Hey all, KLaw here. With the excitement of the draft and Futures Game behind us, I thought it would be good to broaden my view of potential major league prospects to give everyone an idea of the talent even further out on the horizon.
Between my busy schedule of reading many books you are too stupid to comprehend and sampling foods your dumbass taste buds couldn't possibly begin to appreciate, I had a chance to check out the Zeke's Hardware and Auto Parts of Fairview Phillies, an exciting Little League team from Cincinnati, Ohio. My report is below:
Austin Davis (SS/SP) - At 11 years old, Davis is clearly the top prospect on the team despite being young for the level. Davis already hits for average, and has a projectable power bat. A little clunky at times in the field, he may have to be moved to a corner outfield position once he hits puberty. As a pitcher, he sits comfortably at 56-58 with his fastball. Needs to develop a secondary pitch, but his father won't let him throw a curveball until he turns 14. Something to keep an eye on.
Josh Slade (P) -Easily the best arm prospect in the entire tri-county area, if not a bit of a project, with velocity touching the mid-70's at times. Highly projectable prospect, with above average size and body frame, and late, sharp movement on the ball. Command is almost non-existent at this point and off-the-field issues could arise, but the sheer tools are there. Unfortunately, Slade was recently forced to the leave the team for an undetermined amount of time when Billy Greenberg's mother started petitioning door-to-door after her son was beaned in the neck during practice and required a three-day hospital stay.
Hunter McLennihan (OF) - Excellent raw tools, but will need a ton of fine tuning. Too many K's and not enough walks at this point, but he can run like the wind and once hit a ball all the way over the creek into the tennis courts during batting practice, so the potential is definitely there.
Kyle Howard (OF/P) - Howard had a good year as an 11-year-old, but has really regressed this year. He seems unfocused, and reports from some of my sources indicate he has, "like, seven girlfriends." At this point he looks like a back of the rotation starter at best, if he isn't eventually moved to the bullpen.
Billy Greenberg (OF) - Lacks instincts, limited flexibility. Passive. Coming off as serious injury suffered during practice; remains to be seen whether he'll regain what little edge he had in the first place. Additional reports indicated Greenberg isn't necessarily a "glue guy", either.
Connor Scott (3B) - Scott's a solid player, but probably doesn't have the glove to stay at 3B. He'll have to be replaced sooner or later if the team wants to shore up their defense, but reports are that his mom is a total b*tch and coaches really don't want to deal with her sh*t over whether or not he's playing enough.
Aiden Carson (2B) - Still just 9 years old, Carson is the youngest member of the team. Lots of upside, but a bit overmatched at this point. Also, wears one of those ridiculous helmets with the facemask on the front, leading some in the front office to question his toughness.
Jayden O'Brien (1B/P) - Putting up impressive numbers in the first half of the year (.375 avg, 8 HR, .960 OPS), but due to his birthday just making the cut-off, he's already turned 13. (Plus, given the thickness of the mustache he's been sporting, some parents suspect he may be even older than that.) The real test will be next year in Junior Legion.
Caden Jackson (OF) - L7 weenie. Oscar Meyer, even. Non-prospect.
Brayden Henderson (OF/IF) - Henderson is another raw, toolsy athlete. Scouts have been drooling over him ever since he did a flatfooted backflip off the diving board at Emily Salazar's birthday party last summer. He hasn't yet translated it to the diamond, but if he ever gets it together the sky is the limit.
Zachary Watt (C) - Originally put at catcher because he was too fat to play anywhere else, Watt really leaned out after hitting a growth spurt. His coaches are intrigued by his newfound athleticism, but he's the only one on the team with his own equipment, so he'll probably stay behind the plate for the time being.
Brian Crawford (OF) - Decent prospect, but Becky's cousin Sally told Mike Sanders that she heard from Ricky Washington that Crawford wet the bed at camp last summer and had to be picked up by his Mom and taken home. So there are some definite maturity concerns.
Braidynn Stratton (P) - Plus arm, advanced mechanics, but signability is going to be an issue. His older brother Dakota already plays at Lakeview, and Braidynn is seen as a solid commit there.
Bryan Ferguson (IF) - Haven't gotten to see much of him since his family just moved into town last month. According to Ferguson, he totally pitched a no-hitter and hit 20 HRs last year at his old school, but has yet to back that up with any evidence beyond telling everyone they can call his best friend Alex once he gets back from vacation. (NOTE: Alex appears to have been on vacation ever since Ferguson moved to town, with differing reports on where he's staying. Ferguson first said he was at Disney World, then later Disney LAND. Some in the organization are becoming skeptical Alex even exists.)
Ryan Gilbert (OF) - A three-time science fair winner, Gilbert's nothing but organizational filler. Reportedly he didn't even want to sign up this year, but was forced to by his father in an attempt to build character and toughen him up.
Emma Tanner (2B/SS) - Initial health concerns that her cooties would hamper her production have proved to be unfounded. She's hitting a respectable .280, and her numbers would be even better if not for some recent bad luck. (Her BAPIP over the last two weeks is a ridiculously low .227.) A slick fielder, Tanner could definitely develop into an everyday 2B provided she isn't dissuaded by other girls calling her "a total lesbian" or implying she's a major slut because she hangs out mostly with boys.
Danger Guerrero secretly loves Keith Law (Editor's Note: ZWR outwardly does... <3 you, Keith.). You can contact him by email at dangerguerrero [at] gmail, or just follow him on Twitter and stuff.