USA TODAY Sports Weekly
TOP FIVE PROSPECTS
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.