USA TODAY Sports Weekly

TOP FIVE PROSPECTS

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Ex­cerpted from Base­bal­lHQ.com’s 2016 Mi­nor League Base­ball An­a­lyst. To or­der: base­bal­lhq.com/mlba16.

1. Joey Gallo, 3B- OF: Gallo is a tall (6-5), strong hit­ter who is all about power and can hit any pitch to any part of the park. A long swing and strug­gles against left-handed pitch­ers pro­vide rea­son for cau­tion, but the 22-year-old has in­cred­i­ble bat speed and loft in his swing. He doesn't run well but has the ath­leti­cism and arm for the out­field, his likely desti­na­tion with Adrian Bel­tre en­trenched at third base.

2. Dil­lon Tate, RHP: Tate’s arm ac­tion gen­er­ates plus pitch move­ment; he can be very tough to square up. Though just 21, he has a sink­ing fast­ball and vi­cious slider that serve as “out” pitches. There is ef­fort in his de­liv­ery, but with a de­vel­op­ing changeup, he has the reper­toire to be­come an ace. He’s likely to re­port to high Class A in 2016.

3. Lewis Brin­son, OF: Brin­son, 21, has vastly im­proved over the past year and strikes out less fre­quently. The raw tools are well above av­er­age, so with con­tact he can be an im­pact player (com­bined 20 homers and 18 steals in 2015). He played mostly cen­ter field with plus speed, range and arm strength. He still can use some re­fine­ment on de­fense, but he’ll get that at Class AAA in 2016.

4. No­mar Mazara, OF: Mazara draws walks and makes ac­cept­able con­tact for some­one with his power pro­file (49 homers over three sea­sons). He has the hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion to hit for bat­ting av­er­age and power. He could hang in bet­ter against left-handed pitch­ing, and his lim­ited range will rel­e­gate him to a cor­ner out­field slot. He could end the sea­son with Texas.

5. Luis Or­tiz, RHP: Or­tiz is a strongfram­ed starter (6-3, 230 pounds) who missed time late in 2015 with fa­tigue. He has de­cep­tion in a re­peat­able de­liv­ery, and his fast­ball and slider serve as strike­out pitches (46 strike­outs in 50 in­nings). The 20-year-old can dom­i­nate when he se­quences well and chal­lenges hit­ters. He’ll likely head to high Class A ball in 2016 and has midro­ta­tion up­side.

Jeremy Deloney

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