Another day, another list.
This group of prospects could go in any order. Eleven could be fifteen and fifteen could be eleven. As a matter of fact, part of the reason that I decided to breaking these groups of five is because of this group. Yes, I've ranked them eleven through fifteen, but I personally prefer to look at these five prospects as having nearly the same value. The only outlier is Delvin Perez, who has the chance to have a lot more value than any one.
I also believe that this is the most interesting group of prospects. This is probably the first group of prospects that every name has been heard and talked about by the fan base.
As always, these write-ups are designed more to be quick thoughts and impressions about where each prospect is in their development and how they are doing on the season. We will have a more detailed write up of each prospect at the Dirty 35 page when we complete the list. There, you'll find what they do well, what they struggle with, and what a realistic player comparison might look like.
LET'S DO IT.
Prospect #15: SS, Delvin Perez
Previously Ranked 14th
State College Spikes
Drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 draft
I am going to continue to handle Delvin's hype train just as I would if we he was a girl that was fortunate enough to be talking too even though she's way out of my league; play it cool until you can't play it cool anymore.
Delvin has gotten off to a very solid start to his State College Spikes season. He isn't hitting for much slug, but he has put together a few multi-hit games. He isn't hitting the ball with maximum authority, but he is hitting the ball strong and in holes. Yes, he still weighs roughly 45 pounds and there's no way he'll be able to hit for real slug until he adds weight, but these are all good signs for a player that was on a fan-inspired respirator entering the season.
Speaking of respirator, Delvin is in great shape aside from weighing as much as my jeans. He looks quick and he's hustling all over the diamond. HIS HUSTLE HAS REALLY STUCK OUT AND THAT'S THE BIGGEST TAKE AWAY. The other thing that has really struck out is his arm which looks like a 60-65 grade arm on the 80 scale.
Delvin is off to a great start. Now, we wait and see if he is capable of keeping it up. We'll keep our excitement under control, but I can feel my loins ablaze. Everything really seems to be coming together for Mr. Perez.
Prospect #14: 2B/3B/SS Edmundo Sosa
Previously Ranked 21st
International Signing in 2012
After retooling his swing during the Arizona Fall League, a swing change that initially looked like it wouldn't serve him well, Sosa got off to a tough start for Springfield. It looked like more of the same from a prospect on the decline at too young of an age.
The good news was, Sosa's defense around the infield appeared to be solid. So, while his bat struggled to find it's legs, his defense helped to stabilize his game. It also showed all of those that might have doubted him (like the clown that is currently typing) that he was willing to put in the work to stabilize a potentially strong part of his game.
By the end of April, Sosa's bat was coming alive. From April 27th until his last game in Springfield on June 22nd, Sosa slashed 295/335/456/791 with six home runs and 13 doubles in 193 at-bats. His new swing had become second nature while his defense was keeping him afloat and the work was paying off.
Sosa has struggled greatly since receiving a promotion to Memphis. The good news is, he isn't striking out a ton and he's doing a good job off working counts. Of course, because he's often behind in counts and hitting from a defensive position, he isn't hitting the ball with much authority. I'll bring up the low amount of K's as a way to restate that I think his bat might come back around within the next month for Memphis with the appropriate amount of at-bats in a crowded infield situation.
Prospect #13: 2B/3B/SS, Tommy Edman
Previously Ranked 20th
Drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft
If all five of these players are a virtual coin flip then I don't know what to call the almost identical rating that I'd give Sosa and Edman. Maybe, as Tony La Russa used to say, "Tied for first" is the only proper way to put it.
Sosa is younger than Edman and at a higher level than Edman and that usually gets the tie breaker in these situations for me, but I just love how steady and reliable Edman is. Much like with Sosa, it took Edman a second to get going in Springfield to start the season, but once he did he hasn't stopped hitting.
