Bernie on the Scene: Prospects by Readers' Request

Bernie on the Scene: Prospects by Readers' Request

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

I am back from a one-week cruise to beautiful Alaska. We always love going to Alaska — really a beautiful place.

I am trying to catch up on player profile requests from readers. If you have a request, please include it in the comments section below. If I haven't profiled your request recently, I will do everything I can to get to it.

This week's profiles are updated from anything I have written before:

Brett Baty, 3B/OF, New York Mets
Age: 21
Bats: Left
6-3, 210
1st-round draft pick of the Mets in 2019

Baty was drafted 12th overall as a first baseman and and was given a $3.4M signing bonus out of Travis High School in Austin, Texas. 

He had a rough start with the Mets, but he has had a very solid 2021 season, playing at High-A and Double-A at age 21. The Mets are moving him through the system quickly.

As I write this, Baty is hitting a collective .291 for the year with 12 homers and 56 RBIs. He has a .378 OBP and is slugging .471.

The Mets have played him mostly at third base, not at first. He has seen some time in left field as well. Look for his future to be at third base. Baty is not a very good defender, but his arm strength is solid at third.

Baty is capable of using the entire field with a measured swing. He isn't overly aggressive at the plate, but like all

I am back from a one-week cruise to beautiful Alaska. We always love going to Alaska — really a beautiful place.

I am trying to catch up on player profile requests from readers. If you have a request, please include it in the comments section below. If I haven't profiled your request recently, I will do everything I can to get to it.

This week's profiles are updated from anything I have written before:

Brett Baty, 3B/OF, New York Mets
Age: 21
Bats: Left
6-3, 210
1st-round draft pick of the Mets in 2019

Baty was drafted 12th overall as a first baseman and and was given a $3.4M signing bonus out of Travis High School in Austin, Texas. 

He had a rough start with the Mets, but he has had a very solid 2021 season, playing at High-A and Double-A at age 21. The Mets are moving him through the system quickly.

As I write this, Baty is hitting a collective .291 for the year with 12 homers and 56 RBIs. He has a .378 OBP and is slugging .471.

The Mets have played him mostly at third base, not at first. He has seen some time in left field as well. Look for his future to be at third base. Baty is not a very good defender, but his arm strength is solid at third.

Baty is capable of using the entire field with a measured swing. He isn't overly aggressive at the plate, but like all young hitters, he still hunts the home run. He can strike out quite a bit if he isn't more selective in the future.

It is likely Baty's power will develop in time. However, I'm not sure how much more growth there is in his frame. He could hit 25 homers, or he could be a 20-homer guy with a solid batting average. He has no speed, so don't count on stolen bases. 

Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: I wouldn't count on Baty until at least 2023. I think if he is promoted early next year, it means the Mets are in deep trouble. He needs more development time.

Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners
Age: 19
Bats:  Right
6-1, 181
Signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2018

The Mariners gave Noelvi Marte a $1.55M bonus after signing him out of the Dominican Republic.

Marte is among the many reasons the Mariners have jumped to the top of many MLB farm system rankings. He's well worth the money they spent on him as a free agent and could be a major force for the team in their future.

Marte has played this year for Low-A Modesto. He has hit well, compiling a .270/.368/.467 line. He has hit 17 homers, which is really solid for a shortstop, and has driven in 68 runs and stolen 23 bases in 30 attempts.

What we see in Marte is a young, still raw player with power, speed, good hit tools and the ability to play an average shortstop defensively, with a strong and accurate arm. However, I project him to play third base as he gets deeper into his Mariners career. I just don't see the range or the agility to stick at shortstop. But make no mistake, Marte is a good overall athlete. With tools.

Marte is among the outstanding young shortstops in the game, and if all goes well, he could join the big club as early as 2023.  

Marte has a solid frame, but his uppercut swing is a bit too exaggerated for me. I have concerns that pitchers will adjust to that swing and get him out on pitches that have passed his bat's plane.

