2019 LEAGUE ALL-STAR PREVIEWS
(Updated as each piece is released)
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Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets (Columbia Fireflies)
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 166 lbs. B/T: S / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 11m
Mauricio was one of the top available talents in the 2017 international signing class, agreeing to terms with the Mets for a hefty $2.1 million bonus. He was advanced enough to skip right to the GCL last summer, where he more than held his own as a 17-year-old before a brief eight-game stint in the Appalachian League to finish the year. He’s extremely young for the South Atlantic League but doing just fine, especially impressive considering how many talented, high-profile teenage prospects struggle through early parts of the season in A-Ball.
A rangy, quick-twitch 6-foot-3, Mauricio’s athleticism and projectability jump off the page. His actions on both sides of the ball are effortless, and there’s unusual coordination for a player of this size and age. A switch-hitter, he’s significantly more advanced batting left-handed. Mauricio shows a fluid, balanced stroke from both sides of the plate, but there’s much more barrel-feel and general zone awareness when facing righties. His burgeoning raw power likely won’t show up in games for awhile, as he’s much younger than his competition and has two swings to develop. That said, with such a long-levered frame and a fast bat, it’s easy to see the potential for power down the line. Defensively, he’s surprisingly light on his feet for a larger player and shows the actions to potentially stick at the position. There’s easy carry across the infield with more than enough strength to stick at 3B if he outgrows the middle of the field.
It will be a few years until we really know what Mauricio will be, but what’s exciting is there’s a scenario where he develops into a star. Mauricio has a chance to impact the game with all five tools, with an especially high ceiling considering his switch-hitting, center-diamond upside. He only has about 100 pro games under his belt but already ranks among the top prospects in the Mets organization.
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Delmarva Shorebirds)
Already very physical at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Rodriguez is strong enough to generate velocity without significant effort, allowing him to focus on control and his mechanics. Improvements in those departments have been visible since he turned pro, and he’s athletic enough to continue projecting up on the fastball command. His fastball touches 97 and sits comfortably in the 93-to-95 mph range, exploding late on hitters for swinging strikes up in the zone. Both his slider and curve flash above-average upside, the curve looking especially sharp at times in this look. Another enthusing development was the clear progression of a low-80s changeup, a pitch that was fairly crude in high school but played like an effective weapon to lefties at best.
Rodriguez surprised some by going so early in the first round last year, but he has done nothing but back it up since signing. Especially considering the rate his changeup and pitchability have progressed, the best-case ceiling looks like a #2/#3 starter with power stuff. Rodriguez is one of the biggest risers in all the low minors in 2019, and should start to pop up on top prospect lists given the excellent start to his first full pro season.
Adam Hall, SS, Baltimore Orioles (Delmarva Shorebirds)
The 60th overall pick in 2017 from a Canadian high school, Hall barely played after signing in order to add strength and acclimate to professional baseball. That seems to have paid off, as he went from being questionably ready to hit coming out of high school to slashing .298/.368/.374 just a year later in the New York-Penn League. He has taken another step forward at the plate in 2019, named to the South Atlantic League all-star team after hitting .321 and swiping 16 bases for Delmarva in the first half.
Hall had a fringy arm entering pro ball that has gotten stronger in subsequent years, giving him a better chance to stick at shortstop. He’s fast enough to try the outfield if he does move off the position. He likely won’t ever hit for much power, but speed that grades as a legitimate 70 or 80 tool compensates for certain holes in his game and give’s Hall the ceiling of a big league regular. His wheels and potential defensive versatility give the fallback of a bench player if the bat doesn’t impact enough for consistent playing time.
Luis Gil, RHP, New York Yankees (Charleston RiverDogs)
A testament to the value of backfields scouting, the Yankees acquired Gil in exchange for marginal big league outfielder Jake Cave in a trade with Minnesota just before the 2018 season. We were among the first to get a look at Gil last year in Extended Spring Training before he shipped off to the Appy League. The 21-year-old righty was named to the South Atlantic League all-star team and has been one of the circuit’s best pitching prospects in 2019.
Gil has a classic projectable frame, standing 6-foot-3 with loose, long limbs and some remaining projection in the upper-half. His fastball comes out easy, sitting in the mid-90s with scrapes of 98-99 mph at times. It’s an explosive pitch with late hop when elevated, able to blow by barrels to all parts of the zone. Gil doesn’t command his heater particularly well at this point—loose over the plate with still-shaky strikethrowing ability—but his velocity and life are enough that he won’t need to be pinpoint. His primary off-speed is a hard low-80s curveball with diagonal slant across the zone. It’s at least a future average pitch, if not a tick more, playing as a swing-and-miss offering in A-Ball. Gil’s changeup is a distant third speed but flashes glimpses of late dive and bottoming action at best.
Gil is probably too advanced for the league at this point and looks ready to move up to High-A. Despite a sparkling 1.81 ERA and strikeout rate above 30-percent, his underlying control and third pitch issues will need to be addressed in order to fully reach his ceiling. With steps forward in those regards, Gil’s fastball and curve give the baseline tools of a power #3 starter. There’s risk here and a fairly short sample to date; despite the tools, there are scenarios where this type of pitching prospect winds up a stuff-over-results backend type or moves to the ‘pen. That’s still excellent value for the price Gil was acquired, and he’s moving up the Yankees’ prospect list with his strong showing in 2019.
Lolo Sanchez, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Greensboro Grasshoppers)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 168 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 11m
Sanchez burst onto the national prospect radar after a strong GCL showing in 2017 at the age of 18. He struggled last year in his first taste of full-season ball—especially in the first half, slashing a meager .211/.278/.308—but Sanchez has rebounded in 2019 with another year in the South Atlantic League. He only turned 20 in April, hardly old for the level, and was named to the circuit’s mid-season all-star team after a turnaround .301/.377/.451 performance thus far for Greensboro.
A speedy outfielder, Sanchez’ game is based around contact and defense. He puts the ball in play and won’t strike out much, pressuring the defense with plus speed that has allowed up to steal over 50 bases the last two years in A-Ball. Sanchez has shown more extra-base pop in 2019 now that he’s less overmatched by South Atlantic League pitching, though it’s tough to see his slight build and grounder-heavy contact profile ever being much of a power threat. He’s an above-average defensive outfielder that projects to stay in CF long term. Sanchez’ ceiling is a throwback everyday outfielder who sets the table from the top or bottom of a lineup. His speed and defense could still give utility off the bench or as a spot-starting fourth outfielder even if he doesn’t produce enough at the plate for a full-time role.
FEATURED SCOUTING REPORTS
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox (Greenville Drive)
Holding his own in full-season ball as a 19-year-old; high makeup paired with innate hitter’s feel and big power gives the upside of a middle-of-the-order bat.
Jonathan Ornelas, INF, Texas Rangers (Hickory Crawdads)
Breakout prospect in 2019 with extremely advanced hitting ability; ceiling of offensive-minded infielder, could be more if power develops into above-average tool
Michael Gigliotti, OF, Kansas City Royals (Lexington Legends)
Contact, on-base skills, and center-diamond defensive ability give the ceiling of a role player or solid fourth outfielder.
Austin Cox, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Lexington Legends)
Durable lefty with deep mix of average pitches; fairly polished already with the upside of a #5 starter.
Seth Corry, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Augusta GreenJackets)
Sturdy lefty with mid-90s fastball and flashes of two solid off-speed pitches; tools of #4/#5 starter if he cuts down the free passes.
OTHERS OF NOTE
|Dayeison Arias||SEA||West Virginia||RHP||Video|