Daily Prospect Notes: 5/17/21

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

Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Durham   Age: 20   Org Rank: 1 (1st overall)   FV: 80
4-for-5, 2B
Franco is now hitting .348/.404/.652 on the year and he’s doing it as a 20-year-old at Triple-A while playing flashy defense all over the infield (his bicep soreness, which caused him to leave winter ball, seems fine). This is a guy who hasn’t had so much as a dry spell as a player, no multi-week slump that needed to be busted in a superstitious, charitable, or ethically dubious way. He’s indomitable and so far is meeting the unprecedented expectations put upon him.

The “when will Wander Franco debut?” questions have already begun, as have the chat/social media queries about Vidal Bruján. Willy Adames is struggling (though he’s shown signs of life lately), but as I wrote on the Rays list, I think Taylor Walls is a better role replacement for Adames if Willy were to pull a hammy or something. Part of Adames’ roster fit is because of his excellent defense, which is one of Walls’ carrying tools. Franco is a cleaner fit in the role Joey Wendle plays. Bruján isn’t a polished defender anywhere and needs more reps in the outfield. Who of those three top 100 prospect debuts first and when likely depends more on the kind of situation the Rays find themselves in rather than the prospects themselves.

Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets
Level & Affiliate: Hi-A Brooklyn   Age: 20   Org Rank: 2 (41st overall)   FV: 55 Line: 3-for-5, HR

Mauricio now has as many home runs this year as he did in all of 2019. He looked noticeably bigger and stronger at camp this spring, but to my eye it didn’t appear as though he had become any more explosive. His early-season performance says otherwise. He has a hit in every game so far but is striking out about 30% of the time. I still think Mauricio’s long-term plate discipline data and (now that he’s really filled out) the risk that he slides down the defensive spectrum will make me want to keep him close to the back of the 55 FV tier rather than move him up to the Bobby Witt Jr. area of the overall list.

Jesús Sánchez, RF, Miami Marlins
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Jacksonville   Age: 23   Org Rank: 10   FV: 45 Line: 3-for-5, 3B

Sánchez is now hitting .500/.535/1.050 after a week and a half of minor league play. The Marlins should give him an opportunity to platoon with Adam Duvall soon. Starling Marte has begun to work his way back from a rib fracture but probably won’t be all the way back until early June. Sadly, it may be time to move on from Lewis Brinson. Optioning him in favor of Sánchez leaves Magneuris Sierra and Jon Berti to man center field until Marte returns. That feels underwhelming, but Brinson is giving the Marlins nothing offensively right now. Sánchez, despite his approach-driven flaws, has big time offensive talent and is a good fit with Duvall. He could also be deployed situationally off the bench in spots where the opposing pitcher can’t afford to pitch around him and let him get himself out. Monte Harrison is definitely a cleaner swap for Brinson since he can play a good center field and he’s a L/R partner for Sierra, but it’s tough to promote anyone from Triple-A other than the guy literally hitting .500.

Gavin Sheets, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Charlotte   Age: 25   Org Rank: 24   FV: 40 Line: 2-for-4, HR, BB

Sheets has long been a hitter with much more raw power than game power. So far this year, he’s slugging .633 against a career .418 mark. His batted ball profile (which you can see on his player page) is nearly identical to the year-over-year distribution he’s exhibited throughout his career. I haven’t done a visual evaluation of the swing to see if it’s changed, but based on the batted ball data (which won’t really stabilize for another three weeks, for what it’s worth), I’d guess that this is a small sample anomaly rather than a real change in output.

José Godoy, C, Seattle Mariners
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Tacoma   Age: 26   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35 Line: 3-for-4, HR

I saw Godoy’s name in the box score after I submitted the Mariners list for editing. He’s worth mentioning. Godoy spent the first nine years of his pro career with St. Louis before he became a minor league free agent last offseason. He’s a lefty stick with good feel for contact and a frame built to withstand the beating catchers take. I like him as upper-level depth and think he’d be a fine third catcher on a 40-man roster.

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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1 year ago

Sanchez has had “approach issues” on him for a long time, but he never strikes out that often and walks 6-7ish% of the time usually. Is it more just a concern that better stuff will highlight the issue? I haven’t ever seen him play (not even last year; I didn’t even realize he debuted last year somehow. I watch quite a few Marlins games, so that’s weird).