“Knocking On The Door” Part 6- National League West
Service time is a very important issue to both the players and the owners. Service time is one factor impacting future salaries. The time he begins to accumulate service time dictates when he is eligible for arbitration. It’s all uphill from there.
Because service time is so important, clubs use their own standards regarding player promotion to the parent club. As a result, there is no consistent approach to handling promotions. We may see players promoted sooner or later than had been projected.
In the last of my series profiling players I believe will be playing in the big leagues at some point this season, I look at the National League West. Players must have Rookie status remaining or be international signings to be included.
Socrates Brito-OF-age 23- Besides loving his wonderful name, I really, really like all the tools he brings to his game. He has speed to steal bases, a very strong arm, a loud and powerful bat, and an ability to drive in runs. A left-handed hitter, I think he’ll get plenty of opportunities to play right field for the Dbacks. He’s still under the radar.
Peter O’Brien-C/OF-age 25- What to do with Peter O’Brien? That’s the question the Yankees had before trading him to Arizona. He has improved behind the plate, but he still has work to do to be a big league catcher. But he hits long, long home run bombs. There has to be a place for his power-especially at Chase Field. But where? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dbacks field plenty of calls from AL clubs seeking DH help.
Brandon Drury-3B/2B-age 22- If Jake Lamb continues to be Lonnie Chisenhall at the plate, we could see a lot of Drury at third base. Or, he could fit nicely at second. It really is just a matter of time and circumstance before Drury brings his line-drive bat the the big league club. He has a sweet swing, is a gamer and he should fit nicely.
Zack Godley-RHSP-age 25- I can not stress enough how impressed I was with the relatively unknown Godley when he arrived at Chase Field last year. Everything he threw moved. Everything darted. Everything sunk. He was very poised and mature on the mound and I think he should be pitching in the rotation as soon as possible.
But I don’t set the roster. Godley threw to a 3.19 ERA in 36 2//3 innings. A winner.
Braden Shipley-RHSP-age 23- The Dbacks traded Aaron Blair to Atlanta to get SP Shelby Miller. Blair, like Godley is among my favorite young starters. Shipley was rated higher than Blair by many. He may get a chance to help the big club if there is a rotation melt down or injuries hit. He should be a solid performer for a long time.
Kaleb Fleck-RHRP-age 27- There is no question Fleck can throw hard. He could be a late inning reliever in the near future. Much of the Dbacks season depends upon how the pen holds up. Fleck could add some in-season help if needed.
Dustin Garneau-C-age 28- The right-handed hitting Garneau could claim the back-up catching role. He hit well at Triple-A Albuquerque in 2015 and smoked 15 Pacific Coast League home runs. He hit .274 and got a late look in Denver.
Tom Murphy-C-age 24- Murphy may be the competition for Garneau. He also hit well at Albuquerque with 19 homers. He’s younger. Much will depend upon which of the catchers is deemed to handle the pitching staff and offer defense as a back-up. He has a shoulder injury in his history, but if healthy, he could get the nod.
Christian Adames-SS-age 24- I think the switch-hitting Adames will see plenty of big league playing time. He will help fill-in if (when) Jose’ Reyes is suspended. He is a very good defensive shortstop with offensive potential. The Rocks will need that defense.
Trevor Story-2B/SS/3B-age 23- I think Story profiles best at second base. I think he’ll be playing in Denver at some point in the season. I like his hustle and his drive. He’s a good infielder with a chance to help the club with his versatility.
Jon Gray-RHSP-age 24- There was a time I thought Eddie Butler and Jon Gray would rid the Rockies of their endless pitching woes. Not so fast. I think Gray will be in the rotation, but I’m not sure he is that “can’t miss” guy anymore. I still like his stuff, but I have to remember that Coors is one tough, tough place to pitch. He;; make command strides Note: Butler has exceeded rookie limits.
Jeff Hoffman-RHSP-age 23- One of the pitchers who came from Toronto, Hoffman may be needed as early as this coming season. He’s the real deal. Tall and thin at
6-foot-4, 185 pounds, he is a former first rounder with good stuff. Long shot for 2016.
Miguel Castro-RHRP-age 21- Castro also came from Toronto. He has a big arm and can become the closer of the future for the Rockies. He could find his way to the team’s bullpen this coming season, but probably not in the 9th inning role.
Kyle Freeland-LHSP-age 22- It would probably be better for Freeland and the Rockies to give him another full year of development. However, pitching circumstances may dictate an earlier than expected arrival for him. He has deception and great late life on his fastball and follows that with a very good slider and changeup. This is an excellent pitcher who may be needed too soon.
Jairo Diaz-RHRP-age 24- He could help the club as an emergency reliever.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Corey Seager-SS/ age 21- Seager still has rookie eligibility and he should be among those considered for Rookie Of The Year honors. He’s got everything a club could want in a player. He can hit, hit for power and run a bit. He could be a doubles machine. Not the greatest defender and big for a shortstop, Seager will remain at shortstop for now.
Julio Urias-LHSP-age 19- Following eye surgery, Urias should be able to step up and help the rotation once the Dodgers feel he is ready to roll. When he arrives, he will be a fixture in the rotation. Throwing a very good fastball, and excellent curveballs and changeups to complete his arsenal, the lefty has sharp control and maturity.
