As we start February, we’re now two-thirds of the way done with this year’s community prospect list. There are still a lot of players on the board, and not everyone is going to make the cut.
I’ll take one tester for this poll.
2017 Community Prospect List
|SS Willy Adames||22||35||62.9%|
|RHP Brent Honeywell||36||37||97.3%|
|RHP Jose De Leon|
|1B/OF Jake Bauers||22||38||57.9%|
|1B Casey Gillaspie||24||34||70.6%|
|RHP Chih-Wei Hu||16||38||42.1%|
|3B Joshua Lowe*||20||32||62.5%|
|RHP Jacob Faria||24||41||58.5%|
|OF Jesus Sanchez||19||37||51.4%|
|IF Daniel Robertson||15||34||44.1%|
|IF Adrian Rondon||16||40||40.0%|
|RHP Jaime Schultz||13||43||30.2%|
|SS Lucius Fox||11||32||34.4%|
|3B Kevin Padlo||10||37||27.0%|
|OF Garrett Whitley||13||36||36.1%|
|RHP Hunter Wood||12||37||32.4%|
|OF Justin Williams||17||39||43.6%|
|RHP Taylor Guerrieri||15||31||48.4%|
|LHP Ryan Yarbrough||26||38||68.4%|
|RHP Ryne Stanek||14||35||40.0%|
|C David Rodriguez||14||32||43.8%|
|RHP Austin Franklin||10||32||31.3%|
|LHP Genesis Cabrera||9||30||30.0%|
|C Nick Ciuffo||12||34||35.3%|
|OF Joe McCarthy*||25||34||73.5%|
|C Brett Sullivan||10||37||27.0%|
|IF Carlos Vargas||11||36||30.6%|
|OF Jake Fraley||17||37||45.9%|
|RHP Kevin Gadea||16||36||44.4%|
|C Chris Betts||13||31||41.9%|
C Chris Betts (L/R, 6'2 215, 20 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Gulf Coast League Rays and short-season Hudson Valley: 145 PA, .179/.345/.250, 6 2B, 18.6 BB%, 24.8 K%
After Tommy John surgery delayed his pro debut by a year, Betts took to the field in 2016 and had a hard time. It's not a surprise that a player who missed as much time as he did would have a hard time getting his timing down. As an amateur, he showed plus power potential with a smooth swing geared for contact. He has the arm strength to catch, but he's raw behind the plate and could eventually prove to be too big for the position.
OF Eleardo Cabrera (L/R, 5'11 195, 21 in 2017)
2016 statistics with rookie-level Princeton: 270 PA, .311/.375/.466, 7 HR, 21 XBH, 8-for-12 SB, 6.3 BB%, 27.0 K%
Cabrera burst onto the domestic-league scene in 2016 with a strong season for Princeton. He led the Appalachian League in hits, tied for the league lead in homers and was among the team leaders in many offensive categories. However, it's his strong arm and outfield defense that are his calling cards. He makes good contact and has some speed, but he has to work on his approach.
LHP Genesis Cabrera (6'1 170, 20 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 116 IP, 3.88 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 9.8 BB%, 19.6 K%
As one of the 10 youngest pitchers in the Midwest League, and second youngest to throw 100-plus innings, Cabrera enjoyed a solid 2016 season with the Hot Rods. According to 2080 Baseball, his fastball touches the mid-90s with a promising breaking ball and changeup. He struggled down the stretch, which could certainly be a result of fatigue, as he set a career high in innings by 86 2/3 frames. He should cut down on his walks a bit, but he wasn't hopelessly wild.
C Nick Ciuffo (L/R, 6'1 205, 22 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 242 PA, .262/.288/.297, 8 2B, 3.7 BB%, 18.6 K%
Ciuffo's defense has really come along since the Rays made him a first-round pick in 2013. He's thrown out nearly 50 percent of attempted base stealers in his career, and Florida State League managers voted him the top defensive backstop in the league in 2016. Prior to a mid-season finger injury, he was showing a little progress at the plate with a .289 average in 174 plate appearances. Despite having above-average raw power, he has only homered once since 2014. He has to tighten up his plate approach.
