#21 Brayan Hernandez, CF, TOR – “Hernandez doesn’t have the strongest arm in centerfield”. That was the end of the discouraging commentary from his prospect report. After that, Hernandez lights up the grading scoreboard with his plus-defense, blazing speed, and plus contact (45/65) ceiling – oh, and he’s just 20 years old. After posting a .325/.389/.512 line in his third season of rookie ball it’s safe to say he’s hit his way out of that league and is ready for bigger challenges in 2018 within the Blue Jays farm system. Hernandez will likely get all the development time he needs and we should see him sometime in 2019 at the earliest.
#22 Jonas Lantigua, 1B, SD – My name is JONAS! This kid can crush baseballs. 65 Contact, 60 Gap Power, 75 Power. That goes with his patience (Eye 50) and ability to avoid striking out (50). The scary part is he’s already made strong development progress in just a couple years of Single A ball, including winning the second half MVP award in the California League last year. All he did was crush nearly 30 homeruns and drive in nearly 100 runs in 139 minor league games. All signs point toward Lantigua continuing his assault on baseballs for the San Antonio Missions to begin the 2018 season for the Padres. Don’t be surprised if you see him in San Diego by the end of the year.
#23 Eric Cox, CF, TB – Eric Cox was the 16th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Savannah State University. Like Lantigua, he’s got rave reviews from scouts with his bat (60 Con / 65 Gap / 75 Pow). He’s 6’0″ 170lbs and still growing into his frame. Cox is a polished baserunner with the ability to really pick ’em up and lay ’em down (75 Speed / 70 Stealing). Cox should settle back in somewhere in the lower rungs of the Tampa farm system after getting his feet wet in Rookie ball and Short Season A ball last year. He didn’t take the word by storm, but scouts still believe in the hit tools.
#24 Huascar Ynoa, RHP, MIN – Ynoa is a big boy. He’s 6’2 and 195 pounds and throws in the high 90s and scouts feel he has the ability to push the velocity up closer to 100 as he matures physically. He has command of all four pitches in his repertoire which include a plus fastball (55/70), an elite curveball (50/80), and a damn fine splitter (50/80) that flashes plus-plus ability. The scary thing is he’s working on a changeup that scouts feel has the ability to be a plus-plus offering as well (25/80). His control (40/70) is what really keeps both his floor and ceiling high in the prospect rankings, but the stuff (80) and movement (60) ensures he’ll also have the ability to pile up strikeouts at an elite rate. Ynoa is just 19 and in the lower levels of the Minnesota system, but look for him to move fast this season.
#25 Luis Chavarría, LHP, BAL – Not many pitchers come along with the ability to throw five major league quality pitches – for strikes – but that’s just what Chavarría can do. Oh, and he does it from the left hand side. Signed out of the Dominican Republic last year, he spent most of his time at the Orioles international complex and we should finally get to see him debut in Rookie ball or one of the summer leagues this year. The 19 year old is said to have killer stuff (80) and four potential plus pitches – which include a wicked knuckle-curve! This will be a fun player for scouts, GMs and fans alike to track.