Monday, September 19, 2005
BA On Complex Leagues Top Prospects
- Nick Adenhart: Adenhart projected as one of the top picks in the 2004 draft before he hurt his elbow last May and needed Tommy John surgery. The Angels gambled that he'd return to form, taking him in the 14th round and giving him a $710,000 bonus.
His comeback after a 13-month absence started slowly, as he was on a strict pitch count, but he made huge strides in the Arizona League and regained most of his arm strength. He threw 90-94 mph fastballs with little effort.
Adenhart showed an excellent feel for pitching with flashes of his old form. Managers noted how easily the ball comes out of his hand, and he complemented his fastball with a sharp curveball, a backdoor slider and an excellent changeup. Inconsistent command and occasional poor pitch selection were his only issues.
In the chat wrap, Allan Simpson said that Adenhart still hasn't completely recovered from Tommy John surgery and has still more room to improve from even that. Good news.
- P.J. Phillips: Like his brother Brandon, Phillips was a second-round pick as a shortstop out of high school in suburban Atlanta. At 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, P.J. is taller and lankier than his brother. He has a lot of the same tools but projects more power because he has a good feel for hitting and the ball jumps off his bat.
Phillips' swing is a little long and his bat speed slowed late in the year. His plate discipline also is suspect and he'll have to adapt his approach.
Phillips can play almost any position defensively but likely will remain at shortstop. He has smooth actions and good range to go with an average arm. He's an above-average runner.
- Tommy Mendoza: The Angels got just eight innings out of top draft pick Trevor Bell (supplemental first round) and didn't sign Sean O’Sullivan and Brian Matusz, their third- and fourth-round selections. They did get solid production from Mendoza, another high school pitcher they drafted in the fifth round. He made the AZL all-star team after finishing second in the league with a 1.55 ERA.
Mendoza has a tall, projectable body and flashed three above-average pitches at times, including a fastball that peaked at 94 mph. He also throws a curveball and changeup. He excelled at working both sides of the plate.
- Gustavo Espinoza: Espinoza drew a lot of comparisons to fellow Venezuelan Johan Santana at a similar age. Espinoza was the workhorse of the Angels staff and led the league in strikeouts.
He has a good feel for pitching and, like Santana, has the makings of a plus changeup. He's adept at working hitters in and out and throws from the same arm angle with every pitch. His fastball was clocked from 87-91 mph and has room for projection.
Dodgers rookies aren't quite so plentiful; there are only two:
- Ivan DeJesus: DeJesus’ father Ivan played 15 years as a shortstop in the big leagues and managed this season at high Class A Salem in the Astros system. Not surprisingly, the younger DeJesus has an advanced grasp of the game.
Though he made 12 errors in 33 games before earning a promotion to Rookie-level Ogden, DeJesus is a quality shortstop. He has soft hands and excellent footwork, and his speed and range allow him to make more than his share of athletic plays. He has everything scouts look for in a prototype shortstop except arm strength, though the Dodgers see a move to second base only as a worst-case scenario.
“He’s got range, hands and footwork—all natural ability he gotten from his dad’s genes,” Mets manager Gary Carter said. “He knows how to play.”
DeJesus isn’t as advanced with the bat. He shows little more than gap power but stays within himself. He excels at putting balls in play and hitting behind runners. His upside is a .280-.290 hitter with 20-plus steals and maybe 10-15 homers if his power blossoms.
- Miguel Sanfler: A 5-foot-11, 195-pound lefthander from the Dominican Republic, Sanfler has an easy motion that belies a power arm capable of reaching 95 mph. At times he can spot his fastball anywhere he wants, but he frequently leaves it up in the strike zone.
His secondary stuff has a ways to go, though his curveball can be a devastating pitch that falls off a table when he has it working. His changeup has been slower to develop but has the makings of being an above-average pitch with slider action.