Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Gabriel Maciel, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19 Org Rank: 18 FV: 40
Line: 2-for-4, 2B
The 19-year-old Brazilian has hit in every July game in which he’s played and is riding an 18-game streak, including multi-hit games in eight of his past 10. Maciel was hitting .249/.336/.305 on July 1 and is now at .291/.367/.338. He’s a plus-plus running center fielder with very limited physicality, but he understands what his offensive approach has to be to reach base and he has played well-executed small-ball throughout his pro career. There’s risk that this style of hitting won’t play against better defenses and that Maciel winds up as a bench outfielder.
Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 22 Org Rank: 9 FV: 45+
Line: 7 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 12 K
This was the best start of Cease’s career. He has posted a 10% walk rate since being acquired by the White Sox, while big-league average is about 8%. Cease is a pretty strong candidate for late-blooming fastball command. He missed a year of development due to a surgery and will receive every opportunity to work with different coaches and orgs throughout his career as long as he throws as hard as he does. It might click at any time. But for now it’s realistic to assume that when Cease debuts in the next year or so he’ll probably be pitching with 40 control. Is there precedence for success among starting pitchers with a plus fastball, plus curveball, and a fringey collection of other stuff? Charlie Morton and German Marquez are two very encouraging examples, Sal Romano less so. Sean Newcomb looked like he’d have to be that guy but his changeup came along. It will take a pretty specific approach to pitching, but Cease should be fine with what he’s already working with.
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 22 Org Rank: 7 FV: 50
Line: 8 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 0 R, 8 K
You could apply much of what I just said regarding Cease to Touki, but we’re higher on Touki than Cease, ranking-wise, because his curveball is better, he hasn’t had a surgery, and he is a level ahead of Cease at the same age.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Level: Short-Season Age: 19 Org Rank: 8 FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 12 K
Crouse’s delivery looks weird and causes his fastball to play down a bit because he doesn’t get down the mound. While he had below-average fastball control when I saw him in the spring, he has just four walks combined in his past five starts for Spokane. Yet another plus fastball/breaking ball prospect with stuff nasty enough to overcome other issues.
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.