Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Julian Merryweather, RHP, Cleveland (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 25 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K
I left Merryweather off of Cleveland’s offseason list entirely because I had reports from scouts who thought he was succeeding as a 24-year-old in A-ball due to deception, a good changeup, and little else. Turns out that was foolish. Merryweather is 25 but he’s pitched his way to Columbus and he carved up one of the more talented lineups in the International League yesterday, garnering swings and misses with all three pitches. He’s deceptive, athletic, touched 95 several times, flashed a plus curveball and changeup, and despite some issues timing all the moving parts of his delivery, he threw lots of strikes. There are scouts who think he fits better in relief, but he has mid-rotation stuff.
Brendon Davis, SS, Los Angeles NL (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19 Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-4, HR, 3B
Davis is repeating Low-A but doesn’t turn 20 until July and has begun to grow into a rangy frame that still remains projectable. He has a pull-heavy approach to contact and his swing is long, so there are still scouts who think contact may be an issue down the line. That might be a problem if Davis grows so much that he mas to move full time to third base, where he already sees a lot of reps. But he’s going to keep growing into more power and is taking smooth, shortstop-worthy defensive actions over to third base. If he’s a plus defensive third base at peak and has plus raw power, he’ll play every day even if he’s swinging and missing. I don’t know if this is true, and it isn’t all that relevant, but I’m certain that when Davis and Oneil Cruz line up at shortstop and third base respectively, they comprise the tallest infield in the history of baseball.
Luis Ayala, CF, Chicago NL (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 21 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 2-for-5, HR
Ayala impressed scouts during spring training with his gap-to-gap pop, which is surprising for his size, his speed, and all-out style of play. He’s erratic defensively and takes some out-of-control swings but has big-league physical tools. After a slow start, he has begun to hit, with multi-knock outings in four straight games. Realistically, he profiles as a bench outfielder.
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.