Myworld did our last bit of shoveling for the winter. Tomorrow we will be in Florida to hopefully enjoy the sunshine for the month and watch a little spring training baseball.
30. Hunter Harvey RHP (Orioles) 6.37 - The son of closer Bryan, Hunter was the Orioles first round pick in 2013. His fastball is explosive like his father hitting the mid 90s, but sitting at 92-94. Unlike his dad, Hunter will be a starter utilizing a quality curve and change to give him three solid pitches for a rotation. Last year he made his debut in the full season league getting 17 starts and limiting the opposition to a .209 average. He popped a little above a strikeout an inning until his season ended early with an arm injury. The good news is the doctors did not believe surgery was necessary. Hunter should start the season at High A but the Orioles will be cautious with his innings and pitch counts until they are confident that his arm is healthy. A rotation of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey could be quite formidable in the next couple years.
29. Raul Aldeberto Mondesi SS (Royals) 6.43 - Another son of an ex-major leaguer who will fill a different role than his father. The Royals signed Raul in 2011 for $2 million out of the Dominican Republic. While his father intimidated the pitchers with his power stroke the son will intimidate pitchers with his legs and contribute to team victories with stellar defense at shortstop. The only tool lacking from the younger Mondesi is the power exhibited by his father. He was still a teenager last year while competing in High A, struggling with older pitchers to hit for a .211 average and .256 OBA. He biggest battle was a lack of patience as evidenced by his 24/122 walk to whiff ratio. Despite the offensive struggles he still showed a consistency at shortstop, committing only 16 errors. It would not hurt to see him repeat at High A to gain some confidence in his offense. The more he gets on base the more he can show case his premier speed.
28. Aaron Sanchez RHP (Blue Jays) 6.58 - Sanchez was a first round supplemental pick in the 2010 draft. Myworld watched him a couple years ago in the Arizona Fall League and he was the player we were most impressed with after we left Arizona. He throws hard, hitting the high 90s when working out of the pen and sitting at 92-96 when in the rotation. He also throws a quality curveball and change. The big issue with him is his lack of command. He generally walks around five batters per game, a killer for the bullpen when a starting pitcher reaches his pitch count by the fifth inning. Last year he did not have dominating numbers when he pitched in the starting rotation in AA and AAA, getting hit at a .281 clip in AAA. The Blue Jays still promoted him to the majors, using him out of the bullpen where his walk rate dropped and the opposition could hit him at only a .128 clip. It is expected he will start the 2015 season in the Blue Jays bullpen, though they have not given him the idea of still making him a starter. It is possible the Blue Jays could convert him to a closer by the end of the year if the hitters still have trouble hitting him in 2015.
27. Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) 6.62 - The first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues was a pitcher (Hiram Bithorn). Surprising Puerto Rico is more known for developing position players, especially catchers and not pitchers. Jose hopes to make his mark as a pitcher. He was a first round supplemental pick in the 2012 draft, the highest pitcher drafted from Puerto Rico, the same draft that made Carlos Correa the first Puerto Rican selected as the first pick in the draft. Jose can toast the radar readings in the high 90s with his fastball, but generally sits at 92-94. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress. Last year he rose three levels, finishing at AAA where he made one poor start. The Twins will start Jose in AA in 2015 where he started eight games with a 3.54 ERA. The Twins do not have a lot of talent in their starting rotation. Jose will be competing with Trevor May and Alex Meyer to be the first pitcher called up when the need will eventually arise to add some quality arms to the rotation. Of the three, Jose shows the greatest command.
26. Jameson Taillon RHP (Pirates) 6.67 - Taillon was the second player drafted in the 2010 draft after the Nationals selected Bryce Harper. His parents are Canadian which allowed Jameson to pitch for the Canadian team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. After a successful 2013 season it was expected Jameson would compete for a spot in the Pirates 2014 starting rotation as they fought for a second straight playoff spot. Before spring training ended he was one of a village of pitchers who missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery. Prior to the surgery his fastball hit the mid 90s and he had an excellent curve. The Pirates will start him slowly in AAA and hope his stuff returns to pre-surgery form. This would make him a candidate for a mid-season promotion.
