I don’t usually post during the offseason but I was asked to write about the prospects in Arizona and I can do that. Just a warning this post will be plenty longer than usual. I get to show off some of my prospect knowledge this time. I’ll do a top 10 list of the prospects that personally impressed me the most. But first it was my first time seeing Tim Tebow with my own eyes (wasn’t impressed) and of course he hit a walk off, no joke. Before I get into my list I should mention the “just missed” crowd, Drew Ward (WSH 3rd base), Carson Kelly (STL catcher), Francis Martes (HOU right handed pitcher, MLB #29 prospect), Cody Bellinger (LAD 1B/OF, MLB #31 prospect) Tyler O’Neill (SEA OF, MLB #59) Willie Calhoun (LAD 2B, MLB #87, Fall Stars game MVP.)
#10- Andrew Stevenson, 22, WSH OF. I understand that I might just be biased because he’s a Nat but whatever he impressed me. One of the games I went to he went 5-5. The only reason I don’t have him higher on list is because he’s not a top 100 prospect like the rest. And he’s not as much as an all around prospect like the others on the list. He’s got a good swing and good contact ability, a great defender with well above average speed, his downfall would be his power. He looked good to me, even had a homer, but he only had 3 homers during the season so there’s that. He’s a future top of the order bat period.
#9- Anthony Alford, 22, TOR OF, MLB #86. This was a tough call for me I couldn’t figure out who to put in this spot. I ended up choosing the raw athleticism of Alford. He has a wild swing but it looks like a good swing when his makes contact it’s hard contact. He showed plenty of speed, he was a cornerback at Mississippi so he can definitely run, going first to third or scoring from second. Decent arm nothing too special defensively but speed can make up for that. With the Blue Jays possible losing both Micheal Saunders and Jose Bautista this offseason Anthony Alford might get some playing time sooner rather than later.
#8 Brett Phillips, 22, MIL OF, MLB #62. Phillips was the big piece that sent Carlos Gomez to Houston. I wouldn’t say he’s a star in the making but every tool he has is above average, kind of reminds me of a left handed George Springer. A little less power than Springer but with a little better contact ability, both can play center and be good at it but better suited for right field.
#7 Ian Happ, 22, CHC 2B, MLB #21. Happ is a switch hitting second baseman with a fluid swing from both sides of the plate. He isn’t slow just a tick above average speed. His defense wasn’t anything special but not bad either I’d just say it’s average. His calling card will be his bat obviously. Ironically when the Cubs drafted him ninth overall in 2015 he was compared to Ben Zobrist, who the Cubs signed later that offseason. If you ask me Happ’s swing looks better than Zobrist’s, but not a lot better. Future wise he looks like a slightly better version of Ben Zobrist.
#6 Bradley Zimmer, 23, CLE OF, MLB #25. Zimmer is a right handed thrower but a left handed hitting center fielder. He has been a top prospect for the Indians for a couple years after being a first round pick in 2014. For some reason still hasn’t made his big league debut yet but should be knocking on the door. He’s quick for 6’4″, has a nice solid swing, and has average-above average tools across the board. But that’s not what impressed me, it was his defense specifically his arm, on his scouting report it says it’s just a little above average. But from what I saw it looked very strong and very accurate. At the next level he could be a good defensive center fielder coupled with 20 homer-20 stolen bases potential.
#5 Franklin Barreto, 20, OAK SS, MLB #42. Barreto was the big piece that came from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson trade. Barreto’s defense at short has always been in question and now that I’ve seen him with my own eyes and I can stand by that. Honestly he reminded me of Starlin Castro, he could make some spectacular plays but on a regular ground ball he’d end up throwing it over the first baseman’s head. He’s definitely not a shortstop at the next level but his quick bat and raw power plays as a third baseman. Probably more of a contact hitter than a power bat. He also had 30 steals in 2016 so he’s quick enough to play second as well.
#4 Michael Kopech, 20, BOS RHP, MLB #67. All I have to say about Kopech is 100. But that’s not all I’ll say. Kopech actually broke his hand in spring training which sidelined him for about half of the season but as soon as he came back he hit 105 on the gun. He’s a hard thrower without question but that’s not what impressed me it was actually his change up. He sits around 96-97 with his heater and can touch triple digits but then he can drop an 88 mph change up with good movement. Don’t recall seeing his curveball but I was just impressed with the difference in fastball and change up velocity. I didn’t even mention that his 97+ mph fastball has great movement on it.
#3 Brent Honeywell, 21, TB RHP, MLB #39. Unlike Kopech Honeywell didn’t impress by throwing hard. It was the fact that every pitch he threw had good movement on it. Not to mention in the all star game he struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. Sitting around 93-94 is good but not great, he had good life on his fastball, but then he drops a 72 mph screwball! Screwballs aren’t too common it’s like the opposite of curveball, which Honeywell also possesses, he also has a very good change up around 80 mph. It was the movement and change of velocity of each pitch that really impressed me.
#2 Eloy Jimenez, 19, CHC OF, MLB #23. Eloy really impressed at the plate where he has very quick hands and a lot of raw power. One of his games I went to he had 2 opposite field doubles. Earlier in the Arizona fall league season he hit a homer that came off the bat at 119 mph! That’s Giancarlo Stanton territory. He also has a very good arm in the outfield, about average runner, but he hit .329 in the minors this year. Based on his body type and his tools he is almost identical to Jorge Soler. I honestly think his potential is more of a Yoenis Cespedes type but remember he’s only 19 plenty of room to grow.
#1 Gleyber Torres, 19, NYY SS, MLB #17. Not only was he the highest rated prospect in the all star game he’s also the youngest player in the entire league. Cub fans might recognize the name because he’s the main player they gave up for Chapman. Back in 2013 Eloy Jimenez was ranked the #1 international prospect and Torres was #3 and the Cubs got both. When he came out of Venezuela at 16 he was compared to a young Adrain Beltre and I can see that. He’s an impressive defender with a plus plus arm, and at the plate he has a very good knowledge of the strike zone. His power looks like it’s just a tick above average but he has a very nice swing and because he’s so young he can still grow into his body and add some more power. As of right now he’s leading the AFL in batting average.