This week on Big Hype Prospects, we use Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year awards as a lens to spotlight a couple of guys who didn’t get sufficient love on this column.
Five Big Hype Prospects
Ezequiel Tovar, 21, SS, COL (AAA)
(AA) 295 PA, 13 HR, 17 SB, .318/.386/.545
Tovar wasn’t picked for the Rockies Player of the Year in what in the end was once a coin-flip scenario with Adael Amador. However, we mentioned Amador ultimate week, and Tovar is ready to make his debut these days. After appearing effectively in Double-A, Tovar compiled 23 a hit plate appearances at Triple-A. He’ll get a temporary trial to complete out 2022 whilst the membership considers its long-term plans.
Scouting reviews incessantly get started with Tovar’s protection which is universally well-regarded and will have to stand out in a post-extreme-shifts metagame. He is based a long way much less on positioning than the various big-bodied shortstops across the league. As a hitter, he’s stepped forward his high quality of touch this season. There’s nonetheless fear he’ll be strikeout and comfortable touch susceptible early in his profession as he additional develops his plate area. His selectivity does appear to be trending in a favorable path.
A pair freely to be had reviews akin to this one from FanGraphs make point out of his hit software as a wearing trait. Hit-tool-oriented possibilities have a tendency to have rocky developmental paths (no pun meant). At decrease ranges, they carry out effectively in opposition to pitches out of doors of the zone which lends itself to an useless, swing-happy way within the Majors. We’ll quickly get a primary take a look at how Tovar adjusts.
Wilmer Flores, 21, SP, DET (AA)
83.2 IP, 10.22 Ok/9, 2.26 BB/9, 3.01 ERA
The newest pitcher to stand up within the Tigers device, Flores squashed High-A hitters early in 2022 prior to transferring on Double-A. Not to be puzzled along with his brother, 10-year veteran infielder Wilmer Flores, Flores is a glass by way of the similar identify who is determined by arm power and a couple of energy breaking balls. Reports point out deficient command regardless of a low stroll charge – a sign he’s throwing his stuff within the zone and letting hitters get themselves out. For a poor-command pitcher with plus stuff, there are worse tactics to broaden. This season, no less than two notoriously errant relievers – Jose Alvarado and Felix Bautista – had breakouts by way of merely throwing extra pitches within the strike zone.
Flores entered the season firmly thought to be a long run reliever. His paintings this yr, together with keeping up pace deep into outings, is starting to trade that viewpoint.
Endy Rodriguez, 22, C/2B, PIT (AAA)
(AA) 138 PA, 8 HR, 1 SB, .356/.442/.678
Acquired within the Joe Musgrove industry, Rodriguez’s construction complex by way of leaps and limits this season. He entered the yr as a application guy with some catching enjoy. He now appears to be like the a part of both a top rate catcher or 2nd baseman. His hitting, which has all the time been discipline-forward, took a large step this season. Including all 3 ranges he’s performed, Rodriguez hit 24 house runs, 37 doubles, and 3 triples in 520 plate appearances. Not simplest is he hitting for energy, he’s making very good swing selections and bettering at each degree. In a extra extensively applauded device, this efficiency may benefit inclusion some of the Top 25 possibilities. As it stands, he’s quietly jumping onto Top 100 lists.
Kyle Manzardo, 22, 1B, TBR (AA)
122 PA, 5 HR, 1 SB, .323/.402/.576
A six-foot-one-inch first baseman, Manzardo should mash to earn his method to the Majors. Fortunately, he’s already doing so. He additionally unearths himself in the fitting group. The Rays are the one staff to present the in a similar fashion height-deprived Ji-Man Choi a possibility to discover a function. Manzardo presentations higher possible to keep away from strikeouts than Choi whilst keeping up similar plate area. Including High-A, his 22 house runs in 397 plate appearances constitute an development on preseason scouting reviews that prompt he had below-average energy. Manzardo, a left-handed hitter, skews fairly to fly ball touch. Depending at the construction of his energy, he may turn out to be a top rate first baseman or else battle with low BABIPs on the higher ranges. The early returns recommend the primary consequence is likelier.
Tyler Gentry, 23, OF, KC (AA)
331 PA, 16 HR, 8 SB, .321/.417/.555
The Royals have been in all probability held again by way of the sheer quantity of possibilities they promoted to the Majors this season. That additionally manner there’s room for brand spanking new names to ascend, like Gentry. A well-rounded hitter, Gentry thrived in 152 High-A plate appearances prior to ascending to Double-A the place he persevered to excel. Per Baseball America, he credit a simplified way and cargo along with his offensive breakout – now not that he wasn’t already a well-regarded hitter coming into the season. The knock on him is his protection. He’s a nook outfielder who isn’t identified for in particular just right jumps. It’s a profile that calls for a large bat to paintings within the Majors. While he doesn’t have a unmarried wearing trait as a hitter, all of the profile performs up due to plus area and a knack for barreled touch. Keep an eye fixed on his BABIPs subsequent season.
Taylor Dollard, SEA (23): The Mariners graduated Julio Rodriguez and George Kirby. Matt Brash joined the bullpen, Emerson Hancock had a down season, and Noelvi Marte was once exported to Cincinnati. Dollard steps in as a candidate for the highest spot within the Seattle device on a pitchability foundation. The right-hander limits walks (1.94 BB/9) and will induce a number of whiffs when wanted. He most commonly pitches to touch, making him a possible long run innings-eater on course to debut subsequent season.
Louie Varland, MIN (24): Making his 3rd large league get started as I write, Varland pitched ably in 20 Double-A appearances prior to an excellent four-game stint in Triple-A. While he’s now not a bodily specimen and lacks the mutant pace related to maximum of these days’s pitching possibilities, Varland does possess a four-pitch repertoire of common choices. He’s in a position to mix’n’match in some way that are meant to, ultimately, stay large league hitters off stability. He’ll almost definitely toss his percentage of clunkers alongside the best way.
Jeremy De La Rosa, WSH (20): A left-handed hitting middle fielder with defensive chops, De La Rosa carried out effectively as an age-appropriate place participant at Low-A. A promotion to High-A didn’t gradual his base thievery, however it did render his bat impotent (53 wRC+). De La Rosa turns out poised for a slow-burn developmental trail. Defense all however assures an eventual Major League arrival whilst a prime strikeout charge may render him a long-term backup.
Ceddanne Rafaela, BOS (22): A five-foot-eight-inch application guy, Rafaela hit for astonishing energy throughout two ranges this season. He’s an competitive hacker with a number of swing-and-miss to his recreation, characteristics which may be exploited within the higher ranges. This season, he controlled 21 house runs and 28 stolen bases in 524 plate appearances cut up between High- and Double-A. He became 22 5 days in the past.
Colson Montgomery, CWS (20): Montgomery began gradual and didn’t galvanize in different appears to be like I took this season. However, the composite stats display promise from the multi-sport athlete. He makes a ton of touch, works counts effectively, and is already creating sneaky energy. Most avid gamers along with his background – he was once a emerging hoops famous person who additionally performed quarterback – have a tendency to transport slowly throughout the decrease ranges. Montgomery has already risen to Double-A.