Feature Photo: Bryson Brigman, 2B, Marlins
Editor’s Note: We’ve added all of our recent scouting reports, spotlights, and live video from the Arizona Fall League to our 2018 sortable libraries at the links below:
Also, be sure to check out our podcasts page for episodes of Defensive Indifference (AFL Edition) with your hosts Ryan Sullivan and John “Uncle Jack” Eshleman.
Featured AFL Videos
- Jaylin Davis, OF, Twins (Salt River Rafters)
- Andy Young, 2B, Cardinals (Surprise Saguaros)
- Austin Allen, C, Padres (Peoria Javelinas)
- Matt Krook, LHP, Rays (Peoria Javelinas)
- Kyle Muller, LHP, Braves (Peoria Javelinas)
Featured AFL Reports
- Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs) -Adam McInturff
- Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (Salt River Rafters) -Adam McInturff
- Khalil Lee, OF, Royals (Surpirse Saguaros) -John Eshleman
- Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins (Salt River Rafters) -Adam McInturff
- Jackson McClelland, RHP, Blue Jays (Surprise Saguaros) -John Eshleman
- Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays (Surprise Saguaros) -Adam McInturff
- Scott Blewett, RHP, Royals (Surprise Saguaros) -John Eshleman
- Bryson Brigman, 2B, Marlins (Salt River Rafters) -Adam McInturff
Featured AFL Spotlights
Ronnie Dawson, OF, Astros (Scottsdale Scorpions)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/225 lbs. B/T: L/R Age (as of September 1, 2018): 23y, 3m
Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Dawson spent the majority of the 2018 season with High A Buies Creek and earned a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi on July 30th. The Ohio State University product finished the year slashing a cumulative .258/.333/.428 with 16 home runs and 42 extra base hits.
Dawson sports a muscular, athletic frame and a strong build that lacks any further projection. Offensively, Dawson has a simple setup and quiet load with an uphill bat path to create loft. Dawson’s approach at the plate has been impressive, and he has exhibited solid plate coverage and barreled up balls on the inner and outer thirds of the plate. With above-average bat speed, overall strength, and a bat path meant to hit the ball in the air, Dawson projects to generate average over-the-fence pop at maturity. His upper-cut swing is going to come with some swing-and-miss as the barrel doesn’t stay on the pitch plane very long, but his approach is continuing to improve, and helps project the hit tool to a future 50-grade as well.
Despite his average foot speed, Dawson’s instincts help make up the difference on defense. He has shown quick reactions and reads in center field that, when coupled with an average arm, help project an overall average defender in center. On the bases, Dawson has shown advanced instincts and base-stealing ability, stealing 35-of-49 bags during the 2018 campaign. His instincts on the bases help add value to his profile by pressuring defenses as a consistent threat on the bases. Dawson has a low-risk floor as a Role 45, fourth outfielder, and ceiling as a Role 50, everyday center fielder. -Jack Elliott
Josh Fuentes, 3B, Rockies (Salt River Rafters)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/215 lbs. B/T: R/R Age (as of September 1, 2018): 25y, 6m
The 25-year-old Fuentes has clawed up the minor league ladder, going from non-drafted free agent out of Missouri Baptist to the brink of the big leagues. He’s in the Fall League for some last-minute polishing, coming off his best season as a professional at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he slashed.327/.354/.517).
Fuentes looks the part of a pro corner player, with a physical 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame strong enough to hit for power but also able to stay at 3B. He hits from a deep crouch with a big leg-kick trigger to start the swing, getting all his lower-half into a quick stroke that has power to the pull side. He yanks most of his contact, and while it isn’t a pretty swing, Fuentes has solid bat control and finds a way to make it work. For a player that looks strong enough to hit for power, his peripherals (low walk/low strikeout guy) don’t fit the standard mold. His game approach is oriented more towards making contact than driving the ball, looking to put it in play and rely on feel for the barrel. He could live to be more patient, but I saw plenty of awareness at the plate and an understanding how to get to his pitch.
Defensively, Fuentes moved between the infield corners in my week-long look at Salt River. He looked fine at the hot corner, showing soft hands and the footwork to make routine plays. There’s a chance he’s a 55-grade defender at first base, though the overall versatility should help a R/R profile without tons of game power get into the lineup.
Fuentes is the cousin of Jonah Arenado (3B, Giants) and Nolan Arenado (3B, Rockies), and yeah, he’s in the Rockies’ system. That alone doesn’t get a guy to the cusp of the big leagues, and Josh Fuentes is no charity case. He has worked himself into the player he is today, showing significant improvement each of the last two years I’ve seen him. He’s ready to hit in the big leagues, safely profiling as a useful role player who can move between corner positions. If he winds up hitting enough to be an everyday third baseman someday, don’t be surprised: Fuentes is the type of guy that has been proving people wrong for a long time. -Adam McInturff