Feature Photo: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox
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.
You can read all of our Arizona Fall League updates at this link.
Featured AFL Videos
- Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds (Scottsdale Scorpions)
- Cristian Pache, OF, Braves (Peoria Javelinas)
- Scott Blewett, RHP, Royals (Surprise Saguaros)
- Sam Hilliard, OF, Rockies (Salt River Rafters)
- Nolan Long, RHP, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs)
Featured AFL Reports
- Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox (Mesa Solar Sox) -John Eshleman
- Ryan McKenna, OF, Orioles (Glendale Desert Dogs) -Adam McInturff
- Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, Red Sox (Mesa Solar Sox) -John Eshleman
- Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs) -Adam McInturff
- Jake Rogers, C, Tigers (Mesa Solar Sox) -John Eshleman
Featured AFL Notes from the Field
- Tommy Eveld, RHP, Marlins (Salt River Rafters)
- Kyle Zurak, RHP, Yankees (Glendale Desert Dogs)
- Weston Wilson, 1B/3B, Brewers (Peoria Javelinas)
Featured AFL Spotlights
Skye Bolt, OF, Athletics (Mesa Solar Sox)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/190 lbs. B/T: S/R Age (as of September 1, 2018): 24y, 7m
The Athletics popped the switch-hitting outfielder out of University of North Carolina in the fourth round of the 2015 amateur draft, inking him over-slot for $650,000. Since turning pro, Bolt has put up average offensive numbers, including 19 homers across two levels in 2018. After finishing the season with Double-A Midland, I saw Bolt play five games for Mesa upon being assigned to the Fall League.
Bolt’s strength at the plate is his knowledge of the zone, rarely expanding and showing a willingness to work counts. This deep-count approach will yield both walks and strikeouts, and against higher quality arms, he’ll strike out more given how frequently he gets to two strikes. He has average raw power from his stronger left-hand side, 45 from the right, and in games, his barrel feel is also better as a lefty. He gets to some power by working ahead, occasionally jumping an early-count fastball, but he doesn’t project as a huge home-run threat at the major league level. Even from the left, his barrel-feel is fringy, yielding a future 45-grade hit tool with 40 game power. Bolt adds value on the defensive side, playing to average in CF and above-average in the corners. He has plus speed and gets solid jumps, able to close well on the ball. His average arm plays best in LF or CF, but it’s playable in RF for shorter stints.
Bolt enters 2019 as a Rule 5 eligible player, 25-years-old with about a half-season’s worth of Double-A at-bats under his belt. He doesn’t have the bat to profile as a regular, but the well-rounded toolset (take a walk, steal a bag, solid defense and base-running contributions, switch hitter) gives the ceiling of a Role 40 bench outfielder. -John Eshleman
Taylor Guilbeau, LHP, Nationals (Salt River Rafters)
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/180 lbs. B/T: L/L Age (as of September 1, 2018): 25y, 3m
Guilbeau showed tantalizing raw stuff from the left side at the University of Alabama, but never fully got a handle on his control bouncing between the rotation and bullpen there. He signed after his senior year with the Nationals in the 10th round, continuing to pitch both as a starter and reliever in A-ball early in his pro career. After fairly pedestrian results the first two years, Guilbeau transitioned full time to the ‘pen in 2018 with immediate success. He pitched to a 2.52 ERA over 28 relief appearances, holding lefties to a paltry .184 BAA without allowing an extra-base hit.
Eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after the season, Washington sent Guilbeau to the Fall League to get a longer look. He has pitched even better there, touching 95-to-96 mph with his fastball—up numerous ticks from where I saw the heater during the regular season. A hard slider in the 86-to-88 mph range is the go-to secondary pitch, and he’ll mix an occasional changeup with plus separation in the mid-80s. Guilbeau’s extra-wiry frame and slingy low three-quarters slot add serious deception, especially to same-side hitters. Limiting walks will still need to be a point of emphasis, as Guilbeau sprays the zone at times and falls into predictable fastball counts.
The Nationals have a tough call to make on Guilbeau, who is Rule V eligible despite turning 26 early next season and never pitching above A-ball. His dominant line against lefties during the regular season (.184/.298/.184) and surprising velocity spike in the Fall League make him an attractive Rule V candidate, and one that could arguably stick on a big league roster facing same-side hitters. A late-blooming prospect that’s on the rise, Guilbeau looks ready to contribute in the big leagues sometime soon. -Adam McInturff