I’m speeding through these as we approach the beginning of the season. On Saturday, there wasn’t a whole lot of separation between the prospects. Four players received at least 10% of the vote, and an additional four players received at least 5% of the vote. The winner received just 20% of the vote. And we have our first reliever, at #18, Guillermo Zuniga. That makes the top 20 currently at:
- Jordan Walker
- Masyn Winn
- Tink Hence
- Gordon Graceffo
- Alec Burleson
- Ivan Herrera
- Cooper Hjerpe
- Matthew Liberatore
- Michael McGreevy
- Moises Gomez
- Joshua Baez
- Leonardo Bernal
- Jonathan Mejia
- Connor Thomas
- Won-Bin Cho
- Jimmy Crooks III
- Brycen Mautz
- Guillermo Zuñiga
It truly is anybody’s game at this point. With a reliever now on the list, I feel like I can add another reliever to the voting. And this is where your guys’ previous voting habits help me. To make sure I picked the right relievers, I threw a few relief prospects into a poll and then saw how they were selected. Ryan Loutos was the winner and Zuñiga was actually third. But then the WBC happened. The second place finisher now deserves a chance: Jake Walsh. This will be the last reliever I add (For you Andre Granillo fans, he had his chance and just 7% of votes in that same poll. Sorry)
Mike Antico (OF) - 25-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 8th round of the 2021 Draft, 241st overall
Stats (High A): 321 PAs, .255/.358/.405, 12.8 BB%, 23.7 K%, .150 ISO, .330 BABIP, 116 wRC+
Stats (AA): 275 PAs, .233/.327/.383, 10.9 BB%, 24.4 K%, .150 ISO, .289 BABIP, 85 wRC+
It’s always tougher to judge the older prospects who rise through the system quickly in my opinion. Because usually, if you see a guy make it to AA in his second professional season, that turns some heads. And if that same player struggles in their first taste of AA, that is completely normal. But well, usually they aren’t heading into their age 25 season at this point. Thus, the conundrum. He can’t change his age and advancing so quickly is bound to result in struggling, but also he has been very old for his level at every stop and that makes a difference too.
Ian Bedell (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 MLB Draft, 122nd overall
Stats (Complex + Low A): 5.2 IP, 34.5 K%, 10.3 BB%, 53.3 GB%, 3.17 ERA/1.75 FIP/1.99 xFIP
Scouting: 40/45 Fastball, 55/60 Curve, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
This is a very important year for Bedell. The Cardinals will still give him chances afterwards I imagine. This isn’t his last chance. But so far, he’s had the excuse of being injured. This is his first chance to make an impression. He will likely be pitching at High A, which does not give him a whole lot of time. As far as a team prospect list is concerned, I think it’ll go one of two ways. He’ll be picked earlier than 18th next year or he won’t be considered a prospect at all.
Pete Hansen (SP) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2022 Draft, 97th overall
Stats (College): 107.2 IP, 27.7 K%, 4.4 BB%, .230 BAA, 3.76 ERA
Scouting (TCN): Pete Hansen: 40/45 FB, 50/60 SL, 45/55 CB, 40/50 CH, 50/60 command
Hansen going to Texas is both good and bad for me. It’s good, because he pitched in a Power Five conference in college and that means his stats are at least somewhat useful, which is very much not the case for every college baseball team and their competition. It’s bad, because well, he went to Texas.
Ryan Loutos (RP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2021
Stats (AAA): 27 IP, 22.1 K%, 9.2 BB%, 52.8 GB%, .471 BABIP, 6.33 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 3.91 xFIP
Scouting: 60/60 Fastball, 45/50 Curve, 60/60 Command
I always question what stats to post for players who play at multiple levels, and I usually defer to the highest level, just to share their most recent progress. And in the cases where players struggle, I feel it could have a bigger impact in their voting than it should. In the case of Loutos who pitched at three levels, he did not pitch well at AAA, but it is interesting that the advanced stats really aren’t bad. He had an inflated HR/FB% and super high, like ridiculously high BABIP. How much you feel he deserves that is probably tied to your excitement about it.
