Daily Prospect Notes 5/8

Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Jake Jewell, RHP, Anaheim (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Org Rank: 12   Top 100: NR
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 0 ER, 6 K

Jewell was promoted to Double-A after walking three total hitters in three Cal League starts. He was throwing very hard this spring, 93-96 with natural cut and a bevy of average secondaries (sinker, slider/cutter, sweeping low-80s curveball), all of which are hard. Scouts generally have him projected to the bullpen but Jewell’s repertoire is deep enough to start if he can improve his command. He threw 51 of 73 pitches for strikes on Sunday.

Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 ER, 7 K

Bieber had a terrific career at UC Santa Barbara (2.24 ERA as a sophomore, 2.74 ERA as a junior) largely because he has superlative fastball control. He fell to the 2016 draft’s 4th round because Bieber’s fastball sat mostly 88-92 as a junior and his secondaries were fringe to average. He’s throwing a bit harder, sitting 90-94 this season while issuing just one free pass in six starts so far this season. His slider remains fringey and we are talking about a college draftee performing in A-ball, but Bieber was young for a college draftee (he only turned 21 a week before the draft) and the added velocity is evidence that some of the bat-missing is real.

Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: 1   Top 100: 14
Line: 4-for-4, HR
Rodgers has played just 13 games since returning from a hand injury in mid-April but he’s hitting .352 in the early going. While reports from scouts are starting to be marbled with concerns about Rodgers’ body and fragility, the bat speed was intact this spring and he should put up video game numbers in the Cal League.


Notes from the back fields

I saw Cubs prospect Jose Albertos last Thursday. He sat 92-94 and touch 95 with late, bat-missing sink and when he worked the fastball in on right-handed hitters he was untouchable. Albertos’ changeup has promising tumble and, while his curveball is fringey, he throws it for strikes. In general , Albertos struggled to throw strikes but he threw too few fastballs during this abbreviated start and his arm works well so the control should be fine. There’s no room left for velo on Albertos’ body, but the repertoire is already very promising.

Stanford closer Colton Hock was 92-94 on Friday, 93-96 on Saturday with an above average breaking ball and relief-only delivery.

University of Arizona 1B J.J. Matijevic homered twice (video of the first is below) and doubled on Sunday. He has plus bat speed, raw power (he hit one homer to right, one to straightaway left) a traditional, low-ball, left-handed swing and had a great summer on the Cape (.376/.449/.553). The pro track record for 1B-only college prospects is very bad as most current first basemen were either prep draftees, moved from other positions or played two ways in college. Matijevic probably merits consideration in left field (he’s not a good defensive first baseman) as he has passable straight-line speed for an outfielder and a good baseball body that should age well if he’s able to learn the outfield.

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.

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7 years ago

For a few seconds I thought that video of Matijevic was just going to be a joke, where it’s just 10+ minutes of him rocking back and forth.