This week in Big Hype Prospects, we’re using Baseball America’s Minor League of the Year awards as a lens to highlight a few of the men who haven’t gotten enough love in this column.
Five big hype prospects
Ezequiel Tovar, 21, SS, COL (AAA)
(AA) 295 PA, 13 HR, 17 SB, .318 / .386 / .545
Tovar was not selected for the Rockies Player of the Year award in what was ultimately a coin flip situation Adel Amador. However, we discussed Amador last week, and Tovar is set to make his debut today. After performing well in Double-A, Tovar collected 23 successful board appearances in Triple-A. He will have a short experience to finish 2022 while the club considers its long-term plans.
Scouting reports often begin with Tovar’s defense that is universally respected and should stand out in the metagame after extreme turnarounds. It relies less on centering than many of the short, large-bodied stopping points around the league. As a hitter, he has improved his call quality this season. There is still concern about him getting hurt and nice communication early in his career as he develops his chalkboard discipline. His eclecticism appears to be heading in a positive direction.
A couple freely available like this report from FanGraphs mentions their multiplication tool as a carry theme. Success tool-oriented expectations tend to have rocky development trajectories (no pun intended). At lower levels, they perform well against out-of-area stadiums which lends itself to an ineffective and blustery approach in the majors. We’ll soon take a first look at how to tune in to Tovar.
Wilmer Flores, 21, SP, DET (AA)
83.2 IP, 10.22 K/9, 2.26 BB/9, 3.01 ERA
The newest pitcher to originate in the Tigers system, Flores crushed top-tier hitters in early 2022 before moving to Double-A. Not to be confused with his brother, veteran 10-year-old Wilmer Flores, Flores is a bowler of the same name who relies on arm strength and a pair of strength-breaking balls. Reports suggest poor driving despite his low walking rate – an indication that he’s throwing his stuff in the zone and letting hitters out for themselves. There are worse ways to develop for a poorly controlled shooter with the extra stuff. This season, at least two erroneously known laxatives – Jose Alvarado And the FAlex Bautista – Gained a breakthrough by throwing more pitches into the strike area.
Flores entered the season firmly considering that she would empty the future. This year his work, including maintaining speed in deep cruises, is beginning to change that perspective.
Andy Rodriguez, 22, C/2B, hole (AAA)
(AA) 138 PA, 8 HR, 1 SB, .356/.442/.678
acquired in Joe Musgrove Trade, Rodriguez’s development has progressed by leaps and bounds this season. He entered the year as a service man with some remarkable experience. He now appears to be part of an excellent hunter or a second primary man. His batting footsteps, who have always been disciplined, have taken a big step this season. Including the three levels he has played, Rodriguez has made 24 home runs, 37 doubles, and three times in 520 games. He not only hits for power, but makes excellent swing decisions and gets better on every level. In a more desirable system, this performance could deserve to be listed among the top 25 possibilities. As it stands, it has quietly jumped into the top 100 list.
Kyle Manzardo, 22, 1B, TBR (AA)
122 PA, 5 HR, 1 SB, .323/.402/.576
Manzardo, a basic man of six feet one inch, will have to mash up to make his way to Majors. Fortunately, he has already done so. He also finds himself in the right organisation. The Rays is the only team that gives people who are deprived of height similarly Ji Man Choi Chance to find a role. Manzardo shows better potential to avoid blows from Choi while maintaining similar discipline. Including the High-A, his 22 home games in 397 appearances for the board represents an improvement in pre-season poll reports that indicate he has below-average strength. Manzardo, a left-handed hitter, swerves slightly to fly the ball. Depending on the development of his strength, he could become an outstanding first commander or else he would struggle with the lower BABIPs at the higher levels. Early returns indicate that the first outcome is more likely.
Tyler Gentry, 23, OF, KC (AA)
331 PA, 16 HR, 8 SB, .321/ .417/ .555
The royals may have been hampered by the sheer volume of odds they’ve upgraded to Majors this season. This also meant that there was room for the rise of new names, such as the gentry. Gentry, a well-rounded hitter, thrived on 152 High-A board appearances before ascending to Double-A where he continued to excel. In American baseball, he credits a streamlined approach and endurance with his offensive breakout — not because he wasn’t already a well-regarded hitter entering the season. Hit his defense. He is a corner player who is not known for particularly good jumps. It’s a profile that requires a big bat to work in the majors. Although he doesn’t have a single carry trait as a hitter, the entire profile is powered up thanks to the added discipline and barreled communication talent. Keep an eye on BABIPs next season.
Taylor Dollard, Mediterranean (23): graduate sailors Julio Rodriguez And the George Kirby. Matt Brash Join Bullpen, Emerson Hancock He had a touchdown season, and Noelfi Martí It was exported to Cincinnati. Dollard is running as a candidate for first place in the Seattle system on a vulnerability basis. The right hand limits walking (1.94 BB / 9) and can cause a lot of puffs when needed. He’s mostly trying to connect, which puts a future eater on track for his debut next season.
Louie Farland, Maine (24)On his third start in the league as I write, Farland made a brilliant 20th appearance in Double A before making an impressive four appearances in Triple-A. While he’s not a physical specimen and lacks the roaring velocity associated with most merchandising prospects today, Farland has a four-grade repertoire of average performances. He is able to mix and match in a way that will, in the end, keep the big hitters out of balance. He’ll probably throw his share of clunkers along the way.
Jeremy De La Rosa, WSH (20)A left-handed center hitter with defensive pieces, De La Rosa performed well as an age-appropriate center in Low-A. Upgrading to High-A didn’t slow his basic steal, but it did render his racket impotent (53 wRC+). De la Rosa appears set for a slow-burning developmental path. The defense almost guarantees the eventual arrival of the Major League while the high strike rate could make it a long-term reserve.
Sedan Rafaella, BOS (22): Raffaella, the five-foot-eight-inch utility man, has been surprisingly strong across two tiers this season. He’s an aggressive hacker who has a lot of swing and miss in his game, traits that can be exploited at the higher levels. This season, he’s managed 21 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 524 appearances for a board split between High- and Double-A. He turned 22 five days ago.
Colson Montgomery, CWS (20): Montgomery has started sluggishly and hasn’t flirted with many of the looks she’s taken this season. However, the composite stats show promise from a multi-sport athlete. He’s making a lot of connections, doing really well, and he’s really developing tricky strength. Most players with his background – he was a rising star in the rings and also played in the middle – tend to move slowly through the lower levels. Montgomery has already climbed to Double-A.
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