Top Ten Mexican Prospects

Only one player graduated from last year’s top ten. Victor Arano was myworld’s number 5 prospect from Mexico and he appeared in 60 games of relief for Philadelphia last year. We expect a couple players to graduate from this year’s list. A number of new faces to keep this list fresh.

1. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Alex was born in Tucson but his dad is from south of the border. That was enough to qualify Alex for the Mexican national team. He probably should have made the list last year. A second round pick of the Dodgers in 2014 Alex is more of a gap hitter than over the fence power. The arm is strong enough for right field but he lacks the speed for center. He will hit for average but the homerun numbers could fall shy of 20. This could put him in the fourth outfielder category. The trade of Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig opened up some outfield room for Verdugo this year. The average is there (.345) and his .635 slugging comes with three homeruns. That will be enough to graduate from this list after this year. The Dodgers outfield is crowded so playing time will be dependent on a productive bat.

2. Florencio Serrano RHP (Rangers) - The Cubs had originally signed him for $1.2 million but major league baseball voided the contract after a dispute with Mexico over the distribution of the bonus money. When major league baseball and Mexico came to an agreement the Rangers swooped in and signed Serrano for $850,000. Serrano was born in Texas but moved to Mexico after his freshman year in high school. He signed with the Mexican League team the Tijuana Toros. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has reached the mid-90s in try outs. He also has a decent slider and developing change. At 19 years of age he has time to develop his pitches. After pitching in extended spring training he will join one of the short season leagues.

3. Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - He was supposed to start the season as the Padres shortstop but Fernando Tatis impressed so much in spring training that Urias was sent down while Tatis was kept to play shortstop. Luis was later called up to play second but struggled with the bat and was sent down. In the minor leagues Luis has no problem hitting for a high average. His struggles have come in the major leagues where hitting for an average above .200 has been a struggle. He has the defensive tools to play short but will probably fit better at second base, deferring to Tatis at short. The power is lacking and his legs do not carry enough speed to steal bases, so he needs to hit for average to make an impact. Expect him to be called up again by mid-season and at some point figure out major league pitching.

4. Isaac Paredes 2B/3B (Tigers) - The hit tool is impressive. Isaac was originally a shortstop but his lower half is a bit thick to have the range to play that position. This year the Tigers have moved him to third base where the power could be there to play the position. Last year he hit 15 homeruns. He tends to be a pull heavy hitter where most of his power is and as he rises up the minors the pitchers could become more savvy to that approach. How he responds to being pitched away could have an impact on his major league development. At worst he will become a solid utility player with the Tigers. At best he could be an offensive oriented second baseman or solid third baseman. He is currently playing in AA where last year he hit .321 in 150 at bats last year. He should hit for a high enough average and decent power to be a good major league contributor.

5. Luis Verdugo SS (Cubs) - The Cubs seem to do a pretty good job of mining prospects down in Mexico. They lost Serrano but they have three other prospects in the minor leagues who were discovered in Mexico. Verdugo may be the best, signed in 2017 for $1.2 million. He played on the Mexican National team as a 15 year old. The arm is there to play short but a lack of speed could limit his range for the position. His bat is solid with some potential for power, which could allow for a move to third base if his range is found lacking. Last year he struggled with a .193 average in the Arizona Rookie League. At 18 years old he is young enough to repeat at that level.

6. Andres Munoz RHP (Padres) - The Padres are the closest team to take advantage of the south of the border talent. Andres was signed by the Padres in 2015 for a $700,000 bonus. His fastball has gone from the low 90s as a 16 year old to touching triple digits now that he is 20. Last year he pitched 25 games in relief for the Padres and averaged 100 miles per hour with his fastball. Over his three year minor league career he has only had one start, but his whiffs per nine innings sit at 11.8. Command and the improvement on his slider would make him closer material. It is unusual to find a hard thrower out of Mexico, but Munoz fits the bill.

7. Jose Albertos RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs shelled out $1.5 million in 2015 to sign Jose. There is a lot of talent in his arm, with a fastball that can rise to the mid-90s but often falls to the low 90s. This resulted in a horrible year last year where he could not get anyone out. His ERA was in double digits, hitters whacked him at an over .300 average and his walks to whiff ratio hit an ugly 65/38 in just 30 innings. That is usually not the numbers for a prospect but he has shown the Cubs some good seasons. The 2019 season will be key to determine whether he stays a prospect or becomes a journeyman. Some time in extended spring to work on his delivery is best and perhaps a callup to Low A or wait until the short seasons starts before making his 2019 debut. At 20 years old he needs to start showing more consistency on the mound.

8. Reivaj Garcia SS (Cubs) - Garcia was signed in 2017 for $500,000. He doesn’t have the tools of Verdugo and lacks the power bat to fit at third base. The ability to make contact is there so if he can hit for a high average he could eventually move to second base. Last year in his minor league debut he hit .302, but only nine of his 52 hits went for extra bases. At 18 years of age coming into this season he will probably see another year of short season. As he matures the Cubs hope enough power develops to give him a shot at making it as a utility player.

9. Gerardo Carrillo RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers got a bargain with Carrillo, signing him for just $75,000 in 2016. Despite his lack of size (6′0″, 155) he throws the ball hard, hitting the mid 90s with his fastball. He also has the ability to find the plate and as pitchers in Mexico learn, uses a multitude of pitches to retire hitters. His change is probably his best pitch. Last year when promoted to Low A he put together a 1.65 ERA in nine starts, limiting hitters to a .200 average. He relies more on soft contact than swings and misses to retire hitters, but as he bulks up that could change.

10. Tirso Ornelas OF (Padres) - Tirso signed for $1.5 million in 2016. At 6′3″ he has the potential to hit for some pop, last year hitting eight homeruns in Low A. The speed is lacking but the arm is enough to allow him to play either corner. Once he learns to pull the ball more effectively the power numbers should improve. He makes good contact for a power hitter. As he grows he will have to watch his weight. A move to first base would lesson his value and require that he fulfill his power potential to make it to the major leagues. The big advantage he has is he hits lefthanded.

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