PROSPECTS ON THE CUSP: AMERICAN LEAGUE

Justus Sheffield

Today I begin a three-part series on high profile prospects.

The first article includes American League prospects that have a chance to graduate to the major-league roster at some point this year. That will be followed next Sunday by National League prospects on the cusp. The third article will be a ranking-my opinion if you will-of the top prospects in baseball with both leagues combined.

If you don’t see your favorite player in the first two articles, chances are they are ranked among my top prospects and they will appear in the third article.

For purposes of these articles I am providing a brief overview of each player.

I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t guarantee these players will be promoted to the parent club this season. However, chances are in their favor.

Players that have exceeded rookie status are not included.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES:

CHANCE SISCO C-BL/TR-6-2, 195-AGE 22

Drafted in the 2nd round by Orioles in 2013

2017= .267/7/47/2 SB at Triple-A

Converting to catcher as a senior in high school, Sisco has improved his catching mechanics with experience. A pure hitter with a line drive stroke, his hit tool is well above average. Power could come. He has a chance to be a gap doubles hitter with good contact at the plate.

AUSTIN HAYS OF-BR/TR- 6-1, 195-AGE 22

Drafted in the 2nd round by Orioles in 2016

2017=combined .329/32/95/5 SB

Hays was a huge surprise last season as he made the big league club and played in 20 games, hitting .217 but showing outstanding five-tool skill. Has a great swing and makes contact. He has the skill, grit and a powerful bat that could impact games. Strong right field arm.

Tanner Scott

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

TANNER SCOTT LHP-6-2, 220-AGE 23

Drafted in the 6th round by the Orioles in 2014

2017=0-2 W/L-69 IP-2.22 ERA-1.31 WHIP-87 K-46 BB

A high velocity, starting candidate, Scott generally uses a fastball/slider combination with good results. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League and disappointed. With the ability to hit 100 miles per hour, Scott tends to try to throw too hard and loses command and control.

D J STEWART OF-BL/TR-6-0, 230-AGE 24

Drafted in the 1st round by the Orioles in 2012

2017=.278/21/79 with 20 SB at Double-A Bowie

Having just turned 24 in November, Stewart is a hefty outfielder with some pop in his bat. Off to a slow start in his career, he just finished a fine minor-league season with 20 home runs. He is fast for his size and can make things happen with power and a good hitting tool.

BOSTON RED SOX

SAM TRAVIS 1B-BR/TR-6-0, 205-AGE 24

Drafted in the 2nd round by the Red Sox in 2014

2017=.270/6/24 with six stolen bases

Having just turned 24 in August, Travis has a good hitting tool that is generated from a measured, compact swing. He should be able to hit for a respectable major-league average. Had a past knee injury and has missed some development time. Has shown only limit power.

JALEN BEEKS LHP-5-11, 195-AGE 24

Drafted in the 12th round by the Red Sox in 2014

2017=combined 11-8 W/L-145 IP-3.29 ERA-1.21 WHIP

A fine 2017 season at both Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket has put Beeks on the Red Sox pitching map. He has a complete repertoire that includes a fastball, curveball, cutter and changeup. He could surprise some as a starter or work in relief soon.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

ZACK BURDI RHP-6-3, 190, AGE 22

Drafted by the White Sox in in 1st round in 2016

2017=0-4 W/L-33 1/3 IP-4.05 ERA-1.41 WHIP-51 K-17 BB

Zack is the younger brother of the Twins Nick Burdi. He has a fastball that hits 100 miles per hour and an outstanding slider and changeup to complete a fine repertoire that fits nicely at the back end of a bullpen. Zack could be in the closer conversation for Chicago.

CARSON FULMER RHP -6-0, 195-AGE 23

Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round in 2015

2017= 7-9 W/L-126 IP-5.79 ERA-1.56 WHIP-96 K-65 BB

This past season wasn’t a good one at Triple-A for Fulmer. He scuffled with his command. He throws a fastball that can hit 97, a curveball and a changeup. He isn’t as big and strong as some of today’s pitchers, and he will be competing with a new crop of quality pitching prospects in the team’s system.

