San Diego Padres prospect James Darnell (Photo by Paul Bereswill, Getty Images)
Arizona Fall League Roster Review: Peoria Javelinas
Major League Baseball announced the preliminary rosters for the Arizona Fall League this week. Let's review the key prospects on each team, continuing with the Peoria Javelinas.
PEORIA JAVELINAS ROSTER REVIEW
Mesa is stocked with players from the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Mariners. Here are important players to watch. You can find the complete roster here.
Jed Bradley, LHP, Brewers: Drafted in the first round (15th overall) this year out of Georgia Tech, left-hander Bradley will make his professional debut in the Fall League, which could give us some data about how quickly he'll advance towards the majors in 2012. His velocity was inconsistent this spring and it will be interesting to see how hard he throws. Age 21.
Dan Hultzen, LHP, Mariners: Like Bradley, Hultzen was a first-round pick this year (second overall) out of the University of Virginia, and will make his pro debut in the AFL. He's even more advanced as a pitcher than Bradley and shouldn't need much minor league experience. Age 21.
Santo Manzanillo, RHP, Brewers: This 22-year-old Dominican right-hander has cut his ERA from 9.28 in 2009 to 5.77 in 2010 to 1.75 this year, with a 62/26 K/BB in 61 innings and 17 saves combined this season between High-A and Double-A. A good showing in the AFL could help him get noticed for a relief job.
Collin McHugh, RHP, Mets: This 24-year-old right-hander out of Berry College has a 2.89 ERA with a 100/32 K/BB and just two homers allowed in 93 innings for Double-A Binghamton. An 18th-round pick in 2008, he could be a surprise contributor next year. He has an 88-92 MPH fastball, a good slider, and a workable cutter and curve.
Miles Mikolas, RHP, Padres: A seventh round pick in 2009 out of Nova Southeastern University, Mikolas has a 1.42 ERA with 21 saves and a 67/15 K/BB in 70 innings this year between High-A and Double-A. He's under-the-radar right now but could fit into the Padres bullpen in '12 or '13.
Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Brewers: This 23-year-old right-hander draws attention with his 6-3, 245 pound frame and can be overpowering at times with his 90+ fastball and plus curve, but also has command problems. He has a 3.85 ERA with a 98/61 K/BB in 117 innings in Double-A.
Taylor Whitenton, RHP, Mets: This right-hander has attractive stats with a 2.51 ERA and a 118/48 K/BB in 111 innings in Low-A, with just 76 hits allowed, but is old for the level at age 23. A 39th-round pick in 2009 from Darton College, he has a chance to impress against better competition.
Jason Hagerty, C, Padres: He hit .311/.386/.518 in 257 at-bats in High-A, but just .228/.319/.317 in 123 at-bats in Double-A. A switch-hitter, the 23-year-old was drafted in the fifth round in '09 from Miami. He draws walks but needs to prove his bat against higher-level pitchers.
Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals: Age 23, Adams had a monster year in the Texas League, hitting .304/.362/.573 with 31 homers, 40 walks, and 87 strikeouts in 447 at-bats for Springfield. A 23rd round pick from Slippery Rock in '09, he has legitimate power but a rough glove.
Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners: Just 20, this switch-hitter struggled somewhat in the friendly-environs of High-A High Desert (.275/.356/.411), but has hit better since moving to Double-A (.348/.375/.522 in 69 at-bats). He's swiped 17 bases. The AFL will give him a chance to showcase who the real Franklin is.
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers: Age 21, Gennett is hitting .300/.332/.403 in 544 at-bats in High-A. He seems to hit .300 in his sleep, but doesn't draw a lot of walks, has marginal power, and is limited to second base.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres: Age 22, this second round pick from the '10 draft (West Virginia) mashed in the Cal League (.365/.429/.638 in 340 at-bats) and has remained effective in the tough hitting environment for Double-A San Antonio (.281/.358/.415). Glove at third is solid.
Reese Havens, 2B, Mets: The 24-year-old former South Carolina star is effective when healthy (.288/.373/.455 this year in 198 at-bats in Double-A) but has problems staying that way, hampered by a variety of maladies. He needs at-bats and here is a chance for him to get them.
Ryan Jackson, SS, Cardinals: This 23-year-old has a slick glove and started to show pop this year, hitting 11 homers in Double-A (.277/.335/.414 for Springfield). His bat still draws mixed reviews but a good performance here might quell doubts. He's a sleeper prospect who needs more attention.
Jefry Marte, 3B, Mets: Scouts remain intrigued with his 20-year-old despite mediocre numbers in Low-A (.249/.314/.346). His power hasn't developed yet, but he did steal 14 bases in 15 attempts. His glove needs a lot of work, with a fielding percentage still hovering around .900.
Zelous Wheeler, INF, Brewers: A 24-year-old with a cool name, Wheeler looks like a future utility guy but has some sock and patience in his bat, slugging .463 this year overall between Double-A and Triple-A while hitting .274 with a .382 OBP.
Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF, Mariners: This 23-year-old hit .340/.402/.648 in 321 at-bats in Double-A for the Red Sox, but has slumped badly after being traded to Seattle, hitting just .202/.258/.263 in 114 at-bats for Double-A Jacksonville. The Mariners hope some AFL exposure will give clarity about what they really have here.
James Darnell, OF, Padres: This 24-year-old hit .333/.434/.604 with 17 homers and 52 walks in 288 at-bats in Double-A, then .258/.333/.424 with six homers and 14 walks in 132 at-bats in Triple-A. He's deadly against lefties, hitting .419/.500/.651 against them in Triple-A, but poor results at third base have moved him to the outfield.
Kentrail Davis, OF, Brewers: This former supplemental first-round pick from Tennessee hit a disappointing .243/.316/.355 this year in High-A, but he did steal 32 bases. Hopes he could be a batting champion look misplaced, but a strong AFL can only help his stock. Age 23.
Juan Lagares, OF, Mets: A 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, Ligares broke out big this year with a .350/.385/.500 season between High-A and Double-A, stealing 14 bases. He doesn't draw walks but has sound contact hitting skills and gap power. Skeptics think he's just been lucky with a high BABIP this year.
Logan Schafer, OF, Brewers: This 25-year-old lost 2010 to a hernia, but recovered this year to hit .315/.385/.439 combined at three levels, with 16 steals, finishing the year in Triple-A. He has a strong glove in center field and is a skilled hitter with gap power and solid plate discipline.
Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals: Just 19 years old, this Dominican is hitting an incredible .381/.439/.582 in 299 at-bats for Quad Cities in the Low-A Midwest League. Scouts liked his bat pre-season but nobody expected this level of performance. The AFL will showcase his talents against older competition.