USA TODAY Sports Weekly
TOP FIVE PROSPECTS
Excerpted from BaseballHQ.com’s 2016 Minor League Baseball Analyst. To order: baseballhq.com/mlba16.
1. Corey Seager, SS: Seager is a dynamic player who more than held his own in his big-league debut. He sports plus bat speed and leverage that will bring out his raw power. He moves well for his size (6-4, 215 pounds), and his range and plus arm will work at either shortstop or third base, which might be his long-term destination. The 21-year-old is penciled in as the starting shortstop for the Dodgers in 2016.
2. Julio Urias, LHP: Urias was limited to 801⁄ innings after opting to have surgery to remove a mass under his left eye. When healthy, he attacks hitters with a plus 9295-mph fastball that tops out at 97 and mixes in a plus changeup and a hard curveball with plus potential. Though 19, he understands how to change speeds and keep hitters off balance. He could debut late this summer.
This 2013 24throunder continues to impress. De Leon, 23, attacks hitters with a 91-94-mph fastball, an 83-85-mph curve and an improved changeup. He showed an ability to miss bats and limit his walks in 2015 (163 strikeouts, 37 walks in 1141⁄ innings). He pitches up in the zone, but the deceptive late life on his pitches keeps him out of trouble. He’ll join Urias at Class AAA.
4. Frankie Montas, RHP: The 22year-old impressed in a short late-season trial (20 strikeouts in 15 innings). Though he can hit triple digits, he loses velocity late in games, which might lead to a bullpen role. But he keeps the ball down and can wipe out hitters with a nasty slider. Improving his changeup and refining his release point and command are key. He’ll likely start at Class AAA in 2016.
5. Grant Holmes, RHP: The strongbodied starter possesses a plus 92-95-mph fastball, a plus power curveball that is his best offering and a changeup that shows potential. He showed impressive fastball command in his pro debut as a 19-year-old, which bodes well for his development.