Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago AL (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 21 Org Rank: 3 Top 100: 21
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 12 K
Engineered in a lab by the Abercrombie Corperation and then accidentally exposed to Serum 102 by The Syndicate, Kopech’s superhuman stuff is almost unhittable when he’s throwing strikes and, for his last few starts, he has. Kopech has a chance to have an 80 fastball and two plus secondary pitches, giving him one of the few true top-of-the-rotation ceilings in all of prospectdom.
J.P. Sportman, OF, Oakland (Profile)
Level: Short Season Age: 25 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-5, HR
Sportman is 25 and repeating Double-A, but went to tiny Central Connecticut State which has produced just two big leaguers (Evan Scribner and Skip Jutze) and was likely going to have to make technical adjustments at some point after he got by on sheer physicality early in his pro career. He added a big leg kick this year and is hitting .289/.345/.435 at Double-A Midland. While not suddenly a great prospect, he is hitting at the upper levels after making an adjustment and demanded re-evaluation. He might max out as a bench outfielder.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 24 Org Rank: 9 Top 100: NR
Line: 2-for-4, 2B, HR
Hoskins now has 24 homers and numbers on par with what he posted in Reading last year. I’ve got scout contacts putting 60s and 70s on his raw power who rave about how consistently he’s able to put the ball in the air while still avoiding strikeouts and, after 100 games, Triple-A pitching has had time to adjust to him and simply has not. He’s a below average athlete and doesn’t fit anywhere but at first base but it looks like he’s going to hit enough to play there everyday and he’s starting to convince the industry that he’s an impact, middle-of-the-order bat.
Games of July 27
Shane Broyles, RHP, Colorado (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 25 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 1 IP, 3 K, 0 H, 0 BB
Broyles got his first taste of Double-A back in 2014 and, despite missing bats, had since scuffled there. This year, though, he’s struck out 58 in 40 innings and posted his first single-digit walk rate since 2014. He sits 91-94 with his fastball and manipulates its shape. It plays up due to extension. He also has an above average curveball and passable changeup. Broyles has better been able to locate his fastball to his glove side this year and projects as a late-blooming middle reliever.
Jermaine Palacios (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 21 Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 4-for-5, HR
Palacios flopped with Low-A Cedar Rapids last year and did not look comfortable at the plate, but hit .320/.362/.544 in 62 games there to start this year and has footwork has been better and he’s been pulling the ball more. He puts a charge into the baseball with just a flick of his wrist and is producing surprising power for his size. There’s some skepticism about his range at short but he has infield actions and a plus arm, and several orgs think a lack of range can largely be hidden by improved defensive positioning.
Notes from the back fields
Angels LHP Andrew Heaney rehabbed in the AZL Wednesday night and was 88-92 with feel for an upper–70s curveball and low-80s changeup.
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.
I was really excited to see the page for the 70-grade-name “J.P. Sportman” but instead I got another 70-grade-name (Wadye Ynfante).
Looks like Sportman came up at second base–does he still play there, or is he a full-time outfielder now?
What a great name for a prospect though!