Shelly’s Prospect Team of the Month: August

Written by: Shelly Verougstraete (@ShellyV_643)

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The final month of the Minor League season just ended, but don’t be sad. We still have the Arizona Fall League to look forward to during September and October. With that being said, I am back with the Prospects of the Month team! Let me know who I missed in the comments or on Twitter. Last month’s team can be found here.

C – Luis Campusano – SDP – Age: 20 Level: A+ (Lake Elsinore Storm)

Campusano had a great August to put an exclamation mark on his breakout season. This past month, the catcher hit .296/.384/.480 with three doubles and five home runs. The rates are also impressive; Campusano walked 12.5% of the time and only struck out in 9.8% of his plate appearances. Drafted in the second round in 2017, every aspect of Campusano’s game, either at or behind the dish, is rapidly improving or already impressive. One more nugget as the cherry on top? Campusano’s 38.6 Hard% is well above average for a minor league hitter. As Francisco Mejia’s defensive woes continue, it’s becoming increasingly likely Campusano is the catcher of the future in San Diego.

1B – Ryan Mountcastle – BAL – Age: 22 Level: AAA (Norfolk Tides)

Mountcastle had an amazing August, but fantastic months are nothing new for him this season. Over the past 30 days, Mountcastle has slashed .333/.393/.629 with seven doubles and eight home runs. The 22-year-old has walked 6.8% of the time to go along with an 18.8 K%, which are improvements from his year-to-date numbers of 4.3% and 22.9% respectively. I feel Mountcastle has not received enough love and publicity in prospect circles. The only thing blocking him is the Orioles not grasping the concept of sunk cost in regards to Chris Davis’ contract. He should be getting playing time in Camden Yards early next season.

2B – Omar Estevez – LAD – Age: 21 Level: AA (Tulsa Drillers)

The Dodgers have done it again. Just another prospect having an excellent campaign. Estevez signed with the Dodgers during the 2015 July 2nd signing period out of Cuba. He has a 55 FV on his hit tool and that future grade really showed itself this past month. The 5-foot-10, right-handed second baseman had a great August, where he hit .283/.327/.842 with eleven doubles and four home runs. His eye has improved at the dish as his strikeout rate has decreased from 23.9% in 2018 to 19.9% this season. While he is still splitting time between short and second, the ratio has clearly shifted to second. With Gavin Lux and Corey Seager in front, the move to the keystone makes total sense. Perhaps the Dodgers continue to explore his positional versatility next season.

3B – Ryan Vilade – COL – Age: 20 Level: A+ (Lancaster JetHawks)

Drafted by the Rockies in the second round of 2017, Vilade is putting together an all-around great season in High-A. Last month specifically, he hit .359/.383/.947 with five home runs and five doubles. He also racked up another 24 runs and nine stolen bases. He was originally drafted as a shortstop, but he has split time between short and third this season as he fills-out his 6-foot-2 frame. An interesting change to Vilade’s offensive profile this season has been an increase in power away from his pull side.

SS – Gabriel Arias – SDP – Age: 19 Level: A+ (Lake Elsinore Storm)

The obvious choice here is Gavin Lux, but we all know that Lux is good. He’s so good that he’s making his MLB debut TODAY! I wanted to give a shoutout to another hot-hitting shortstop, and that leads us to Arias. During the past month, Arias hit .371/.393/1.022 with eight home runs, two doubles and three stolen bases. Arias has always been known for his glove, but now he has found that power stroke. He is pulling the ball 47.7% of the time and has increased his LD% and FB%, two and seven points respectively. With his glove and newfound pop, there’s a good chance Arias eventually carves-out a role as a big leaguer. Unfortunately, it might not be in San Diego with a Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urías (or Ty France), Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado likely remaining staples in the infield for the foreseeable future.

OF – Dylan Carlson – STL – Age: 20 Level: AA/AAA (Springfield Cardinals and Memphis Redbirds)

Carlson is having a breakout season and was recently promoted to AAA, where he is having a Gavin Lux-esque level of domination. Over the past month, the switch-hitting outfielder is slashing .341/.420/.625 with five doubles, six home runs and five stolen bases. The 20-year-old has a well-rounded skillset, boasting plus raw power and above average defensive skills from a corner outfield position. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals add him to the 40-man roster this winter, as he does not need protection from the Rule 5 draft until the next winter. If the Cardinals do add him, expect to see Carlson in St. Louis early next season.

