June 6, 2016
Monday Morning Ten Pack
June 6, 2016
Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Low-A Lakewood)
Had I written Kilome—currently our 95th-ranked prospect overall—up in April, it wouldn’t have been pretty. Had he been on a low pitch or batter count in my third look—as many prized prospects now are—I’d probably be using this space to write him up as better than that 95th ranking. But only in looking at the whole picture do you get the full story on Kilome: A maddeningly inconsistent arm with command that comes and goes, flashing all of the individual pieces for number 2 upside, yet less impressive as an overall package than his opposing number on Thursday, Rangers sleeper Erik Swanson, who sat 93-96, touched 98, and showed some feel for a change and slider.
Too often, we evaluate players based on less than ideal info. We have geographic restrictions; I mostly see the Sally and EL because of where I live. We have limited time and resources. For example, given where the Rangers have their affiliates, I likely won’t see Swanson again unless he’s traded or hits the majors. Even at the major-league level, one or two games is often an unrepresentative sample. Imagine writing Julio Urias up only on his disastrous first two major-league starts with poor command, or on the flip side, Jhoulys Chacin based on his recent complete-game masterpiece where he was perfect into the sixth and struck out ten while outdueling Justin Verlander. These are the challenges we sometimes face when we’re talking prospects. —Jarrett Seidler
Angel Perdomo, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing)
His fastball sits at 90-92 mph, touching 94, with life and arm-side run. He has shown plus command and works low in the zone, generating many swings and misses. As Perdomo continues to develop physically, his fastball has the potential to grade out as above-average. His changeup is his primary off-speed pitch, sitting 80-83 mph with minimal fade but good arm-speed replication. The slider sits 87-89 with very little tilt. Both pitches are works in progress with the changeup showing the most potential.
A tall left-hander with a live arm, Perdomo has the potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Blue Jays. The key will be if he can continue to improve the slider and changeup to at least average. Without both secondaries, he could still develop into a key bullpen arm, especially as the fastball gains life. —Nathan Graham
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)
Josh Van Meter, 3B, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
It doesn’t look at first glance like Van Meter’s swing should be all that conducive to consistent contact, but he can swing it pretty good. His setup is wide and relatively quiet, with some early rhythm into a high hand load and extreme bat wrap. He takes an aggressive stride, creating separation and significant torque. There’s some steepness into the zone, but his strong forearms and wrists pair with lightning-quick hips to get the bat head down and through with well above-average bat speed. The arms can get stiff, as he’ll drop the back shoulder and fail to turn over through the zone, leading to some weaker flyball contact and swing-and-miss. But there’s above-average raw power to the pull side, and some patience in the approach and solid pitch recognition gives a good majority of it the chance to play. He’s continued to work out some at the keystone this spring and, depending on whether some additional mobility returns as he gets further removed from the injury, there’s bat-first utility potential here. —Wilson Karaman
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago Cubs (Low-A South Bend)
Here is where Jimenez stands out. He is a gifted hitter with a feel for the barrel such that he gets cheap hits and flares, stymying the logic of the hard in, slow away approach he so often encounters. The swing is long, and Jimenez has a tendency to golf at it, displaying a pronounced loop at times. Jimenez has long levers, featuring a leg kick for timing and an open stance. Early in the count off-speed pitches can get him out in front. The gap and home run power is effortless when he can get his loose arms extended and the barrel around something middle away. Right now the power is more oriented up the middle and opposite field. You might expect more pull-side power, but the hitting mechanics seem to impede Jimenez from turning on inside pitches. Defensively, Jimenez is a left fielder, and someone you stash away there—he is by no means a liability, but I have yet to see his range and instincts truly tested out there. If the hit tool can reach a 4, Jimenez—the owner of an .890 OPS and a .206 ISO despite being 2.6 years younger than league average—could prove to be a tantalizing player at the plate. —Will Siskel
Fernando Romero, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids)
The right-hander throws from a three-quarters slot with a loose arm action that can get long in the back, and an elbow that can get a bit high at times. He gets through it with above-average arm speed and the ball jumps out of his hand. Romero does get stiff on his landing leg, leading to misses up and in on right-handed batters.
Romero’s fastball started off slow, with a couple 90s, but ramped up quickly, sitting 93-96 and touching 98 with tons of arm-side run. This is a no-doubt 7 pitch that hitters struggled to barrel for most of the outing. As expected, his command at this point is hit and miss, but he did show the ability to locate the fastball to his glove side, which is promising.The slider is Romero’s main strikeout offering, sitting 86-90 with short, late bite in the zone. He showed limited feel for the pitch, mainly throwing it to halves of the plate, but flashed the ability to bury it down on left-handers’ feet for strikeouts. As the feel comes around, this pitch will be plus with explosive movement. Romero didn’t throw many changeups, but flashed proper arm speed and the pitch had fade down in the zone.
Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford)
Nonetheless, McMahon is a solid all-around prospect with four average or better tools. His swing is built for leverage, which was especially noticeable on May 27th at Portland. Each of his four at-bats resulted in a deep flyout, and the second at-bat below illustrates his ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. Adding additional muscle (and hitting on a warmer night) could possibly transform those outs into homers. The length of his swing and aggressive approach likely limit his hit tool potential to average, but he should make enough contact for his raw plus power to appear in major-league games.
He is also an above-average defender with good instincts and soft hands. In the ninth inning of the same game, he confidently charged a softly hit grounder on the grass and made a strong throw to first in time for the out. McMahon’s speed is clearly his weakest tool, but his stolen base efficiency has vastly improved so far this year (from 6-for-19 in 2015 to 7-for-7 in 2016). While his future may not reside in Colorado, with a few adjustments at the plate, McMahon will have a productive career at a position in high demand. —Erich Rothmann
Tyler Viza, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (High-A Clearwater)
Nick Ciuffo, C, Tampa Bay Rays (High-A Charlotte)
While getting off to slow start at the plate, and in a platoon situation with fellow FSL All-Star selection Mac James, Ciuffo has shown progress offensively, hitting .386 over his last 10 games. However, his current slash line of .289/.306/.325 shows an inability to get on base and slug at an effective level. The power that was projected by earlier evaluators has yet to even flash in games. However, there are some positives to take away. I see above-average bat speed with an easy, smooth swing with good, loud contact. The whiff rate is down and I particularly like the way he handles pitches down and in, as he’s been able to consistently produce base hits when pitchers target that location.
Ruddy Giron, SS, San Diego Padres (Low-A Ft. Wayne)
Having seen a decent amount of Giron, I’m not particularly worried. While he is struggling, it’s clear that he’s been the victim of bad luck, and in turn is pressing a bit at the plate, as nothing looks wrong. He has chased down and away often, and has struggled with other aspects as well. His shoulder and hip alignment goes awry far too easily, which forces him to stab at the ball. When he does that he rolls over pitches, or misses completely. His swing is concentrated on line drives with minimal leverage, and while he is able to get the bat on the ball, we’re at the point that his consistency in making contact may be negatively impacting his approach, as he chases bad pitches.