Feature Photo: Matt Oberste, 1B/DH, Mets
The AFL season has ended, but our video library continues to grow! Here’s 10 new prospect videos from late-season action. I’ll be uploading additional video this week, so be on the lookout for new prospect coverage soon. Our complete Prospect Video Library can be found here.
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An Arizona prep bat whom the Diamondbacks took with their fifth-round pick in 2013, Westbrook concluded his AFL campaign slashing .233/.303/.300 with just two extra-base knocks across 16 contests. The 21-year-old employs a short, simple load and level bat plane through the zone that has been conducive to solid-average contact as a pro (career 14.8% strikeout rate), though his early-count aggressiveness has sapped him of his on-base potential (career 6.1% walk rate). Westbrook shows good burst out of the box and will occasionally flash above-average straight-line speed (4.19 HP-to-1B). He profiles as an average defender at either left field or second base with gap-oriented power.
A late addition to Glendale’s roster, Tanielu made the most of his abbreviated AFL stint by slashing .352/.379/.500 with five doubles and one home run across 56 plate trips. The 24-year-old saw his stats plummet after a mid-year bump to Double-A (.654 OPS in 95 games), but he displayed above-average feel for the barrel, an ability to work counts, and high-volume doubles potential against quality AFL competition. Strong but limited -both athletically and in the speed department (4.46 HP-to-1B) – Tanielu’s average range and arm profile best at second base, where he could eventually manage average home run output and hit for enough average to stick on a major league roster as an everyday contributor.
One of only a select few AFL players who have yet to reach High A ball, Kelly’s production against advanced pitching in Arizona was solid but not overwhelming, as the 22-year-old hit .283 with one home run in 16 games. A switch-hitter with a shorter frame but good overall strength, most of Kelly’s raw power has come from the left side as a pro, employing above-average raw power to his pull side, though likely profiling as high-volume doubles hitter at his peak. Though he stole 11 bases in 11 attempts this season in the Class A Midwest League, Kelly showed mostly fringy speed from the right side (4.41 HP-to-1B) and he may not have as much base-stealing impact as his production would let on.
San Diego’s fifth-round pick from 2013, VanMeter entered Arizona having set career-highs in home runs (14), ISO (.152) and stolen bases (11) over 124 games split between High A and Double-A. The 21-year-old brought some of that production to the AFL, slashing .265/.416/.382 over 90 PA’s with top-five marks in walk rate (18.9%) and BB/K (0.89) among qualified hitters. VanMeter’s patient, selective approach gives him quality on-base ability at the next level, and he has an ability to make at least average contact. His reactions and footwork at third base appeared slow at times in Arizona, so second base could be his primary defensive position as a utility bat off the bench in the big leagues.
After leading the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in home runs (24), OBP (.403), SLG% (.534) and OPS (.936) and earning a bump to Double-A Erie, Stewart capped his standout 2016 campaign with a slash line of .268/.350/.408 and seven extra-base hits over 19 AFL contests. Stocky and with a strong lower half, the former first-round pick showed plus raw power to his pull side with a swing that produces natural loft. The 22-year-old employed an aggressive approach and willingness to expand the zone at times (29.4% K-rate in AFL). Stewart’s below-average speed (4.41 HP-to-1B), average arm and plus raw power profile best in left field.
An undrafted free agent out of Rice University, Spurlin staked his claim as one of the more productive relievers in Arizona, posting a 2.81 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 14 strikeouts and four walks across 11 appearances (16 IP) for Salt River. The 25-year-old comes at hitters from an unorthodox sidearm angle with short, quick arm action, featuring a fringe-average 89-to-91 mph fastball with arm-side sink and an average high-70s breaking ball as his only secondary offering. Throwing strikes had been an issue for Spurlin in Double-A this past year (5.2 BB/9 over 41.1 IP), and his solid AFL showing (2.3 BB/9) gives some level of optimism in his ability to become a trusted, long-relief type for a club down the road.
A fourth-round pick two summers ago, Scivicque hit .282 as an everyday catcher in the Florida State League before being dealt from Detroit to Atlanta August 16. The 23-year-old LSU product followed with a .378 average and .897 OPS with four doubles in 10 games against fall league arms. Stocky and broad-shouldered, Scivicque uses a short, flat bat plane through the zone to generate line-drive trajectories and mostly gap power. Though not a great athlete, Scivicque will flash useful blocking actions behind the dish with below-average pop times in my limited looks (2.11 on average). He profiles as a solid backup catcher with fringy offensive output.
Signed as an undrafted free agent last fall, Singer’s pro debut was highlighted by top-10 marks in ERA (0.43), WHIP (0.71) and K-BB% (28%) among Class A South Atlantic League pitchers (min. 20 IP), which eventually secured him a late-year bump to High A. The 23-year-old struck out 10 hitters with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings of relief for Scottsdale this fall, showcasing one of the more deceptive deliveries in the league. Singer sits 92-to-94 mph with arm-side bore to his above-average fastball and will reach back for 95 on occasion, complimenting the above-average velocity with an average slider in middle 80s. Even with some slight crossfire in the motion, Singer’s delivery is repeatable with easy arm action that should allow for him to improve upon his fastball command.
While Jemiola’s first crack at the upper minors was nothing to write home about (4.39 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 5.1 K/9 over 27 Eastern League starts), the 22-year-old righty opened some eyes in the fall league, leading all pitchers (min. 20 IP) in fielding-independent pitching (2.74), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.75) and walk rate (4.2%). His start on Nov. 3 featured a plus fastball that touched 96 mph and sat 92-to-95 with consistent arm-side bore and an above-average slider with tight, vertical break that flashed swing-and-miss potential. He also mixed in a high-70s curve with 12-to-6 shape that profiles as an average second breaking ball, and a changeup as his fourth offering.
After slashing .283/.340/.409 over 124 games and impressing scouts at the 2016 Eastern League All-Star Game in Akron, Oberste’s fall league campaign left a lot to be desired, managing a mere .514 OPS with one home run over 13 contests with Scottsdale. Much of his struggles revolved around poor luck (.195 BABIP), but the 25-year-old employed an aggressive approach and often struggled to find the barrel. Tall and muscular, Oberste will flash above-average raw power in batting practice, though his in-game power plays more to the gaps than over the fence. A poor runner (4.60 HP-to-1B) with below-average range and athleticism, Oberste projects to be limited to first base as a platoon-type bat against left-handed pitching.