Reiner Lopez (RHP) - 16-years-old
Lopez is 6’8 at 16-years-old and I think I’ll just share what Blake Newberry said about him when he shared the news of his signing:
“One thing that jumps out to me is that he sits 89-93 already and with his weight listed at just 196 pounds, it’s east to project some extra velocity on him. But the thing that stands out the most is right at the beginning of the scouting report. “He features a three quarters to over-the-top arm slot and a simple repeatable delivery.” Most 16 year olds don’t have repeatable deliveries and especially not 6’8” 16 years old who have a lot of extra length on their limbs to coordinate.”
Austin Love (SP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 90th overall
Stats (High A): 25 GS, 125.2 IP, 26.8 K%, 9.2 BB%, 47.3 GB%, .366 BABIP, 5.73 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.79 xFIP
Scouting: 50/50 Fastball, 55/55 Slider, 40/50 Change, 45/55 Command
For some players on this list, I could write a new paragraph each time with relative ease, but for a couple players, I have the most difficult time trying to come up with a new paragraph each time. And the weird thing is, it happens immediately. I come up with a paragraph the first time, and it turns out that is literally all I have to say about that prospect. In Love’s case, he was drafted old, last year was his first professional season essentially, he had solid advanced stats, but was super hittable. I’ve said some variation of that every time.
Inohan Paniagua (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in December 2017
Stats (Low A): 99 IP, 26.9% K%, 5.8 BB%, 43.7 GB%, .272 BABIP, 2.18 ERA/3.01 FIP/3.62 xFIP
Scouting: 35/40 Fastball, 55/60 Curveball, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
Paniagua actually made it to High A, and I chose to omit his stats there. As I said above, typically I go for the higher level, it’s just that Paniagua had already thrown 99 innings by the time he pitched in High A and he had thrown just 46 innings the year before. So I feel like we should almost ignore his High A stats. They’ve had this innings jump with, as far as I can tell, no other pitching prospect which I find extremely strange.
Victor Scott II (OF) - 22-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 157th overall
Stats (Low A): 142 PAs, .222/.358/.389, 16.9 BB%, 18.3 K%, .167 ISO, .262 BABIP, 115 wRC+
Scouting (TCN): 35/50 hit, 35/45 power, 55/65 field, 50/50 arm, 70/70 run
There is one stat that stands out to me and that’s BABIP. His main concern as a prospect is his hit tool. And in his first attempt, he had a .262 BABIP. Since this is 142 PAs, there’s nothing to be gathered from that information. As a guy with 70 speed, it is curious though. Although he had no problem with power, which makes it more interesting. If he had a .050 ISO, I’d chalk up that BABIP to weak hitting. Now some of that is his speed: he did hit four triples. But he did knock two out of the park and well a triple is still a double for most hitters. I’ll be checking his BABIP for 2023.
Jake Walsh (RP) - 27-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, 484th overall
Stats (AAA): 13 G, 15.1 IP, 34.9 K%, 11.1 BB%, 26.5 GB%, 1.17 ERA/2.86 FIP/3.73 xFIP
Scouting: 60/60 Fastball, 50/55 Curve, 30/35 Change, 35/40 Command
Effectively a two-pitch pitcher with questionable command, we did get to see some evidence of that at the MLB level, however brief. He pitched in three games, struck out a third of the batters he faced and also walked two hitters and hit a guy. That was all in 2.2 IP. He also allowed three hits. It was a mixed bag. Wish we had more data on his AAA performance, but just four appearances after he got sent down from the MLB, his season was over due to injury.
Alec Willis (SP) - 20-years-old
Acquired: 7th round of 2021 MLB Draft, 211th overall
Stats (Complex): 6 G, 11.1 IP, 34.8 K%, 4.3 BB%, 42.9 GB%, 1.59 ERA/2.94 FIP/2.28 xFIP
Scouting: 40/50 Fastball, 45/55 Curve, 30/50 Change, 20/50 Command
With just one level to play at below Low A, it’s going to be pretty weird when high school picks just hang around there for 2 or 3 years, barely accumulating any data, as their progress is mostly not seen in actual game action. While Willis has had injury problems forcing the issue, he still only has 12.1 total innings pitched in two seasons as a professional. They were a very, very good 12 innings to his credit. And he will be seen in Low A, still younger than his counterparts.
Who is the #19 prospect?
This poll is closed
Mike Antico, OF
Ian Bedell, SP
Pete Hansen, SP
Ryan Loutos, RP
Reiner Lopez, RHP
Austin Love, SP
Inohan Paniagua, SP
Victor Scott II, OF
Jake Walsh, RP
Alec Willis, SO