Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Johan Quezada, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Level: Low-A Age: Turns 24 on Saturday Org Rank: 46 FV: 35+
Line: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 6 K
This was Johan Quezada’s first career appearance in full-season ball. An imposing mound presence at a towering 6-foot-6, he has recovered from the shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2017, and his velocity has returned. He sits 94-97 with extreme downhill plane created by his height, and he’ll show you an average slider every once in a while. Quezada’s breaking-ball quality and command need to develop as they’re understandably behind due to his limited pro workload. He’s a older-than-usual arm-strength/size lottery ticket. On the surface, he seems like a candidate for extra reps in the Arizona Fall League.
Chavez Young, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Level: Low-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 25 FV: 40
Line: 2-for-3, 2B, HR, BB, 2 SB
Chavez Young was an old-for-the class high schooler in 2016 who signed for $200,000 instead of heading to a JUCO. He’s had a strong second full pro season, slashing .280/.350/.440 while amassing 45 extra-base hits and 34 steals (though he’s been caught 12 times). Young has above-average raw pull power from the right side of the plate but lacks bat control and is strikeout prone. From the left side his swing is much more dynamic and has allowed his strength-driven gap power to play in games. He’s an average straight-line runner with a plus arm. Young has big-league physical ability and is shedding the “raw” label by performing. If he ends up in a corner outfield spot, his tools will be on the edge of profiling.
Aaron Phillips, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Level: Low-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 31 FV: 37
Line: 5.1, 2 H, 3 BB, 0 R, 7 K
Aaron Phillips has all kinds of late-bloomer traits. He’s a big (6-foot-4), athletic righty who played two ways at a small, cold-weather college (St. Bonaventure). He has a 101:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, missing bats with a 90-92 mph fastball that plays well up in the zone and an above-average curveball that has deep, vertical action. Phillips also gets way down the mound, which helps his fastball play a bit better than its otherwise fringey velocity would suggest. He’s a pretty interesting blend of athleticism and stuff, even more so when his background provides context for why that stuff isn’t fully baked yet.
Rico Garcia, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Level: Double-A Age: 24 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 8 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 10 K
I’ve seen Rico Garcia sit 93-96 and touch 97 early in outings and then dip into the 90-94 range late. The baseball appears from behind Garcia’s head, which seems to disorient hitters, and Garcia’s vertical arm slot creates tough-to-square flat plane up in the zone. He’ll flash an above-average changeup and slider and shows an ability to manipulate the fastball to sink and cut at various times. I’ve considered him an elder middle-relief prospect, still an excellent outcome for a 30th rounder, but Garcia now has a 155:37 strikeout-to-walk ratio across High- and Double-A in 157 innings and is at least causing re-evaluation of how we have him projected.
On the Nationals Return for Daniel Murphy
The Nationals sent Matt Adams (to St. Louis for cash) and Daniel Murphy (to the Cubs, for a prospect) to contenders today, receiving 21-year-old Venezuelan infield prospect Andruw Monasterio from Chicago. The Cubs collect a high volume of prospects like Monasterio on the Latin American amateur market, and their complex is often packed with undersized, but athletic, middle infielders with advanced baseball feel. Monasterio is of this ilk and, while his physical limitations likely cap his ceiling to a bench/utility role, he does have a collection of viable big-league skills.
Monasterio is an above-average runner with the hands/feet and arm strength to play anywhere on the infield. Over the last two years, he has added and improved use of a leg kick that has helped him pull the ball and hit it in the air more frequently, but he lacks the raw power and strength to turn this type of contact into extra bases. While his peripherals are excellent — 12% walk rate, 15% strikeout rate this year — the limited impact of Monasterio’s bat is likely to keep him from playing a strong everyday role. He’s Rule 5 eligible this winter and must be added to the 40-man to be protected from selection. As a defensive upgrade over current Nats infield options like Matt Reynolds and Adrian Sanchez, he could be added and have a fair chance of reaching the majors next year.
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.