Baseball Factory Alumni on Baseball America’s 2017 Top 10 Prospect List: NL East
In this week’s edition of Factory Alumni in Baseball America’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects Index, we delve into the National League, starting with the NL East. All of these players have attended at least one Baseball Factory event, from an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout all the way to the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field.
Rankings are prioritized by BA and numbered 1 through 10 for each team. This week, there are 12 BF Alumni on NL East Top 10 lists.
Tyler Kolek, RHP (BA Rank: #3)
Kolek, the 2nd overall pick by Miami in 2014, missed all of the 2016 season after suffering a complete tear in his UCL and having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Known for his triple digit heat, the hulking Texan (6’5, 260 lbs) didn’t post mind blowing statistics in 2015 at Class A Greensboro. However, in what is known as an extreme hitter friendly league, Kolek only allowed 7 home runs in 108 innings, proving that he is difficult to square up. He appears ready to bounce back from TJ and put his injury woes behind him
Kolek came to Baseball Factory as a very projectable right handed prospect all the way back in 2011. By 2013, he was at Wrigley Field for the Under Armour All-America game where flashed a plus breaking ball and hit 99 MPH on the radar gun multiple times. He blew away one hitter in his one inning of work with his dominant fastball.
Stone Garrett, OF (BA Rank: #9)
Garrett was named the 2015 Minor League Player of the Year for the Marlins organization after hitting .297 with Short Season Batavia of the New York-Penn League. An injury in 2016 slowed his progression and only allowed him to appear in a total of 55 games, 52 of which came with Low A Greensboro. His .213/.265./.371 slash line was clearly affected by the time off, as he has displayed plus raw power and plus bat speed. His approach at the plate, which improved in 2015, will need to be regained in 2017 in order to keep moving up the organizational ladder.
Garrett has participated in numerous Factory events starting with a PREP event in 2011 where he showcased explosive bat speed, well above average defensive ability and great speed. Garrett participated in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, where he had two hits in four at bats and played all three outfield positions.
Thomas Jones, OF (BA Rank: #10)
Jones, a 2016 3rd round pick who signed for above slot, was a two sport star in high school, drawing interest as a defensive back from schools such as Clemson, South Carolina and Notre Dame. He ultimately settled on signing with Vanderbilt before the Marlins stole him away as an outfielder. In his GCL debut, Jones hit .234 over just 19 games. He has what is considered potential plus raw power and a quick loose swing. He is likely to move to short season Batavia in 2017.
Jones participated in the 2015 UA All America game, where he was one of the most athletic players on the field. He demonstrated that he has the speed, ability and mental makeup to patrol center field, in addition to having enough offensive potential to stick at a corner spot.
New York Mets
Dominic Smith, 1B (BA Rank: #2)
Smith, the 11th overall pick in 2013 has taken off in the past two years, capping off a torrid 2016 with an appearance in the MLB Futures Game. The 21 year old first basemen hit .302/.367/.457 at AA Binghamton and knocked in 91 runs with 14 home runs to boot. Ranked as the 71st overall prospect, Smith will spend the year at Triple-A, but a call up to the big leagues is certainly not out of the question.
Smith was a participant in the 2012 All-America Game and he showed that he was not only one of the best overall hitters, but was for sure the best defensive 1B in the 2013 class. His fluid and loose swing allowed for him to have incredible barrel accuracy. He was projected then as a gold glove type defender and has done nothing but live up to that hype.
Desmond Lindsay, OF (BA Rank: #4)
Lindsay, a 2015 2nd round pick, hit a very impressive .297/.418/.450 in his second season of pro ball, more than masking the struggles he experienced in his debut season of pro ball. He is best known for his speed/power combination, yet he only swiped 3 bags and hit 4 homers in his 32 games with Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League. Look for Lindsay to advance to Low-A ball this year.
Lindsay participated in a National Tryout in 2015 and went on to play for Baseball Factory’s Team One Florida. He showed a fluid rhythm with a quick swing that allowed him to hit the ball with power to all fields.
Brandon Nimmo, OF (BA Rank: #5)
Nimmo, the 13th overall pick in 2011, reached the Major Leagues last year and impressed, hitting .274/.338/.329 on 32 games. The Wyoming native, tore up the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, mashing to a tune of .352/.423/.541 at AAA Las Vegas. Much of Nimmo’s value is tied to getting on base, as he is known for having an extraordinary eye and the ability to comfortably work counts. Expect him to be shuttled back and forth between Las Vegas and Queens this summer, likely being the first outfielder brought back to the big club.