SPENCER ADAMS RHP-6-3, 171-AGE 21

Drafted in the 2nd round in 2014 by the White Sox

2017=7-14 W/L-152.2 IP-4.42 ERA-1.38 WHIP-113 K-40 BB

Adams started 26 games for Birmingham this past season. He has a fastball, slider and changeup in a relatively solid repertoire. While no one pitch is overwhelming, he can serve as a spot starter but given the White Sox prospects future pitching depth he may not fit.

Charlie Tilson

Photo Credit: Jerry Espinoza

CHARLIE TILSON OF-BL/TL-5-11, 195-AGE 24

Drafted in the 2nd round in 2011 by the Cardinals

2017=did not play due to an injury to his foot and his hamstring

Tilson was counted upon to start in center field for the White Sox following their trade of Adam Eaton to Washington. Tilson has had ankle and hamstring injuries that have slowed his progress. He is a good defensive outfielder who had speed at one point to chase down balls easily and with good routes. If he hits, he could stick with the parent club this coming season.

JORDAN STEPHENS RHP-6-1, 190-AGE 25

Drafted in the 5th round of 2015 by the White Sox

2017= 3-7 W/L-91.2 IP-3.14 ERA-1.29 WHIP-83 K-35 BB

Stephens had Tommy John surgery while still at Rice University. He has an excellent fastball and an even better curve. He also throws a changeup and a cutter. He has pitched as a starter, but has had issues throwing strikes consistently and will have a challenge gaining a role in the bullpen if he sticks this coming season.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

GREG ALLEN OF-BB/TR-6-0, 175-AGE 24

Drafted by the Indians in the 6th round in 2014

2017= .264/2/24-21 SB at Double-A Akron

The speedy Allen was called to the Indians in late 2017 and played very well. He has good bat control and gets on base enough to use his good speed to steal bases. A solid defensive center fielder, Allen has enough in his game to help the Indians as a quality all-around player.

YU-CHENG CHANG

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

YU-CHENG CHANG SS-BR/TR-6-1, 175-AGE 22

International free agent signed by Cleveland in 2013

2017= .220/24/66/11 SB at Double-A Akron

Chang is an improving defensive shortstop with some true power in the barrel of his bat. He knows how to hit. If he makes it to Cleveland or to another big league club it will be primarily for his power potential. He may be an attractive offseason trade piece with big upside.

RYAN MERRITT LHP-6-0-180-AGE 25

Drafted by the Indians in the 16th round in 2011

2017= 10-5 W/L-116 IP-2.57 ERA-1.26 WHIP-85 K-25 BB

Merritt pitched at Triple-A Columbus as part of their rotation but also saw some spot starts for the Indians. He is a crafty lefty without much velocity but with very good control. He throws a fastball, curve, slider and changeup as he tries to keep hitters off-balance.

DETROIT TIGERS

JOE JIMENEZ RHP-6-3, 220-AGE 23

Jimenez was a non-drafted free agent signed out of Puerto Rico by the Tigers in 2013

2017: 1-1 W/L-25IP-1.44 ERA-1.24 WHIP-36 K-12 BB at Triple-A Toledo. He also pitched for the parent Tigers.

Jimenez uses a mid to higher 90’s fastball and a slurve type pitch in his limited repertoire. He is capable of pitching as a late-inning reliever. Still enjoying rookie status coming into 2018, he has a chance to help.

FRANKLIN PEREZ RHP-6-3, 197- AGE 19

Selected by the Houston Astros in 2014 out of Venezuela.

2017:6-3 W/L-86.1 IP-3.02 ERA-1.13 WHIP-78 K-27 BB Pitching for two classifications in the Astros system.

Perez was the prized return from Houston when the Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Astros. A quality starter, Perez has a very solid fastball and just as good a curveball. He also throws an above average changeup and an average slider. He could become a dominant major-league starter by the end of the season.