From that same April 27th date that we selected for Sosa, but until July 10th, Edman has hit 284/338/384/722 with 16 doubles and three home runs in 268 at-bats. Again, not much slug, but he has a hit in 50 of the 65 games that he's played in and he's successfully stole 14 of the 15 bases that he's attempted to steal. If you break Edman's season down to a 40 game sample size from May 24th to July 9th, he's hit 333/367/435/801 with nine doubles, 1 triple, and two home runs in 168 at-bats. He's done this while only striking out 21 times.
There will never be much power for Edman to access, but his contact tool and plate coverage appears to get better and better. He''s a good defender at three positions and he might be ideally suited for short stop.
Prospect #12: 2B, Max Schrock
Previously Ranked 19th
Acquired from the A's as part of the Stephen Piscotty trade
Max Schrock was HOT to start the year and, while Kolten Wong struggled at the major league level, many wanted to see Schrock get a chance to display his talents at the major league level.
Schrock hit 323/370/409/779 in 100 April at-bats. Then, for two months, between the first of May and the 30th of June, he hit 254/293/335/628 in 188 plate appearances. Even crazier, he struggled so greatly while only striking out 13 times over this time span. Schrock's greatest tool is his ability to hit for contact. He has tremendous bat control with tremendous plate coverage. But what we've seen is that this tool also works against him sometimes. When a person is capable of making contact with everything, sometimes they're making contact with everything and not the right thing. Schrock has a tendency to go to his shoe strings to hit the ball and it's something that he doesn't do when he is zoned in.
The good news is, Schrock has gotten off to a good start to begin July. Entering the AAA All-Star Game on July 11th, Max was hitting 308/379/423/802 in a very small 30 plate appearances sample size. The break will do him well and I expect to see his slash line for the rest of the season to be closer to this.
Oh, and one of the knocks on Schrock has been his average-at-best defense. It isn't that anymore. It's definitely average with flashes of above average at second base.
Prospect #11: OF, Dylan Carlson
Previously Ranked 18th
Palm Beach Cardinals
Drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 draft
This season could have gone a couple of different ways for this young man. Entering the season, we knew that he didn't embarrass himself as an 18-year-old in the Midwest League, but we also knew that he really didn't do anything to stand out aside from throwing a bunch of base runners out on the base paths from the outfield. We knew that you never know what this type of advanced promotion would do to a player's development. We were very pleased that the Cardinals resisted the temptation to start him at Palm Beach. We knew that keeping him in Peoria to start 2018 was smart for his development.
Luckily, Carlson excelled from the beginning of the season and earned a promotion to Palm Beach on merit and not trajectory. I've seen more than a few people site his .234 batting average at Peoria prior to the Palm Beach promotion as a reason for keeping him in Peoria. That was a poor sentiment as all of Carlson's other stats were right where they needed to be.
So the question became how Carlson would do while hitting in the most pitcher friendly league in all of the minors while being extremely young for the league. As of July 11th, Carlson was hitting a solid 256/352/367/719 in 199 at-bats with an 18.8% K rate and a 12% BB rate . Nothing eye-popping but nothing really worrisome.
Now, let's get into expectations for a second. If I told you that you had a player that was entering a pitcher's league that is three and a half years older than him on average what would you expect? I'd expect that hitter to struggle at the start. Then, if he was a potential offensive threat with enough understanding of how he was going to be attacked, he'd eventually rebound and start to define his offensive profile.
That's exactly what Carlson has done. In the 30 games between June 2nd and July 11th, Carlson has slashed 284/362/440/803 with four home runs, three doubles, and one triple in 109 at-bats. His strike out rate is a little high over this time, right around 20%, but his walk rate is right around 12%. The fact that this 19-year-old MAN (Shout out to C70) is performing so well and steadily at this level at this stage in his development is great. Don't let his barely-above-average wRC+ of 108 at Palm Beach fool you. This is a hitter that is trending up!
Thank you to Fangraphs for the statistical contribution!
Thanks For Reading!