OF Johnny Field (R/R, 5'10 180, 25 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 491 PA, .273/.322/.453, 51 XBH, 12 HR, 16-for-24 SB, 6.1 BB%, 21.6 K%
After losing Tyler Goeddel and Joey Rickard in last year's Rule 5 draft, the Rays risked losing another right-handed-hitting outfielder this time around, but they were able to retain Field. He has already had a lot of success in the upper minors with a .776 OPS in nearly 1,000 plate appearances at Double A and Triple A. He may not stand out tools-wise, but he's a grinder who can fake it in center field and show some gap power.
OF Jake Fraley (L/L, 6'0 195, 22 in 2017)
2016 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 239 PA, .238/.339/.364, 7 3B, 33-for-42 SB, 10.9 BB%, 14.2 K%
Fraley's pro career got off to an atrocious start, but a scorching August that saw him collect 12 of his 17 extra-base hits created a much more respectable stat line. Whether he was hitting or not, he was stealing bases whenever he had the chance. He only needed 55 games to lead the entire organizations in steals. His speed also makes him a very good defender in center field. He has to maintain his patient approach at the plate and excel at putting the ball in play to fully utilize his athleticism.
RHP Austin Franklin (6'3 215, 19 in 2017)
2016 statistics with the Gulf Coast League Rays: 43 1/3 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 9.1 BB%, 22.7 K%
Franklin was the Rays' third-round pick from a Florida high school, and he made a good impression in his pro debut. His best pitch is an above-average curveball that helped him strike out nearly a batter an inning. With his size, he throws an average-or-better fastball in the low-90s that will generate ground balls at a nice clip. He has to develop his changeup and build up his workload, like any other young pitcher.
OF Nathan Lukes (L/R, 5'11 185, 22 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class-A Lake County, Class A-Advanced Lynchburg and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 487 PA, .282/.349/.414, 37 XBH, 15-for-24 SB, 8.2 BB%, 15.2 K%
Lukes was acquired from Cleveland when it traded for HBP King Brandon Guyer. He was only hit by six pitches in 2016, but he does have some other skills. He has enough athleticism to play all three outfield spots and steal some bags, but he wasn't particularly efficient in 2016. There won't be many dingers coming off his bat, but his patient, contact-oriented approach give him value at the plate.
OF Joe McCarthy (L/L, 6'3 225, 23 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 430 PA, .285/.398/.430, 32 XBH, 8 HR, 19-for-24 SB, 14.2 BB%, 15.8 K%
The Red Scare started the season with a conservative assignment to the Midwest League, but he ended up playing more games in the Florida State League with Charlotte. McCarthy spent most of the early months only playing first base, but he was back in his natural outfield spots later. He adds value in the field and on the bases with decent athleticism. At the plate, he makes good contact and really knows the strike zone. How much power he'll hit for in games remains an open question.
C David Rodriguez (R/R, 6'1 215, 21 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 472 PA, .240/.321/.349, 26 XBH, 9 HR, 9.3 BB%, 18.6 K%
Rodriguez threw out an absurd 56 percent of attempted basestealers, and he has the potential to develop into a contributor both at and behind the plate. Like many young catchers, he still has to clean up his mechanics defensively, but that should come with more experience. In the batter's box, he owns a patient approach and puts his bat on the ball. He does have a bit of power potential.
C Brett Sullivan (L/R, 6'1 195, 23 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 501 PA, .283/.314/.438, 13 HR, 47 XBH, 17-for-21 SB, 4.8 BB%, 14.0 K%
Sullivan became a catcher last offseason, but he didn't let that focus on a new position affect him at the plate. His 13 home runs tied him for 10th among all minor league catchers, and his 34 doubles were tied for first. Although he doesn't strike out much, his aggressive approach will be tested at higher levels. He threw out 38 percent of attempted base stealers in his catching debut, and thanks to his athleticism, he's making progress overall behind the plate.
SS Carlos Vargas (R/R, 6'3 170, 18 in 2017)
2016 statistics with Dominican Summer League Mariners: 256 PA, .242/.344/.391, 7 HR, 12.5 BB%, 13.7 K%
Seattle signed Vargas for $1.625 million in 2015, and he quickly made an impact in his pro debut. While he may be hard-pressed to stay at shortstop when he gets bigger, he has the power potential to profile elsewhere on the diamond. His swing is geared for power, and adding strength certainly won't hurt. If he's able to maintain a low strikeout rate when he comes to the U.S. in 2017, he'll be a dangerous hitter.