OF- Gilberto Celestino – MIN – Age: 20 Level: A/A+ (Cedar Rapids Kernels and Fort Myers Miracle)

Acquired at the deadline last season in exchange for Ryan Pressly, Celestino put together a nice month of production in August. Over the last 30 days, Celestino has hit .353/.423/.553 with eight doubles, three home runs and five stolen bases. Speed and fielding prowess is Celestino’s calling cards, but Fangraphs gives him a 55 FV on the hit tool as well. Unfortunately, despite possessing plus speed, Celestino has been highly inefficient on the base paths this season (14 SB, 8 CS). The tools for success are certainly present, so perhaps he can learn the art of stealing bases. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this off-season. I’m skeptical as to whether the Twins will add him to the 40-man roster, since young outfielders are not usually taken in the draft.

OF – Brandon Marsh – LAA – Age: 21 Level: AA (Mobile BayBears)

A second-round draft pick out of high school in 2016, Marsh put together an excellent month of August to go along with his great (and extremely underrated) 2019 AA campaign. In the past 30 days, Marsh hit .358/.427/.987 with seven doubles, five home runs and five stolen bases. He did not play right after being drafted due to a back injury, but the two-sport standout has performed at every level. Marsh is an OBP king, where he has posted double-digit walk rates except his first stop in the AZL in 2017. The 21-year-old is no scrub in the field either. He is currently manning center but has the arm to move over to right field, which might be necessary as the Angels currently have a passable center fielder. Just thinking of an outfield of Trout, Adell and Marsh should have Angels’ fans excited for late-2020.

RHP – Cristian Javier – HOU – Age: 22 Level: AA/AAA (Corpus Christi Hooks and Round Rock Express)

The Astros gave Javier a $10,000 signing bonus when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. After he came stateside in 2016, he had been splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. However, this should not steer you away from Javier in fantasy circles as the Astros organization has been known to do this with some of their pitching prospects. Javier obviously possesses quality stuff, but his command has always been the pitfall. While his swinging strike percentage has hovered around 15-19%, the walk rates have sat around 10-13%.

This combo has not hindered him much in 2019 though. In 28.2 innings in High-A this season, Javier had a 0.94 ERA with 1.08 WHIP with 40 strikeouts. The 22-year-old was then promoted to AA and in 74 IP, he had a 2.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 114 strikeouts. Javier has a passable fastball and slider, but some scouts have his changeup graded as a 60. He made four starts in August, three in AA and one in AAA, and in those starts, he had a 0.47 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 19 innings. If Javier is unable to stick in the rotation, he would make a pretty lights-out reliever (the mechanics and delivery lead to an awfully tough look for right handed hitters). The Astros are simply an organization I trust with their prospects.

LHP – Seth Corry – SFG – Age: 20 Level: A (Augusta GreenJackets)

Once considered a laughing stock amongst farm systems, the Giants have suddenly developed one of the more interesting organizations in baseball, including a few names that have recently been included on my Stash Lists. So let’s add another to the list. Corry, a two-sport star, was all set to go to BYU before he tore his ACL during his junior year of high school. The Giants drafted him in the third round and gave him an over-slot bonus of 1 million dollars. In his first taste of professional ball, he pitched 24.1 innings in Rookie Ball to the tune of 5.55 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Yikes.

The Giants left him in the AZL to begin the 2018 season, and Corry performed much better. In 38 innings, he dropped his ERA to 2.61 (the WHIP remained high at 1.45). Towards the end of the season, the Giants promoted him to Low-A, where a 19.2 IP, 5.49 ERA, 1.47 WHIP sample left a ton to be desired. The Giants were not concerned and challenged Corry to A-ball once again to begin the 2019 season. In his second stint, the southpaw has officially broken out. In 119 innings, he has 168 strikeouts to go along with a 1.66 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He made five starts in August with a 1.01 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. I’d keep my eye on Corry, who should receive a challenging assignment in the California League next season.

Follow P365 staff writer Shelly Verougstraete on Twitter! @ShellyV_643

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer Julia Price and the Round Rock Express

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