Daily Prospect Notes: 8/23/21

These are notes on prospects from Tess Taruskin. Read previous installments of the Daily Prospect Notes here.

This past weekend, I made my way up to Wisconsin to get my first look at some recent Marlins and Cardinals High-A promotions. The fact that both organizations’ respective Low-A affiliates play home games in ballparks for which we have access to Statcast data makes these looks particularly exciting, as it affords us the opportunity to place them into a more robust context.

Eury Perez, RHP, Miami Marlins
Level & Affiliate: High-A Beloit Age: 18 Org Rank: 8 FV: 45
5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 6 K

The buzz in the crowd at Saturday’s game was likely due to it being the debut weekend for Beloit’s brand new ballpark, but it could just as easily have been thanks to the young righty making his debut on the mound for the Snappers against Peoria. Just 18 years old, Perez is the youngest player at High-A, but he’s already earned himself a reputation as one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the Marlins’ system. After standing out at Miami’s instructs, the righty put together a spectacular season at Low-A Jupiter; opposing batters hit just .163 against him in his 56 innings of work with 82 strikeouts, 21 walks, and just two home runs, good for a 1.61 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

Perez’s best performance came earlier this month, when he struck out 11 batters in 4.1 innings against Low-A Tampa, which boasts the best record in the division and a staggering +245 run differential this season. He held the Tarpons’ lineup hitless, posting a 50% whiff rate and a CSW% of 42%, and his velocity sat 93–96 mph. That is up from the 91–95 seen at instructs and more or less on par with where he sat throughout his time in Jupiter, though he’s touched 97 on a handful of occasions this season.

It’s one thing to read about Perez’s standout performance; it’s another to see it first hand. He stands a lean 6-foot-8, though his presence on the mound is far from what you might expect out of a lanky teen. He pitches from a high three-quarter arm slot with a loose arm action and a delivery more effortless than most pitchers at this level, let alone at his age. In his first inning on Saturday, Perez gave up two hits, a homer, and three runs, all unearned, but struck out the side. A double in the second would be the last Peoria baserunner on the righty’s watch; he retired the next 10 batters in order before exiting the game.

Perez’s fastball was the most prominently featured of his repertoire (no surprise there), but he showed command of all three of his offerings and was unafraid to work on the peripheries of the strike zone. Many of the biggest uncertainties regarding his future as a big leaguer depend on how he matures physically, but these early days have been about as promising as you could ask for.

Masyn Winn, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Level & Affiliate: High-A Peoria Age: 19 Org Rank: 6 FV: 45
0-for-5, SB, K

Winn earned his promotion at the end of July after a strong showing at Low-A Palm Beach, demonstrating a disciplined approach via a 14.1% walk-rate, but in his first few weeks at a higher level, he’s barely walked at all (just 2.4% of the time), and his offensive numbers have sagged; he’s slashing .195/.214/.329 since his call-up. His strikeout rate has remained virtually the same, though (roughly 21% at both levels), and his BABIP has dipped significantly, so there’s reason to believe this is a rough patch that will pass in due time.

When Winn has reached base in Peoria, he’s made the most of it. He stole 16 bases in 61 games at Low-A, and so far he’s swiped eight bags in 19 games post-promotion. His speed was the tool most on display on Saturday night as well. He opened his night by reaching base on a fielding error in the top of the first, though his hustle down the line may have been enough to beat it out either way, then stole second, beating an on-the-money throw, and scored from second on a single up the middle.

Will Winn return to the mound, though? Back in mid-May, Eric Longenhagen wondered how good the former high school pitcher’s bat would have to be for St. Louis to abandon plans to develop the 19-year-old as a two-way player. At the time, the season was less than two weeks old, so it was too early to know, but three months and one promotion later, Winn’s inning count remains at zero. It seems clear that the Cardinals like his bat and are giving him time for his contact and power to mature, which may speak more to their patience with him as a hitting prospect than to any dissatisfaction with him as a pitching prospect.

Jordan Walker, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Level & Affiliate: High-A Peoria Age: 19 Org Rank: 3 (58 overall) FV: 50
2-for-6, 2 K

The 2020 first-rounder hit two singles on Sunday, including one he legged out on the infield — a line that’s a bit out of character for the elite power prospect. Walker routinely demolished the ball at Low-A earlier this season: In the 27 games before his late June promotion, he hit an eye-popping .374/.475/.687 with a wRC+ of 206; six of his 11 hits in his last week at Palm Beach left his bat at over 100 mph. That helped push him up the ranks of our updated Top 100 Prospect list.

Now that he’s in High-A, Walker is walking less and striking out more, which has brought those numbers down to earth a bit; he’s at .286/.338/.421 since his promotion. But that’s still better than league average, and it doesn’t look like he’s hit any real concerning hurdles.

Tess is a contributor at FanGraphs. When she's not watching college or professional baseball, she works as a sports video editor, creating highlight reels for high school athletes. She can be found on Twitter at @tesstass.

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2 years ago

It’s not really the interesting part of him, but at his size, is Walker expected to stay at 3B? His FV defensively is a 50, which is pretty good. I sort of just assumed LF/1B was the eventual home. It appears he’s gonna slug regardless, and has a good enough approach to be working well for his age and level.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

I have also been assuming he’s going to end up in LF, but it’ll be interesting to see given how Tyler O’s playing offensively. With Gorman on the horizon and, to a lesser extent, Nootbar stepping up, I wonder if they’re positioning themselves if the DH finally arrives in the NL next year.

2 years ago
Reply to  dnangle4

There’s a decent chance O’Neill will be gone by the time Walker is ready for regular MLB at-bats. Walker’s at least three years away.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

His defense at 3B was generally well regarded and considered a non-issue when drafted. I really liked the Walker, Winn, and Hence trio drafted by the Cardinals, looking forward to Winn pitching some eventually too