#36 Lucius Fox Jr., SS, CHC – Right now, by his ratings, this kid is all defense. But people said the same thing about Francisco Lindor when he was coming up through the Indians system. Fox is as elite of a defender as you’ll find (80 – Rating, 80 – Range, 75 – Errors, 70 – Arm) and when it came to hitting the ball at for the Smokies last year, he crushed it. Fox Jr. triple-slashed .296/.362/.426 even with his average to below average hitting tools across the board. It’s possible that the scouts haven’t got this guy totally figured out yet, or it’s also possible the 20 year old just hasn’t gotten to the level where pitchers know how to gameplan for him and take away his strengths. Look for Fox to open the year knocking on the door to the big club from Iowa.
#37 Norm Harris, SS, SD – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORM! Norm is another kid in this tier of shortstops that has his defense down pat. His bat has a little more upside than his peers in this tier (Contact – 50/60; Eye – 40/50; Avoid Ks – 35/60), but he’s still got some development to do to grow into those projections. He’s an elite baserunner (75 Speed/ 80 Stealing/ 70 Instincts) with a knack for being able to take an extra base or turn a walk into a double. He stole 42 bases against only 4 caught stealing last season mainly playing for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
#38 Jerry Knight, SS, CIN – I’ll give you one guess as to what this guy’s personality class will eventually turn out to be, right after you look at what uniform number he wears. There’s nothing Jerry can’t do. He can run, hit, throw and turn the double play all while telling you exactly how big of a steal he was in the 10th round of the 2015 draft. Seriously, just ask him, he won’t shut up about it. I think he’s got a little Lenny Dykstra in him. Jerry got a little taste of AAA last year, but did some damage at AA Pensacola posting a .315/.351/.442 line and .313/.353/.402 line for single-A Daytona in the Florida State League.
#39 Leodys Taveras, CF, TEX – Leodys doesn’t overwhelm scouts in any one area or skill. Defensively he’s solidly average to above, but still needs to work on his routes in CF (50 Rating). On the base paths he’s solidly above average as well. The only mark against him is that he’s not played in many “real” games yet, seeing action in only 5 games at Short-Season A Ball. The 2018 season will be an interesting one for Taveras to get his feet wet and start showing off some of that some-what-advanced-for-a-nineteen-year-old plate presence and discipline.
#40 Franklin Barreto, SS, LAA – Barreto is currently listed as a shortstop within the Angels organization, but he may eventually shift to 3B to show off that arm (70) and to make up for his sloppy footwork and defense at SS. Don’t fret, however, this kid’s bat is going to play at the big league level (Contact – 60) even if he’s not the biggest home run hitter (Power – 30) so long as he continues to make progress with his approach at the plate and keeps getting on base at a ~.350 clip. Barreto came over from Atlanta in a mid-season trade that sent Kole Calhoun to the Braves.