Nolan Gorman (STL, #8)
Last 10 days (Rk): 18 for 40, 4 HR, 6 doubles
It has been a fantastic start for Nolan Gorman, who is now hitting .346/.439/.677 in Rookie ball. However, for the sake of going against the hype train grain (hype grain?), I’m not sure if this moves my needle of Gorman’s outlook as much as one would expect. Gorman’s warts going into the draft were twofold; he posed a big risk to move to 1B and he struggled with breaking stuff in many looks across the industry. Gorman has 9 errors in just 34 games this season at 3B, so that risk remains, and while there are quite a few videos of Gorman hitting HR off of FB and bad CH so far, there’s also a handful of him swinging over the top of breakers by quite a bit. The future could be very, very bright for Gorman, but I’m going to wait and see how he does at A ball (where the quality of breaking stuff should increase drastically) before reflecting that in my personal rankings.
Dylan Cease (CWS, #5)
This week (AA): 2 starts, 12 IP, 0.00 ERA, 6 H, 2 BB, 16 K
More zeroes for Cease this week, who has now not allowed a single run in 4 of his last 5 starts. Coming into the year, Cease’s stuff was not in question; he had a plus, maybe 70 grade fastball, an above average curveball, and a change that wasn’t bad either. But Cease had never thrown more than 100 innings, and while the 90+ IP he threw last season was step in the right direction, it wasn’t quite enough to brush off any and all durability questions. With this outing, Cease is up past 112 IP on the year and has held his velocity throughout his starts all season long, which is huge for a pitcher with his delivery. ~140 IP on the year would give him ~230 IP over the last 2 seasons, raising his stock in a big, big way. Cease has struck out 140 hitters in those 112.1 IP this year.
Mark Vientos (NYM, #10)
Last 10 days (Rk): 17 for 38, 5 HR, 2 doubles, 1 SB
Vientos, who was selected in the 2nd round in 2017, was extremely young for the draft class, and still will not be 19 until December. Vientos’ showing in the Appy League thus far has been impressive, with early showings of power and a surprisingly decent glove since being shifted full time from SS to 3B (where scouts figured he’d end up long term anyway). He’s hitting .297/.368/.538 in 163 PA so far with a near 10% walk rate and a strikeout rate below 15%. Vientos is one of about half a dozen other Mets prospects who have seen their stock jump noticeably in 2018.
Ian Anderson (ATL, #3)
This week (A+): 7.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 1 BB, 5 K
I really wish I sacked up and ranked Anderson higher in Rhys’ and my midseason ranks back in July. I truly believe he’s shoving his way into that second tier of pitching prospects. Along with a great (and steadily improving) 3-pitch mix, Anderson has all the things I love in a pitcher: high-¾ slot, fantastic extension, tall, lean frame. Despite current command that leaves something to be desired, I think his delivery and athleticism get him there easily. Even including Mike Soroka, Anderson is my favorite pitcher in the loaded Braves’ system.
Tyler Freeman (CLE, #19)
Last 10 days (A-): 19 for 41, 2 HR, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 SB
Freeman, who was drafted in the second round last season, is your typical, small, high-energy, shortstop. He carries with him a bunch of average tools, but has been having himself a very good season with the Indians’ short season squad, hitting .385/.432/.552 in 45 games. He doesn’t walk very much and there isn’t much power, but Freeman is a tough strikeout and has some feel to hit. He projects to a hit-over-power utility infielder type who could slot in at SS in a pinch.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY, #7)
This week (A-): 2 starts, 8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 4 H, 2 BB, 10 K
Schmidt, the Yankees’ 1st round pick in 2017, has worked all the way back from Tommy John surgery and is now logging good innings for short season Staten Island. These 2 outings were his first. Schmidt has a good little repertoire of pitches, including a fastball that touched 96 in June, two above average breakers with a curve that registered 2600 RPM in his July 30th start, and a decent changeup. Schmidt is small with a lower-¾ slot and some trouble repeating his delivery, so there is standard command/relief risk, but it has never hindered his ability to throw strikes.
