Fantasy Studs Or Duds? Hedges, Hultzen, Paulino, Ross
My five days scouting the Cactus League was fruitful to say the least. I haven’t tallied up the former first round picks and top-100 prospects scouted, but it’s probably in the 15-20 range. Three “must scouts” for me were Indians Dorssys Paulino and a pair of Padres in Austin Hedges and Joe Ross.
As an added bonus, Danny Hultzen threw opposite the Padres and what I thought would be an opportunity to scout him a third time. Little did I know Hultzen would not cooperate as he threw just 30 pitches in three innings of work.
Austin Hedges – After watching Hedges, I spoke with a scout who considered him vastly overrated. He has plenty of defense to stick, but it wasn’t an eye popping display of defensive prowess. In batting practice, he swing was shoulder heavy, although Hedges doubled down the left field line during the game. If he wound up being a .275 hitter with 15-18 home runs, it would not surprise me, but my first impression of the Padres prospect was not as positive as Travis D’Arnaud back in 2009. Hedges may be the third best catching prospect in baseball, but he’s a steep drop off from Mike Zunino and the aforementioned D’Arnaud. I’d be happy to own Hedges in deep leagues, but he’s only a borderline own in leagues like Ottoneu where few prospects are kept.
Danny Hultzen – His Triple-A start was buzz worthy even though I missed it. The left-hander was touching 94 and dominated Padres minor leaguers. 30 pitches over three innings is about as dominant as it gets — Especially when he strikes out five in the process. Outings like that will have him in Seattle pretty quickly. Plus, he’s lost plenty of helium and a sharp owner may be able to snag Hultzen on the cheap before the season starts. I know there’s concern after his high walk totals last season, but a coach commented, “Hultzen is so good, you just leave him alone and let the guy throw”. Consider him back.
Dorssy Paulino – After watching a solid round of batting practice, followed by a three-hit performance against Rangers minor leaguers, I feel comfortable stating the Indians prospects was amongst the best bats seen in minor league camp. However, I don’t think he has a shortstop body and this will force a move to second base. Plus, some guy named Francisco Lindor is a level ahead of him as well. After describing Paulino to a buddy, he said, “Sounds like Brandon Phillips“. The more I think about it, the more comfortable I am with the comp. If an owner wants a shortstop of the future, then Paulino probably isn’t your guy. If middle infielder is a position, then he’s a great target who’s likely to be avoided since Paulino has only played short season.
Joe Ross – Squint hard enough and Joe Ross reminds evaluators of Taijuan Walker. Ross has the size and athleticism of a pitching prospect who could take off into the prospect stratosphere by this time next season. However, his command is pretty bad at this point and his off-speed was weak as well. In fact, so much refinement is needed, it’s difficult to consider him much more than a wild card at this point. In deeper leagues, I’d be happy to take a flyer. In Ottoneu, I’d add him to my watch list for 2014 and beyond.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /