This season, Eric and Tess Taruskin will every have a minor league roundup put up that runs throughout the week, with the sooner put up recapping a few of the weekend’s motion. You possibly can learn earlier installments of our prospect notes right here.
Darius Vines, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Degree & Affiliate: Double-A Mississippi Age: 24 Org Rank: TBD FV: 35+
Weekend Line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 11 Okay
Although Vines had Okay’d a batter per inning main as much as it, his trademark changeup hadn’t been constantly plus this yr till Sunday’s outing. It’s truly been Vines’ fastball, which has carry and carry via the strike zone, that has induced most of his swings and misses this yr, despite the fact that he hasn’t had any form of velo spike and remains to be sitting within the 89-92 mph vary and topping out near 94. A fringy, low-80s slurve rounds out a strong if unspectacular pitch combine that has been weaponized by Vines’ command. Fastball playability, an excellent changeup, and loads of strikes drive spot starter projection right here. Vines will probably enter the offseason on Atlanta’s 40-man bubble.
Juan Yepez, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Degree & Affiliate: MLB Age: 24 Org Rank: TBD FV: 40
Weekend Line: 5-for-13, HR
Yepez has lengthy proven massive uncooked energy in BP, sufficient that he was as soon as acquired by way of commerce (from Atlanta, for Matt Adams) and was on prospect lists earlier than the ability output actually started displaying up in video games. He struggled to remain wholesome early in his profession and didn’t slug over .400 at any stage till 2019, when he broke camp within the Midwest League for the third straight yr. The house runs lastly started to pile up in 2021, when Yepez out of the blue hit 27 mixed between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, principally on the latter. He then went to the Arizona Fall League, the place he confronted pitchers who have been worse on the typical than these he had seen all through the common season. He homered seven extra occasions in simply 23 video games in Arizona and created some maybe overzealous buzz.
Whereas Yepez has plus energy, the observe file for 1B/DH-only varieties who strike out as a lot as he does, particularly for the swing-happy causes he has tended to, isn’t nice. Yepez had walked at a 5-6% price within the low-to-mid minors however confirmed a year-over-year improve in 2019 (9% in a 72-game pattern) and ’21 (12% in 134 video games, together with the AFL), and has introduced some visible proof that he’s refined his method (he’s ditching his leg kick with two strikes). Yepez nonetheless tended to broaden the zone throughout my Fall League appears, and it appeared like opposing pitchers might restrict his recreation by working him with outer-third breaking balls, which he tends to roll over. Thus far in 2022, his chase charges (36% per Synergy) are just like a number of comparable gamers whose careers may help to calibrate our expectations for Yepez.
The ability right here is actual, and within the occasion that accidents press him into common responsibility at first base, Yepez might hit 25-plus homers in a single season. However on the 1B/DH finish of the defensive spectrum, even amid an enormous peak yr or two, gamers like this have a tendency to carry out simply shy of the 1 annual WAR vary as part-time nook position gamers or low-end choices at their place, like Christian Walker, Ryon Healy, and Michael Chavis. Common-or-better 1B-only varieties don’t typically have one-dimensional offensive ability units like this. He’s harmful sufficient to play a power-hitting, part-time position, however don’t anticipate Yepez to be a middle-of-the-order anchor for an prolonged stretch.
Andrew Nardi, LHP, Miami Marlins
Degree & Affiliate: MLB Age: 23 Org Rank: TBD FV: 35+
Season Line: 16 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 26 Okay
Marlins followers sufficiently old to recollect the 2003 squad have watched their staff run the gamut of well being fortune and misfortune during the last 20 years. The beginning pitchers on that 2003 title staff have been unusually wholesome that season (Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Mark Redman, Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett every made no less than 23 begins, with solely A.J. Burnett dinged for a protracted stretch), whereas the half-decade that encompassed the period of gamers like Josh Johnson, Aníbal Sánchez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and pre-bullpen Andrew Miller was decidedly much less lucky from a well being and prospect actualization standpoint. The 2022 Marlins are actually experiencing one thing near regular attrition because the staff tries to say itself within the crowded NL East. Whereas younger pitching is the core of the present membership, a number of of these arms have both been injured (Sixto Sánchez, Edward Cabrera), much less efficient than anticipated (Braxton Garrett, Nick Neidert) or much less constant than hoped (Jesús Luzardo, Trevor Rogers). As we study yearly, it takes a number of pitching depth to face up to the attrition groups sometimes expertise, and the Marlins really feel particularly weak as a consequence of their younger starters’ observe data and their bullpen’s age (fourth-oldest within the majors). Particularly as they’ve made efforts to amass core place gamers by way of free company and commerce, it’s essential for the Marlins to draft and develop position gamers for his or her pitching employees so that they don’t should continually use prospect items to amass guys like Dylan Floro and Tanner Scott.
That brings us to Nardi. He isn’t going to be a dominant late-inning reliever or something, however he was a comparatively innocuous Day Three draft choose who knifed via the low minors and has put himself in place to assert a 40-man spot after this season. He sits 92-93 mph, will high out within the 95-96 vary, and has a median low-80s slider and a playable mid-80s changeup that depends on location greater than motion. He additionally has expertise working four-to-six outs at a time. He’s in place to work as an optionable lengthy man subsequent yr. It’s crucial for Miami to maintain guys like this coming as assist for the ageing/oft-injured group more likely to comprise their bullpen for the subsequent a number of years.
Yosy Galan, RF, Texas Rangers
Degree & Affiliate: Low-A Down East Age: 21 Org Rank: TBD FV: 40
Season Line: 6-for-12, HR, 2B
Galan, who signed in October of 2020 as a 19-year-old, a number of years later than is typical for a global hitting prospect, now has 15 house runs in 70 profession video games. He’s, as one scout put it to me just lately, a “low chance prospect” as a result of his timing on the plate and really feel to hit are so crude that it appears probably Galan will start to expertise what Seuly Matias or Hunter Bishop did as they traversed the higher minors, and it could grow to be apparent that he gained’t get to his unimaginable uncooked energy in video games. However up to now, regardless of putting out at a 33% clip (which is definitely higher than Galan’s 2021 line on the complicated), he’s attending to that thump and has been on a 34-homer full-season tempo as a professional. If we use Joey Gallo for example of a man with a 20-grade hit device who has nonetheless managed to be fairly impactful, we are able to see he’s been distinctive in different areas in addition to simply the uncooked power. He’s walked a ton and hits the ball within the air with excessive frequency. Whereas Galan has an opportunity to method Gallo’s stage of uncooked energy, these secondary abilities really feel much less sensible. Nonetheless, this man signed late and has all of 2022-24 to shine that stuff up earlier than the Rangers should make a 40-man determination on him. He probably gained’t develop the ball/strike recognition that allowed Gallo to have a number of 3-plus WAR seasons, however might develop sufficient of it to be an thrilling if risky massive league slugger.
Alex Ramirez, RF, New York Mets
Degree & Affiliate: Low-A St. Lucie Age: 19 Org Rank: TBD FV: 45+
Season Line: 8-for-13, HR, 2B, 2 3B
It could be time for a promotion right here. Ramirez spent all of 2021 at Low-A as an 18-year-old and slashed .258/.326/.384, which was barely under the league-average line within the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. It was thrilling that the lanky and projectable Ramirez hit that effectively as a youngster in full-season ball, although his minuscule stroll price (6.9%), particularly throughout a yr when automated balls and strikes appeared to inflate FSL stroll charges, was no less than a yellow flag.
Again in Port St. Lucie to begin 2022, Ramirez has been scorching for the primary month of the season, slashing a whopping .385/.423/.606 whereas slicing his strikeout price by about 30% (from 31% to 18% as of publication), although his stroll price has dipped by about the identical quantity. Ramirez has plus bat pace and can present you massive pull-side energy already. His wispy, 6-foot-3 body has room for an additional 30 kilos no less than, and with that weight and power might come large uncooked energy. Ramirez has to chop some mechanical corners to swing as arduous as he does proper now, however that could be ironed out as he will get stronger, and the bat pace and explosiveness he reveals are very thrilling. Purely on instruments, Ramirez is among the many high 5 teenage outfielders within the minors and you can also make a cogent argument to take him over Jasson Dominguez (who he’s simply outperforming in the identical league) and Kevin Alcantara (who has higher plate self-discipline and subtly higher physique projection, however who hasn’t hit for as a lot energy). So whereas acknowledging that the plate self-discipline piece right here is troubling and creates bust threat, the ceiling deserves inclusion within the Prime 100; Ramirez has been added.