Category Archives: Prospects

It’s Yoan Moncada Day, All


This is one of the ones we’ve awaited and anticipated the most, the lovely Moncada Butterfly spreads it’s wings tonight in Oakland (and ribbed a double for his first hit).

As always, Baseball Prospectus has more.

Scouting Report: Moncada is one of the most physically blessed players in all of baseball. His physique is such that he should beware the attack of a wild boar sent by his enemies. He’s a high-end 70 runner that stole 94 bases over just 187 minor league games, at an astoundingly high 86.2 percent clip. His raw power is an easy plus. His arm strength is plus-plus, although it plays down in game situations due to accuracy and mechanics. It all looks and feels right for a five-tool major league package.

From the left side of the plate, Moncada takes mighty swings from a slightly open stance and generates extreme bat speed. It’s a gorgeous-looking swing, and he hits the ball with authority to all fields. The downside is that there’s considerable swing-and-miss because he’s taking such a vicious hack, but it is controlled violence, as he barrels the ball a lot and that might be an acceptable trade-off for his game. As Moncada saw better pitching in Double-A, his strikeout rate rose to over 30 percent. As noted above, his raw power is an easy plus, and he’s been actualizing it into game power more at the Double-A level than in A-ball; his overall offensive performance was slightly better in Portland than at the lower levels. From the right side of the plate, Moncada will shorten up a bit, giving back some of the bat speed for the ability to more consistently pull the ball to the left side. He has looked like a considerably improved hitter with his right-handed swing in 2016 compared to 2015 looks, but it’s actually produced worse splits, albeit in small sample sizes. His speed gives him the ability to beat out anything slightly more difficult than the routine grounder to that side of the infield. If there’s a small nit to pick here, it’s that he’ll sometimes get off-balance while swinging, leaving his swing with an unfinished look and generating weak contact while hindering his ability to get out of the box quickly.

Adding to the offensive profile, Moncada’s plate approach is unusually advanced for his age and background. He has a very good idea of which pitches he wants to swing at and which pitches he doesn’t, and has posted commensurate high walk rates at all levels. If anything, he might be a bit too passive sometimes; something to watch for is if Moncada starts taking too many borderline called third strikes against major league pitchers that can often put the ball right on the black. Overall, he’s a very smart and heady player that has repeatedly made quick adjustments throughout the minor leagues.

The major question for Moncada moving forward is his defensive home. He played all over the diamond in Cuba, including second, third, short, and center. The Red Sox decided to play him exclusively at second base until just a few weeks ago, a somewhat curious decision given that Dustin Pedroia appears entrenched there through 2021 and has already forced Mookie Betts to the outfield. Moncada’s glove at second was fine, but nothing special given his outstanding physical tools. In preparation for this call-up, the Red Sox started playing him at third in mid-August. Reports on his defensive abilities at third have varied wildly in that short period of time, as you might expect for a talented player’s first professional exposure to the position. His arm and range should match well with the position, but as Boston manager John Farrell recently noted, Moncada needs repetitions to improve his fundamentals and technique. If he can’t stick at third, he’d likely ultimately end up in the crowded Boston outfield picture.

Five tools. Stealing bags at an 85% clip. Some pop. Position versatility. Moncada checks all the boxes, and plays for the team in Beantown.

This is going to be exciting as all-Hell. Yoan Moncada is part of the fraternity. He’s going to be on video games next year. It’s going to be a good ride.

Update: Here’s Moncada’s first MLB hit, with the football field lines on the Oakland Coliseum field. Which is classy.

Miguel Sano will have Tommy John surgery


Word out of Minnesota is unfortunate this morning. Twins mega-prospect Miguel Sano will have Tommy John surgery to repair a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Sano apparently hurt himself in an intrasquad game last week when he rushed a throw.

We first became interested in Sano after seeing the documentary Pelotero.

Sano has been bothered by arm troubles dating back to last minor league season. He elected to rest and strengthen at that time, but now there’s no avoiding the surgery and dreaded long recovery time.

Here’s to a quick recovery for Sano. We are hopeful to someday see a lineup that contains both Byron Buxton and Sano at the same time in Minneapolis. The jury is very much out right now as to if we will ever see that – or if either guy will ever fully develop.

