Top Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Myworld has been a bit slow finishing our top prospects from various countries list.  To see the top Venezuelan Prospects in the American League you can go here: http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/?p=1710 .  The National League is a bit weaker with the prospects.

1. Wilmer Flores 3B (New York Mets) - He used to be one of the top prospects in baseball and for a couple years as well the top prospect for the Mets.  That was when there was some hope he could play short.  He has finally made the move to third, but there is some concern he may not hit for power to play a corner position.  There is also the matter of David Wright signing a lenghty extension.  David appears to have that position sewn up for the next couple years so the Mets may have to find another position for Wilmer if they want to get his bat in the lineup.  Last year he slugged a career high 18 homeruns, advancing to AA where he hit .311.  He’s gotten off to a slow start this year, with only one of his six hits going for extra bases.  He is hitting .200.

2. Ismael Guillen LHP (Cincinnati Reds) - Guillen throws lefthanded and works his fastball in the high 80s or low 90s.  His best pitch is his changeup, which is considered the best in the Reds system.  He still needs to work on command and improving his curveball to retire major league hitters.  This year he has worked seven innings and he has already walked seven and struck out 13.

3. Adys Portillo RHP (San Diego Padres) - Adys was one of the headline signings for the Padres out of Venezuela in 2008 signing a bonus worth $2 million.  Last year was the first year he appeared to finally live up to that bonus, dominating Low A (1.87 ERA with .169 opposition average).  The Padres promoted him to AA, skipping High A where he struggled with an ERA of 7.20 in eight starts.  He throws his fastball in the mid-90s, though he has trouble getting it over the plate.  If he can have success in AA in 2013 he may get a promotion to the Padres.  If he continues to struggle he may find himself demoted to High A.

4. Carlos Tocci OF (Philadelphia Phillies) - The Phillies signed him in 2011 when he turned 16.  He is not yet 18 so it may be a bit early to project him as a top prospect.  He still has a lot of mountains to climb as he escapes past the short season leagues.  He flashes four tools now, with gazelle like speed, superb defense in centerfield, a strong arm and a good batting stroke.  If he can fill out and develop power he could finish with five tools.  In his first year in rookie ball he slugged just .299 with only two of his 27 hits going for extra bases.  He was only 16 years old playing against players at least two years older than him.

5. Jose Pereza SS (Atlanta Braves) - Andrelton Simmons may make shortstop a tough position for Jose to play once he is ready to be promoted to the major league roster.  He has played two seasons in the rookie league so he is still far enough away the Braves will not worry about his position.  He has all the defensive tools to play shortstop.  What sets him apart from other players is his 53 steals in two short season leagues.  He also appears to have the ability to hit with a .288 average.  He’s been promoted to Low A to play his first year in the full season leagues where his stolen base totals may reach 50.

6. Yorman Rodriguez OF (Cincinnati Reds) - Another highly touted prospect who the Reds paid a $2.5 million bonus.  His biggest problem is overcoming maturity issues.  His best defensive position appears to be rightfield, though in a pinch he could play centerfield to get his bat in the lineup.  He’s still learning how to recognize pitches so there is a lot of swings and misses in his at bats.  Last year he hit only .156 in High A and was demoted back down to Low A.  The Reds have started him in High A to start the 2013 season where he is hitting .242 with one homerun.

7. Wilfredo Tovar SS (New York Mets) - Wilfredo doesn’t do anything flashy.  His defensive tools can sell him at shortstop, with a good arm to play the position.  Baseball America considered him the Mets best defensive infielder.  His offense will also not let anyone forget about the departure of Jose Reyes.  Some feel he will hit no more than .250 with less than five homeruns per year.  The Mets added him to the 40 man roster this year.  He has gotten a slow start at AA, hitting just .172

8. Cesar Hernandez 2B (Philadelphia Phillies) - The Phillies signed him in 2006 and he’s taken the level at a time approach with a career minor league average of .290.  Last year he got a bit of playing time in AAA where he hit .248 in just 30 games.  Like Tovar, he shows very little power, hitting just nine homeruns in his six year minor league career.  In AAA his slugging average was .298 in thirty games.

9. Edwin Escobar LHP (San Francisco Giants) - Edwin is a lefty who throws in the low 90s.  He signed in 2008 with the Rangers but still has not passed Low A.  The Giants acquired him, allowing the Rangers to keep Rule V pick Ben Snyder.  He needs to develop his secondary pitches if he wants to stay in the rotation.  Edwin has started this season in High A and in two starts he has a 1.80 ERA.

10. Henry Rodriguez 2B (Cincinnati Reds) - Henry made his major league debut last year, hitting just .214 in 12 at bats.  After raking AA for a .348 average he was promoted to AAA where he only hit .244.  He will show little power but his .303 career average shows pretty good sting with the bat.  He doesn’t have a lot of range at second and he doesn’t provide the power numbers to play a corner slot so he may be stuck in a utility role if he wants to sniff the major leagues.

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