Former Los Angeles Dodgers first round pick Chris Reed is living a prospect nightmare — stagnation. Enduring his third season with Double-A Chattanooga, the left-handed pitcher has watched as others have been promoted, demoted, traded and released. His peripherals are all trending in a positive direction, backing up scouting looks on the field. Outside of prized Single-A prospect Julio Urias, Reed is the only other pitcher in the organization who has met or exceeded 2014 expectations. It begs the question, “why is Chris Reed still in Chattanooga?”
Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Corey Seager’s name has appeared in several speculative deals involving elite starting pitching trade rumors for Phillies star left-hander Cole Hamels and Red Sox Jon Lester. With L.A., the top-100 prospect joins outfielder Joc Pederson (Scouting Report) and pitcher Julio Urias (Scouting Report) as prospects worthy of building around. Will a win now, spend big Dodgers franchise sell it’s controllable assets for more star power? Or, is Seager two talented to pawn off?
Troy Tulowitzki trade rumors have become commonplace for Colorado Rockies fans. Ownership claims a reluctance to trade Tulowitzki and teammate Carlos Gonzalez. However, rumors continue to fly. Tulo fueled the rumor mill further by taking in a Sunday matinee at Yankees Stadium. In nearby Philadelphia for a surgical consultation on a thigh injury which forced him to the disabled list last week, Tulo made the short drive to the Bronx “to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time.” Even the most cynical Rockies fan didn’t see this coming.
The Boston Red Sox are on the periphery of a David Price trade, but have the good to enter the running. Marred in last place six games below .500, the Red Sox do not appear to be a logical destination for the Tampa Bay Rays’ ace hurler. Throw in the ongoing feud between the left hander and David Ortiz and a match seems ridiculous. However, the 2013 World Champions are in retool mode. Feuds diminish when championships are at stake. It’s exciting to envision a Jon Lester-Price one-two punch in the Sox’ rotation if able to retain Lester’s services. If not, the Red Sox system is a strong example of what the Rays need to acquire.
Few players possess the raw power potential of Texas Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara. The Rangers inked the Dominican outfielder to a record breaking $4.95-Million signing bonus as a July international bonus baby in 2011. The signing of Mazara and Hickory teammate Ronald Guzman (Scouting Report) started the influx of explosive power prospects into Texas’ farm system that now includes Joey Gallo (Scouting Report) and Jairo Beras. While Gallo power potential translated in game action immediately upon his professional debut, Mazara has taken longer to develop. Since June 1st, he has hit ten home runs, slugged .546 and hit 20 extra base hits. Has Nomar Mazara finally emerged after more than a season of struggles in the South Atlantic League?
Akeem Bostick is the next in a long line of top Rangers prospects with elite athleticism.Texas Rangers pitching prospect Akeem Bostick has hit a rough patch navigating his first full season of professional ball. Entering last week with a 3.47 ERA, the Hickory Crawdads pitcher saw it skyrocket to 4.92 after two uneven performances. Against Lexington, the young right-hander recorded only five outs, allowing ten of the fifteen batters he faced to reach base. At Rome, they battered him for seven runs in four and a third innings. The Rangers drafted Bostick knowing he was raw and projectable. After a successful debut, observers expected domination. It hasn’t happened. Are Bostick’s struggles a product of his being a diamond in the rough? Or, we he an overdraft in the second round of the 2013 draft?
Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Robert Stephenson stands out in a league full of 23 and 24 year old pitching prospects. For the Reds’ Double-A affiliate Pensacola, the 21-year-old has had an up and down debut. Despite difficulties with command and control contributing to a higher walk rate (4.7 BB:9), Stephenson’s prospect status hasn’t faltered. Loud pitching tools and a physique still under construction places the right-hander among the highest ceiling prospects in the Southern League. What is a realistic appraisal of Stephenson’s skill set and will he be a front of the rotation option?
For Cincinnati Reds prospect Michael Lorenzen, the transition from collegiate center fielder and part time reliever to full time pitcher has been quick. Drafted by the Reds in the first round last year out of Cal State Fullerton, the Cincinnati wasted no time converting the athletic hurler into a starting pitcher. After making his pro debut as a reliever, the Reds sent Lorenzen to the Arizona Fall League last October to become a starter. The transition has went well, enabling the Reds to start the Fullerton product’s 2014 campaign in Double-A Pensacola.
Touted as a five-tool player coming out of the Dominican Republic, Manuel Margot signed for $800,000 as a 16-year-old in 2011. Now 19, the youngster is halfway through his full-season debut with Greenville. While he hasn’t dominated (.269/.342/.397), the right-handed hitter is already showcasing two plus tools. With former top-100 prospect Jackie Bradley cemented as the Boston Red Sox’s everyday center fielder, is Manuel Margot the heir apparent in center field?
Is Domingo Santana the next man up in Houston? Our own Mike Newman thinks so, including Santana as a honorable mention in his 6/10 edition of MLB Depth Chart Dynamos. Having promoted top prospects George Springer and Jonathan Singleton this season, the Houston Astros will look to the player-to-be-named later in the Hunter Pence deal to fill a gaping hole in left field. Santana has exceeded expectations against advanced competition, slashing .287/.366/.487 and blasting 10 home runs — especially impressive for the third youngest player in the Pacific Coast League. A fringe top-100 prospect entering the season, is the young Dominican a long term answer for the Houston in outfield?
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