Our buddy writes for Rotoworld – the perks of such

Thanks Mike!

It’s always nice to have friends in high places. One of my good buddies just saved me the trouble of my yearly tradition of dropping $8.99 on a fantasy magazine I’ll mostly only read in the bathroom and then go completely against on draft day.

Mike Rosenbaum (best known for his work at B/R’s Prospect Pipeline and The Golden Sombrero) and avid co-host of The Baseball Show Podcast with us has a feature article a few pages into this year’s edition of the Rotoworld fantasy fishwrap. Check it out:


So when you buy this year’s copy of Rotoworld Fantasy Baseball, give Mike’s Top Prospects article a read. If you’ve spent any time here listening to the podcast in the past you know Mike is good shit when it comes to talking baseball and prospects.

And thank you Mike for the free schwag!

Must-Click Link: Mike Rosenbaum’s Top 100 Prospect List


Our buddy Mike Rosenbaum (lead writer at Bleacher Report’s Prospect Pipeline) is our resident prospect guru. There’s nothing we love more than a good young ballplayer without the wear and tear of years in the bigs.

When we have a question about a prospect we know little about, we often defer to Mike via text. He replies back with some good scout-speak, and just like that we know more about Mark Appel’s second pitch or Phillip Ervin’s estimated arrival time.

Mike’s Top 100 Prospects List is live over at Bleacher Report, and if you’re into baseball prospects you need to check it out.

Mike goes incredibly in-depth with snippets about each of the top 100 prospects in the game entering 2014. Here is a rundown of his top ten:

10. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
9. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
8. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
7. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
4. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
3. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox
1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Robert Stephenson checks in at 21 overall and Phillip Ervin at 91 respectively for you Reds fans perusing the list. Billy Hamilton is 36th overall. That might be generous until we see Hamilton hit.

Personal thoughts are that I love Correa’s ranking on this list. This is as high as I’ve seen Correa after checking several spots on the net (he’s 8th on’s list, 7th on Baseball America, and 9th on Fangraphs). We are really excited about Correa’s future in the game and feel this is a good ranking for him.

If you want to learn who the stars of tomorrow are going to be in this great game, you need to check out Mike’s list and take some notes, even if the notes are mentally.

Happy Kevin Gausman Day

Gausman Waves Camden Yards tall

We’re not likely to celebrate it every May 23rd, but every big time prospect should get their one day that is theirs and theirs alone. That day is when they make their Major League debut. Today is Kevin Gausman day.

Here’s a scouting report on Gausman from Baseball Prospectus:

Gausman utilizes long arms, a high three-quarters release, and good extension to create hard downward plane on his fastball. The pitch comes with boring action and routinely sits in the mid-90s, with the ability to climb close to triple-digits (he has touched triple digits in the past). He shows comfort with the offering and can move it around the quadrants, showing no fear working inside to set up his plus to plus-plus changeup. The off-speed pitch comes with arm-side fade and late drop, mirroring the action on his fastball, and generally sits in the mid-80s with around a nine to 12 mile per hour delta from his heater.

Gausman wielded both a slider and a curve throughout his scholastic career, but he has focused his attention on the former since inking with Baltimore, making solid strides with the offering over the past 10 months. He will routinely sit in the low-80s with the offering, but can juice it up to the mid-80s with tighter action more closely resembling a cutter. When clicking, the pitch comes with heavy tilt and is tough to pick up against his fastball trajectory, helping it project as a third plus or better weapon once he finds more consistency in command and execution. He is an excellent athlete who repeats his mechanics and fields his position well.

Gausman has the stage relatively to himself with just a short slate going on around baseball. All that remains for the young former first-rounder is shutting down the Blue Jays the first time he takes the mound as a big leaguer.

Friend of Diamond Hoggers Debuts at Baseball Prospectus

It’s a proud day for us here at Diamond Hoggers because our buddy M.J. Lloyd (co-host of The Baseball Show Podcast) and editor of Off-Base Percentage and Halo Hangout made his debut over at Baseball Prospectus.

M.J. brings it strong, writing about The Pitfalls of Prospect Worship; something that we can relate to pretty easily.

He begins:

Prospects are like new car smell. They’re exciting and intoxicating. They make it seem like your favorite team is about to turn the corner.

