Daily Prospect Notes: 8/22

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

Victor Robles, CF, Washington (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:Top 100: 8
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, HR, SB

Robles is slashing .320/.375/.505 since his promotion to Double-A and has tallied a career-high 51 extra-base hits already this year. Many of those are doubles hooked down the left-field line that Robles turns into extra bases because of his plus-plus speed. Though he still has occasional lapses out there right now, that speed is likely to make Robles a very good defensive center fielder at maturity as he runs down balls in the gaps that many center fielders cannot. Scouts anticipate Robles will hit around .300 with some pop — though probably not quite as much as he’s shown this year — while playing good defense in center field. As a point of reference, Lorenzo Cain, a good defensive center fielder, has slashed .295/.360/.440 this season with strikeout and walk rates within 1% of Robles’ career marks. Cain has generated 3.3 WAR in 119 games this year. That appears to be a very reasonable outcome for Robles, who is one of baseball’s best prospects.

Daulton Varsho, C, Arizona (Profile)
Level: Short Season  Age: 21   Org Rank: NR  Top 100: NR
Line: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 2 2B

Varsho may not stay behind the plate, as he has a below-average arm, but he’s a stocky little spark plug with surprising athleticism and plus bat speed. He has good feel to hit, showing an ability to stay back on breaking balls, hit the ball hard the other way, and drop the bat head to punish pitches down and in. If he can, through some combination of quickness and accuracy, throw well enough to remain at catcher, then Carsho has a good chance to be an everyday player. If not, we’ll have to wait and see where he falls on the defensive spectrum before we can get a feel for what kind of role he might play. Left field is an obvious fallback option, but some scouts think he’s athletic enough to be given a shot at second base and one source thinks Varsho runs well enough to be tried in center field. It’s rare to find bodies like Varsho’s in center field, but Delino DeShields Jr. has a similar build.

Zac Lowther, LHP, Baltimore (Profile)
Level: Short Season   Age: 21   Org Rank: NR   Top 100: NR
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Lowther’s 31% strikeout rate since signing isn’t much of a surprise. He’s a deceptive college lefty with a good breaking ball and was predestined to miss New York-Penn League bats despite fringe, upper-80s fastball velocity. What is encouraging here is that, after struggling with control at times during the college season, Lowther isn’t walking anyone and has thrown about 70% of his charted pro pitches for strikes. The upper levels will stress test that fastball, but early results are good here.

Danny Jansen, C, Toronto AL (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: NR   Top 100: NR
Line: 4-for-4, 2 HR, 3B

Jansen hadn’t played much before this year, never exceeding more than 57 games in a single season until this one. He also hasn’t hit. Jansen hit .218 last year and .210 the year before and while his peripherals have been intriguing (Chris Mitchell had him as one of KATOH’s sleeper’s), Jansen was relatively unimpressive in his 2017 Fall League stint, showing what I evaluated as fringe bat speed and a swing path that would limit the amount of impact contact he’d make. This year, he’s been incredible, hitting .341/.418/.516 across three levels while striking out in less then 10% of his plate appearances. If there’s been a mechanical change, it’s subtle as all I’ve gotten from scouts with a history scouting Jansen is that his leg kick is a bit bigger and more exaggerated this season. Jansen is a solid defensive catcher, an average receiver with an average arm and a good ground game.

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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6 years ago

Lorenzo Cain is a smart comp. The Nats would be thrilled with that result.

Cool Lester Smoothmember
6 years ago
Reply to  southie

Particularly a healthy Lorenzo Cain.

Dude’s been worth 5+ WAR/650 over his career, and 5.4 WAR/650 (on a .298/.351/.438 line) since 2014.