Nimmo was one of the better players at the 2010 UA AA game at Wrigley, where he was compared to Paul O’Neill for the left handed hitting outfield ability. Coming from a state that does not have High School Baseball, Nimmo arrived at the game as one of the lesser known players, but by the end of the weekend he was a consensus top prospect in the 2011 class.
Gavin Cecchini, 2B/SS (BA Rank: #6)
Cecchini, much like Nimmo, mashed at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2016, earning a cup of coffee with the big club at the end of year. The 12th overall pick in 2012, Cecchini followed up a stellar 2015 with an even more robust 2016, slashing .325/.390/.448. While Cecchini doesn’t have one monster tool that carries his future value, he seems to do everything well enough that he doesn’t have a major weakness. Expect him to be middle infield depth for this season, with the ability to wrestle away a starting role in the future.
Cecchini was the starting shortstop and leadoff hitter for the American team at the All-America Game in 2011. His tools all graded out as plus at the event and he took home both game MVP honors and was named the Under Armour Silver Spike Award winner for being the most outstanding player over the course of the entire week.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP (BA Rank: #8)
Szapucki, a 2015 5th rounder out of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, only appeared in a total of 9 games in 2016. However, the southpaw posted dominant numbers, including a 2.35 ERA with 15.26 K/9 at short-season Brooklyn. The hard throwing lefty lives around the strike zone and has what could be a wipe-out slider to go along with his 95+ MPH fastball. Look for him to gain some innings in Low-A ball this summer.
Szapucki has participated in numerous Factory events, culminating with an invite to the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley. He featured a fastball in the low 90s that required little effort and a tight breaking ball that acted as a swing and miss pitch.
Tomas Nido, C (BA Rank: #9)
Nido, a Puerto Rican native drafted in the 8th round in 2012, put together a superb offensive season at High-A St. Lucie in the Florida State League. A slash line of .320/.357/.459 showed that his plus-plus raw power could show up in games. If he remains at catcher is still up in the air, but for now, the offensive stalwart will continue to learn the nuances of backstopping as he progresses through the system.
Nido played in the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game where he showcased his power during pre game batting practice. He also attended the Under Armour Southeast Tournament, where he was a standout performer.
J.P. Crawford, SS (BA Rank: #1)
Crawford has been highly touted since being selected as the 16th overall pick in 2013 and he more than held his own at Triple-A Lehigh Valley last summer, slashing .244/.328/.318. Defensively, he needs to continue to hone his glove skills, but the range and athleticism that he features should allow him to remain at shortstop throughout his professional career. Offensively, his advanced approach should allow him to reach base at a high clip, setting the table for a lineup that should eventually reap the benefits of many high draft picks and high end prospects acquired through trades. Expect to see Crawford in the city of Brotherly Love as soon as this summer, as he is currently in big league camp.
Crawford first attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout back in 2009 and ultimately ended up as a standout at the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley. While there, he displayed his easy, fluid actions on defense and showed off a line drive stroke that appeared would put plenty of balls over the fence as he matured.
Mickey Moniak, OF (BA Rank: #2)
The 1st overall pick in 2016, Moniak appeared in 42 games in the Gulf Coast League, posting a slash line of .284/.340/.409. He has elite barrel accuracy and features gap to gap power that may grow into true plus power as he progresses through the system.
Moniak participated in the 2014 Under Armour Futures West Showcase where he was one of the best bats that we have seen and had an advanced eye at the plate. In the outfield, it appeared that he would have the ability to stay in center field long term as he uses his instincts and plus speed to cover ground with ease.
Carter Kieboom, SS (BA Rank: #8)
Kieboom joined his older brother as a part of the Nationals when they made him their first round pick in 2016. Kieboom went on to slash .244/.323/.452 in his 44 games in rookie ball. His improved quickness may lead to his ability to stay at shortstop in the long term, which would be a boon as he is very advanced offensively, using a great approach at the plate coupled with is gap to gap power.
We saw Carter at both the 2015 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament and at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley in 2015, where he displayed the offensive ability that is normally associated with corner players. His bat speed, combined with his hand eye coordination and his advanced feel at the dish puts him on the fast track for an exceptional hit and power combination.