2080 Prospect Spotlights: Notes From Around the Minor Leagues (5.24 Edition)

Feature Photo: Chris Shaw, 1B, Giants

It’s a low-minors smorgasborg of reports, video and prospect spotlights, as 2080 contributors James Chipman, Dave DeFreitas, and Mauricio Rubio carry this week’s update with live looks from the California, Midwest, and Florida State Leagues.  Also, C.J. Wittmann and Defreitas check in with six fresh prospect reports, and Chipman provides four new videos from his post down south.  Enjoy!

Florida State League Prospect Profile

LogoMLBNYYCaleb Frare, LHP, Yankees (High A Tampa, Florida State League)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/195   |   B/T: L/L   |   Age: 22 yrs, 10m

The Yankees selected Frare in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. In his first taste of pro ball, Frare posted a respectable 2.74 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 23 strikeouts over 23 IP for the GCL Yankees. Unfortunately, Frare’s development featured a couple of big speed bumps, as he missed all of the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, as well an incident where he was hit by a car near the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa in February of 2014 .

This season, and with the injuries in the rear-view mirror, Frare has been absolutely lights out, anchoring the late innings of Tampa’s bullpen. The soon-to-be 23-year-old has struck out 24 and walked 11, and posted an impressive 0.90 WHIP over 20 IP.  Frare has yet to allow an earned run, and batters are hitting a paltry .113 against him.

Take a quick look around, and you’ll find that Frare’s name is absent from virtually every Yankees’ prospect ranking list. So exactly how is the southpaw dominating FSL batters this season?

Frare has the bulldog mound presence and short-term memory that you love to see in a high-leverage reliever. He works quickly and fires the ball from a high three-quarters arm slot, generating downhill life and moderate deception. Frare’s bread and butter is his mid-90s fastball that has scraped as high 97 mph recently, with impressive late arm-side action. His slider lacks consistency but features tight, late breaking 3/4 depth at its best, allowing you to dream, and forecast above-average to plus potential. Frare also mixes in a fringy changeup that’s firm, but improving, thanks to his ability to maintain his arm speed and action. Overall it’s a solid profile from a young man with strong makeup.

Frare is essentially a lottery ticket until the consistency of his stuff and command improves, but his handedness, ability to miss bats, and his flashy power fastball/slider combination make him a prospect to monitor closely moving forward.  He’s a lotto ticket that any organization would love to have in their back pocket.  -James Chipman

Single A Prospect Spotlights

LogoMLBLADHyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Dodgers (High A Rancho Cucamonga, California League)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/250   |   B/T: R/L   |   Age: 29 yrs, 1m

Ryu continued to slowly work his way back from 2015 shoulder surgery last Friday, going three innings and giving up three runs for the Quakes vs the San Jose Giants.  He sat around 84-to-87 mph with the fastball and mixed in his slider, curveball and changeup.  Nothing looked overly sharp, and it was fairly obvious that he was working at about the 75% effort level that is expected in these rehab outings.  He did not look at all concerned out there, and while he wasn’t popping the mitt, his arm looked free and easy and he gave the impression of a guy just getting his work in.  He gave up two bombs to
Chris Shaw (see below for more on him) and Ronny Jebavy – two of the better hitters on the San Jose roster- on balls out over the plate, but other than that seemed to locate the fastball and showed feel for the secondaries.  

I’ve been watching Ryu since he burst onto the international stage (at the 2009 WBC, pitching for Korea vs. Japan in the Tokyo Dome), and there has been some of the inevitable decline in the power of his stuff even before this injury, so how his shoulder will respond very much remains to be seen.  That said, the body looked as good as I’ve seen it in recent years, and he may have lost a few pounds.  So while Dodger fans are probably not expecting a whole lot from this guy at the moment, there were some encouraging signs here that suggest he is indeed on track to help the big club later this summer. -Dave DeFreitas

LogoMLBSFGSteven Duggar, CF, Giants (High A San Jose, California League)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/195   |   B/T: L/R   |   Age: 22 yrs, 5m

Duggar was a sixth-round pick in the June 2015 MLB draft last season, and since then all he has done is hit and get on base.  He hit .293 with 12 doubles, and one homer, and was on base to the tune of a .390 OBP over 229 AB’s last season.  So far in 2016 all he’s done is improve upon those numbers with six HRs, 12 doubles, a .409 OBP and 29 BBs to 30 Ks.  At 22 years old, he is not young for the level, however with not even a full season of pro ball under his belt my guess is that the Giants see no reason to rush.  He is a plus athlete that is a bit raw on the defensive side, but projects well and should eventually check in as an above-average big league center fielder.  

