Welcome to the weekly prospect roundup! Each week during spring training we will provide news and notes on top prospects and highlight the top prospect performers from the past week.
Overall these will all be prospects with at least some dynasty relevance. I will try to provide updated scouting reports when necessary, but for the most part you can find full write-ups on the team-by-team Top-50 lists done by our wonderful dynasty team.
Though it’s hard to draw conclusions from spring training, there are a few things that I pay particular attention to. For the most part I look at mechanical adjustments and physical growth, which there is bound to plenty of given that we haven’t seen many of these prospects since last spring. For pitchers this also includes notable velocity and/or pitch mix changes. Though not all spring facilities have statcast, we can (and will) certainly take advantage of the ones that do.
Let’s get into the best prospects from week 2 of spring training:
Prospect News and Notes
- MLB and MiLB announced various rule changes that will be implemented and tested across the minor leagues in 2021.
- In unfortunate news, Astros RHP Forrest Whitley will undergo Tommy John Surgery
- Sixto Sánchez threw a 26-pitch bullpen session on Thursday as he gets back on schedule after arriving late to camp (COVID protocol) and will make his spring debut on Monday
- Mariners added top prospect George Kirby to big league camp as a non-roster invitee
- The Reds added infielder Jonathan India to their active roster and are strongly considering him for an Opening Day roster spot
- The Blue Jays do not expect young righty Nate Pearson (groin) to be ready for Opening Day.
- Brendan McKay is continuing to work as a 2-way player this spring
- Find mechanical adjustments from hitters around the majors, including prospects like Bobby Bradley, Christian Pache, and more, on the new MATH tracker!
Hitters of the Week
Heliot Ramos (OF, SF, #3 prospect): 6-for-12, 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, SB
The Giants third ranked prospect absolutely torched cactus league pitching, with 6 hits and 3 homers in just 4 games this week. Ramos started the week with a multi-homer game against the Reds on March 7th, then added a double and 3rd homer on March 9th against Milwaukee. He has an RBI in 4 straight games heading into Saturday and added a SB in yet another multi-hit effort on Friday. The 21-year-old is now slashing .450/.476/.950 on the spring and is pushing to make his big league debut sooner rather than later.
Bobby Witt Jr (SS, KC, #1 prospect): 5-for-12, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R
Our first repeat feature on the weekly prospect roundup is Bobby Witt Jr, who followed up a strong showing last week with 5 more hits and a pair of homers. Did I mention one of those homers went 484 feet?!?! The 20-year-old has showed off just about every tool possible this spring, with that mammoth homer, strong defensive play, and elite speed as well. These are the type of spring training takeaways that might be meaningful. Nobody doubted the ability of a consensus top-10 prospect, but his spring performance has people wondering if he might be big league ready this year. That still seems unlikely, but the fact that it’s even a question shows just how impressive Witt has been in just a handful of spring ABs.
Bobby Bradley (1B, CLE, #37 prospect): 5-for-11, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R
Though his stock has fallen significantly since being one of Cleveland’s top prospects, Bradley came into camp in the BSOHL, losing an estimated 35 lbs over the winter, and is the current favorite to win Cleveland’s 1B competition. He had 5 hits — 4 of them doubles — and drove in 5 over 11 ABs this week. The main roster competition for Bradley is Jake Bauers. Though Bradley has been the better player this spring, Bauers is out of minor league options and that gives him a leg-up on a roster spot. With Bauers being able to play OF though there is a chance both make the roster, and continuing to hit like this will certainly help Bradley rise from the roster fringes.
Colton Welker (3B, COL, #14 prospect): 3-for-9, 2B, HR, 6 RBI
Welker has been on fire this spring, it’s too bad he’s stuck behind Nolan Aren– oh. All of a sudden the Rockies are missing a third baseman, and with Ryan Vilade moving to LF it looks like Welker is Colorado’s future at the hot corner. He homered and drove in 6 this week, bringing his spring training OPS to 1.113 in 11 games so far. He battled injuries toward the end of 2019, but has shown power throughout his minor league career. The Rockies are notoriously conservative with their prospects, but Welker could make his debut at some point in 2021.
Jonathan India (2B/3B, CIN, #6 prospect ): 4-for-9, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB
As mentioned in the news section, India was recently added to the Reds active roster and appears to be making a push for an opening day roster spot. The former Florida standout has been impressive in 10 games this spring with a .353/.522/.647 slash line. It’s been a steady performance for India, and he has looked comfortable at the plate throughout. He’s capable of playing both 2B and 3B, though those positions are currently occupied by Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakus. India does not seem to be included in the Reds SS competition, but with Joey Votto‘s COVID positive adding even further infield uncertainty, India could be poised to take advantage of some early big league playing time.
