Sorry gang, been really busy lately scouting amateur games, working 50 hours a week, going to class, starting the Bottom of the 9th podcast, and trying to get posts up for Call to the Pen.
Additionally, I just accepted a gig with Baseball Prospectus so the bulk of all my evaluations, scouting, and analysis will be there. So thanks for sticking with me and with that being said, let’s jump back in.
31. Estevan Florial. OF NYY
When it comes to tools, Florial may have the loudest tools in the game. There isn’t one thing this kid can’t do on a ball field. He has a good knack for the barrel and goes the other way with ease. One concern is his K rate but given his age and how raw he is, that will improve. His strikeouts aren’t necessarily from over swinging or being pull happy. As he matures, his already above average hit tool should improve as well.
32. Juan Soto, OF WAS
Soto has the chance to be a premium offensive threat. He has a plus hit tool and emerging above average raw power. Injuries shortened his 2017 campaign but when he was on the field, Soto was stellar. .360/.427/.523 with 172 wRC+ in only 23 games at A ball. He has the chance to be a fast riser through the system if he can stay on the field.
33. Taylor Trammell, OF CIN
The trend of lefty outfielders continues with Trammell. He doesn’t have the hit tool of Soto, the power of Calhoun, the potential 5 tools of Florial, but what he does bring to the table is quite impressive. 70 grade speed with above average raw power and a hit tool with the potential to grade out above average. Trammell dominated A ball in 2017 to the tune of 13 HR, 41 SB, 12% BB rate, 24 doubles, and 10 triples. He still has some projection left. Personally, he is the player that I am most excited to cover this season in the Florida State League
34. Mike Soroka, RHP ATL
Ending the run of hitters is one of the safest prospects in the game, however, safe is not always sexy. Soroka doesn’t light up the radar gun, works quickly to induce groundball outs, and isn’t a high K/9 guy. While a lot of the glamour of “his FB sits at 98” gets people excited, give me the guy with the high baseball IQ and the mound presence to post a 3.28 xFIP and 1.99 BB/9 as a 19-year-old in AA. Soroka profiles as a solid 2 in the rotation with a floor as a SP3. Often times starting pitching prospects glamour is their volatility. Paging Archie Bradley. Soroka will never be the failed starter that rejuvenates his career as a RP. But he is the type of SP that will give you 200 IP while not killing himself with free passes and HR balls.
35. Jesus Sanchez, OF TB
If Trammell is the top of my “Must See” list in the FSL, then Sanchez is 1B. The Rays OF is a 4 tool player with average speed. He played 2017 in the Midwest League with Bo Bichette, Vladdy Jr, and Tatis. Based on PA, he won the batting title with a .305 average. And if we include all players with at least 150 PA, only Bo, Vlad, and Dodgers’ catcher Keibert Ruiz posted higher averages as teenagers. There is still some projection left and Sanchez should grow into a middle of the order bat.
36. Hunter Greene, RHP CIN
Greene has 2 plus-plus pitches. His FB and SL both grade at 70. Jason Pennini, my partner on the Bottom of the 9th Baseball podcast sold me on him after he scouted him in the Instructional League. Greene’s FB touches 100 mph and his SL has two plane tilt with nice horizontal movement. His athleticism allows him to repeat he delivery and according to JP, he has one of the most effortless and fluid deliveries he has seen.
37. Alec Hansen, RHP CWS
Hansen is similar to A.J. Puk in a lot of regards. Both are tall and have had issues repeating their delivery and commanding the zone. Unlike Puk, Hansen has a third pitch that is above average (CB) and made great strides in commanding his arsenal. Like Puk, Hansen’s bread and butter is a 70 grade FB and a wipeout slider. Pitching across 3 levels, Hansen’s K/9 improved each step, and between A and A+, he was unhittable. In his first full season, the former 2nd round pick, struck out a whopping 191 hitters in 141.1 IP. About that control? He only walked 51.
38. Nate Pearson, RHP TOR
This is the player that I expect to get a lot of love for ranking him this high or a lot of hate. I had someone ask me, “If you didn’t have him ranked ahead of McKay, Wright, etc in the draft, how can 20 innings change your mind?” Valid point and a fair question. However, Ross Atkins of the Blue Jays has gone on record as saying that if the draft were held in July, Pearson may have gone 1.1. No player’s stock soared like his before the draft. Also, I interviewed his college coach about his meteoric rise. I’ll let coach Marty Smith tell you about his repertoire, work ethic, and desire to be great. Oh, and about those 20 IP? How about 7 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB, and 24 K in the Northwest League.
39. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B TB
The Babe Ruth of Louisville is getting a chance to play both ways in professional ball and so far so good despite such a small sample size. It remains to be seen if McKay can become the first American 2-way player since 1924. Scouts seem split right down the middle on him. Half love his bat and report that he possesses one of the more polished swings and approaches in the draft. The other half saw him as a top of the rotation SP. McKay has a 60 grade hit tool and above average power while also throwing four 55 grade or better pitches with excellent command. 2018 will tell u a lot about his usage and his future.
40. Sixto Sanchez, RHP PHI
Sanchez is nothing short of electric. His FB consistently sits at 97-99 and the kid is a strike throwing machine. He constantly pounds the zone with FB after FB. His size, set up and delivery are reminiscent of Pedro Martinez. So why is he only at 40? While he is only a teenager with a ton of projection left, I want to see him dominate older hitters before I put him in the class of Forest Whitley. Sixto throws too many strikes, if that’s a thing. The third time through the order is essential for SP development. I saw hitters sitting FB and ambushing him. His offspeed pitches are above average and nasty when he is on, but I want to see him mix his pitches better. The video below is his FSL debut in its entireity.