Christin Stewart

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

CHRISTIN STEWART OF-BL/TR-6-0, 205-AGE 23

Chosen by the Tigers in the 1st round of the 2015 draft.

2017= .256/28/86 at Double-A Erie

Stewart may become a very important future component of the Tigers outfield. He hits for average and has shown outstanding power in his minor league career. Short on quality outfield help, Stewart may find his way to the Tigers early in the coming season. He is a much better hitter than fielder, which may lead him to become a permanent designated hitter.

MICHAEL GERBER OF-BL/TR-6-0, 190-AGE 25

Drafted in the 15th round by the Tigers in 2014

2017= .304/14/50/10 SB for three Tigers classifications

Gerber is getting up there in years for a prospect, and this may be his best chance to stick with the Tigers. He has a nice hit tool, without much power. He has the skills to be a quality 4th or 5th outfielder with solid average defense and some speed to boost his tools.

TYLER ALEXANDER LHP-6-2, 200, AGE 23

Selected in the 2nd round by the Tigers in 2015

2017= 8-9 W/L-5.07 ERA-1.45 WHIP-120 K-23 BB while pitching at Double-A Erie

Throwing his fastball between 87-92 miles per hour, Alexander relies upon four average pitches in his repertoire. He also throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup. He isn’t going to overwhelm the hitter and he has to continue to use his outstanding control to get the best of his limited skills. He has a chance to be a back end of the rotation starter at some point.

ADAM RAVENELLE RHP-6-3, 185-AGE 25

Drafted in the 4th round in 2014 by the Tigers

2017= 0-5 W/L-52.1 IP-5.16 ERA-1.52 WHIP-49 K-21 BB

Ravenelle is a hard-throwing right-hander with good sink on his fastball. He tops out at about 96 miles per hour. He also throws a changeup that needs lots of attention and an average slider. It is his outstanding fastball that still has him on the Tigers radar.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Kyle Tucker

Photo Credit: Jerry Espinoza

KYLE TUCKER OF-BL-/TR -6-4, 190-AGE 20

Drafted in the 1st round in 2015 by Houston

2017: .274/25/90/21 SB combined at Class-A Advanced and Double-A

Tucker is an exciting prospect with the physical resemblance of Cody Bellinger. He has close to the same uppercut swing that gets big power results. It remains to be seen where Tucker fits in a crowded Astros roster, but his abilities demand an opportunity somewhere. Tucker is a five-tool player with huge upside.

COLIN MORAN-3B 1B/BL-TR-6-4, 204-AGE 25

Drafted by the Marlins in the 1st round in 2013

2017: .301/18/63/0 SB at Triple-A Fresno

Moran has been a puzzle. A former #1 draft pick, he was traded by the Marlins to Houston for Jarred Cosart. He has some ability, but he hasn’t had a sustained chance. Like so many other prospects, where will he play in a very crowded Houston organization?

J.D. DAVIS-3B-1B BR/TR-6-3, 190-AGE 24

Drafted by the Astros in the 3rd round in 2014

2017: .282/26/78 at Double-A and Triple-A

Davis is an intriguing guy with some power and fairly good contact. He is certainly blocked many times over in the Astros system, but he has appeal to a team needing a right-handed power-hitting corner infielder. It remains to be seen if he can hit big league pitching.

ROGELIO ARMENTEROS RHP-6-1, 215-AGE 23

Signed out of Cuba in 2014

2017: 10-4-123.2IP-2.04 ERA-1.04 WHIP-146K-38BBs

Armenteros has an average quality repertoire of a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He has solid command and control and may be able to offer some rotation help at some point in the coming season. He isn’t overpowering, but he knows how to deliver an average outing and keep his team in the game.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

ERIC SKOGLUND-LHP 6-7, 200-AGE 25

Drafted in the 3rd round in 2014 by the Royals

2017: 4-5 W/L-104 IP-4.07 ERA-1.41 WHIP-103 K-32 BB

Skogland is very tall and very thin. He isn’t overpowering, but he can bring his fastball to 95 miles per hour. He has a nice mix of a good curveball and changeup. His slider is iffy. There have been comparisons to Chris Sale due to his physicality. I don’t see that, however. He may help as a rotation option.

