammates, Melendez and Pratto. 

25.  Jonathan Arauz SS (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev NR) Arauz was promoted to the Carolina League in 2018 when he was still 19.  He was not ready and really struggled.  After starting slowly in 2019, Arauz had a strong May and moved up to second in the batting order.  Arauz is good defensively.
Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe
26.  Jake Latz  LHP (Down East-Rangers) (Prev NR) Latz was a 2017 5th round choice. He had a strange college career which began at LSU.  He only threw 8 innings into 2016 and had transferred to Kent State but not yet pitched for them when he was drafted by the Rangers.  Latz did not pitch in full season ball until this year.  He was quickly promoted from Hickory to Down East and has been  outstanding for the Woodies. On the year Latz has pitched 52 innings only allowing 28 hits, 22 walks and 10 earned runs while striking out 63.

27. Blaine Knight RHP (Frederick-Orioles) (Prev-NA) Knight was the Orioles 3rd round draft choice in 2018 out of Arkansas.  He was dominant at Delmarva in the Sally League (26.1 innings allowing only 11 hits, 4 walks) and 2 earned runs while striking out 33.  Knight was promoted to Frederick on May 10th. 

28.  KJ Harrison 1B (Potomac-Nationals) (Prev-27) The Brewers drafted Harrison in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft out of Oregan State hoping Harrison would stick at catcher.  Catching did not work out for Harrison and the Brewers traded Harrison to the Nats as part of the Gio Gonzalez trade.  Harrison hitting has improved now that he is not catching.

29. Konnor Pilkington LHP (Winston Salem- White Sox) (Prev-NA) Pilkington has a similar background to Blaine Knight.  They were both 3rd draft choices from SEC schools that were promoted to the Carolina League after very good starts in the Sally League. In four Carolina starts, Pilkington had one excellent start, one solid start and two mediocre starts.

30.  Jason Bahr RHP (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 28) The 24 year old has been very steady all year for the Woods (52 innings, allowing 34 hits, 23 walks and 11 earned runs while striking out 51.  Bahr is close to being ready for AA. 

31.  Cody Sedlock RHP (Frederick-Orioles) (Prev-38) Sedlock was a 2016 1st round pick whose 2017 and 2018 seasons were impacted by an arm injury.  Sedlock has been healthy and very effective in 2019 with the Keys (43.2 innings allowing only 20 hits, 14 walks, 7 earned runs while striking out 41).  As of June 9th, Sedlock has not pitched since May 25th despite being on the active roster.

32.  Enoli Paredes RHP (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev 43) Paredes was just promoted to AA Corpus Christi. Paredes is an undersized 23 year old who has been very effective the last two years.  Paredes is holding hitters to a .144 BAA while striking out 59 in 44 innings while only allowing 8 earned runs.  He is likely a future multi inning reliever. The Astros success with turning pitchers like 
Paredes into high strikeout prospects is fascinating.
Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe

33. Julio Pablo Martinez CF (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 32) Martinez was highly touted after defecting from Cuba and signing with the Rangers.  JPM has been somewhat disappointing (.181/.241/596) but he still has his moments and an intriguing speed and power potential.

34. Oscar Gonzalez LF (Lynchburg-Indians) (Prev 40) Gonzalez is very young (he turned 21 in January) and has had a big year by traditional metrics (.336 5 homers and 39 RBIs).  However, I have a tough time getting past the lack of patience ( 4 walks in 232 at bats) and how that is going to improve and play at higher levels.

35.  Diosbel Arias INF  (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 33) Arias was a much less heralded signing from Cuba than Julio Pablo Martinez, but ,has been the more skilled batter.  Arias has a nice hit tool and is versatile in the field, but has not shown much power or speed.

36.  Steele Walker CF (Winston Salem-White Sox) (Prev NA) Walker was the White Sox 2nd round draft pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma.  He was called up from Kannipolis when Luis Robert was promoted to Birmingham on April 30th.  Walker is only hitting .214/ .328.629 but the 17 walks to 21 strikeouts is promising.

37 Joangtel Segovia LF (Carolina-Brewers) (Prev 44) Segovia was promoted to AA Biloxi on May 25th.  The 22 year old is driving the ball more this year than he has in the past.  In 2018 with the Mudcats, Segovia had 8 extra base hits in 228 at bats.  In 2019, Segovia had 14 extra base hits in 169 at bats before his promotion. 

38.  John King LHP (Down East-Rangers) (Prev NA) The Rangers drafted John King in the 10th round of the 2017 out of Houston knowing he was likely going to need Tommy John surgery, which he had in June 2017.  King only pitched in a couple of games at the end of the 2018 season.  He was mentioned by Jason Panini of Prospects live as someone to keep as eye on from the Rangers fall instructs.  Since being promoted from Hickory on May 10th, King has been very impressive in 27 innings, he has allowed 19 hits, only 3 walks and 5 earned runs with 28 strikeouts. King will be 25 in September.