25.Andrew Heaney RHP (Angels) 7 - The Marlins drafted Heaney in the first round of the 2012 draft. The negotiations were contentious, with a last hour signing a result. Heaney did not help his cause with the club with a less than sterling 2014 major league debut (5.83 ERA). The Marlins traded him at the end of the year to the Dodgers for Dan Haren and Dee Gordon. The Dodgers then flipped Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Heaney does not have overpowering stuff, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball. His secondary pitches with the slider and change are what will make him a number two type starter. With a good spring he has a chance to make the rotation. Garrett Richards is expected to miss the first couple weeks of the season and the Angels do not have a lot of options to throw out there. If he has success when Garrett returns the Angels will keep him in the rotation, but if he struggles like he did with the Marlins last year, a little more AAA time will not hurt.
24. David Dahl OF (Rockies) 7.17 - David was a first round pick of the Rockies in 2012. After hitting .375 in his debut season a lot was expected of him. The 2013 season was a nightmare, suspensions and injuries limiting him to just ten games. He recovered some of his mojo in 2014, hitting .309 with a .847 OPS in low A. Those numbers were not quite as impressive when promoted to High A. Dahl is above average in all five tools and is expected to play centerfield for the Rockies in 2017. His first step will be to master High A, where if he has success he will lead to a promotion to AA, just a step away from the major leagues. During this journey one can assume Dahl put up enough funds to buy himself an alarm clock so he does not repeat the travails of the 2013 season.
23. Henry Owens LHP (Red Sox) 7.23 - Henry was a first round supplemental pick of the Red Sox in 2011. At 6′7″ with a fastball in the low 90s he can be intimidating from the left side of the mound. He continues to average a strikeout per inning in his minor league career, rising to the AAA level in 2014. One area he improved on last year was his command where he dropped his walk rate from 4.5 per nine innings to a little over three walks per nine innings. He struggled a bit with right handed bats in AAA if a .245 opposition average can be called a struggle. The Red Sox will start his 2015 season in AAA where he will stand ready to be one of the first pitchers promoted if they have a need in the starting rotation.
22. J.P. Crawford SS (Phillies) 7.58 - The Phillies have not had a lot of success with their first round picks. J.P. was their selection in the first round of the 2013 draft. He looks to be a keeper. The Phillies traded Jimmy Rollins and will have to tolerate the next two seasons with Freddy Galvis at short, but J.P. is on the rise. He’s got some sting in his bat with the instincts to play short. The only question mark with him is his lack of foot speed when moving to first base. Last year Crawford reached AA, hitting more homeruns than in A ball, but less doubles. So the gappers were sailing over the fence, but his slugging average was constant (.405 versus .407) because of a 20 point drop in average. Despite his lack of foot speed he still managed to steal 24 bases in 38 attempts. His most impressive number was his 65/74 walk to whiff ratio. He makes contact and can get on base with the base on balls. The Phillies will start his season in AA with no motivation to speed up his service time in this rebuilding season. Expect J.P. to make his major league debut sometime in 2016.
21. Daniel Norris LHP (Blue Jays) 7.63 - A second Blue Jay pitcher on this list, though Daniel throws from the left side and was a second round pick in 2011. His $2 million bonus was higher than the four players selected ahead of him in the first round supplemental portion of the draft and Tyler Beede, the first round pick did not sign. Daniel can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, but generally sits at 92-94. He also has a good slider and change that complements the fastball. Last year he pitched at four different levels, getting one start and four relief appearances with the Blue Jays. In the minor leagues he averaged close to 12 whiffs per nine innings. That number dropped to 5.4 in the majors. It was still tough to make barrel of the bat contact off him. A good spring could find him in the Blue Jays starting rotation as the fifth starter, or he could pitch out of the pen. The Blue Jays may prefer to have him eat innings in AAA in preparation as a starter.