Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Jacob Nix, RHP, San Diego (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 7 Top 100: HM
Line: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K
A groin strain sidelined Nix until late May. Since returning, his fastball has been in the mid-90s, touching 97, and his curveball flashes plus. He has an inning-eater’s build (I have a Jon Lieber comp on the body) and throws lots of strikes. He’s rather firmly an overall top-100 prospect.
Framber Valdez, LHP, Houston (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 23 Org Rank: 17 Top 100: NR
Line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 11 K
Valdez has had issues throwing strikes this year and, already 23, his future home is likely in the bullpen. His starts have been spaced out to limit his workload (he might exceed last year’s innings total in his next start), and I wouldn’t rule out a move to the bullpen at some point this year, especially if Houston (whose 40-man is thin on lefties) thinks he can help the big club in a relief role.
Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Washington (Profile)
Level: Rookie Age: 21 Org Rank: 5 Top 100: NR
Line: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K
An advanced Floridian prep lefty, Luzardo was 88-91 on the showcase circuit as a rising senior. His velocity spiked the following spring, but he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John, causing him to fall to the third round of the 2016 draft. He debuted yesterday, looking leaner than he did in high school and with the same mid-90s velocity he was showing before he broke.
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago AL (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 22 Org Rank: 1 Top 100: 1
Line: 2-for-5, 2B, HR
Notes from the Field
Just a reminder that there’s a 22-year-old in Triple-A who has a 14% walk rate and is on pace for a 20/30 season despite having just five weeks of playing time above A-ball coming into the season.
San Diego has so much young talent that it necessitated two AZL teams and both of them had home games in Peoria last night, giving me a chance to peek into two games at the same time. Padres 17-year-old Colombian righty Luis Patino was 91-93 with some slider feel. He’s touched 95 this spring. He’s short and doesn’t have much physical projection, but his build is strong and similar to the ones we’ve seen smaller pitchers succeed with in the majors of late. (Patino is built a bit like Marcus Stroman was in high school, but I wouldn’t assume he’s that kind of athlete.) I think he’ll get stronger.
Several famous catchers suited up last night. Royals second-round pick MJ Melendez homered to dead center field, caught a runner stealing, stole some strikes, and swung and missed several times. Padres second-rounder Luis Campusano-Bracero also hosed a runner but mostly struggled on defense, dropping several pitches and muffing exchanges that allowed a few other runners to steal without a throw. The metamorphosis his body has undergone since last summer is stunning. He’s very lean, twitchy, and looks very comfortable against AZL pitching, but he’s a long-term project behind the plate. Comp pick Blake Hunt looked polished for his age defensively, and I recorded pop times of 1.90 and 2.02 seconds (plus and average, respectively) on throws down to second base last night.
Royals 18-year old CF Ray Lopez doubled, tripled, and walked, making strong contact toward the right-center-field gap on both hits. He’s a long-striding, above-average runner and was assertive in center field for flies that were up for grabs toward either side of him. Sadly, he injured his leg on a slide and was removed from the field with assistance.
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.