After posting my midseason top-30 prospect list last week, I return for some players that just missed the cut.
In the weeks leading up to March Madness, basketball fans become familiar with the last four in/first four out teams in the predictions for who will fill up the
64 65 68-team field. These are the teams truly on the bubble who will barely reach the tournament or just miss out.
With that in mind, here are my first prospects out from the midseason update, listed in alphabetical order:
RHP Andrew Bellatti
Bellatti has always performed well, but a stuff boost got him on the map. He has only been a spot starter in recent seasons, and it does seem like he's destined for a relief role. A swing guy with at least a couple above-average pitches has some value.
C Nick Ciuffo
I even admitted in the comments last week that Ciuffo should probably have made the top 30. He's playing his usual strong defense, and his bat has come around a bit lately. Since July, he's batting .306/.306/.388 with an 11.2% strikeout rate. It's certainly problematic he has not walked since May 25, but at least he's really not striking out either.
RHP Dylan Floro
I might be the last person hanging onto hope for Floro, but his strikeout and walk rates are both similar to his successful 2014 season. Going by minor league batted-ball data, his ground-ball rate is down quite a bit, though. He has also allowed 10 home runs after serving up just eight in his entire career prior to 2015.
RHP Garrett Fulenchek
Fulenchek seemed to be the player most were surprised did not make my top-30, and I understand why. He earned a $1 million bonus in the 2014 draft, and pre-draft reports praised his low-90s sinker and strike-throwing potential. The latter has not yet emerged, as he has more walks than strikeouts so far in his pro career. He's just 19, though, and sometimes it takes time for pitchers.
OF Bralin Jackson
I previously wondered if Jackson would be able to sustain his success in 2014 because of his .382 BABIP in his breakout season with Hudson Valley. This season has been a virtual carbon copy at the plate. Maybe his speed helps him beat out a lot of infield hits, but his spray chart shows just seven, certainly not a spectacular amount.
RHP Eduar Lopez
The 20-year-old Lopez has not seen great results since coming stateside with the Angels, but his fastball and breaking ball give him some tools to work with. Acquired in the David DeJesus trade, he joins a large group of Rays pitchers in the lower minors they hope might break out someday.
OF Joe McCarthy
A healthy McCarthy surely would not have lasted until the fifth round, and his performance so far indicates he is still not healthy. Playing after undergoing back surgery right before the season starts probably is not indicative of the player he is, so let's see how he plays in 2016.
OF Manny Sanchez
After a hot start with Hudson Valley, Sanchez has cooled off considerably. Only 13 qualified hitters in the New York-Penn League are under the age of 20, and he is one of them (teammate and fellow outfielder Angel Moreno is another). He has the power and arm strength to be a very good right fielder, but will he hit?
RHP Jaime Schultz
With 130 strikeouts, Schultz is tied for fifth in the minors behind four likely top-100 prospects, including Blake Snell. He also leads all of minor league baseball in walks. He has three starts this season where he has not allowed a hit, but he only got five outs in one of them because he issued seven free passes. If he can throw a few more strikes, he can be a major weapon, likely out of the bullpen.
RHP Alexis Tapia
Acquired along with Chih-Wei Hu, who did make my top-30, for Kevin Jepsen, Tapia has performed well in his young career. He just turned 20 years old on Monday, and with his above-average fastball, he is a player worth keeping tabs on if his secondary pitches can develop.
IF Riley Unroe
Up the middle, Unroe has batted a bit below average in his first taste of full-season ball. He has a patient approach, but it will soon be time for him to have more consistent results.
RHP Hunter Wood
Wood's 29.3% strikeout rate ranks third in the minors for pitchers with more than 80 innings, and it would probably go without saying that one of the two ahead of him is Snell. That rate is a bit lower since he moved back to the rotation and was promoted to Charlotte, but he has the arsenal to continue starting, led by his fastball and breaking ball.