Don’t Overlook These Prospects: National League West
Here are some prospects who are somewhat overlooked but certainly still worthy of your attention. We wrote up the National League Central on Friday and the American League Central on Saturday. We did the National League East Monday morning and the American League East Monday afternoon.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Taylor Clarke, RHP: A third round pick in 2015 from the College of Charleston, Clarke was solid in the high minors in 2017, posting a 3.35 ERA in 145 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 138/52 K/BB. He’s thrown nine innings for Arizona in spring camp, giving up seven hits and four runs with two walks and nine strikeouts.
If you drew a picture of a prototypical fourth starter, it may look like Clarke. The 24-year-old uses a low-90s fastball, mixing in a slider, curve, and change-up. While none of his pitches are excellent, none of them are weak, either, and the gestalt of the whole plays up. If his command remains steady he could have a long career as an inning-eater with some distinctly above-average seasons.
Colorado Rockies: Garrett Hampson, INF: The Rockies drafted Hampson in the third round in 2015 from Long Beach State University. He mashed up the California League in 2017, hitting .326/.387/.462 with 56 walks and 51 steals. Cal League stats must be taken with boulders of salt but Hampson turned heads this spring in Rockies camp, hitting .278/.381/.389 with six steals and five walks in 36 at-bats.
Age 23, Hampson is a right-handed hitter who makes aggressive use of his 70-grade speed. He understands the importance of getting on base and his OBP/speed combo is ideal at the top of the batting order. He is very reliable at shortstop in terms of not making errors but his mediocre arm fits better at second according to scouts. We need to see him outside the Cal League but he is quite intriguing.
Los Angeles Dodgers: DJ Peters, OF: Drafted in the fourth round in 2016 from Western Nevada Community College, Peters was another Cal League star in ‘17, hitting .276/.372/.514 with 27 home runs and earning league MVP honors. He drew 64 walks about also whiffed 188 times in 504 at-bats. He went 9-for-22 this spring in big league camp with three homers and five Ks.
The strikeouts are understandable given his size: he’s 6-6. Peters will need to show that his long swing will work at higher levels but the power potential is quite genuine, at least a 60-grade and maybe more. He also runs well and has an above-average arm that would fit nicely in right field. If the 22-year-old handles Double-A pitching his stock will rise quickly and it is already pretty high in Dodgers circles.
San Diego Padres: Franchy Cordero, OF: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Cordero hit .326/.369/.603 in Triple-A last season then .228/.276/.424 during a big league trial, though he remains rookie-eligible for 2018 with only 93 MLB at-bats. He’s hit quite well this spring at .343/.465/.714 in 35 at-bats, though a groin injury will keep him on the sidelines in the early part of the regular season.
Age 23, Cordero looks electric when healthy, featuring minimum 70-grade speed and 50 raw power that he is tapping more often. He also has an extremely aggressive hitting approach and serious problems with contact, whiffing 44 times in his initial major league trial. He could crash-and-burn like many raw tools players with marginal skills, but his upside as a multi-category possibility cannot be ignored since he is still quite young.
San Francisco Giants: Steven Duggar, OF: Duggar was selected in the sixth round in 2015 from Clemson University. He was limited to 164 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A in 2017 by nagging injuries, hitting .262/.365/.445 when healthy with 10 steals, 27 walks, and 54 strikeouts. He hit .245 in spring camp but with power (four homers) and patience (seven walks).
Age 24, Duggar is a left-handed hitter with 60-65 speed, good strike zone judgment, and a superior glove (plus arm, plus range, plus instincts). I think there is more power in the bat that commonly realized and he should be a good secondary average player with a broad skill set.