Nolan Martinez (NYY, #20)
This week (A-): 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 BB, 7 K
5 perfect innings for Clarke Schmidt’s rotation mate on Thursday, dropping Martinez’ ERA to 1.23 on the year. The young right hander has had his innings limited significantly by the club since being drafted in 2016 as they waited for him to fill out his 6’3”, 165 lbs frame a bit, but he seems to have begun his pro journey. Martinez usually sits in the low-90’s, but before the draft in 2016, TrackMan recorded his fastball with the biggest FB spin rate of the entire class, so the ball has some good natural move to it. He’s got some feel to spin a breaker as well, so he’s a wait-and-see arm, but with rotation upside.
Vidal Brujan (TB, #11)
Last 10 days (A): 13 for 31, 5 doubles, 7 XBH, 5 SB
With teenagers like Juan Soto and Vlad Jr. and Tatis Jr. and Andres GImenez sometimes clouding what is and what is not impressive, players like Brujan, who is currently is 20 years old at Low-A, can get lost in the mix. Still a year younger than the average age at the level, Brujan has had a very, very productive year. He has hit .313/.395/.427 in the Midwest League while walking nearly as much as he has struck out (48:53 BB:K). There hasn’t been much power to speak of with just 28 XBH in 377 AB, but his ability to put the bat to ball paired with his innate feel for the barrel and ability to draw a walk has Brujan’s OBP mark in the top 5 in the league. He also contributes on the bases and in the field. He looks the part of a future everyday guy.
Jhoan Duran (MIN, #23)
This week (A): 2 starts, 13.1 IP, 2.03 ERA, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K
The newest member of the Twins’ organization – received in the trade that sent Eduardo Escobar to Arizona – got off to a great start with his new team, limiting the baserunners (0.53 WHIP) and racking up the strikeouts. Duran has a big fastball sitting in the mid-90s and touching 98 with 2 promising secondaries.
Ryan Jeffers (MIN, N/A)
Last 10 days (A): 15 for 41, 3 HR, 7 doubles
The Twins selected Jeffers in the 2nd round (59th overall) as a catcher out of UNC Willmington after Jeffers hit .323/.445/.620 in his collegiate career. Jeffers is a poor runner with just an average arm, but the Twins hope he can stick behind the plate. Come draft time, there was some questions if Jeffers’ bat and power would translate to pro ball, as Jeffers had a .724 and .701 OPS in two, wood-bat summer leagues in 2016 and 2017, but so far so good in pro ball as his season line now reads .356/.442/.711 in Low-A. Jeffers will be worth keeping an eye on going into next season.
Reggie Lawson (SD, #21)
This week (A+): 2.1 IP, 42.43 ERA, 10 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Albert Abreu (NYY, #4)
This week (Rk): 0.1 IP, 216.00 ERA, 8 H, 0 BB, 0 K
OH NO. At least he managed to limit the walks?
Daniel Lynch (KC, #8)
This week (A): 2 starts, 10 IP, 0.90 ERA, 8 H, 3 BB, 11 K
Ohhh yeahhh. The 34th overall pick in this year’s draft has been great against lesser competition thus far post-draft, holding a 1.53 ERA through 8 starts between Rookie and Low-A. Results aside, what Lynch has done so far is impressive to me. This dude has been pitching since mid February and continues to go out and pitch well, now up to nearly 135 IP between his junior year at Virginia and his first taste stint with the Royals. Getting up to 160+ IP this season is now out of the question, and that kind of durability would be a huge boost to the lefties resume.
Others of note:
Kris Bubic (KC, #9): 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 H, 0 BB, 10 K
Brandon Bailey (HOU, #28): 8 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K. I wrote about Bailey here.
Marcelo Martinez (KC, UR): 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 12 K
Adrian Morejon (SD, #6): Exited his start at Lake Elsnoire with triceps discomfort in his throwing arm after 1+ innings, according to MiLB’s Chris Bumbaca. Morejon had just returned to action on July 30th after a hip flexor issue.
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