Daily Prospect Notes: 6/7/21

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

Ethan Small, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Level & Affiliate: Double-A Biloxi  Age: 24   Org Rank: TBD   FV: 45
Line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 8 K

Small had a sketchy spring with the big club and has walked an uncharacteristically high number of hitters early on this year, but his last couple of starts have been more in line with expectations as he blows his low-90s fastball (which has big time carry) past opposing hitters. Small’s best secondary pitch remains his changeup and there were doubts about him ever finding a competent breaking ball when he was drafted. So far, his slider and curveball remain below average but that there are now two distinct breakers here is meaningful. He still projects as a No. 4/5 starter with a shot to make the back of the Top 100 as a 50 FV if the command and/or breaking balls tighten up.

Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Level & Affiliate: Double-A Springfield  Age: 21   Org Rank: 2   FV: 55
Line: 4-for-5

His BABIP has been very high but after a rough first two weeks, Gorman has been fantastic, slashing .372/.402/.487 since mid-May. Offensively he has held serve as a prospect while the trial at second base is still just seven games old. Gorman’s size likely prevents him from being an average defender at whatever position he happens to play on a given day, and the real question is not whether he can be a good second baseman but whether he can be passable there on occasion. Gorman looks fine fielding routine grounders and has actually made some nice plays, but the real test will be working around the bag as a pivot man on double plays, which he has very little in-game experience doing. He’s played seven games at second base, six of which have come in the last two weeks.

Ken Waldichuk, LHP, New York Yankees
Level & Affiliate: Hi-A Hudson Valley  Age: 23   Org Rank: 45   FV: 35+
Line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 7 K

The lone thing about Waldichuk that has changed since Yankees list publication is that his changeup has more fade and sink now than before. He’s still feasting off his fastball’s movement shape and angle and his delivery’s funk, and that’s enough to mow down A-ball hitters. Waldichuk has a jerky, relievery-looking delivery and imprecise fastball command, but he can land his slider for strikes consistently and then run his fastball up the ladder to finish hitters.

Colin Peluse, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Level & Affiliate: Hi-A Lansing  Age: 22   Org Rank: tbd   FV: 40+
Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 10 K

Peluse had TJ toward the end of high school and began his Wake Forest career in the bullpen before transitioning into a weekend starter role as a sophomore. He was a pitchability righty with fringe stuff that played up because Peluse’s delivery screws with hitters’ timing, but after undergoing a bit of a physical transformation during the pandemic, he was sitting 94-98 during 2020 instructs. He’s held that velo into the 2021 season and his changeup has flashed better now than in the past. Peluse throws exclusively from the stretch, his fastball/slider combo give him a relief floor, and the changeup progression gives him a shot to start. Let’s see whether all these 23-ish-year-olds who’ve come into huge velo spikes hold them all year.

Diego Cartaya, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level & Affiliate: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga  Age: 19   Org Rank: 11   FV: 45
Line: 2-for-4, 2 HR

Kept back in Extended to start the year, Cartaya debuted on May 25 and has a hit in every game he’s played in, homering four times already. We’ll watch how his strikeouts trend over the course of the season, but if they’re in an acceptable range, he’s a near lock to be on the Top 100 list at some point in the next six months because his other attributes (power, impact arm strength, field general) are all very impressive for a teenager.

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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Gorman is 21, not 24.