Frankie Montas-RHSP- age 22- Part of a major trade, Montas came from the White Sox in the off season. He has a wicked fastball/slider combination but currently lacks command and control of his arsenal. When I scouted him I saw a great arm, but he couldn’t throw strikes. Montas needs refinement, but if he’s needed during the season he could step up and offer rotation innings. But watch out in 2017.
Trayce Thompson-OF-age 24- Coming from an athletic family, Thompson is the outlier. He chose baseball as opposed to basketball. He’s tall and thin and plays a very good center field. He came from the White Sox where he began to hit in his late season call up. I think there is more consistency waiting in his bat. A good 4th or 5th outfielder.
Austin Barnes-C-age 26- Barnes was with the Marlins. He can be the guy in the organization that gets the first call if the club needs a catcher.
Jharel Cotton-RHSP-age 24- Cotton offers starting pitching depth from the right side. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League where he got valuable experience.
Micah Johnson-2B-age 25- Also coming from the White Sox, Johnson as very, very good speed and could be a base running threat. If he gets on base. I’ve seen both the good and the bad Johnson in his development. He is a marginal defender, but his quick hands at the plate and his off the charts speed project him as a starting type player. However, Howie Kendrick is back. That impacts Johnson’s immediate future.
Chris Anderson-RHP-age 23- A former first round selection, Anderson is making progress, getting innings under his belt and refining his very good fastball. His time may come as a late season call-up.
Shane Carle-RHSP-age 24- Carle could provide in season pitching depth if needed.
Yaisel Sierra-RHSP-age 25- Sierra came from Cuba as an international free agent. He is on the 40-man roster and will likely be given a good look in Spring Training.
Kenta Maeda-RHSP-age 27- Maeda was purchased from Japan and is a likely candidate for the starting rotation. He has logged 1509 2/3 innings in Japan. I have not seen him pitch and generally hold my evaluations until I have scouted a player in person.
Zach Lee-RHSP-age 24- Lee has long been touted as a potential Dodgers starter. This year he could serve as a potential right-handed starter if help is needed in the rotation. I think he might be among the first called upon to fill-in.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Jabari Blash-RHOF-age 26- A Rule 5 selection from Oakland (trade), I was surprised the Padres took him with their outstanding outfield depth. Of their many Rule 5 selections, Blash may be the one that sticks. He could be a right-handed bench option. He has a very nice power/speed combination that could surprise. He grew up in the Mariners organization and was made available. Oakland took him in Rule 5 and flipped him to San Diego.
Josh Martin-RHRP-age 26- A Rule 5 selection from the Indians, Martin would have to stick or be offered back to Cleveland. It would seem he could win a job in the pen.
Taylor Lindsey-2B-age 24- Lindsey hits left-handed. He isn’t on the 40-man roster and has not been invited to Spring Training. But it is possible he may be needed later in the season. He came over in a trade with the Angels.
Travis Jankowski-CF-age 24- I am very bullish on Jankowski. I hope he gets a chance to prove he can play a very good center field. He hustles and plays the game right. He’s a former first round draft pick, so he’ll get a big time look.
Manuel Margot-OF-age 21- Part of a huge deal with the Red Sox, this may not yet be his time. But he is a prized prospect and another piece of the Padres CF depth. I do believe he needs another year of development, but the Padres could call him in 2016.
Hunter Renfroe-OF-age 24- He’s a quality hitter. The Padres have lots of good outfield options, and like Margot, he could have to wait his turn. He is not on the 40-man and has not been given an invitation to Spring Training.
Colin Rea-RHSP-age 25- He could make his debut by mid-season if he is needed in the rotation.
Tayron Guerrero-RHRP-age 25- He offers the Padres depth from the bullpen and could be available if needed.
Blake Smith-RHRP-age 28- Smith is a Rule 5 acquisition from the White Sox. He may be a long shot to stick with the club. Spring Training will be huge for him.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Mac Williamson-OF-age 25- This could be the time for the powerful Williamson. He’s big and strong at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. He can punish a pitcher’s mistakes. I think the Giants can use his power in LF. He may strike out some, but he’ll pound the ball.
Jarrett Parker-OF-age 27-Parker could provide some left-handed hitting outfield support.
Hak-ju Lee-SS-age 25- An injury on a slide into second base while he was with the Rays hampered his development. Lee remains a marginal prospect that could help in the middle infield if his defense is needed.
Clayton Blackburn-RHSP-age 23- Blackburn offers right-handed organizational starting pitching depth.
Adelbert Mejia-LHSP-age 22- Still very young, Mejia can be an insurance policy as a left-handed starter. He needs more development time but is there if needed.
Steven Overt-LHRP-age 24- Okert throws nice and easy and could be an early recall candidate as a lefty bullpen prospect.
Kyle Crick-RHP-age 23- Still young, Crick has not lived up to the expectations scouts and the Giants had for him. Projected as a quality starter, the former supplemental first round selection has a high velocity fastball and a good slider. However, he hasn’t harnessed the command and control required of a top-notch starter. I still think he has the arm to compete and I think we’ll see better days ahead for Crick. He may find his form as a bullpen arm and then revert back to a starting role. My jury remains out on Crick.
This Friday I will begin my new project with ProSportsBroadcasting.com. Watch my twitter site @BerniePleskoff and this blog for details on how you can watch BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD on video. In my first show, I will discuss my choices as the best of the 2016 NL rookies. I will go in detail and will include fantasy expectations and value as well. Friday February 5 we will roll it out.
Thanks for reading this series and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.
That’s it. I’m done. For now.