Scouting Grade: 60

Fantasy Relevance: I think we'll be seeing a powerful and speedy right-handed hitter with a big-league job waiting for him somewhere on the left side of the Mariners infield.

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle Mariners
Age: 20
6-3, 180
Bats: Right
Signed an an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017

The Mariners signed Rodriguez for $1.75M.

Let me say that the hype we have been hearing and reading about Rodriguez is valid. I agree with analysts who think he will be a consequential, middle-of-the-order hitter.

Rodriguez has spent this season at High-A and Double-A. He has a combined .349/.455/.560 line at this point late in the season.

Rodriguez has hit 10 home runs this year, and he is capable of more. At age 20, he is still developing his frame and his power will continue to increase. He has driven in 38 runs and stolen 15 bases in 18 attempts. But these numbers are not yet important. He is still very raw and learning his craft.

I scouted Rodriguez in the 2019 Arizona Fall League, but he was overmatched. I think it was a mistake for Seattle to expose him to that quality pitching at age 18. He hit .288 without a home run. He looked like an athlete, but played with some trepidation.

The Mariners have a tendency to rush some of their higher profile players. I think they did that with Jarred Kelenic, for example. I think GM Jerry Dipoto should use more care and give his potential stars more development time. But that won't happen.

Rodriguez has a rather flat, but improving swing, and that may be one of the reasons he hasn't lit up the scoreboard with homers. He is a dynamic player, though, and people will pay to see him play. I see him as a slow starter who will gain steam with experience. 

Scouting Grade: 60

Fantasy Relevance: If they rush Rodriguez, he could fail. If they are patient with Rodriguez, he will mature at the plate and gain confidence. I ultimately see a home-run hitting star, but it may take more time than fantasy managers and the Mariners wish to offer.

Jose Miranda, INF, Minnesota Twins
Age: 23
Bats: Right
6-2, 210
Supplemental 2nd-round draft pick in 2016

Miranda signed for $650,000 as shortstop from Puerto Rico. The Twins think Miranda can be a power-hitting third baseman, but he has played at second, short and at third as they try to find the best fit for him.

Miranda has made it to Triple-A in the Minnesota system. He has a combined line of .336/.396/.564 as of this writing. Miranda is one of the hottest prospects in the game, and has been requested for this profile by several readers. I get it. He has already hit 25 home runs and driven in 75 runs. He looks to be a true power-hitting third baseman for the Twins future.

One amazing fact when looking at video on Miranda are his sweet swing and good hitting mechanics. He has struck out only 68 times in 487 plate appearances, which is amazing. He has become much more disciplined and measured from what once was an overly aggressive swing. Give credit to the Twins coaching staff. He's a poster child for improved hitting mechanics.

As of his results this season, many analysts missed on Miranda. He has shown more power and better bat control than most figured in his projections. But — and I do mean this — we have to approach Miranda with caution. He has to show us he can do it again. At least for a partial 2022 season before we go overboard on him. But I do like what he has shown this year.

Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: Get him while he's hot in keeper leagues.

Caleb Kilian, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Age 24
6-4, 180
8th-round draft pock of the Giants in 2019 out of Texas Tech

Kilian received a $397,500, over the slot sighing bonus. He was one of the players the Cubs received from the Giants for Kris Bryant. The other was outfielder Alexander Canario

Kilian is tall and thin and throws his fastball at 90-95 mph. He also has a better than average curveball and an average changeup and cutter. Overall, he has enough of a repertoire to start for Chicago, but he is not an elite option. If he wins a rotation role, it is more likely to be as a back-end starter.

I think it would be a mistake to count on Kilian as a rotation starter anytime soon. The Giants were desperate to add to their rotation, and yet, they sent Kilian to the Cubs in the Bryant deal. I get that, but I don't think he can hold up against better quality competition.

