As promised, a look at the position players I saw last week.
Jose Peraza, SS, (B/T) R/R
Peraza is fast. Getting down the line between 3.8 and 4.0 seconds from the right side gives him elite speed, and he showed it off a few times, including stealing second easily on a pitchout. That speed is where most of Peraza’s value is likely to come. He has pretty good range on defense, but he’s still sloppy out there, having a couple bobbles on grounders and a throwing error. I expect him to get better out there as he’s only 19, but I do think that he absolutely has the tools to stick there. Peraza’s offense is about as raw as his defense. He has a long swing, and he had trouble staying back on breaking balls and even making much solid contact. Lexington threw a few junk-ballers at him that he likely won’t face as he moves up, and they exploited his inability to adjust to non-fastballs. My biggest concern is Peraza’s current lack of a secondary skill - OBP or power. Peraza is small, and I don’t see any real power projection. As for the OBP projection, he shows the ability to battle, but he’s aggressive at the plate. Even if he doesn’t become an offensive force, his ability to play SS and his speed make him a prospect to watch.
Levi Hyams, 2B, L/R
Hyams definitely looks the part. Standing a sturdy 6’2/205, Hyams is a physical player, but there’s not a lot of power currently in the swing. He has a high-ish leg kick and tends to drift forward, and he was another one of the Rome hitter that had problems with the soft-tossers. The positive was that he can make contact with what’s actually a pretty swing. The issue will be what secondary skills he can develop to have the bat to play second. He’s an okay runner at 4.1 seconds down the line, but he doesn’t have a great stolen base rate, including being thrown out by a mile on an attempt in one of the games. There’s some potential value here, but I’d like to see him compete against a more advanced league.
Josh Elander, OF, R/R
Elander’s calling card will be his power, and he showed off a little by belting one to the seats in right field in the first game of the series. He showed off a little more power later, but until he faces more advanced competition, it’s hard to tell if he’s just beating up on inferior competition. Elander is a former catcher, and as you might expect, he’s not fast by any stretch. He seemed to be okay out in the outfield, but he wasn’t really challenged. Either way, Elander’s calling card will have to be the bat, and we’ll just have to wait to see him against better pitching.
Trenton Moses, 1B, R/R
I didn’t see anything in this series that would make me think he will play in the majors. He doesn’t move or run particularly well, and he doesn’t hit enough to play first base. Moses, however, is probably playing a lot of first base to accommodate Carlos Franco, and if he can play the corners, he might eventually make for a bench bat. But for now, he’s a 24-year old beating up on younger competition.
Carlos Franco, 3B, S/R
Franco was one of the guys I was interested in seeing, but I came away a little disappointed. As a corner infielder, he’ll need to hit, but while he has the slight advantage of being a switch-hitter, he’s not a real threat from either side. Both swings are contact-oriented, but he drifts forward from the start, leaving him susceptible to off-speed pitches that he simply couldn’t hit. Franco did make better contact during the third game of the series against Alec Mills, who threw 91-93 for most of the appearance. Defensively, Franco has his positives and negatives. He showed excellent range and a good glove, but his arm - though strong - was very inaccurate, making two throwing errors and a couple other poor throws. If he improves the throwing accuracy (which he should), there’s some real defensive value here. Franco has a strong, athletic body, so I like his chances of staying athletic while adding a little power later on.
Casey Kalenkosky, C, R/R
Kalenkosky is pretty thick, but he’s not “fat”. But his game is predicated around power and being able to play behind the dish. The catcher showed some strength by hitting an opposite field bomb that went about 20 or so feet farther than Elander’s, and he made some other solid contact. Defensively, he looked okay behind the plate, but he wasn’t really challenged here.
Eric Garcia, INF, L/R
Garcia received a couple starts to give Peraza and Hyams the days off, defensively, and he looked very good at both positions. Offensively, he’s walked almost twice as much as he’s struck out this season, but I wasn’t ecstatic about the swing. He’s obviously made some strides from last year, when he struck out 20% of the time against Rookie-Ball pitchers, but I’m not sure what to make of him quite yet. There’s some utility potential there, and if he’s really made some adjustments to improve the swing, he might sneak in a bit better. He also may not ever hit enough to get to AAA.
Blake Brown, OF, R/R
Brown has some loud tools - power, speed, and arm - but he has a crushing weakness - a 37% strikeout rate. The soft-tossers Lexington threw the first night just abused Brown, who couldn’t make contact and looked terrible doing it, but Brown made solid contact off of Mills, who was throwing harder. Brown also showed excellent range in center, and he displayed a solid arm making a couple throws home. There’s definitely some secondary value here, but the hit tool is so bad that he may never get to the secondary value.
Felix Marte, OF, R/R
Marte certainly has some speed and defensive value, but he strikes out a lot and looked overmatched against even bad velocity. Not a big fan.
Joey Meneses, OF, R/R
Meneses’ swing isn’t too bad, but he’s a corner outfielder that doesn’t seem to have much power despite being a physical presence. He has a little speed now, but you can definitely see him filling out and slowing down. Meneses is likely a corner outfielder with decent defensive value at the position, but I’m not sure he’ll really hit enough to make the majors there.