Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Jabari Blash, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 28 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 3-for-3, 3 HR, BB
Blash is no longer rookie-eligible, so while he’s a fun player to watch hit bombs and had a hell of a game last night, he’s on here today as a conduit to discuss what’s going on with some of the Angels hitters in the lowest levels of the minors. This is Trent Deveaux last fall, when he first arrived in the states. His swing was largely the same early this spring, albeit with a stronger, more involved top hand, which helped him drive the ball with more authority. This is what he looks like right now, which bears quite a bit of resemblance to Blash. No offense to Blash, who has had a long pro career and will probably play for another half-decade or so, but I’m not sure I’d proactively alter an ultra-talented 18-year-old’s swing to mimic that of a notoriously frustrating replacement-level player. Deveaux isn’t the only low-level Angels hitting prospect whose swing now looks like this.
Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 18 Org Rank: 2 (36 overall) FV: 55
Line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 7 K
Greene’s breaking balls are better this spring than they were last year. He has both a slider and a curveball that can be easy to conflate during the game as they can intersect, velocity-wise, in the 81-83 mph range. They have the vertical depth to compete within the strike zone and are tight enough to induce swings and misses when they’re buried. He’s still in the early stages of his career and has already shown movement in the area most amateur scouts thought was most pressing: breaking-ball development.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Level: Short Season Age: 19 Org Rank: 7 FV: 45
Line: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 6 K
Crouse missed time this spring with biceps tendinitis but his velocity was fine when he returned, hovering in the 93-97 range. His delivery and fastball command create relief risk, and most of the industry thinks Crouse’s fiery on-mound presence and otherwise loveable weirdness fits a high-leverage relief role like a glove.
Luis Arraez, 2B, Minnesota Twins (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 21 Org Rank: HM FV: 35+
Line: 4-for-5, CS
Arraez missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL but he’s back to his high-contact ways, hitting .311 through two months. He has an 8% strikeout rate in his career and plays up the middle, but his swing generates pretty extreme opposite-field contact and he’s unlikely to hit for any in-game power. He’ll probably have to be a 7 bat to profile, even at second base.
Angel Perdomo, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 24 Org Rank: NR FV: 35+
Line: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 10 K
Twenty-four-year-olds repeating A-ball typically don’t find their way into our consciousness, but lefties that touch 96 must. Perdomo’s command has taken a significant step forward this year as he has nearly halved his walk rate (12.6% down to 7.6%) and is showing especially improved command of his fastball and fringey slider to his glove side. He creates a tough angle in on the hands of righties and sits 90-95 throughout his starts. He’s made enough progress that you can project him as an eventual lefty reliever.
Dustin May, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 20 Org Rank: 9 FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 7 K
May is a 20-year-old carving up the Cal League. He’s been up to at least 97 this year, has plus fastball command projection, and a plus slider. He’s a 45 FV with helium.
Notes from the Field
Cleveland has so many interesting athletes/bodies in the AZL that, even after prioritizing looks at them throughout extended spring training, I’m still running into new guys. RHP Carlos Vargas was last night’s star. This is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound righty who sat 93-96 all night, flashed a plus power slider in the mid-80s, and even got a swing and miss with a weird-looking power changeup. There’s much to be desired from a poise/mound-presence standpoint here, but that’s okay for now considering the kid is 18. Both of Vargas’s outings in the AZL have been abbreviated, so take the velocity with a grain of salt until we see what it looks like over five or more innings, every fifth day, for a whole summer. But also note that this stuff looks an awful lot like that of many of the high school arms who went in round one of the draft earlier this month and that scouts have told me they’ve seen Vargas throw harder this spring than he did yesterday. He has a deep, plunging arm action similar to Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga, who have each had injury issues. (I’ll get video up at some point today so you can see this guy.) From a stuff perspective, though, this is clearly a dude.
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.