Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Cal Stevenson, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Level: Advanced Rookie Age: 21 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 3-for-4, 2B, 4 SB
College seniors are expected to dominate short-season leagues after signing but what Cal Stevenson has done merits some discussion, in part because he played through a hand injury this spring that may have clouded his actual skill. Stevenson has a .513 OBP at Bluefield because he has walked nearly three times more often than he’s struck out. He’s also stolen 21 bags in 22 attempts since signing. These numbers corroborate scouting reports which compliment Stevenson’s plus speed and bat-to-ball skills before noting his likely corner-outfield defensive projection and lack of characteristic power for the position. But let’s keep an eye on this guy because Toronto has a track record of making swing adjustments to bat-first college players that have helped those players become more viable prospects.
Franklin Barreto, MIF, Oakland Athletics
Level: Triple-A Age: 22 Org Rank: 1 FV: 55
Line: 3-for-6, HR
Franklin Barreto is slugging .731 in August. On one hand, this is an up-the-middle player with huge power. On the other, it’s a free-swinger with significant strikeout issues. Even the impatient middle infielders with power of recent years (Baez, Odor, Schoop) have strikeout rates close to half of Barreto’s 41.7% big-league mark. The ceiling on Barreto, who is close to graduating, remains significant if he can improve, adjust, or both. But it’s inarguable that he’s also incredibly volatile.
Adam Hall, SS, Baltimore Orioles
Level: Short Season Age: 19 Org Rank: NR FV: 35
Line: 4-for-5, 3B, SB
Adam Hall is riding a 19-game hitting streak. Born in Bermuda, he moved to Canada at age 12 to seriously pursue baseball. He’s is a plus runner with some strength and life in his hands. Kiley and I weren’t confident in his ability to stay at shortstop when he was an amateur and didn’t think he’d have sufficient power to profile anywhere else, but his late-season explosion will force re-evaluation this offseason.
M.J. Melendez, C, Kansas City Royals
Level: Low-A Age: 19 Org Rank: 2 FV: 45+
Line: 2-for-4, 2 HR
MJ Melendez is about to wrap his first full pro season with a .500 slugging percentage. He’s also perhaps the most athletic catching prospect in baseball, with a defensive skillset as polished as it is explosive. The track record of high-school catchers is horrendous — we’ve gone eight or nine years without a highly drafted prep catcher turning into anything — but if forced to pick a player capable of ending this drought, Melendez would be mine.
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.