Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Jose De Leon, RHP, Tampa Bay (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 24 Org Rank: 3 Top 100: 44
Line: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K
Yesterday, De Leon made his second start since coming off the disabled list with forearm soreness. He threw 69 pitches over five innings, an improvement from his inefficient 61-pitch, three-inning appearance on the 11th of May. De Leon also dealt with back tightness during the spring. A changeup/command artist, De Leon could help a Rays rotation currently delving into the bullpen for help due to Blake Snell’s growing pains, but the club has a glut of options on the 40-man and Brent Honeywell (who isn’t on it) is shoving at Triple-A.
Yordan Alvarez, 1B, Houston (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19 Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 2-for-3, 2B, HR, BB
Alvarez’s homer was poked out the opposite way and, while it was wind-aided, he barely got to the pitch and still drove it the other way in the air. Alvarez just joined Quad Cities this week. He generated lots of buzz during extended due to his big raw power and monstrous 6-foot-5, 225-pound physique — which is huge for a baseball player, let alone one who’s only 19 years old. Alvarez’s swing has lots of natural loft, and it looks as though he clearly has the power to profile at first. Scouts want to see him handle even passable breaking balls this summer. He was acquired from the Dodgers (just a few weeks after signing for $2 mil) last summer in exchange for Josh Fields.
Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 1 Top 100: 66
Line: 2-for-4, 3B, HR
Gordon is slashing an impressive .322/.383/.507 at Chattanooga but remains erratic and mistake prone on defense and now profiles as a bat-first middle infielder for scouts with increasing sentiment that he might need to move to second base. That’s almost the complete opposite of what scouts thought of him as an amateur. He was bad defensively last fall in Arizona, too, booting routine plays and lacking zip on throws. If he hits like this, just the fact that he can passably play a middle-infield spot will be enough, but Gordon is developing in an odd way.
Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 20 Org Rank: 2 Top 100: 11
Line: 3-for-3, 2 BB, HR
Albies’ statline at Gwinnett is unspectacular at first glance (he’s hitting .268 with a .315 OBP), but he’s the age of a college sophomore and keeping his head above water at Triple-A — and he got a late start this year while recovering from a fractured elbow. He’s also an impressive 13-of-14 on stolen-base attempts.
Notes from the back fields
I was at the Arizona 6A State Championship game last night, featuring Pinnacle HS and Hamilton HS (the victors) and several relevant draft prospects. Chief among them was Pinnacle SS Jake Holmes (about whom I wrote here) and Hamilton 1B Nick Brueser and SS Drew Swift.
Brueser is a Stanford commit and viewed as totally unsignable by area scouts, which was a relief to some of the ones with whom I’ve spoken who aren’t sure what to make of him. He’s an excellent defensive first baseman with big raw power, but Brueser throws left-handed and bats right-handed and there’s very little precedent for that combination in the big leagues. Jason Lane, Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick are contemporary examples.
Swift is a plus runner with a plus arm and electric defensive actions. He has a better shot to stay at shortstop than many of the other high-school shortstops in this year’s draft, and that’s usually enough to garner early-round consideration. That said, Swift’s hands are inconsistent and he throws too many balls away for scouts’ tastes right now. If he goes to school and polishes things up, he could be a very early pick in three years. He’s committed to Arizona State and will instantly become the best infielder on that roster as soon as he steps on campus, which should allow him to get plenty of game reps immediately.
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.
No tatis mention 🙁