FOSTER GRIFFIN LHP-6-3, 200-AGE 22

Drafted by the Royals in the 1st round of 2014

2017: 15-7 W/L-161.2 IP-3.35 ERA-1.27 WHIP-141 K-54 BB

After a slow start as a top pick, Griffin had an outstanding season in 2017. He has a quality curveball/changeup duo that helps retire hitters. He doesn’t fight control as is the case with many young lefties. I think he has a chance to stick with the Royals.

Josh Staumont

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

JOSH STAUMONT RHP-6-3. 200-AGE 23

Drafted in the 2nd round in 2015 by the Royals

2017: 6-12 W/L-124.2 IP-5.85 ERA-1.62 WHIP-138 K-97 BB

Staumont had changed his entire delivery when I got to see him pitch very well in the 2016 Fall League. However, last season he regressed and lost his command and control. He has the stuff to succeed but he has to regain his release point and put last year behind him. He may get a late 2018 call.

RYAN O’HEARN 1B/OF-BL/TL-6-3-200-AGE 24

Selected by the Royals in the 8th round of the 2014 draft

2017: .253/22/64-1 SB at Double-A and Triple-A

With the potential loss of Royals players in free agency, O’Hearn has a chance to win a roster spot. He has a nice hitting tool, but he does strikeout too much. He has some pop in his bat and his versatility may help him win a bench spot with the parent club.

KYLE ZIMMER RHP-6-3, 190-AGE 26

Drafted by the Royals in the 1st round of 2012

2017: 0-0 W/L-36.2 IP-5.40 ER-1.55 WHIP-40 K-16 BB

It will be very difficult for Zimmer to reach the big league team this coming season because he has so many development innings to make up after injury-depleted his development. He has to prove he can stay healthy and pitch effectively. But the team cannot give up on a former #1 draft pick at the age of 26.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

NATE SMITH LHP-6-3, 210-AGE 26

Drafted in the 8th round in 2013 by the Angels

2017: 1-0 W/L-15 IP-0.00 ERA-0.40 WHIP-14 K-2 BB

Injuries have kept Smith from advancing on schedule in the Angels system. He has had a flexor strain in his past and a shoulder injury in 2017 that kept him from pitching most of this past season. It remains to be seen if the lefty can revive his career in an organization woefully short on pitching.

Taylor Ward

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

TAYLOR WARD C-BR/TR/ 6-1, 200-AGE 23

Drafted in the 1st round by the Angels in 2015

2017: .258/9/49/0 SB at Class-A Advanced and Double-A

Ward is moving quickly in an organization that still remains short on talent. He has a strong and accurate arm from behind the plate, but he still needs work on his mechanics. A better catcher than hitter, he profiles as a backup due to a lack of offensive firepower.

DAVID FLETCHER: SS-BR/TR/ 5-10, 175-AGE 23

Drafted by the Angles in the 6th round in 2015

2017: .266/1/7/ 20 SB at Double-A and Triple-A

Fletcher is a solid hitter and could find his way to a reserve role in the Angels middle-infield. He doesn’t have much pop in his bat, but he makes excellent contact and is average in most skills.

MICHAEL HERMOSILLO OF-BR/TR/5-11-190-AGE 22

Drafted by the Angels in the 28th round in 2013

2017: .267/9/44/35 SB over three classifications including Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A

A speedy outfielder, Hermosillo has to refine his base stealing techniques in order to use his best tool properly. He was thrown out 13 times trying to steal this past year. Without much power but using a good hit tool, he is an outfield option late in the year.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Nick Gordon

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

NICK GORDON SS-BL/TR-6-0, 160-AGE 22

Drafted by the Twins in the 1st round in 2014

2017: .270/9/66/13 SB at Double-A Chattanooga

I may be overly optimistic, but I believe Gordon may find his way to Minnesota in late 2018. After more seasoning at Triple-A, he may be able to help the Twins with his quick hands through the bat and his speed on the bases. Not as fast as brother Dee, but a fine player.

