Baseball Factory Alumni on Baseball America’s 2018 Top 10 Prospect List: AL West
This week’s article focuses on 12 Baseball Factory alums who make up Baseball America’s 2018 Top 10 Prospect List from the American League Central. Rankings are prioritized by Baseball America and numbered 1 through 10 for each team.
Los Angeles Angels
Jo Adell – OF (BA’s rank #2)
Adell, selected 10th overall by the Angels, was drafted out of high school. During his 31 games in the Arizona League, he hit for an average of .288 with 21 RBIs. Adell was then promoted to the Pioneer League to play for the Orem Owlz where he batted .376 with nine RBIs in just 18 games. Adell would help lead the Owlz to being named the best hitting team in the Pioneer League.
Adell was a participant in both the 2015 and 2016 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game at Wrigley Field. He has also drawn comparisons to Melvin Upton Jr. and could be a potential 30/30 star.
Griffin Canning – RHP (BA’s rank #9)
Canning, who emerged as a star early in his collegiate career at UCLA, was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft by the Angels. As a freshman, he would start 11 games and have four relief appearances while posting a 66 strikeouts to just six walks. He would also pitch 64 innings with a 2.97 ERA in his freshman year. In his junior season, Canning’s workload increased as he made a career high 17 starts, pitched to a career-best 2.34 ERA with 140 strikeouts in 119 IP.
Canning attended the Ryan Lemmon Sophomore Showcase in 2012.
Forrest Whitley – RHP (BA’s rank #1)
The right-handed pitcher played in the 2015 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game and would receive immediate promotions after starting his 2017 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits in Single A. Whitley pitched in 12 games, posting a 2-3 record in his 10 starts, with a 2.91 ERA. He would then be promoted to play High A ball with the Buies Creek Astros, where he had a 3.31 ERA and a 3-1 record in just six starts. Whitley’s final destination of the 2017 season would be in Double A where he pitched 14.2 innings for the Corpus Christie Hooks.
Whitley is in line to make his debut with the Astros this summer and is considered to be one of the top prospects in all of Major League Baseball.
Kyle Tucker – OF (BA’s rank #2)
Tucker was an invitee to Spring Training this year and relished in his opportunity. He would play in 17 games this spring and hit .410 with 17 RBIs. Defensively, Tucker has a strong arm and would fit best at a corner outfield spot. In the future, we may see him playing first base for the Astros because of his agility and height.
The left-handed hitting outfielder was a standout at the 2014 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game at Wrigley Field.
J.B. Bukauskas – RHP (BA’s rank #4)
Bukauskas was selected 15th overall in the 2017 Draft, coming out of the University of North Carolina. In his junior year, Bukauskas would have 116 strikeouts in 92.2 innings of work, with a 2.53 ERA. He has a very lively arm with swing-and-miss type of stuff. Bukauskas threw 10 innings last summer when he split time between Rookie Ball and Short Season A, while maintaining a 2.70 ERA throughout. In March of 2013, he attended the Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Dumfries, VA. Later that year, in August, Bukauskas would participate in the Baseball Factory Team One South Showcase.
Jesus Luzardo – LHP (BA’s rank #5)
Luzardo, initially drafted by the Nationals in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft, was a part of the Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson trade. Luzardo displays a simple, balanced delivery, with quick arm action from a high ¾ arm slot. This past year Luzardo played at three levels; one in Short Season A and two in Rookie League. He made 11 starts and finished with a 1.66 ERA in 43.1 innings.
In January of 2013, Luzardo attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Delray Beach, FL. Two years later in 2015, he would play in the Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.
Austin Beck – OF (BA’s rank #6)
This 19-year old was selected 6th overall in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft by the A’s. He played 41 games for Oakland’s team in the Arizona League (Rookie) last year. Beck hit .211 with 28 RBIs in his 152 ABs. He is a player who has drawn comparisons to Mike Trout for his defensive agility, speed, and power. Beck attended the UA BF College PREP in Burlington, NC in April of 2016.
James Kaprielian – RHP (BA’s rank #8)
Kaprielian went to the 2010 Ryan Lemmon Sophomore Showcase and played in the 2011 UA BF All-America Pre-Season Tournament. James was one of the prospects in the blockbuster trade that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees one year after he was originally drafted 16th overall by New York in the 2015 MLB Draft. He underwent Tommy John surgery last April and is expected to return by the early part of this season. When healthy, Kaprielian can be a top-of-the-rotation talent, with his fastball ranging from 93-97 MPH.
Hans Crouse – RHP (BA’s rank #3)
Originally drafted in the second round of the 2017 Draft by the Rangers, the 18-year old did very well in his first season of professional baseball. In the 20 innings he pitched, Crouse finished with an astonishing 0.45 ERA. His fastball can touch 97 MPH and is accompanied by an above-average curveball, and still developing a third pitch. Crouse has scary arm action and has some of the best stuff within his pitching class. He played in the 2016 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.
Cole Ragans – LHP (BA’s rank #4)
Ragans has come across a minor setback, as he will have to undergo Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL. The earliest the Rangers will see the left-hander back on the mound will not be until the 2019 season. He would pitch for the Arizona League Rangers and the Spokane Indians the last two seasons and would throw 65 innings. Ragans pitched in 17 games, 15 of which he started, with a 3.74 ERA while striking out 96 batters. Two years prior to being drafted in the first round, Ragans participated in the UA BF College PREP in Tallahassee, FL (April 2014).
Ronald Guzman – 1B (BA’s rank #6)
Coming off an invite to Spring Training, Guzman was optioned to Triple A but will likely be called up before the end of the season. The undrafted international free agent has made big strides throughout his Minor League career. Guzman has spent the last two seasons between the Double A Frisco Roughriders and the Triple A Round Rock Express. In his last two seasons in Triple A, Guzman hit .285 with 73 RBIs, while in Double A he hit .288 with 15 HRs. Guzman played in the 2010 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.
Chris Seise – SS (BA’s rank #10)
Seise played in 51 games this summer and hit .284 with 36 RBIs for both the Arizona League Rangers (Rookie) and the Spokane Indians (Low A). After hitting .336 in the Arizona League with 27 RBIs in 27 games, Seise would then be promoted to play for the Spokane Indians. This shortstop, out of high school, was drafted 29th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft and is known for his strong arm and speed. He attended the 2014 Under Armour Invitational.