While the defensive ability is certainly a positive, what he offers with the bat is the really exciting part.  His quiet, patient approach is something he has had since his days at Clemson, where his feel for the strike zone improved markedly from his sophomore season to his junior draft year (BB/SO: 27/51, 54/49, respectively).  Seeing those numbers continue to trend in that direction in pro ball indicates that Duggar has the ability to adjust as he moves up levels; couple that with his bat speed, approach at the plate and ability to let the ball travel and it’s easy to see the ingredients for a future plus hitter showing up in San Francisco.  Steve Finley and Matt Carpenter come to mind when envisioning Duggar’s projection.

Going in the sixth round is late for this type of talent, but the Giants have delivered three World Series Championships in the past five years with their scouting and player development philosophy playing a huge role –  Duggar is just the latest example of that.  I expect that he will be on his way to Double-A later this summer with stops in the Arizona Fall League and the Giants’ 2017 big league camp after that.  He may not start 2017 with the Giants, but I imagine he’ll be in their lineup at some point next season.  -Dave DeFreitas

LogoMLBSFGChris Shaw; 1B, Giants (High A San Jose, California League)
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/235   |   B/T: L/R   |   Age: 22 yrs, 7m

Joining Duggar in San Jose is fellow 2015 draftee (1st round, #31 overall) and power-hitting first baseman Chris Shaw.  Shaw has a quiet set up and very easy swing, which generates seemingly effortless power to all fields.  He has made short work of the Cal League thus far in 2016 with 10 bombs (including one off Hyun-Jin Ryu on Friday and two (though one being an inside-the-park job) off of newly-signed Cuban prospect Yasiel Sierra on Sunday), 14 doubles with a .323 BA to go with a .995 OPS.  He has a little more swing and miss than Duggar (37 K’s to 15 BB’s) and does not project as well on the defensive side, but his power looks like it has a chance to be well above average.  So far in his short professional career he has not seemed to care much about the righty/lefty matchups, hitting for power and getting on base almost equally vs both (2015 OBP: .354 vs LHP,  .363 vs RHP/2016 OBP: .372 vs LHP,  .394 vs RHP).  The Giants will soon want to challenge Shaw, so while there is no rush, expect him to move with Duggar and surface in Double-A before too long.
– Dave DeFreitas

LogoMLBDETAdam Ravenelle, RHP, Tigers (High A Lakeland, Florida State League)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/190   |   B/T: R/R  |   Age: 23 yrs

The Tigers must’ve been pleased when Ravenelle was still on the board when their fourth-round turn arrived in the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft. The highly-touted Vanderbilt reliever featured the size and live arm that Detroit often covets on draft day. A successful reliever for the Commodores, Ravenelle featured the stuff and moxy to likely rise through the Tigers’ farm system quickly. That was the plan anyways, until an illness similar to mono, and then a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger limited him to just 42.1 IP over his first two seasons of pro ball.

As a  result of the lost time, Ravenelle lost significant velocity, dipping down into the high 80s, and barely scraping 90 mph upon his return to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last season. A small spike in velocity occurred during his time in the Arizona Fall League this offseason, however, showing the Tigers enough to place him at High A Lakeland to start this season. Aside from opening night, when his fastball appeared lifeless, living in the low 90s, Ravenelle has consistently sat 96-to-98 mph, regularly reaching as high as 99 mph. His fastball features heavy sink when located down in the zone, and late glove-side action elsewhere in the zone. A two-pitch reliever, Ravenelle compliments his fastball with an above-average cutter that sits 90-to-93 mph.

Ravenelle has been a lockdown setup man for Lakeland this season, posting an impressive 2.70 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. The 23-year-old flamethrower has struck out 20 and walked 9 batters over 17.1 IP – clearly underlining his biggest issue (command) and attribute (swing-and-miss stuff). His stuff matches the intriguing numbers, leaving realistic hope for Detroit that their time and patience might just yield the productive high-leverage reliever that they selected on draft day back in 2014. – James Chipman

LogoMLBNYYChance Adams, RHP, Yankees (High A Tampa, Florida State League)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/215   |   B/T: R/R   |   Age: 21 yrs, 9m

Adams made a favorable first impression on me last season when he came out of Tampa’s bullpen throwing upper-90s cheese with a plus breaking ball. Adams handled the late-inning reliever role well in 2015, posting a 1.29 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 16 strikeouts over 14 IP. Yet another hard-throwing product of Dallas Baptist University, Adams returned to Tampa this season to anchor their rotation and polish up his secondaries.