STEPHEN GONSALVES LHP-6-5, 213-AGE 23

Drafted by the Twins in the 4th round in 2013

2017: 9-5 W/L-110 IP-3.27 ERA-1.13 WHIP-118 K-31 BB

The Twins can sure use what the big lefty can bring. He is a solid fastball/changeup combination pitcher with good control and command. He has gotten better with time and experience. He has had a shoulder strain that has cost some development, but he may be a pitcher to help the Twins as their 2018 season progresses.

FERNANDO ROMERO RHP-6-0, 183-AGE 22

Signed out of Venezuela in 2011

2017: 11-9 W/L-125 IP-3.53 ERA-1.35 WHIP-120 K-45 BB

Romero has a big arm and if he is healthy he can bring his fastball to 100 miles per hour. His fastball is a plus-plus pitch, but he also has an effective slider. His changeup is a work in progress. He has had Tommy John surgery and has missed two seasons of development. If everything in his arsenal returns, he can be a very solid pitcher for Minnesota going forward.

FELIX JORGE RHP-6-2, 170-AGE 23

Signed out of the Dominican by the Twins in 2011

2017: 10-4 W/L-149 IP-3.68 ERA-1.39 WHIP-108 K-40 BB

Tall and thin, Jorge can be a solid back end of the rotation starter. He has good stuff, with his fastball/changeup combination being well above average. His slider is less developed and is a third pitch.

TYLER JAY LHP-6-1, 185-AGE 23

1st round selection by the Twins in 2015

2017: 3-0 W/L-11.2 IP-3.09 ERA-1.28 WHIP-19 K-0 BB

Jay has fought injuries in the past two seasons. He has faced a neck strain and biceps tendinitis and has missed development time. It may be a real long shot for us to see Jay in Minnesota this season, but if he can recover and get work done, he may be a late-season addition.

KOHL STEWART RHP-6-3, 195-AGE 23

Drafted by Minnesota in the 1st round in 2013

2017: 6-6 W/L-82 IP-4.28 ERA-1.52 WHIP-57 K-46 BB
A good above-average fastball and solid secondary pitches including a curveball and slider that helps miss bats, as well as a changeup, give Stewart a complete arsenal. A good athlete, Stewart has big-time upside.

NEW YORK YANKEES

CHANCE ADAMS RHP-6-1, 210- AGE 23

Drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round in 2015

2017: 15-5 W/L-150.1 IP-2.45 ERA-1.07 WHIP-135K-58BB in Double-A and Triple-A

Adams is a top-shelf starting pitching prospect with a deep arsenal that includes a plus-plus fastball and slider as well as a curveball and changeup that are at least average or better. He has good location and can use any pitch at any point in the count. With a loaded Yankees pitching staff, it remains to be seen where this fine starter will fit.

JUSTUS SHEFFIELD LHP-5-11, 200-AGE 21

The Indians drafted Sheffield in the 1st round in 2014

2017: 7-7 W/L-98 IP-3.12 ERA-1.34 WHIP-88 K-34 BB

Sheffield came to the Yankees in the huge trade with Cleveland for Andrew Miller. Undersized at less than 6 feet, he throws four solid pitches with a plus fastball and above average curveball, slider and changeup as his secondary offerings. Command and control are improving, but there are times when he can’t find the strike zone. He’s an interesting middle to back-end starter on a club loaded with pitching.

Miguel Andujar

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

MIGUEL ANDUJAR 3B-BR/TR-6-0, 215-AGE 22

The Yankees signed Andujar out of the Dominican in 2011

2017: .315/16/82/5 SB playing at Double-A and Triple-A this past season.

