Check out part 1 here.
Adam Climber, RP, San Diego Padres - Not the sexiest or highest upside name to appear on this continued list by any means, but there are quite a few damaged bullpens to go around baseball and Climber has been very good for a long time.
At age 27, Climber’s learning curve is behind him and has spent parts of three seasons —and 72.1 innings— at Triple-A. A reliever since his first pro day, Climber has registered over 300 innings in the minor leagues with an ERA barely above 3.00. He’s a contributor across the board and excels in limiting baserunners. It’s possible he’s more than ready to jump into a big league bullpen come April.
Ian Miller, OF, Seattle Mariners - The 25-year old Miller flips to 26 in February and tied with Texas League MVP Matt Beaty (read more about the Dodgers emerging prospect) with a .326 batting average. Miller also stole 30 bases to just four caught stealing and racked up a whopping 112 hits in 83 Double-A games.
He reached Triple-A this past season and if unselected will head back to Tacoma where he accumulated another 13 steals in 41 games. A great speed tool and an excellent glove that can fit anywhere in the outfield, there’s value to be gotten here.
Burch Smith, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays - Smith, who turns 28 in April, recently played in the Arizona Fall League to great success. The former Tommy John victim still throws with fire and remains with potential to fill out a rotation. Just as promising as a bullpen arm —in a long or late role— there’s a dynamic arm here waiting to be fully discovered.
In the AFL, he did what he does best —strike out batters. The Texan tallied up 29 strikeouts (career K/9 of 9.6.) while allowing just 12 hits and walking 11 (1.13 WHIP). Perhaps a return back home(-ish) to Arlington or in Houston with the world champs is in the cards but keep an eye on Cleveland, who tried to draft him in both 2009 and 2010.
Nick Ciuffo, C, Tampa Bay Rays - Between Ciuffo, Chris Betts and Justin O’Connor, the Tampa Bay organization has sufficiently invested in the catching position at the top of the draft. Former first rounder (2010) O’Connor is stagnating, Betts was a recent second round pick (2015) and Ciuffo (1st round, 2013) appears to be the odd man out in 2017.
It’s hard to find young catching and Ciuffo will only turn 23 in March. His bat has yet to journey to the pro circuit, hitting .248 in 355 minor league games but 42 walks in his first taste of Double-A as well as defensive skills way ahead of his age make for a potential steal in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft.
A backup spot on a big league roster in 2018 while learning under a veteran presence could be a match made in heaven for a prospect who has thrown out 42 percent of base stealers in his minor league career.
Max Pentecost, C, Toronto Blue Jays - Another catcher drafted in the first round, Pentecost was taken at the grand position of 11th overall in 2014 but was left unprotected by the Blue Jays this fall. Like Tampa, the organization has a lot of catching depth and chose to protect Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire over Pentecost.
Not one, not two but three shoulder injuries cost Pentecost most of his first pro season in 2014 and all of his second in 2015. Making his long-awaited return to the diamond in 2016, he showed exactly why he was such a highly regarded prospect.
Pentecost brings a hit tool to the catching position that is hard to find and projects kindly (albeit dangerously optimistically) to his favorite player Buster Posey. Because of the injuries, he played a lot of DH and first base this year but continued to pounce on the ball at the plate.
In 71 games for High-A Dunedin, he hit .276/.322/.434, catching in just 19 but clubbing nine homers and 14 doubles. If not for some hellish luck, Pentecost may have been in Toronto by now.
Instead, he’ll more than likely be picked high in the Rule 5 Draft and whatever team selects him will probably find a reason to stash him on the 60-day disabled list to extend their rights on him. Definitely one to keep a keen eye on.