Adams has rebounded from a slow start to 2016, posting a 2.00 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, while striking out 31 over his last five starts and 26 IP.  The fastball velocity has dropped a tick in his new role, but it’s still resting and holding at a respectful 92-to-95 mph with exceptional arm-side action. In addition to his solid breaking ball, Adams features a changeup that has taken a step forward this season; thanks to improved arm speed and arm action to sell the pitch.

His high-effort delivery and bulldog mound presence are perhaps better suited for a relief role moving forward. Regardless, the Yankees, and Adams should be pleased with his development thus far this season. – James Chipman

LogoMLBSTLEdmundo Sosa, SS, Cardinals (Class A Peoria, Midwest League)
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/170   |   B/T: R/R   |   Age: 20 yrs, 2m

Evaluation notes: Short, medium, athletic frame with broad shoulders; some projection left in the body; average bat speed with minimal leverage in the swing; below-average barrel control; shows an average approach; average first step, doesn’t utilize plus speed on the defensive side of the ball, lacks confidence charging in on balls; fast hands, sure handed, excellent glove-to-hand transfer; average arm strength with accuracy; struggles to make the throw from the 5/6 hole in time to get good runners.

Summary: Sosa signed as an international free agent for $425,000 out of Panama in 2012. He lacks the ideal range for a shortstop, and he was timid charging in on balls in this viewing. The glove profiles well as a sure-handed second baseman with an average but accurate arm. Sosa’s bat shows signs of a solid approach. He spat on bad spin to the outer half of the plate and did a good job picking out pitches he could make contact on. Sosa’s excellent hand-eye coordination defensively didn’t show up in-game, though. He displayed below average barrel control, and didn’t square the baseball up on pitches he should’ve hit. He’s hitting just .231 over his last1 0 games with no extra-base hits, dropping his season’s slash line to .269/.304/.338 over 160 ABs – Mauricio Rubio

LogoMLBSTLEliezer Alvarez, 2B, Cardinals (Class A Peoria, Midwest League)
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/165   |   B/T: L/R   |   Age: 21 yrs, 7m

Evaluation Notes: Short, lithe frame with some projection left; average bat speed with some leverage; wiry strength, average raw power; quick hands at the plate; strong wrists; cheated on fastball counts to turn on velocity in; poor plate coverage up and in; commanded the strike zone; fast hands defensively; quick first step with anticipation; average arm strength and accuracy.

Summary: Alvarez showed signs of an approach and the ability to square up his pitch with more raw strength than I expected in my viewing. He has a hole, up and in, where he can be exposed by velocity, which will be something to keep track of as he goes up against more advanced arms. His defense isn’t special, but he has a quick first step and anticipates the baseball well.  He’s currently sporting a 10-game hitting streak – including a 7-for-12 run in his last three games – and for the season he’s bumped his average up to an even .300, with a .374 OBP and 12 stolen bases.  – Mauricio Rubio

LogoMLBARIJoel Payamps, RHP, Diamondbacks (Class A Kane County, Midwest League)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/170   |   B/T: R/R   |   Age: 22 yrs, 1m

Evaluation Notes: Tall frame, plus arm speed; low three-quarters arm slot; stiff front foot strike; pitches over a closed front side creating exertion in the delivery; Fastball sat 93-to-94 mph (T95) with mild run; slider sat 83-to-84 with sweeping 10-to-4 movement, big break will have average utility at the highest level; firm changeup was 84-to-87 mph and he had mild feel for the offering; showed ability to pitch backwards, starting with the slider to the outer half and finishing sequence with hard stuff in; command is below average but could get to fringe with smoothed-out mechanics.

Summary: Payamps shows a feel for pitching and has the ability to change up his sequencing as the game progresses. He uses his fastball early in games and starts pounding his sweeping slider after the second and third time through the order. Command, and a lack of feel for his third pitch are two factors working against him, but he can have some utility out of the ‘pen with a solid two-pitch arsenal. In his last appearance, a May 19 start against Peoria, he spun six innings of five-hit, shutout ball, and over nine games and two starts this season, Payamps has struck out 27 and issued 10 walks over 29.2 IP.  – Mauricio Rubio


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Notable News

The Mets are looking for Amed Rosario (SS, Mets, High A St. Lucie, Florida State League) to improve his plate discipline before moving him along to Double-A Birmingham, says the Press Sun & Bulletin’s Lynn Worthy.