This season, Kilian has pitched at High-A Eugene and Double-A Tennessee. He has a combined record of 7-4 in 19 starts. He has thrown to a very respectable 2.42 ERA and 0.877 WHIP. Reports indicate he has been able to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. But getting that lanky body behind his pitches could be an issue.

Kilian has struck out 9.6 and walked 1.5 hitters per nine in 100.1 innings. 

The Cubs need Kilian to continue on this recent path. They need to see him at Triple-A next year and see if this year was the norm or a fluke. But I'm skeptical. 

Scouting Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevance: I'll take a pass for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of Caleb Kilian's available in drafts.

Kevin Alcantara, OF, Chicago Cubs
Age: 19
Bats: Right
6-6, 188
Signed as an international free agent in 2018 by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic

Alcantara signed for $1M.  The Yankees traded him to the Cubs in the deal for Anthony Rizzo.  Pitcher Alexander Vizcaino was also part of the deal for Rizzo.

When he signed with New York, Alcantara was only 16. Now, they have turned him into Anthony Rizzo while Alcantara remains a teenager. We have no idea yet how good Alcantara may be once he develops his skills and frame.

Alcantara has tools that could become well advanced with experience and physical maturation. He is extremely lithe and athletic. His skills jump out at the observer, but as of now, his best tool is a Grade 60 speed.

Even though he is long and lean, he has already shown strong hands and forearms. That will only improve with time. 

Alcantara projects to hit for average and power, steal bases and probably play a better than average defensive outfield. However, the Cubs are looking at the future with him, and not the present. He projects to get a first big-league look at the end of 2023 or maybe not until 2024.

Keep in mind that Alcantara has played at Rookie Ball all season. He has a lot of work to do before we see him advance. He is hitting. 329/408/.565 in only 99 plate appearances this season. He has five home runs, and that's pretty special for less than 100 trips to the plate. He did have a hamstring injury that has cost him playing time. But my friends, that is a fact to remember. Long, lean, hamstring? 

Scouting Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevance: Not yet. Not for a while.

HEADING HOME

Baseball is lucky to have iconic markets like the Dodgers and Giants in a pennant race. I've seen this battle many times in my long life, and I have no prediction how the season will end. But I do like the fact the veterans for both clubs are having a great impact. Injuries (Buster Posey with a knee, Brandon Crawford with a back) and others could make a difference.

• I'm not sure I want Shohei Ohtani throwing 117 pitches in September in a meaningless game for a meaningless team like the Angels. Not smart. He's far too valuable.

• As I write this, Joey Gallo has struck out 180 times in 425 at-bats. But — and this gets lost — he has walked 100 times and has hit 30 homers. He has driven in only 66 runs because he played on a team with an anemic offense before going to New York.

• I still love Jose Abreu. He has driven in 102 runs with 28 homers. The guy drives in runs year after year. And the White Sox offense really wasn't as potent as I thought it would be.

• It really is difficult for me to describe how great Joey Votto has been in his career. The guy looked like he was on his last leg, but has come back to hit 28 homers and drive in 84 runs so far. And, oh, by the way, Joey Votto is ... 37.

• I was very bullish on Austin Riley at the start of fantasy baseball drafts. But I was always one pick too late. And I didn't learn, as Riley kept going higher and higher in my drafts. But what a year he has had. 

• I don't think we'll have a 20-game winner in 2021. Not enough starts left in the season for Gerrit Cole, Adam Wainwright or Kyle Hendricks. And I don't think Julio Urias can get four more. 

• No, I wanted no part of Mark Melancon at age 36. But guess what? He was great this year.

• If you have prospects you wish for me to evaluate, let me know in comments below.

• My question for this week: So we need to fast forward to Fantasy Baseball 2022. In the comments below, please tell me your first five hitters (position players) off the board. I'm thinking there are some vast differences of opinion. I want to know who you want to build your team around.

• Have a great week. And thank you for following me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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