Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Mark Vientos, 3B, New York Mets
Level: Appy Age: 18 Org Rank: 7 FV: 45+
Line: 3-for-3, 2B, BB
The Mets have made effectual changes to Mark Vientos’s swing since he signed. His stance has opened up and his hands set up in a way that has enabled him to lift the ball better than he did in high school, especially pitches on the inner half. His hands are more alive and powerful than they were a year ago, and Vientos has launched balls out the other way even when he doesn’t fully square them up. His size/build might eventually cause a tumble down the defensive spectrum (he’s been projected off of shortstop to, at least, third base since he was a high-school underclassman), which would mean power alone won’t be enough to enable him to profile. His early-career contact rates are positive, especially considering Vientos doesn’t turn 19 until December.
Davis Bradshaw, OF, Miami Marlins
Level: New York-Penn Age: 20 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 5-for-5, 2 SB
Davis Bradshaw is a $125,000 signee from the most recent draft out of a Mississippi junior college who has already hit his way out of the GCL and up to Batavia. He’s a twitchy, plus-running outfielder (he played a lot of third base in the spring but it didn’t go well) with quick hitting hands, so he at least has a chance to be a bench outfield piece. An old-for-the class high schooler in 2017, Bradshaw was drafted by Milwaukee but opted not to sign, attending Meridian CC for a year. He’s an interesting player-development project with speed and some pull power.
Tim Locastro, 2B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level: Triple-A Age: 26 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 SB, 2 HBP (double header)
Tim Locastro has a .400 OBP since returning to Triple-A after a hip pointer sidelined him for about five weeks in June and July. He’s a plus runner who can play a passable second base and outfield and who takes good at-bats, so he’s going to be a strong bench piece for the Dodgers in September and might play a large big-league role next year once Brian Dozier and Chase Utley are off the roster. Locastro has been hit by 152 pitches in 2454 pro plate appearances. The rate at which Locastro is hit by pitches (6% of his PAs) is thrice that of Chase Utley’s career mark, and Utley is eighth all time in career HBP.
Matt Swarmer, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Level: Double-A Age: 24 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 9 K
Matt Swarmer was a 19th-rounder in 2016 out of Kutztown (a small PA school which has given us John Mobley, Andre Reed, Ryan Vogelsong, and my high-school chem teacher, end of list) who fits an archetype targeted by the Cubs many times in recent drafts: deceptive college arms. Swarmer’s delivery, which is similar to that of Josh Collmenter’s, makes for a very uncomfortable at-bat. His three-pitch mix includes a low-90s fastball, tilting low-80s slider, and firm changeup. All are fringey on their own but play up because of hitters’ discomfort with Swarmer’s delivery. Pitchers like this are best suited for spot starts or long relief, which is exactly what the Cubs are trying to cultivate with the high volume of college pitching they’ve selected in recent years as a way of creating depth behind their fairly shallow big-league staff.
Demarcus Evans, RHP, Texas Rangers
Level: Low-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 33 FV: 40
Line: 1.2 IP, 5 K
Demarcus Evans entered the game with the bases loaded in the eighth and struck out all five hitters he faced. He has modest velocity for a reliever (lots of 92-94), but it has hellacious movement and his 82-84 mph curveball is arguably a 70 on the scale. He has now amassed 93 strikeouts in 50 innings this year. For now he projects as a valuable, though somewhat generic, relief piece. But if you buy that the fastball plays above its velo and that Evans has a 7 breaking ball, then he’s a potential late-inning arm.
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.