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I have a lot of balls in the air right now, as we prepare the book for shipping, but will have fresh material for you soon.


Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Bats: L   Throws: R     HT: 6-4    WT: 200   DOB: October 24, 1989


Kyle Lotzkar of the Hill People was a supplemental first round pick in 2007 out of high school in British Columbia. He has an ideal pitcher’s body, already throws 90-94 MPH and should gain more velocity in time. His curveball and changeup also show plus potential. Both are erratic right now, but if things develop properly Lotzkar will have three strong major league pitches. Note his excellent K/IP ratio so far as a pro. The two main issues here are command and health. He simply walks too many guys right now, and while that should improve in time, there is no guarantee that it will. Of greater concern, he was limited to just 10 starts by a balky elbow last year. Surgery was avoided, but he’ll have to prove his durability. I am impressed with Lotzkar’s long-term potential, but he needs refinement and injury risk could be high. If he stays healthy, I like his chances. I am going to go with an aggressive Grade B- on this one.

Joseph Martinez, RHP, San Francisco Giants

Bats: L    Throws: R     HT: 6-3     WT: 185   DOB: February 26, 1983


I wrote last year that I thought Joseph Martinez had a “better than even” chance of adjusting well to Double-A, and that prediction panned out: he had a fine campaign in the Eastern League, leading the circuit in ERA. Despite a good track record in A-ball, success at the higher levels was not assured: Martinez doesn’t throw hard, usually just in the 86-89 range. But his breaking ball and changeup are effective, he has a terrific feel for pitching and he keeps the ball down, picking up a 2.03 GO/AO last year and allowing only six homers. The next step is Triple-A, and as always Martinez doesn’t have a big margin for error. He turns 26 in February, making him an older prospect as well. For these reasons I can’t rate him higher than a Grade C. But, if he continues to pitch like this in Triple-A, he could end up being a decent fifth starter/long relief type in the majors.


Justin Maxwell, OF, Washington Nationals

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-5     WT: 225   DOB: November 6, 1983


The Obama Administration could solve the health care crisis by deporting Justin Maxwell to Bolivia. Snakebit with injuries since his days at the University of Maryland, Maxwell was off to a good start last year in Double-A. Despite the low batting average, his OPS was decent at +11 percent, and he had a tremendously good SEC of .500, demonstrating power, patience and speed. His strikeout rate was under control, and the batting average would have eventually risen. Alas, Maxwell broke his wrist in May and missed the entire second half of the season. When healthy, Maxwell has Five Tools and Seven Skills, his weakest skill being batting average, but he just hasn’t been able to remain healthy very often. Grading him is tough. If the stars are aligned correctly, Maxwell could be a rookie of the year candidate. If he gets injured or loses the command of the strike zone he showed last year, he could flounder. I gave him a Grade B last year, and will lower that to Grade C+ this year due to the injury factor. But keep in mind that he could end up being a surprise contributor in the Show sooner than people anticipate, if his body lets him.