Andujar would probably start on some major-league teams this coming season. He has a loud bat and he showed this past season that he can drive in runs. He may be blocked if Gleyber Torres claims 3B and the team moves beyond both Todd Frazier and Chase Headley. But Andujar can play-where is the question.

DOMINGO ACEVEDO RHP- 6-7, 250-AGE 23

The Yankees signed Acevedo out of the Dominican in 2012

2017: 6-6 W/L-133 IP-3.25 ERA-1.20 WHIP-142 K-34 BB

What team wouldn’t want the huge righty to be part of their rotations? But again, like so many other great Yankees prospects, where will he play in 2018? He is ready for prime time with a big arm and a repertoire that includes a fastball that ranges form 95-100 miles per hour, a slider, a changeup and good overall command and control of each of those pitches.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Franklin Barreto

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

FRANKLIN BARRETO SS/2B-BR/TR-5-10, 190-AGE 21

Signed by the Blue Jays in 2012 and traded to Oakland in a deal for Josh Donaldson

2017: .290/15/54/15 SB at Triple-A.

Barreto can smoke the ball with a good barrel of the bat approach. His power is beginning to develop as well. A solid line drive hitter, when he makes contact the ball makes that special sound coming off his bat. I’m not a believer in him as a shortstop-but he also plays 2B.

DUSTIN FOWLER OF-BL/TL-6-0, 195-AGE 22

Signed by the Yankees in the 18th round in 2013. He was traded to Oakland as part of the deal that landed Sonny Gray for New York.

2017: .293/13/43/13 SB at Triple-A

Fowler is a good fielding, average hitter with good speed. I differ from most scouts as I see him more as a 4th outfield type than a slugger who can claim and everyday role, he is selective and measured at the plate. Time will tell how he is used in Oakland, as he will likely be part of their future given the price they paid to get him in Gray.

JORGE MATEO SS/OF-6-0, 190-AGE 22

Signed as an international free agent by the Yankees in 2012 out of the Dominican. He was traded to the A’s as part of the deal that brought Sonny Gray to New York.

2017: .267/12/57/52 stolen bases while playing in the Yankees and Athletics organizations. He played at Class-A Advanced and Double-A.

Mateo is one of the fastest players in the game. In addition to being able to steal bases at will, he has some pop in his bat and is a very good defensive infielder with a fine arm. The A’s might also want to try him in the outfield to add his bat to their strong infield depth.

GRANT HOLMES RHP-6-1, 215-AGE 21

Holmes was a former 1st round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. He was traded to Oakland with pitchers Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas to fetch Josh Reddick and Rich Hill.

2017: 11-12 W/L-148.1 IP-4.49 ERA-1.41 WHIP-150 K-61 BB

Like many left-handers, Holmes fights his control. When he locates well, he is effective. He has a very good fastball/curveball combination with both pitches being above average in quality. He has a changeup that he can use to alter the balance of the hitter. Hitting 95 miles per hour, Holmes has to guard against trying to throw harder and losing command of his fastball.

YAIRO MUNOZ INF/OF-BR/TR/6-1, 165-AGE 22

Signed by Oakland out of the Dominican in 2012

2017: .300/13/68/5 SB at Double-A and Triple-A

Munoz is an interesting guy because he can play all over the diamond. He’s the type of utility player teams look for. He has a sound bat with good plate coverage and above average bat control. He makes contact and runs well. There’s lots to like, but he’ll be hard-pressed to find a starting role in the Oakland infield.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Braden Bishop

Photo Credit: Jerry Espinoza

BRADEN BISHOP OF-BR/TR/ 6-1, 190-AGE 21

Chosen by the Mariners in the 3rd round in 2015

2017: .306/3/43/22 SB at Class-A Advanced and Double-A

Bishop is an under the radar player. He’s the type of guy that doesn’t have any one outstanding tool. But he does hit, he knows how to play the game, and he’s a winner. He makes things happen with good speed, good contact at the plate and a solid overall approach. His speed is real and he’ll steal plenty of bases. Power is minimal.

