Here we are, at part four of our countdown!
I do not know what to say about this group, in general. These five players are all over the board. They have nothing in common and they are all at different parts of their minor league careers. You're just going to have to read what's up.
As always, these are the condensed and quick versions of the player write-ups. We will have a more in-depth dive into each player once we complete the countdown. You'll be able to find that over on the Dirty 35 page after the countdown is finished. There you'll find what they do well, what they need to work on, and what they might look like as they progress through the system.
LET'S DO IT
Prospect #20: RHP, Daniel Ponce de Leon
Drafted in the 9th round of the 2014 draft
I didn't know what to do with Daniel Ponce de Leon (by the way, it's Ponce de Leon not Poncedeleon, as reported by the delightful Jeff Jones). He really isn't a prospect. I'm quick to call 26-year-old Patrick Wisdom a non-prospect because of his age and experience level, so it's a bit of a hypocrisy to include Ponce de Leon on the list and not Wisdom. But their circumstances are different and that is how I'm justifying PdL's inclusion on the list.
As you know, his season was cut short last year and his life was almost ended after he took a line drive to the head. That cost him his 2017 season. What I really like is that he's come back. He's pitching better than he ever has.
The main issue with PdL is that he walks too many batters. His strikeout rate is around 27% in the minors this season and that's very good, but his walk rate of about 13% is a bit of a concern. What I often see from him on the mound is a frequency of leaving his arm-side open as he finishes his motion and that causes him to leave the ball up in the zone. Usually, this also forces arm side tailing with all of his pitches. When his mechanics are smooth and he's finishing his motion properly, that is when he is at his best.
Daniel is on the 40 man, he's been called up to the majors, and he was deprived of a major league debut in his short stint. That breaks my heart. There isn't a player in the organization more worth rooting for than Daniel Ponce de Leon. I don't know if he has the long term sustainability to be a back-end of the rotation starter in the majors, but I like his chances out of the bullpen and as a swing man when needed.
Prospect #19: RHP, Conner Greene
Acquired as part of the trade that sent Randal Grichuk to Toronto
Conner Greene's control is bad. It's so bad that it isn't even "bad"; it's detrimental. That's a bummer because everything else about Greene is good.
He has a lively fastball that lives in the mid-upper 90's, although he went through a stretch earlier in the year in which he was throwing in the low 90's consistently. He has a very good and totally underrated curve ball. Sometimes he slows down his arm to throw it, but he's gotten better with that as the season has gone on. His change up is a work in progress, but it's a nice between-pitch for the curve and the fastball. He can strike hitters out with junk or the fastball. When he keeps the fastball low in the zone and for a strike, it gets on the hitter QUICK: