Daily Prospect Notes: 5/6/21

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

Brandon Valenzuela, C, San Diego Padres
Level & Affiliate: Low-A Lake Elsinore   Age: 20   Org Rank: tbd   FV: 40
Line: 2-for-3, 2 BB

Valenzuela was in the honorable mentions section of last year’s Padres list as a notable teenage follow due to his athleticism and physique, both of which are uncommon for a catcher. He’s off to a strong start at Low-A Lake Elsinore with three hits (one a homer), four walks and no strikeouts in his first two games. Valenzuela switch-hits, he tracks pitches well, and the bat-to-ball and strike zone feel pieces were both in place already throughout 2019, but he’s swinging with a little more explosion now. Well-built players with a foundation of skills rather than tools are often a threat to breakout as those more overt physical tools come with maturity, and we may be seeing the early stages of that here.

Jose Salvador, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
Level & Affiliate: Low-A Inland Empire  Age: 21   Org Rank: tbd   FV: 35+
Line: 4.1 IP (relief), 1 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 12 K

Salvador came over from Cincinnati as the Player To Be Named in last year’s Brian Goodwin deadline deal. He posted big strikeout totals in the very low minors as a starter in 2018 and ’19 even though he only sits about 89-92 because his extreme vertical arm slot creates that coveted backspin and cut/rise shape on his fastball. It also helps create depth on Salvador’s curveball. Even though he’s dominated rookie ball as a starter, his delivery (which makes the spinal tilt in Michael Wacha’s old delivery look generic) will likely push him toward the bullpen. I texted a source who said Salvador’s stuff wasn’t any different this spring than it was in 2019, which means the velo spike that would solidify him as a more impactful power relief prospect hasn’t arrived after the layoff.

Jonathan Bowlan, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Level & Affiliate: Double-A NW Arkansas  Age: 24   Org Rank: 11   FV: 40+
Line: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 10 K

A fresh Bowlan report can be found on the Royals list, which ran earlier this week. You can find it by clicking Bowlan’s “Org Rank” above, which will take you to the Royals page on The Board. Here’s video of Bowlan from a couple weeks ago (including high speed footage of his pitch types) during the brief minor league co-op program that occurred in Arizona. Bowlan is sitting 94-97 here:

Trevor Hauver, 2B, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Low-A Tampa  Age: 22   Org Rank: 29   FV: 40
Line: 2-for-2, 3 BB, HR

Hauver is trying to move up the defensive spectrum after he spent most of his college career in the outfield. He played the infield in high school, but when he arrived on campus at Arizona State he did so with several other very talented infielders, like Alika Williams (a Rays draftee last year), Gage Workman (Tigers), and Drew Swift (a senior at ASU), who can all really pick it. Hauver is very patient, has playable power, and hits the ball in the air a ton. He’s a Three True Outcomes style hitter who relies on his swing’s lift to generate power, rather than raw strength and/or bat speed. His best chance of profiling in any sort of way is to be able to play second base, which will take longer for clubs to assess. With three homers in his first two professional games, he’s off to a great start.

Sean Reynolds, RHP/1B, 2B, Miami Marlins
Level & Affiliate: Low-A Jupiter  Age: 23   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35
Line: 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 1 R, 2 K

The 6-foot-8 Reynolds had been a power-hitting (and whiff-addled) 1B/OF throughout his minor league career but the Marlins now have him playing both ways. Reynolds has 80 raw power and put up superlative TrackMan data in the 2019 minors, with a 94 mph average exit velo and a 57% Hard Hit rate. He also struck out well over 40% of the time and it doesn’t matter how much pop you have if you strike out that much. In his return to the mound (Reynolds played both ways in high school, too), Reynolds’ fastball was up to 95 a couple of times and sitting 92-94 with pretty considerable spin for that velocity. He threw about 10 curveballs in the 75-81 range and got three swings and misses.

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

I think this format is probably best – but maybe some occasional Twitch streams more akin to yesterday’s Daily Prospects Notes would be good? It’s certainly not the *content* that made that format not work, just the time and format. Glad the text write-ups are back, but I hope the video talk-through stuff sticks around as well!

1 year ago
Reply to  D-Wiz

I personally will never watch a livestream or on-demand stream–reading is both faster and less inclined toward glitches.