MAX POVSE RHP-6-8, 185-AGE 24
Povse was a 3rd round pick of the Braves in the 2014 draft and was traded to Seattle along with pitcher Rob Whalen for catcher Alex Jackson

2017: 4-6 W/L-70.2 IP-5.22 ERA-1.42 WHIP- 61 K 26 BB

Povse is a huge presence on the mound but he doesn’t make the most of his long limbs. He could pitch more downhill than he does and intimidate hitters more with his size. An average starter at this point, Povse could see big league action if the team does not shore up the rotation for the new season. He is underachieving.

DAN VOGELBACH 1B-BL/TR-6-0, 250-AGE 24

The Chicago Cubs took Vogelbach in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft and then traded him to Seattle for Mike Montgomery.

2017: After not hitting well in Seattle, the Mariners sent Vogelbach to Triple-A where he hit .290/17/83/3 SB.

Vogelbach was a disappointment for the Mariners last season. They thought he could win the 1B role in Seattle, but he hit .214 with zero home runs and 2 RBIs in 31 plate appearances. Granted, they didn’t give him much time. They went out and traded for Ryon Healy, which won’t help Vogelbach.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

WILLIE ADAMES SS-BR/TR/6-0/200-AGE 22

The Tigers signed Adames out of the Dominican in 2012. He was then traded to Tampa Bay in the deal that brought David Price to the Tigers.

2017: .27710/62/11 SB at Triple-A

Adames is a first-rate, top prospect shortstop ready to assume his role as a cornerstone of the Rays infield.  A line drive hitter with some power in his bat, Adames is able to help both on offense and defense. His arm strength is well above average and it helps him as a solid defender with good range.

JAKE BAUERS OF/1B-BL/TL-6-1/195-AGE 22

San Diego selected Bauers in the 7th round of the 2013 draft and traded him to Tampa for Wil Meyers.

2017: .263/13/63/20 SB at Triple-A

The Rays are always on the lookout for hitters. They may have a good one right in their own system in Bauers. I’ve always liked his approach at the plate, as he can take the ball to all fields with a nice swing. Making good contact and getting on base, Bauers can steal bases with solid speed and he can hit the ball to the gaps.

JOSE DE LEON RHP-6-1, 220-AGE 25

The Dodgers drafted De Leon in the 24th round in 2013. He was then traded to the Rays for Logan Forsythe.

2017: 2-2 W/L-38.1 IP-1.67 ERA-0.93 WHIP-58 K-8 BB

Once a starter for the Dodgers, De Leon pitched out of the bullpen last year after experiencing right forearm soreness. He has good stuff, with a better than average fastball/changeup combination. He also throws a good slider. I like him as a starter because he has good command and control. But he has to stay healthy.

JUSTIN WILLIAMS OF-BL/TR-6-2, 215-AGE 22

The Diamondbacks selected Williams in the 2nd round in 2013 and was traded to Tampa as part of the deal that brought Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona.

2017: .301/14/72/6 SB at Double-A

Williams may surprise some people. He has just begun to hit with some authority. He has some gap power to go along with an overall solid hitting tool. He may be a bit underwhelming in the outfield and he doesn’t run that well. But overall, he may be able to carve out a career as a utility player.

TEXAS RANGERS

WILLIE CALHOUN 2B/OF-BL/TR-5-8, 187-AGE 23

Chosen by the Dodgers in the 4th round in 2015 and traded to Texas in the Yu Darvish deal

2017: .300/31/93/4 SB at Triple-A

Yes, those numbers are correct. The compact Calhoun has plenty of thunder in his bat. He’s under the radar now, but he can flat out rake. Some question his range at 2B and that’s why the Rangers may play him more in the outfield. But make no mistake, his bat is alive.

RONALD GUZMAN 1B-BL/TL-6-5, 205- AGE 23

The Rangers signed Guzman in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic

2017: .298/12/62/4 SB in Triple-A

Guzman is another of those Rangers players that may still be a bit under the radar. He has enough power in his swing to hit some home runs in a hitter-friendly home park. His hit tool and power are his best skills. An average defender, if he hits, he plays. He’s slow afoot.