39.  Javier Assad RHP   (Myrtle Beach-Cubs) (Prev NR) Assad won the Carolina Pitcher of the Week twice in May and had a 22.2 inning scoreless streak.  Assad will be 22 at the end of July.  Outside of this recent hot streak, Assad's career had been mediocre so it will be interesting to see how he pitches for the remainder of the year.

40. Bryan De La Cruz  (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev 39)  De La Cruz has been one of the more consistent players in the league batting lead off for the Woodpeckers.  He missed a couple weeks with an injury, but returned and picked up where he left off.  De La Cruz turns 23 in December.
Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe

41. Brett Conine RHP (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev NR) Conine is another Astro pitcher putting up impressive number particularly strikeouts.  Conine was a 11th round draft choice in 2018 out of Cal State Fullerton. He started the year at Quad Cities and was promoted to Fayetteville on May 12th and has not missed a beat up.  Overall in 2019 Conine has pitched 54.1 innings, allowing 38 hits, 10 walks, 12 earned runs while striking out 75.  Conine is 22 years old and is not related to former big leaguer Jeff Conine and his son Griffin who is in the Blue Jays organization.
Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe
42.  Yonny Hernandez INF (Down East-Rangers) (Prev 46) Hernandez is listed at 5 '9" 140 lbs and not surprisingly he has no power.  Hernandez only turned 21 in May and is an excellent lead off  hitter with speed and on base skills (.425 OBP).  After stealing 44 bases in 2018 Hernandez is only 16 for 26 on the basepaths so far this year.

43. Yohan Ramirez RHP (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev NR) Ramirez was promoted to AA Corpus Cristi on June 6th.  Ramirez is another Astro pitcher with eye popping strikeout numbers. In 43.2 innings at Fayetteville, Ramirez had 69 strikeouts while limiting batters to a .145 BAA.  Ramirez just turned 24.

Photo courtesy of Joe Dwyer @bullpen_joe
44.  Paul Richan RHP  (Myrtle Beach-Cubs) (Prev NR) Richan is a 22 year old who was the Cubs 2nd round pick in the 2018 draft out of San Diego.  Beginning the year in the Carolina League was a challenging assignment for Richan in his first full season in the pros.  He has has  his ups and downs but has been respectable.

45. Parker Mushinski LHP (Fayetteville-Astros) (Prev 41) Yet another unhearded astro pitcher putting up huge strikeouts numbers.  Mushinski was the Astros 7th round draft pick in 2017 out of Texas Tech.  He is currently on the IL with no word on his injury.  In 30.2 innings in 2019, Mushinski has struck out 43.  He is 23 years old.

46.  Payton Henry C  (Carolina-Brewers) (Prev 30)  Henry is splitting catching and DH duties with Mario Feliciano. Henry struggled in May (.143/.220/.451) but has gotten hot again at the beginning of May..Henry will be 22 in a couple weeks and has the look of a future major league back up catcher.

47.  Brewer Hicklen LF  (Wilmington-Royals) (Prev NR)  Hicklen is one of best athletes in the Carolina League.  After hitting 18 homers in 2018, Hicklen only has one so far in 2019 despite good strength .  However he is running (18 steals) and hitting better as the season progresses.  Hicklen is 23 but did not play much baseball until college.

48.  Pedro Castellanos 1B (Salem - Red Sox (Prev 49) Castellanos has a nice hit tool (only 33 strikeouts) but is limited to 1B, and has not yet developed any power (1 homer) despite good size (6'3" 195 lbs).

49.  Malvin Pena RHP (Potomac-Nationals) (Prev-50) Pena missed a lot of time early in career with injuries and has not thrown many innings.  Pena's assignment to Potomac in the the Carolina league instead of Hagerstown in the Sally League was a surprise.  He struggled early but has only allowed three earned runs in the last three starts.  

50.  Clayton Andrews LHP (Carolina-Brewers) (Prev 30) Andrews is a 5'6" two way that was a college teammate of Jarren Duran at Long Beach State.  Andrews is the Mudcats closer and seems to have a future as a LOOGY.  He was a 17th round draft choice in the 2018 draft but has struck out 84 batters in 52 innings as a pro.  He also started five games this year in centerfield.

Honorable Mention
Telmito Agutin LF (Potomac-Nationals) 
Gage Canning CF (Potomac-Nationals)
Kutter Crawford RHP (Salem-Red Sox)
Ryan Dorow 3B (Down East-Rangers)
Daniel Gonzalez RHP (Salem-Red Sox)
Jimmy Herron CF (Myrtle Beach-Cubs)
Peter Solomon RHP (Fayetteville-Astros)
Carson Teel LHP (Potomac Nationals)
Jojanse Torres RHP (Fayetteville-Astros)

Noah Zavolas RHP (Carolina-Brewers)

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