July 2 Scouting Reports: Best of the Rest

Below are brief writeups on the other relevant prospects from this year’s July 2 class of International Free Agents, many of whom have complete tool grades on the Sortable Board which can be found here. For complete scouting reports on my top 25, bang it here (1-10) and here (11-25). If you’re an obsessive autodidact, I wrote about the implications of the penalties levied upon Boston for their improprieties as well as two of the best young prospects left in Cuba.

Pitchers

Luis Noguera, LHP, Venezuela (Colorado Rockies, $600,000)

Noguera has a projectable body and solid repertoire that projects to average on all fronts. His fastball only sits in the mid-80s and will touch 91 but we’re talking about a well-framed teenager here so it’s likely the velo takes a step forward in the next few years. The changeup, curveball and command should all be of major-league quality but nothing projects to plus, which makes Noguera a likely back-end starter at maturity.

Roancy Contreras, RHP, Dominican Republic (New York Yankees)

Contreras will touch 92 but sits mostly 89-90 with a fringe-average slider that flashes above. It’s an enviable two-pitch mix but scouts are skeptical about his ability to hone a useful third pitch and starter-worthy command based on his arm slot. He more realistically projects as a two-pitch reliever.

Yefri del Rosario, RHP, Dominican Republic (Atlanta Braves, ca $1 mil.)

Another arm-control question, del Rosario will touch 94 and has plus slider projection but I couldn’t find a scout who thought he’d have better than fringe-average control at maturity.

Diego Blanco, RHP, Venezuela (Colorado Rockies)

Blanco is similar to Noguera in that he lacks explosive present stuff but instead has a good bit of physical projection and feel for spinning a breaking ball. Scouts aren’t quite as optimistic about his ability to throw strikes as they are with Noguera.

Michell Miliano, RHP, Dominican Republic (San Diego Padres)

Loose, athletic and projectable, Miliano will touch 91 but should grow into more velo. He projects to throw strikes and has advanced breaking-ball feel.

*****

Catchers

Alison Quintero, C, Venezuela (San Diego Padres, $830,000)

Quintero projects to remain behind the plate though none of what he does back there, aside from some precocious movement skills, is spectacular. He’s not a zero with the bat but there’s a chance he doesn’t hit enough to play every day, in spite of his defensive acumen.

Israel Pineda, C, Venezuela (Washington Nationals, $450,000)

Pineda has an above-average arm but the body is bad and scouts aren’t sure if he can maintain it enough to catch. If he does, he still only profiles as an org’s third catcher, as the receiving and blocking are just okay and the bat is light.

*****

Middle Infielders

Nicholas Torres, SS, Venezuela (Philadelphia Phillies, $665,000)

Plus-plus runner (6.4 in the 60 yard dash) that may not have the arm strength for the left side of the infield. Bat is light, and ability to develop that arm and remain at short is imperative.

Yasel Antuna, SS, Dominican Republic (Wash. Nationals, $3.9 mil.)

The Nationals were on Antuna early and he went a bit backward late in the process. He is smooth but lacks the quick-twitch explosiveness of many of the other shortstops in this class, and his defensive footwork has gotten heavy. Antuna’s aesthetically pleasing left-handed swing is perhaps his best attribute but the bat speed is just fringe average. Antuna might be the type of player who agrees to a deal early only to see his skills get stale and erode as he sits out for much of the rest of the showcase process. His stock is volatile.

Marcos Brito, SS, Dominican Republic (Oakland Athletics, $1.1 million)

Brito has drawn physical comparisons to Jean Segura and is not a lock to stay at shortstop full time because of the way scouts anticipate his body will grow. He’s athletic and strong for his size with lively hands, loose wrists and above-average bat speed. Even if he has to move to second base, he has a solid chance to carry enough weight with his bat to profile as a regular. He was heavily considered for the 20-25 spots on my top 25.

Livan Soto, SS, Venezuela (Atlanta Braves, $1 million)

Soto has a good amount of physical projection and has shown some solid hitting traits but he’s extremely raw both physically and technically. Until Soto fills out, if he does at all, it’s hard to say which of his tools will have benefitted from physical maturation (bat control, power and arm strength are likely candidates) and which have been harmed (straight-line speed and already heavy defensive footwork).

Justin Lopez, SS, Venezuela (San Diego Padres, $1.2 million)

The Padres will have to hope that Lopez finds a sweet spot of physical development that will afford him more strength and hitting competency while not detracting from his ability to play a premium defensive position. Lopez is lanky, projectable and has graceful defensive actions but a lack of strength and life in the swing is evident. If, as Lopez fills out, he’s able to swing the bat with more authority but also stay at shortstop then he’ll become a more interesting prospect.

Yorbin Cueta, SS, Venezuela (Houston Astros, $1 million)

Hit-first infield prospect with good bat-to-ball skills and polished defensive actions. Cueta probably doesn’t run well enough to stay at shortstop and projects to move to second base where he’ll need to outperform my current power projections to play every day.