Garrett Mitchell (OF, MIL, #1 prospect ): 4-for-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB
It feels like Mitchell has gotten hype since the draft, and it’s maintained through to spring training. To be completely honest, I never really bought in. No matter, after going a 2-for-2 with a homer (as I’m writing this) on Saturday, the UCLA product deserves a mention in the roundup. He had 4 hits in 7 ABs this week, bringing his OPS to 1.418 this spring. I still think he needs a swing adjustment to fully reach his potential (his swing path is very flat and pushy at the moment), but he has solid bat control and the defensive ability to stick in CF.
Pitchers of the Week
Deivi García (RHP, NYY, #2 prospect): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 Ks
Garcia was impressive over 3 shutout innings against the Tigers. He needed just 37 pitches to get through 3, allowing just two weakly hit singles and striking out 5 in the process. It was a solid performance for the 21-year-old, who gave up a pair of homers over two innings in his first start of the spring. It’s anyone’s guess how the Yankees rotation lines up behind ace Gerrit Cole, but with more starts like this Garcia is making a strong case for a spot.
Tarik Skubal (LHP, DET, #4 prospect): 3 IP, H, 0 ER 0 BB, 4 Ks
Skubal pitched three scoreless innings in relief on Thursday, surrendering just a single while striking out four. It was a strong outing for the lefty, as he got 8-of-11 hitters into 2-strike counts and finished the game with a 30% CSW. He primarily threw FF (64%), and sat in the 93-95mph range. He was also flashing an improved split-changeup, generating a 43% CSW on 7 of them, including whiffs on 2 of his 4 strikeouts.
Dean Kremer (RHP, BAL, #11 prospect): 3 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 3 Ks
At this point I have mentally grouped Kremer and Bruce Zimmerman together, and they have become two of my favorite sleepers for 2021. As mentioned last week, I expect the Orioles to use a number of their young pitchers in multi-inning roles. Kremer looked sharp on Tuesday, hitting 97 mph with his sinker (something he didn’t do in all of 2020), and showed an improved cutter to go along with a couple of filthy curveballs to strikeout Alex Kiriloff. He struck out three over three scoreless innings, and was followed by the aforementioned Zimmerman who threw three scoreless innings of his own.
Tanner Houck (RHP, BOS, #3 prospect): 3 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 3 Ks
Houck is battling Nick Pivetta for the Red Sox final rotation spot and has certainly looked better than Pivetta so far this spring. Manager Alex Cora was impressed, and said that Houck will continue to be developed as a starter — indicating that he may be ticketed for Triple-A should he not win a rotation spot. He came out sitting 94-96 mph and even hit 98 on Wednesday after averaging 92 mph in his 2020 debut. That velocity increase is considerable and is yet another positive development for Houck, who has an already intriguing repertoire.
Wil Crowe (RHP, PIT, #19 prospect): 3 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks
Crowe was very efficient on Thursday, needing just 33 pitches to breeze through 3 shutout innings. Acquired from Washington in the Josh Bell trade, Crowe is one of a few Pirates pitching prospects that will get a big league opportunity in 2021. Crowe doesn’t have dominant stuff, but he should be a solid mid-rotation starter for the Pirates along with fellow prospects Miguel Yajure and David Bednar.
Logan Gilbert (RHP, SEA, #3 prospect ): 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 Ks
Gilbert began his first spring start with back to back strikeouts of David Fletcher and Mike Trout. Not too shabby. He showed an impressive FB that was reportedly in the 92-95 range. There was no statcast for this game, but given Gilbert’s long extension I think it’s fair to say it looked a bit faster than 92 to the hitters. In addition to the FB, he flashed a terrific SL which he used to make notoriously-hard-to-whiff Fletcher look silly.
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) March 7, 2021
Garrett Crochet (LHP, CWS, #4 prospect): 2 IP, 0 H, 2 BBs, 3 Ks
The White Sox confirmed that Crochet and Michael Kopech will begin the year in the bullpen, which is the role I believe Crochet is best suited for long-term. His command has not been stellar, but he’s worked around two walks and struck out three in a pair of scoreless outings. He has reportedly topped out at 99 mph in those two appearances, which shouldn’t be too worrisome as he builds his way back towards the 101 mph he was showing consistently in his 2020 debut. As if that wasn’t enough, he also worked on his breaking ball in the offseason, which can be shown here freezing Trent Grisham.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 9, 2021
Though we unfortunately can’t watch every spring training game on TV, here is an assortment of highlights from other prospects worth noting this week:
- Sheesh Joshua Mears, this ball had a family!
- Alex Kiriloff over the batter’s eye
- Monte Harrison crushing a homer to left-center
- Bobby Dalbec with a grand slam
- Michael Harris with an oppo taco
- Alejandro Kirk doing Alejandro Kirk things
- Some video from Mackenzie Gore‘s start
- Vidal Brujan flashing the leather
- CJ Abrams going yard
- Bo Knows (Bo Naylor)
- Gerardo Perdomo 2-run single
Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)