From there, M.J. brings it strong. If you’ve got a few minutes today, head over to BP and read his debut post. Way to go “MTD”. We look forward to more of it’s type.

If you’ve lost track of Bryce Harper, here’s an update

We are as excited about Bryce Harper as the next guy, unless that guy is Dave Cameron. We like Cameron’s writing quite a bit. When we’re ready to jump off a bridge because Jay Bruce isn’t hitting–Cameron is the voice of reason–he tells us that due to the data he’s reviewed and the abstract he has looked at, Bruce is going to be alright and a pretty darn good player for our Redlegs. He’s been right so far.

Cameron, like us; loves prospects. He writes for FanGraphs and the USS Mariner. He’s the man. Here’s what he had to say about Bryce Harper today:

And yet, despite all the hype, I’m still not sure we’re accurately appreciating just how good this kid really could be. He’s 18 years old, playing in his first professional season at a time when he should be getting ready to graduate from high school, and he’s hitting .396/.472/.712. That’s his line after last night’s 4 for 5 performance – one which included a grand slam, his eighth home run of the season.

He’s eighteen years old. Sure, it’s only 111 at-bats, but he could go into a slump of epic proportions and still match the numbers put up by some of the best age-18 seasons of all time.

So to sum it up, this kid is good. Like, really, really good. We get daily Google hits each day asking things like ‘why is Bryce Harper such a dick’ along with ‘Bryce Harper’s teammates think he is a dick’. There’s probably some levity to it. But we don’t care. We’re like Dave Cameron, picking pretty flowers, forming a nice boquet for the day he’s ready to accept it; and waiting for the day we can watch him hit like crazy at the Major League level.

We’ve just started following the Minor Leagues in the last few years, and this is one of the most impressive displays of something we’ve ever seen. Right up there with Jay Bruce end of 2007 and beginning of 2008 when the Reds wouldn’t call him up because they were thinking about their pocketbook, foolishly in Bruce’s case because he wasn’t tough to extend long-term anyways.

Someday soon it will be the Devin Mesoraco Show

We’re introducing you to the reason that either Ramon Hernandez or Ryan Hanigan will likely be playing their last season in Cincinnati in 2011. We’re introducing you to the reason that the Reds shouldn’t have probably taken Yasmani Grandal out of Miami U last season in the first round. We’re opening up the tag on Devin Mesoraco.

Our friends over at The Golden Sombrero recently ranked Mesoraco their #27 prospect in baseball. These guys know prospects. Here’s a snippet of what they had to say about the Reds young backstop:

As a former 1st-rounder, Mesoraco is very toolsy and has insane thump at the plate.  He enters 2011 as the likely Triple-A catcher and probably will at least receive a cup or two by the end of the season.  However, management of a Big League rotation is a challenge and typically begins well before the spring.  As a result, I find it very unlikely that Mesoraco won’t still be a rookie in 2012.

He has a 60 arm from behind the dish, and, despite not having Big League feet, probably can catch for at least most of the decade.  He receives rave reviews for his leadership abilities and other intangibles, although we at the Sombrero generally prefer to evaluate the concrete.  Because he did not put it all together until last year, a great deal of scouts wrote Mesoraco off, but we are believers and consider Mesoraco the best position prospect in the Reds’ organization.

The thing is–we like Mesoraco better than Grandal from the things we hear. The odds of having two catchers from your farm system effectively breaking into the big leagues within a year or two of each other doesn’t happen very often. More often than not; one of these two guys end up being a guy who just doesn’t make it. They’ll both get their shot–and Mesoraco will emerge as the guy who can mash when the lights shine the brightest at the big league level.

He had 26 bombs last season across three levels in the minor leagues, and he didn’t strike out in abundance for a guy with such pop.

After this season it’s going to be the more effective of the Ryan Hanigan/Ramon Hernandez tandem and Mesoraco with the older getting the majority of the duties behind the dish. The Reds will be eager to see how much this kid can be fed as a rookie I’m sure. But by 2014, Mesoraco will be one of the best catchers to come out of the Reds farm system since–dare we say it–Johnny Bench.

It’s Soon to Be Baseball Time

The NFL football season is over. It’s time to look towards a brighter day. And in just 65 or some odd days the greatest sport on earth will be delivered to us all.