ARIEL JURADO RHP-6-1, 180-AGE 21

Signed out of Panama in 2012 by Texas

2017: 9-11 W/L-157 IP-4.59 ERA-1.43 WHIP-95 K-37 BB

A command and control pitcher, throwing strikes and getting the opposition to put the ball in play is the way Jurado goes about pitching. He isn’t overpowering with a mediocre, but average fastball and changeup. His slider still needs work. He can be helpful if needed.

Jose Trevino

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

JOSE TREVINO- C-BR/TR- 5-11, 211-AGE 25

Selected by Texas in the 6th round of the 2014 draft

2017: .241/7/42/1 SB at Double-A Frisco

His defense could help lead Trevino to a role as a back up catcher. He is a good shepherd to pitchers, calls a good game and has good catching mechanics. His strong arm is accurate. Offensively, he still needs lots of work. He is a slow runner with little power and not much going for himself as a hitter.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

ANTHONY ALFORD OF-BR/TR/ 6-1, 215-AGE 23

Alford was a 3rd round pick by the Blue Jays in 2012

2017: .299/5/26/19 SB at Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A

Alford’s best tool is his speed. He is at least a grade 70 runner with good burst out of the box and in center field. A good contact hitter, Alford is getting better and more complete with experience. With his development coming to an end, his refined skills may play well in Toronto, where outfield help is needed.

SEAN-REID FOLEY RHP-6-3, 220-AGE 22

The Blue Jays chose Reid-Foley in the 2nd round in 2014

2017: 10-11W/L-132.2 IP-5.09 ERA-1.49 WHIP-122 K-53 BB

Reid-Foley can hit 97 to 98 miles per hour consistently with his fastball, but he just walks too many hitters at this point in his career. If he can command his repertoire he would be in a much better place. He is an average quality pitcher with a fastball, curve, changeup and slider in a full repertoire of pitches.

RICHARD URENA SS-BB/TR-6-0, 185-AGE 21

Toronto signed Urena out of the Dominican in 2012

2017: .247/5/60/0 SB

Signed at the same time as Franklin Barreto by Toronto, Urena has a chance to eventually become the team’s shortstop. He is an outstanding defensive shortstop with range, a good arm and quick hands and feet. He won’t hit that much unless he can improve his approach to breaking balls. He’s still improving and can play.

ROWDY TELLEZ IB-BL/TL-6-foot-4, 220-AGE 22

Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 30th round in 2013

2017: .222/6/56 at Triple-A

Tellez did not help himself with an off-season at Buffalo. A better hitter with more power than he displayed, he may have to return to Triple-A to prove he can hit quality pitching. Big and strong, Tellez has to regain his confidence and show he can play.

CONNER GREENE RHP-6-3, 185-AGE 22

Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 7th round in 2013

2017: 5-10 W/L-132.2 IP-5.29 ERA-1.68 WHIP- 92 K-83 BB

His upper 90’s fastball is a fine pitch, but not if he can’t throw strikes. With a very high walk rate, Greene’s lack of control and command may keep him in development longer. He also throws a good changeup to compliment the fastball. He has a curve and slider as well.

DANNY JANSEN C-BR/TR-6-2, 225-AGE 22

Jansen was a 16th round pick by the Blue Jays in 2013

2017: .323/19/48/1 SB at Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A

Jansen hit well when I saw him in the 2016 Fall League. He continued to hit this season and now has a .267 career average. Maybe this year was a fluke, but he hit at every level. Hitting is what may get him to the major-league level. He plays solid defense as well, but he is slow and has only an average arm. He’s been injured his career and now has a chance to show what he can do.

Next week: The National League

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About The Author

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Bernie’s work has been featured on MLB Pipeline, MLB.com and FanRag Sports, among others. You can follow Bernie Pleskoff on Twitter @BerniePleskoff