Daily Prospect Notes: 6/26

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Org Rank:FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
Hearn’s peripherals (27.5% K, 9.3% BB) are exactly the same as they were last year when he was in High-A. He’s a little old for Double-A, but that matters less for pitchers and Hearn’s early-career injuries set back his development pretty significantly. He’ll flash a 55 slider and average changeup, and he throws enough strikes to start, though he’s not overly efficient. He was up to 97 last night and projects as a fourth starter or late-inning reliever. Here are his swinging strikes from yesterday…

Luis Gonzalez, LHP, Baltimore Orioles (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 26   Org Rank: 14  FV: 40
Line: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 R

Notes
Gonzalez’s strikeout rate doubled when he was moved into the bullpen in 2016 and he continues to miss bats with three pitches, led by a fastball that sits 92-96 and an above-average slider. He should be up this year, especially if the Orioles move some bullpen pieces ahead of the deadline.

Jonathan Davis, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 26   Org Rank: HM  FV: 35
Line: 4-for-5, Cycled

Notes
Davis is repeating Double-A at age 26 and is, at most, a bench outfield prospect. He has a sound approach, control of the strike zone, and plus speed but very little game power.

Tyler Freeman, SS, Cleveland Indians (Profile)
Level: Short Season   Age: 19   Org Rank: 16  FV: 40
Line: 3-for-4, 2B

Notes
Freeman was arguably the most advanced hitter that Cleveland had in their extended spring training group, and they sent him to the New York-Penn League while most of their similarly-aged kids stayed back to play in the AZL. He has struck out just once in 42 at-bats so far. He’s not a great fit at shortstop but might hit enough to play second base every day.

Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 19   Org Rank: 4 (119 overall)  FV: 50
Line: 7 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 R

Notes
This was Manning’s first walkless start since 2016. He remains somewhat raw from a strike-throwing perspective, but his stuff, mostly a mid-90s fastball up to 97 this year and a 12-6 hammer that looks like a vintage Barry Zito curveball, has enabled him to strike out nearly a third of the hitters he has faced this year. He has a cathedral ceiling.





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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Baloo
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Baloo

I noticed Manning doesn’t have a grade for his curve on THE BOARD, is it a new pitch? What grades would you give it?

KwisatzHaderach
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KwisatzHaderach

He’s never thrown a slider so that was probably just a mis-identification on his player page. Considering Eric referred to it as a Barry Zito curveball, it’s a plus pitch, presumably. Having seen a lot of his starts, I’d concur.