Daily Prospect Notes: 5/21/21

These are notes on prospects from Tess Taruskin. Read previous installments here.

CJ Van Eyk, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Level & Affiliate: Hi-A Vancouver Age: 22 Org Rank: 10  FV: 40+
6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K
Van Eyk’s minor league season got off to a rocky start. His first outing with the Vancouver Canadians was only 0.2 innings long, but that was enough time for the 2020 draftee to allow four runs on three hits, two walks and two wild pitches. His second start was more reassuring: Van Eyk again allowed three hits and two walks, but this time over 4.2 innings, and accompanied by seven strikeouts and only one run (a homer in the fourth). The third start of his minor league career, though, was his best, with Van Eyk fanning nine batters over six dominant innings, allowing only one run, and walking one.

On a handful of his pitches, his balance in his lower half faltered, which resulted in a somewhat inconsistent landing spot for his left foot. In a few instances, his foot landed an inch or two too far over toward third base, causing Van Eyk to have to throw across his body, lower his head, and tumble toward first base after delivery. Here’s a comparison of two back-to-back pitches in the bottom of the third, demonstrating the difference between his balanced delivery (left), and what happens when his foot lands too far toward third (right):

But even with those inconsistencies, Van Eyk never lost confidence in his timing, even managing to eliminate the kick in his delivery to sneak a slick quick-pitch by Spencer Brickhouse for a called strike three to start the top of the fifth.

Ronnie Dawson, DH, Houston Astros
Level & Affiliate: Triple-A Sugar Land Age: 26 Org Rank: NR  FV: 40
3-for-5, SB, K
When Houston was faced with a mid-April COVID outbreak, Dawson was one of the prospects tapped to fill in on the major league roster. For many, this was an introduction to the then–25-year-old (his birthday was on Wednesday) who didn’t quite make Eric Longenhagen’s Astros list, though he was mentioned as an older, potential role player. A three-hit night on Thursday should be encouraging for those hoping to see him address what has been considered his most significant hurdle: his hit tool. All three of his hits were opposite-field singles, and two of them came on two-strike counts where Dawson demonstrated his ability to adjust his swing, rather than aiming to show off his power.

The other commonly mentioned concern regarding Dawson’s minor league career has been his swing-and-miss issues. Since his debut season in 2016, his strikeout rate has always been significantly higher than his walk rate, but so far this year, the opposite has been true, as he has already walked 17 times this year against only nine strikeouts under his belt. That makes for a BB/K of 1.89 — third best in all of Triple-A — and a slash line of .349/.541/.535.

Glenn Otto, RHP, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Double-A Somerset Age: 25 Org Rank: 37  FV: 35+
5.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 14 K
Otto struck out 14 of the 19 batters he faced on Thursday for a career high in the K column. He punched out the side on three separate occasions, showcasing both his fastball, which sat mid-90s, and his low-80s breaking ball. He missed bats with both offerings and demonstred advanced command throughout his 5.1 innings of work, but effective as it may have been against Hartford, his limited repertoire means the righty still projects as a bullpen piece.

Austin Wells, C, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Lo-A Tampa Age: 21 Org Rank: 12  FV: 45
3-for-4, 2 2B, BB, K
Wells had an impressive three-hit night on Thursday, but of note is how hard he was hitting the ball. Prior to Thursday’s game, he had 12 hits on the season, only one of which came off his bat at more than 100 mph. On Thursday, the softest of his three hits had an exit velocity of 104.5, with his other two topping 106 (and his sac fly was a not-too-shabby 98.5).

Other Notable Performances: Kevin Smith, a lefty reliever acquired by the Orioles in exchange for Miguel Castro, struck out seven consecutive batters in his outing against Double-A Richmond. Riley Greene homered twice and walked twice, further reinforcing Detroit’s decision to assign the twenty-year-old outfielder to Double-A, which seemed to some a tad aggressive, given his lack of professional experience. Jo Adell also sent two out of the park on Thursday and now leads Triple-A West with six jacks on the season, but he also leads the division in strikeouts with 22, which is currently the biggest concern regarding his ongoing development. Samad Taylor racked up four hits for Double-A New Hampshire, including a home run, which is notable given the skepticism about his in-game pop. He also swiped a bag, his sixth on the season, which is tied for second-most in all of Double-A.

Tess is a contributor at FanGraphs. When she's not watching college or professional baseball, she works as a sports video editor, creating highlight reels for high school athletes. She can be found on Twitter at @tesstass.

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2 years ago

Ronnie Dawson’s link takes you to Glenn Otto’s page.