The Scottsdale Scorpions feature prospects from five major league teams: the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, and Giants. With a roster stacked full of top prospects and breakout candidates, the Scorpions could be battling in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game by seasons’ end. Take a look at the team’s most talented prospects on the pitching staff and in the field.
The Scorpions’ pitching staff has a good balance of young unproven talent coupled with major league ready arms.
The ace of the Scottsdale staff will be 6’7” righty Tyler Glasnow, who was rated as MLB.com’s #27 Prospect in baseball entering the season. Glasnow did nothing but improve his stock in 2014, finishing out the year with a 12-5 record, a sparkling 1.74 ERA, and 157 strikeouts in just 124 innings for High-A Bradenton. Arizona will be a good place for the young hurler to improve his command, as the 21 year-old walked 4.1 batters per nine in ’14.
Cory Mazzoni barely missed out a roster spot with the New York Mets after a strong spring, but struggled upon demotion to the Triple-A level in 2014. The now 24 year-old pitched to a mediocre 4.67 ERA, and allowed 54 hits in 52 innings. Mazzoni looks more like a reliever at this point, as his fastball/sider combination will play up in the pen.
Rated by Baseball Prospectus as the #95 prospect in baseball entering the 2013 season, Clayton Blackburn of the Giants will be a player to watch this fall. The 21 year-old didn’t dominate the Double-A competition, but his 3.29 ERA and 0.1 HR/9 show that the young righty could see the major leagues in the near future. He may not be an elite prospect, but a strong fall could put Blackburn back on the Top 100 radar once again.
At the beginning of this season, many experts pegged Rob Whalen as a potential breakout prospect in a Mets’ system flush with talented arms. The young hurler only improved his prospect status in 2014, finishing the regular season with an impressive 9-1 record and a miniscule 2.01 ERA. By far the youngest player on Scottsdale’s roster, Whalen is worth keeping an eye on this fall.
The Scorpions’ position player pool isn’t quite as deep as their pitching staff, but they still have some big time names, especially in the outfield.
Greg Bird created headlines after a monster 2013 season, where the young first baseman hit .288, with 20 home runs, and a remarkable .428 OBP. While 2014 brought Bird somewhat back to Earth, the lefty still managed a .271/.376/.848 slash line, and made it all the way to Double-A Trenton by the end of the season. With Mark Teixeira struggling with injuries for the past few seasons, Bird has an opportunity to impress the Yankee brass. A strong fall coupled with a solid 2015 campaign could lead to a major league call-up in the not-so-distant future.
Eric Jagielo, the Yankees 2013 1st round draft choice, did not disappoint in his first full season of pro ball. The sweet-swinging third baseman batted .259, with 16 homers, and an .813 OPS at High-A Tampa. However, there are plenty of areas where Jagielo could improve his game. With 93 strikeouts (in 85 games) and 16 errors at the hot corner, the fall league is a perfect place for the young gun to hone his craft.
Matt Reynolds isn’t the flashiest player on this list, but the 2012 second-rounder has made a serious case for a big-league roster spot come spring. Across Double and Triple-A, Reynolds sported an incredible .343/.454/.859 slash line, a significant improvement over the .225/.300/.335 line he carried the season prior. With a strong AZL performance, Reynolds will prove that 2014 was no fluke.
Aaron Judge is proving to be an absolute steal at #32 in 2013 draft. In 2014, monster righty hit .308, with 17 home runs, 78 RBI, and an eye-popping .905 OPS in both levels of A Ball. Needless to say, Judge will make an appearance on numerous Top 100s in 2015, but his fall performance will be a significant indicator of where he ranks among baseball’s best young talent.
Taken as a 17 year-old in the 2011 draft, Brandon Nimmo was inevitably raw entering his pro career. However, Nimmo showed drastic improvement in 2014. The Wyoming Native set the FSL on fire during the first half of the season, finishing High-A with a .322 batting average and an impressive .906 OPS. And even though the top prospect struggled after his promotion to Double-A, the future looks bright for the young outfielder. A solid fall against fellow top prospects could lead Nimmo to crack some Top 50 lists entering next season.
When the Giants signed Daniel Carbonell out of Cuba for $1.4M, his main asset was his 80 speed tool. Scouts projected Carbonell as a fourth outfielder, saying, “The swing is very mechanical. He doesn’t handle the bat well.” But in his first try at pro ball, the 23 year-old managed to bat .344, with a .390 OBP, and .538 slugging percentage.. Despite these gaudy numbers, it’s clear Carbonell needs development before reaching his full potential. The fall league is the perfect place for that.