When going through the minor league stat sheets, it’s hard to ignore 24 home runs in 336 plate appearances (or a .312 isolated power for that matter) from a 23-year-old. It is even more difficult to ignore those home runs when you note that in just his fourth season of professional ball, Adam Walker already has 90 career minor league home runs. While the Twins outfielder is a fairly good bet to be promoted to Triple-A before the end of the year, how excited should we really be about him going forward? Well, of course the power is 100% legitimate. We're talking 30-plus home run potential. That said, Walker is a right-handed hitter who has had his strikeout rates trending upwards for each of his three full seasons in pro ball, reaching 38% this year. His overall slash is .266/.321/.578. While he may have a MLB career, it is likely as a LF/1B/DH platoon type if used properly.
Orlando Arcia made an appearance in this past weekend’s Futures Game. I have previously mentioned Arcia as one of my top ten long-term shortstop prospects, and he has not disappointed in Double-A. The Brewer, while showing a bit more aggressiveness in his approach, is still making good contact and batting .313/.355/.458. That is more than holding one’s own and quite a standout effort for a 20-year-old. Arcia is already noted for a plus glove and plus speed with 20-plus stolen base potential, but he appears to be adding more power and has tied his home run production from last season in 200 fewer plate appearances. Arcia should be in Triple-A at some point this season and could be in the Majors as soon as 2016, depending on what the Brewers decide to do with incumbent Jean Segura, who is currently on the trade market.
The Rockies’ Trevor Story also appeared in the Futures Game. The former supplemental first-round pick has been splitting his time between shortstop and second base in Double-A and Triple-A, where he is showing power, patience, and some speed. After being included in my impact prospect preseason pieces the last few years, Story made it only as an “honorable mention” in this past spring’s piece. He continues to display the tools, both offensively and defensively, that you like to see from a middle infielder, but like Adam Walker, his strikeout rates and handedness may keep him from having a long career as a starter. Story was striking out just under 25% of the time in Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A and needed to produce a .351 BABIP to hit just .281. He projects as a .230s to .250s hitter in the Majors.
Continuing with our theme of Futures Game participants, the Rangers' Nick Williams also played in Cincinnati over the weekend. The lefty has fairly decent all-around tools but has earned the reputation as an overly aggressive hitter who has yet to tap into his tools and put up some numbers. The 21-year-old has shown some improvement this year and is in fact young for Double-A. Williams has cut down on his strikeout rate, making contact over 80% of the time, and he has even shown quite a bit more selectivity, raising his walk rate to a respectable 8%. He’s currently slashing .295/.354/.455. I’m still not completely sold on Williams and I’d like to see if he can sustain the skill improvements. He's a potential 20 HR, 10 to 15 SB type player who can hit over .280 if it all works out.
Lucas Giolito gets all of the attention when it comes to Nationals prospects, and rightly so. But one should not ignore Austin Voth. The 23-year-old former fifth-round pick is in his first full season of Double-A, posting an 8.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.While he is not going to be a future ace and may at best be a #3 type starter, Voth commands his low to mid-nineties fastball well and has a decent curveball and changeup that have swing and miss potential. Expect him in Triple-A before the year is out with a September call-up a possibility.
Tyler Glasnow is continuing on his fast track to the Majors with the Pirates. The 21-year-old has made nine starts at Double-A and has shown improved control and command, posting a 2.7 BB/9 without losing his strikeout skills, producing a 10.4 K/9. He lost almost a month of time this season, but thankfully to a non-arm injury. Instead, he only had to make his way back from a high ankle sprain. Glasnow works with an excellent fastball that can touch the upper nineties, a plus curve, and a changeup that has at least average potential. Glasnow projects as a #2 type starter.
Matt Chapman, a 2014 first-round pick by the A's, is showing off the power he was drafted for with 15 homers in 256 plate appearances. This total should be taken with a small grain of salt, however, given that Stockton is one of the better home run parks in the California League, though not close to being as good as a place like High Desert or even Lancaster. Park factors aside, Chapman has shown a patient approach and has kept his strikeout rate in check, but he's hitting just .257/.348/.545. Chapman remains on track to be a potential starting player at the MLB level, but he does not look like a future All-Star and may be an average third sacker at best.
Players will be receiving promotions after the All-Star break, so check back in as we explore more players who may be close to making a big league impact.