Beyond the Top 30: other prospects to watch

Patrick Cavey MiLB

Tony’s Picks

Just Missed

Zach Watson – OF: The Orioles 3rd round pick showed some tools including power, speed and the ability to play a decent CF. Unfortunately though he will need to significantly cut down and remake his swing in order to make enough contact. There is some upside here.

Mason McCoy – SS: Jumped into consideration for the list with a great offensive season at Frederick and a good start at Bowie. Showed occasional gap power, but can get overwhelmed by good velocity at times. Defensively he’s better suited for second base though he could fill in at SS in a utility role.

Steve Klimek – RHP: Got a velocity bumped and actually sat in the mid-90s at times to offset an inconsistent but occasionally plus curveball and slider. Needs to command the ball better to have success in the majors.

Blaine Knight – RHP: Command fell off with all of his pitches and struggled mightily to find a consistent out pitch after moving to Frederick. May be better off in a relief role and could see a jump in stuff in that role so don’t bury him yet.

Chrstian Alvarado – RHP: Got a velocity jump with the move to the pen and some scouts think he’ll end up pitching in the big league one day. Right now he looks more like an up down guy but could end up a 6th inning middle guy.

1st and 2nd Year Follows

Jake Zebron – RHP: Flashed stuff that opened some eyes but can’t maintain his stuff. May need to move to pen at some point if he can’t get stronger, but worth watching.

Erison Placencia – SS: Don’t know a ton about this 17-year old, but he made just two errors in 26 games at SS and put up an incredible .500 OBP in 110 PA in the Dominican Summer League. Has a projectable body at 6-foot-1 and 170.

Stiven Acevedo – OF: Signed for $275K by Dan Duquette in 2018, at 16-years old (turned 17 in early August) he was one of the youngest players in the DSL last year and held his own. At 6-foot-4, 185 pound he has an intriguing frame to build upon.

Josue Cruz – 1B: 18-year old left-handed hitting first baseman who makes a huge strides in the DSL last season hitting 11 home runs and collected 12 doubles in 281 PAs. Has some contact concerns but has a 6-foot-4, 175 pound frame to build on.

Jake Lyons – RHP: Big hulking right-hander showed some promise in his first half season of pro ball at Aberdeen. Probably has a relief profile but an interesting guy particularly for a 22nd rounder.

Luke’s Picks

Just Missed

Robert Neustrom – COF: Neustrom has plus left handed raw power but lacks good bat to ball skills and is a corner outfield only fit. He did simplify his load to improve his chances to hit, but more improvement is needed.

Luis Ortiz – LHP: Kind of an afterthought after having a poor year in AAA and getting DFA off the 40 man. Ortiz isn’t a lost cause, he still sits 94-95 as a starter and has been working on a curveball to counteract the loss of feel for his slider.

Cadyn Grenier – SS/2B: Probably an overdraft where he was picked, Grenier hasn’t lived up to the hype defensively. He’s fringy at SS and probably a better fit at 2B. There are certainly flaws in the bat as well, he struggles to hit even mediocre fastballs at the top of the zone, but he held his own statistically and could develop into a utility infielder.

Zach Muckenhirn – LHP: A lefty reliever who works with a 93-96mph fastball with some ride. Has 4 pitches but mainly uses the FB/SL now that he’s in the pen. Battles release point issues at times and the slider is just average, but the fastball really plays and he’s got a shot to miss enough bats for a middle relief role in the near future.

Ryan Conroy – RHP: Low 90s sinkerballer with solid fastball command and a slider that will flash above average. Looks like a starter physically and mechanically. Probably not enough stuff to start though, changeup is fringe and the sinker can get barreled, but would profile well in the pen where he could air it out.

1st and 2nd year follows

Elio Prado – CF: Part of the return for Andrew Cashner, Prado is a 17 year old centerfielder with an older player’s game. He reportedly has an advanced bat and good instincts in CF. How power and his body develop will determine his future.

Luis Ortiz – LHP: The other Luis Ortiz. A 400K signing in this year’s J2 International signing period, Ortiz is a big physical 17yo lefty who has t93mph and spins a promising curveball. He repeats well for his age and has a starter’s delivery. Big upside.

Johnny Rizer – OF: Rizer was a senior sign in 2019 and a guy who I watched play in college a bit. He was always a tweener, solid well-round toolset, but not enough power for a corner and not the range to handle CF regularly. With the caveat that he was performing against younger competition, Rizer came out and showed some power, making a 4th outfield role more likely.

Dan Hammer – RHP: I watched Hammer in college and he was always terrible. Solid stuff, potential for three average pitches as a starter, but no feel to pitch, poor command. As a pro, those things disappeared and suddenly he was throwing strikes and landing his slider and changeup. The stuff is there for a #5 starter if he can hold it in longer outings and get to average command.

Connor Gillispie – RHP: One of the best starting pitchers in the NCAA statistically, 2019 pick Gillispie is under 6′ tall, but features a high spin fastball at 90-93mph and a plus slider. He’s really a two-pitch guy and the body doesn’t lend itself to much more velocity, but he could be a fun bullpen arm.

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Luke graduated from Drexel University and is a former Division I athlete. He now resides in NOVA and watches an obscene amount of minor league baseball. In addition to baseball, he enjoys good coffee, good beer, weightlifting, and spending quality time with his wife and daughter.