Daily notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.
Pedro Avila, RHP, San Diego (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 20 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 13 K
This was Avila’s fifth double-digit strikeout game this year and his second in the last three starts, as he K’d 18 at Great Lakes on August 8th. A stocky 5-foot-11, Avila doesn’t have a huge fastball, sitting mostly 91-93 and dipping just beneath that from the stretch, but he frequently demonstrates pinpoint command of it, working to both his arm and glove sides. That gets Avila ahead in the count and sets up his deep-diving curveball, which bites enough to miss bats in the strike zone as well as below it. He also flashes a plus changeup. Avila began the year in High-A and struggled to throw strikes (but not miss bats) there for nine starts before a demotion. He has 102 strikeouts in 74.2 innings since then. Avila was acquired during Winter Meetings from Washington in exchange for Derek Norris.
Jose Adolis Garcia, OF, St. Louis (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 18 Org Rank: NR Top 100: NR
Line: 4-for-4, 3 2B
Despite a successful 36-game stint at Triple-A, Garcia was sent back down to Springfield to make room for a then-struggling (and seemingly now-resurgent) Stephen Piscotty. He continues to do the one thing scouts who saw Garcia in Cuba were worried he would not: hit. He’s tracking pitches well while also displaying good bat control and an ability to drive the ball to right field on occasion. He’s also a plus runner with a plus arm. Moreover, he’s getting to his pull-side power in games this year.
Jeff Hendrix, OF, New York AL (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 24 Org Rank: 29 Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-5, 3B, SB
Hendrix posted an absurd 16% walk rate and .404 OBP at High-A before an August promotion to Trenton. His bat path causes him to drive the ball into the ground and he’s unlikely to hit enough to play every day, even in center field, but Hendrix is a 70 runner and good defensive outfielder who should play a speedy bench-outfield role, perhaps at some point next year.
Danny Hayes, 1B, Chicago AL (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 26 Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-4, 2 HR
An added leg kick allowed the sizable Hayes to hit for more power last season and, while he isn’t slugging quite as much as he did in his 55-game stint with Charlotte last year, Hayes has continued to hit home runs and walk a lot at Triple-A. He’s a potential platoon option at 1B/DH.
Brandon Dixon, 3B, Cincinnati (Profile)
Level: Triple-A Age: 25 Org Rank: HM Top 100: NR
Line: 4-for-5, 3 HR
Dixon has plus raw pull power and is an above-average straight-line runner, but he has no position and doesn’t reach base enough for that to be okay. On paper he looks like a no-brainer power threat who can come off the bench and fill in at multiple positions, but Dixon has never really had a feel for any of them. He’s seeing most of his time at third base. Nick Senzel is breathing down his neck at Double-A.
Tyler Nevin, 3B, Colorado (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 20 Org Rank: 16 Top 100: NR
Line: 5-for-5, 3B, 2B, BB
Nevin missed all of last year with a severe hamstring injury and two months of this season with a wrist injury. He’s hitting well in Low-A, letting balls travel deep and hitting them the other way when the opportunity presents itself. Nevin hit for some power immediately after returning from his wrist issue, but his output has been full of singles since mid-July. That could be due to the wrist issue, as ailments in the hand/wrist often haunt power production for an extended time after return, but Nevin will have to hit for more power to profile at third base, and not all scouts are even convinced he’s going to stay there. For now, it’s at least very encouraging that Nevin is hitting in full-season ball after seeing no affiliated pitching since 2015.
Notes from the back fields
Several AZL notes to share with you today. Diamondbacks Colombian OF Jesus Marriaga is very raw at the plate but has a good baseball body and should gain more control of the bat as his frame fills out. He’s an above-average runner whose long strides allow him to run down balls in the gaps, and he has an excellent feel for center field. I’ve seen him comfortably go back on balls to deep, straightaway center field and sprint to spots and wait, well positioned to throw, for fly balls to fall. He’s going to be a long-term offensive project, but Marriaga’s glove is very promising. RHP Matt Tabor was 89-93 and heavily mixed in his breaking ball and changeup, both of which flashed above average.
Brewers RHP Caden Lemons was 90-92 during his pro debut. RHP Phil Bickford followed Lemons and sat 91-93 while flashing an above-average, low-80s slider. Bickford was 87-89 in his previous outing. His fastball command, which is really what made Bickford such an excellent prospect before a drug suspension and hand fracture beset his season, isn’t quite back, but it appears his peak stuff will be soon. Also of note on Milwaukee’s AZL club was shortstop Jean Carmona who came to the states after hitting .300/.400/.446 in the DSL and has played just 4 AZL games. He’s twitchy, acrobatic, and has great defensive footwork at shortstop, as well as enough arm to stay there.
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.
Re Danny Hayes’ power: Longenhagen writes: “while [Hayes] isn’t slugging quite as much as he did in his 55-game stint with Charlotte last year, Hayes has continued to hit home runs and walk a lot at Triple-A.”
That Charlotte park is a bandbox as you know. Hayes has hit 19 HR this season with a 15 Home / 4 Away split. This disparity (no surprise) shows up in his triple slash as well:
The walks travel with him — increase, even — but the hitting/power just disappears. This is tough for me to reconcile with your overall assessment. I’ll try to catch you in a live chat where maybe you can unpack this further.
Not meant as a slag in any way. I click your byline every time it appears, always to my benefit, today included. Cheers.