You’re probably wondering why the larger than life picture of Jason Heyward is up there. I can explain. Everyone has their one thing they’re excited to see in 2011. For me–other than the Reds and Jay Bruce and how they’ll rebound from their first playoff appearance in a decade and a half–I’m living for Jason Heyward’s 2011. A full, healthy season as a 21 year old playing down in Hotlanta with some decent protection in that lineup should serve him well.

Anyone who has read this blog before should know that we’re HUGE Jason Heyward fans. In our fantasy baseball keeper league we’ve already selected him as a keeper. He’s the staple of our team. In 2011, we pull for three things: 1) the Cincinnati Reds, 2) Jason Heyward, and 3) anyone who plays the Phillies on any given night.

We think Heyward is going to arrive on the scene in a huge way and a year or two ahead of schedule. Cannot wait to see the big man hitting ropes all over the park. He might be reason enough to scrape together the funds to get MLB Extra Innings.

Heyward just really seems like a good dude. He’s like the inverse of a guy like Lebron James. He’s flashy, yet humble. We like his game and we like where his head is at.

Last year he topped the list of the Top Prospects in MLB. This year’s Top 50 Prospect list was announced last night. Definitely get to know the names. Mike Trout, Jeremy Hellickson, Bryce Harper, Domonic Brown, and Dustin Ackley round out the top five. Aroldis Chapman is listed sixth–a snub but whatever.

It’s truly going to be an epic season.

Rangers about to unleash some Smoak

Every year there is a prospect who everyone gets up in arms about and rushes to pick up in their Fantasy Baseball League because he’s the next big thing.
Last year it was Chris Davis. How’d that work out?
This year, it’s Justin Smoak.
Smoak, the Rangers first round pick in 2008, was hitting .326 at Oklahoma City. He had reached base at a .476 clip. Smoak is a switch-hitter with discipline at the plate whom the Rangers expect to hit for power. He has two homers at Oklahoma City, but none in the last 10 days.
Smoak has been called up to start tonight’s game. So tonight, we’ll start to see what made Smoak the #9 prospect in all of baseball.
If you haven’t done your homework on Sir Smoak yet, here’s a great post at Baseball Time in Arlington that will educate you on the kid.

2010’s Top 100 Prospects in Baseball

This is Neftali Feliz. He throws that gas babe.

Every now and then you meet the baseball fan who seems to get up in arms about prospects around the minor leagues.

If you’re one of those people, the time to get excited is now. Early lists are circulating of the top 100 prospects in all of the game.

Here’s the top 10 prospects in Major League Baseball for 2010:


We’ll keep an eye on these guys and what impact they have at the big league level with their respective franchises in 2010. We’ll admit, in the recent years we’ve had an increasing interest in top prospects.

John Sickels outlines Reds top 20 Prospects

John Sickels over at Minor League Ball has his list of the Cincinnati Reds top 20 minor league prospects. Here they are along with the grade he gives them. Pay attention to those top 5:
1. Aroldis Chapman, LHP A-
2. Todd Frazier, INF-OF B+
3. Yonder Alonso, 1B B+
4. Mike Leake, RHP B
5. Chris Heisey, OF B
6. Juan Francisco, 3B B
7. Brady Boxberger, RHP B-
8. Travis Wood, LHP
9. Matt Maloney, LHP
10. Zack Cozart, SS
11. Donnie Joseph, LHP
12. Billy Hamilton, SS
13. Josh Fellhauer, OF
14. Chris Valaika, SS
15. Neftali Soto, 3B
16. Yorman Rodriguez, OF
17. Juan Silva, OF
18. Juan Duran, OF
19. Juan Carlos Sulbaran, RHP
20. Enerio Del Rosario, RHP

I always take prospects with a grain of salt, especially the guys listed after 5 and 10 on this list. The reason for this is these guys won’t ever make it to the show wearing a Reds cap, or wearing any MLB uniform.
So much can happen between your days in A or AA baseball and your MLB Debut. You must be able to sustain consistency, stay healthy, and make an impression on the scouts at the different levels that you can make an impact at the show. That’s why I’ve never really gotten overly into following careers of prospects, save for a few.
It’s fun to think about what those top 5 or 6 guys will do as Cincinnati Reds, but beyond that who knows what the future holds for any of these guys.