Minor League Prospect Notes: Ronnie Richardson, Beau Taylor
**I am intrigued with San Diego Padres outfield prospect Ronnie Richardson. Drafted in the 16th round this year from the University of Central Florida, Richardson is short at 5-6, but he's athletic, fast, and strong for his size. Despite his lack of height, scouts have been interested in him for years: he was drafted in the 11th round by the Twins in 2009, and in the 31st round by the Cubs in '11.
Richardson hit .305/.480/.500 this spring in college, with nine homers, 24 steals in 32 attempts, and a 41/26 BB/K ratio in 220 at-bats. He's put up comparable numbers in pro ball: .328/.477/.493 so far in 67 at-bats for Eugene in the Northwest League, with an 11/11 BB/K in 67 at-bats. He's stolen four bases, and his combination of speed and patience makes him a player to watch going forward.
**Another University of Central Florida product to consider: Oakland Athletics catching prospect Beau Taylor, currently hitting .328/.412/.446 in 52 games for the Stockton Ports in the High-A California League. He's been on a tear the last few games, going 6-for-13 with three RBI, while hitting .395/.469/.581 in his last 10 games. I particularly like his BB/K ratio: 28 walks with just 29 strikeouts in 195 at-bats.
Taylor was drafted in the fifth round last June. A left-handed hitter, he has a line drive swing and isn't expected to produce many home runs, but he controls the strike zone quite well, and the fact that he makes contact so readily is a good sabermetric marker for his future. It gives him a better chance to tap into his strength in the long run. Taylor lacks speed, but is considered a solid, if somewhat erratic, defensive catcher. He's thrown out 28% of runners this year. Taylor learned to catch in college and is still polishing his skills the position, but gets good marks for his mobility.