Top Ten Venezuelan Prospects National League

This list has not changed much from last year.  The names have shifted around a bit, but no player from the 2013 prospect list was disqualified for the 2014 list because they played too much in the major leagues.  You can see last year’s list by going here:

1. Edwin Escobar (LHP) Giants - He is left handed and throws in the low 90s, a skill sought after by major league teams.  He was originally drafted by the Rangers but the Giants acquired him in return for allowing the Rangers to send Rule V pick Ben Snyder to the minor leagues.  He needs to gain consistency with his breaking pitches and changeup before the Giants will trust him to get major league hitters out.  Last year he had success in High A (2.89) and AA (2.67).  This year he was assigned to AAA and after a slow start (14 runs in 12 plus innings) he has given up only one run in his last two starts covering 11 innings.  He could see the major league roster if he shows success in AAA.

2. Yorman Rodriguez (OF) Reds - Yorman was a highly touted prospect in 2008 when he signed for a then Venezuelan record $2.5 million.  He has not quite lived up to that signing bonus, slowly working his way up the minor league system.  His power numbers have been absent, though his 13 homeruns last year were the first he has achieved double digits.  The big concern with that year is he struck out 153 times in 129 games.  It was originally thought he would be a centerfielder, but he is more comfortable in right field.  This year he is repeating AA with an improvement in average (.325) and slugging percentage (.442).  He has also slightly cut back on his strikeouts with only 19 in his first 19 games.

3. Wilmer Flores (2B/3B) Mets - The Mets have been waiting a long time for Wilmer to make the 25-man roster, though despite his six years in the minor leagues he is still only 23 years old.  Wilmer is basically a man without a position, or at least a position that is available.  Third base is his best position, but that is taken by David Wright.  He lacks the range to play short and second is taken by Daniel Murphy.  Last year Flores made his major league debut because of an injury to Wright and only hit .211 after hitting .321 in AAA.  The Mets still talked about using him at shortstop but sent him back to AAA where he is hitting only .247.  Eventually the Mets will find a place for him if he shows them he has a bat.

4. Cesar Hernandez (2b/OF) Phillies - With the injury to Ben Revere last year the Phillies used Hernandez in centerfield where he hit .289.  His best position is second base where Chase Utley holds rank.  If Freddy Galvis continues with an average under .100 Cesar may take over his role as a utility player.  He is known more for his defense than his bat.  He lacks power but hit .309 with 32 stolen bases last year at AAA.  This year the Phillies have him playing at AA where he has hit .321.  Cesar has already seen six major league games this year and is probably best suited for a utility role.

5. Jose Peraza (SS) Braves - With Andrelton Simmons at short Jose may have to eventually move to second base or play short for another team.  The Braves have some time to make that decision as last year was his first year in a full season league, where he hit .288 with 64 stolen bases.  He is said to have good baseball instincts which raises the bar on his already impressive tools.  The only thing he lacks is power, which would seem to prevent a move to third base.  This year he is playing in High A and has not slowed down stealing 12 bases in just 23 games with a .330 average.  He is also seeing time at second base.

6. Carlos Tocci (OF) Phillies - The Phillies signed Carlos in 2011 for $759,000.  He has the range to play centerfield and the arm to fit in right.  His bat last year was a little suspect (.209) with only 17 extra base hits.  He is still one of the youngest players in each league he plays in.  Despite his struggles the Phillies promoted him to High A where he has started well (.278).  This is his third professional season but he has yet to hit a homerun or triple.  This year Carlos did hit his first two triples in his professional career.

7. Ehire Adrianza (SS) Giants - Ehire had a good spring which got him a job with the major league team (helped by a lack of options).  While he is noted for his defense he showed a good stick during spring training hitting three homeruns.  He rarely hits three homeruns in one whole season.  Last year he hit three homeruns, one of those coming in the major leagues.  The Giants have Brandon Crawford at shortstop so Adrianza will play a utility role.  He is hitting only .192 in a part time role.

8. Jesus Solórzano (OF) Marlins - Jesus showed some good power in his first season in a full season league.  In 2012 he led the Penn State League in slugging (.519) and continued that success in Low A with 15 homeruns and a .450 slugging percentage.  The big concern was his 24/111 walk to whiff ratio, evidence of a lack of patience at the plate.  He has the speed to steal 33 bases and the range to play center field.  An injury has prevented him from getting a start to the 2014 season.

9. Ismael Guillen (LHP) Reds - Another lefthander who has a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can hit 95.  His changeup is a strikeout pitch, allowing him to average over a strikeout per inning in his minor league career.  He lacks an effective breaking pitch and his command is non-existent, walking 95 in 121 innings last year, putting his ERA at 4.75.  That lack of success has him repeating Low A where he has dominated (1.59 ERA) limiting the opposition to a .118 average.  He has not allowed more than three hits in any of his five starts and has walked more hitters (12) than he has allowed hits (10).

10. Orlando Arcia (SS) Brewers - a broken ankle forced him to miss all of the 2012 season.  He recovered in 2013 to hit .251.  His .333 slugging percentage shows a lack of power, but he did hit four homeruns last year.  His older brother Oswaldo plays outfield for the Twins, though a knee injury has put a crimp to his 2014 plans.  Orlando makes contact (35/40 walk to whiff) and has the tools to play short defensively.  Right now his defense is ahead of his offense.  This year he was promoted to the Florida State League where he is only hitting .209.

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