Daily Prospect Notes: 5/12/21

These are notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Jarren Duran, CF, Boston Red Sox
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Worcester   Age: 24   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45
Line: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 K

This is the kind of thing you like to see from a guy who clearly underwent a swing change last year but wasn’t able to play in actual games to show us if it was going to have a meaningful impact. In fact, when Duran went to Puerto Rico for winter ball after spending the summer at the alt site, he failed to hit for power there as well. Now he already has three homers in 2021, which is just two shy of his single-season career high. As he’s doing this, Duran is also striking out 33% of the time, a far cry from the ultra-low rates that helped make him a prospect in the first place. It’s rare for a prospect this old to be such a high-variance player. We’re all learning about how Duran’s swing change is going to alter his output in real time.

Deivi García, RHP, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Scranton  Age: 21   Org Rank: 2   FV: 50
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 7 K

It was nice to see García bounce back after his last start was a seven-walk clunker. Most of his strikeouts in this one came via fastballs at the top of the strike zone, while his curveball has become a weapon with which he gets ahead of hitters. It’s fair to doubt whether García can take a five- or six-inning turning every five days using this approach to pitching, in addition to the old school scouting questions about his size.

Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
Level & Affiliate: Double-A Madison  Age: 21   Org Rank: TBD   FV: 45+
Line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K

It’s not often that big conference college performers are divisive among drafting teams, but Detmers’ lack of fastball velocity (he sat 88-92 at Louisville) was concerning to some of them. Sure, he had four well-defined pitches, terrific command, and a track record of success against big conference hitters, but it’s rare for big league starters to only throw 90 and be good enough that you feel happy to have drafted them early in the first round. Well, Detmers has had a huge velo spike. He sat 93-95 and touched 97 last night. It’s the second start in a row where he’s averaged close to 94. The new velocity might be part of why Detmers was uncharacteristically wild in his first start. If Detmers can a) hold this velo into the summer and b) start to wield it with the same precision he did in college over the next several weeks, he’ll move into the Top 100. We put Detmers on our Picks to Click more with the expectation that he’d show that his stuff plays even though it isn’t all that firm, rather than because he’d suddenly throw in the mid-90s.

Hagen Danner, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Level & Affiliate: Hi-A Vancouver  Age: 22   Org Rank: 21   FV: 40 Line: 1 IP (relief), 0 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Danner burst onto the scouting scene after his sophomore year of high school, showing low-90s stuff and a three pitch mix with the look of a future high pick as a pitcher. His stuff never really ticked up though, and over time scouts saw him behind the plate (where he played when he wasn’t pitching) and began to like him long-term as a catching prospect. Eventually, the Jays took Danner in the second round of the 2017 draft as a catcher. After three seasons of catching, he’s back on the mound and throwing harder than ever before. So far this year he has been 95-97 with a power mid-80s slider. I’ve added him to the Blue Jays list over on The Board. Currently in the 40 FV tier, Danner might end up in the 35+ tier if he’s wild throughout the summer and looks more like an up/down reliever, or he might end the season in the 40+ tier if he holds this new stuff and looks capable of working higher-leverage innings. He needs to be added to the 40-man this offseason so expect to see him in Toronto next year if this continues.

Other Notable Performances: Marlins prospect Zach McCambley, he of the best curveball in the 2020 draft, threw seven perfect innings as part of Beliot’s combined one-hit shutout of the South Bend Cubs last night. Hunter Greene (the Reds’ No. 3 prospect, 101 overall) and Shane Baz (the Rays’ No. 7 prospect, 106 overall) matched up in Montgomery last night and both looked great. Baz has just one walk combined in his first two starts (I have him projected in relief) while Greene has shown no ill-effects of an obvious delivery/posture change exhibited at last year’s alternate site. He’s once again up to 103 and throwing dozens of pitches above 100 mph in each outing. Pirates’ Taillon trade return Roansy Contreras had a second dominant start last night, working six hitless innings and striking out 11. He’s been 95-98 so far this year, way up above 92-96 from 2019. He’s been at that level all spring and is close to moving into the 50 FV tier.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Purple Mays Haze
Purple Mays Haze

Do you know when the minor league stats get updated? They definitely don’t have yesterday’s games (eg Roansy still with only 5 IP).