Wencel Perez, SS, Dominican Republic (Detroit Tigers, $550,000)

Perez has a great baseball body, a plus arm and solid enough actions that he may be able to remain at shortstop despite a larger build. He’s shown a little bit of bat control and some power but lacks natural hitting actions and consistent use of his lower half. He’s going to be quite a project.

Jose Sanchez, SS, Venezuela (Washington Nationals, $950,000)

Sanchez was one of the final cuts from the top 25. He’s an above-average athlete with good bat speed. He has a solid chance to remain at shortstop and hit for some contact as well, but a complete lack of game power kept him from cracking the sortable board’s top half.

*****

Corner Infielders

Yenci Pena, 3B, Dominican Republic (Atlanta Braves, $1 million)

Pena has a big frame and above-average power projection. As he grows into that power he’ll almost certainly move off of short and to third base. The actions, footwork and arm strength should be enough to pass at third base but are unlikely to be much more than that.

Brayan Gonzalez, INF, Venezuela (Philadelphia Phillies, $900,000)

Gonzalez is a jack-of-all trades infielder with a polished bat. His already mature frame will likely prevent him from having the pure speed often required for shortstops but his arm and actions should allow him to play up the middle occasionally, even if his most natural defensive home is probably going to be third base. Gonzalez has great feel for contact and projects as a bat-first utility man.

Jean Carlos Carmona, INF, Dom. Republic (Mil. Brewers, $700,000)

Carmona lacks a carrying tool but is a solid all-around player with good baseball instincts. He is stocky and strong and will likely move off of shortstop, at least full time, and play all over the infield. He has solid bat speed and feel to hit but only projects to hit for gap-to-gap power.

*****

Outfielders

Jonathan Machado, CF, Cuba (St. Louis Cardinals, $2.3 million)

An eccentric burner, Machado has a flat, linear swing and unique hitting mannerisms that bear a resemblance to Ichiro Suzuki. While he has the speed and defensive chops to remain in center field, and may even be an impact defender there, I’ve gotten mixed reviews about the bat speed and not everyone is confident the body will fill out.

Victor Garcia, OF, Venezuela (St. Louis Cardinals, $1.5 million)

Some international personnel would argue that, in a market packed with shortstops, power is a more precious commodity than projected positional value. Garcia has among the most present raw power in the class. He is large and strong but a below-average athlete and there are concerns about how much he’s going to hit.

Tirso Ornelas, OF, Mexico (San Diego Padres, $1.5 million)

Ornelas has a good-looking swing, especially in BP, but he lacks physical projection and, it follows, projectable power. As a corner-only player without notable future power, Ornelas will have to make a ton of contact to profile. While he and his swing have their proponents, reports on his ability to hit in games were far less glowing than opinions on the swing itself, and some are concerned that he won’t be able to adjust to quality pro pitching.

Pablo Abreu, OF, Dominican Republic (Milwaukee Brewers, $800,000)

Abreu’s swing is geared for pull power. He has above-average bat speed and an explosive stride and weight transfer but sells out for pull-side pop and is going to swing and miss a lot unless he adjusts his approach.

Diego Infante, OF, Venezuela (Tampa Bay Rays, $300,000)

Infante has good physical projection at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and should grow into some power. I’ve gotten mixed reviews on his ability to make contact, which just makes it all the more imperative that he maxes out his power potential. He’s an average runner but should move to a corner outfield spot as he fills out. He’s an interesting power-projection lottery ticket but the inconsistent reports about his ability to make contact in games bumped him off the sortable board altogether.

Yeikel Blandin, OF, Venezuela (Colorado Rockies, $1 million)

An above-average runner with a good body and some physical projection, Blandin has more raw power than he does in games because his swing is geared for ground balls and line drives. Unless some serious mechanical changes are made to create for loft and game power – and there’s plenty of time for that to occur, we’re talking about teenagers – he’s going to have to stay in center field to profile as a regular.

Luis Veloz, OF, Dominican Republic (Free Agent*)

Veloz has solid-average bat speed and should grow into some power. He’s likely to end up in an outfield corner. He has some feel to hit, but the swing is long and Veloz has some lower-half issues that rob him of plate coverage and all-field contact. Some of those ills will undoubtedly be cured during the developmental process.

*Was heavily linked to the Seattle Mariners for $1.2 million, but no deal has been announced yet.

Jhon Sandoval, OF, Venezuela (Detroit Tigers, $525,000)

Sandoval has a strong build, loose wrists, solid bat speed and a chance to hit for both average and power. He’s going to end up in a corner, putting a considerable amount of pressure on the bat.

Ricardo Mendez, CF, Dom. Republic (Washington Nationals, $600,000)

A plus-plus runner who’s a lock to stay in center field despite a below-average arm, Mendez projects as a defensive-replacement bench outfielder. The body has some projection on paper but some scouts I spoke think he’ll always be skinny and weak with the bat.





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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LHPSU
6 years ago

How do you project things like command and secondary pitches for teenagers, when pitchers often make legitimate improvement in these areas even in their 20s?