The Prospect Stock Watch is taking a trip around the Majors Leagues. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be diving into each organization to highlight two or three prospects from each club that are seeing their values spike as we move into the second half of the season. The review begins this week with 13 names to know from the National League East.
Kyle Muller, LHP (AA): A former second-round draft pick out of high school, Muller saw his value dip with a drop in velocity. He’s rediscovered his lost zip and now has an above-average fastball for a lefty – as well as a very good curveball. At 6-6, he’s still learning to control his long levers and has had issues with walks this season (52 in 85 innings). Muller, 21, has a chance to be a mid-rotation innings-eater but there could also be high-leverage reliever potential here if he can find the strike zone more consistently. ETA: 2020
Patrick Weigel, RHP (AAA): A strong 2016 season had Weigel strongly entrenched on my up-and-comers radar but then his career ascent was derailed by Tommy John surgery. He missed part of 2017 and most of 2018 but is back and looking like he never left. The hard-throwing right-hander opened the year in Double-A but has now made nine appearances (eight starts) in Triple-A. His command and control have both been inconsistent as he returns from the long layoff but it’s nothing to be overly concerned about. Because his secondary stuff is just average, he profiles as a fastball-heavy, high-leverage reliever in The Show. ETA: 2019
Logan Brown, C (A+): A late-round draft pick out of a small college in 2018, Brown has done nothing but hit as a pro and features a .289 career batting average thanks to his ability to make consistent contact. He doesn’t hit for much power and will need to make adjustments to get the ball off the ground more consistently to have success at upper levels as a slow-footed catcher but he might have just enough bat to be a big league regular because his defense is so good. This season between two A-ball levels, he’s thrown out 43% of base stealers and shown exceptionally well behind the plate. He’s a deep sleeper right now but a good fantasy catcher is hard to find so stick Brown’s name in your back pocket. ETA: 2021
Braxton Garrett, LHP (A+): Selected seventh overall in 2016 out of an Alabama high school, Garrett’s career was almost immediately derailed by Tommy John surgery and he threw just 15.1 pro innings in three years. But he’s back, baby. The hard-throwing lefty is rediscovering his fastball velocity and he still has a feel for his plus curveball. In 68.2 innings at High-A ball, the 21-year-old hurler has 89 strikeouts and a well-above-average ground-ball rate. After looking like a lost asset, the Marlins may now have a future mid-rotation arm here. ETA: 2021
Jordan Holloway, RHP (A+): It’s been a long road of inconsistency for Holloway, who was selected in the 20th round out of high school in 2014. He’s battled control issues and then had Tommy John surgery in 2017. Still just 23, he has an enviable pitcher’s frame and stands 6-6 but is still fighting his control with 38 walks in 50 innings. When he finds the zone, he’s tough to hit with a high-90s heater and power curveball. Due to the control issues and lack of deep repertoire, Holloway looks life a future back-end reliever. ETA: 2021
Jerar Encarnacion, OF (A+): After taking just 20 walks in three years prior to 2019, Encarnacion has seen his value spike up after becoming more selective at the plate. He may never challenge for the title of highest on-base average but has 27 walks through 81 games this season. That, in turn, helps him get better offerings to hit and he currently has an .852 OPS over two A-ball levels at the age of 21. With a big, powerful body, Encarnacion projects as a power-hitting right-fielder. He already has 33 extra-base hits this season, including 13 home runs. ETA: 2021
Spencer Howard, RHP (A+): Howard has come a long way in a short period of time. He didn’t start playing baseball seriously until college and even then he didn’t become a starter until his third year of college. Howard opened 2019 in High-A ball but after striking out 11 batters in 5.2 innings on April 23 he went on the IL with a shoulder injury. He’s back now and rehabbing in rookie ball. Howard is quickly making up for his lack of experience and thanks to his athleticism and drive. He has a chance to have four average-or-better offerings with two grading out as plus. There could be a No. 2 starter here if he can stay healthy. ETA: 2021
Simon Muzziotti, OF (A+): Just 20, Muzziotti is already in High-A ball and hitting .280 as one of the youngest hitters in the league. He has great bat control and makes a ton of contact and doesn’t walk or strike out very much. He doesn’t have blazing speed but runs well enough to handle center field and steal 10-15 bases. If he can continue to add muscle and make adjustments to get more balls into the air, Muzziotti may have 12-15 homer potential given his frame. He may end up as a fourth outfielder if the power doesn’t develop but his natural ability to hit gives him a chance to develop into an everyday outfielder. ETA: 2021
Rafael Marchan, C (A): Marchan could be considered one of the Top 10 catching prospects in baseball in short order. Just 20, he’s showing the ability to be an impact player on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he has a strong arm (38% caught stealing in ’19) and the athleticism to be an above-average receiver. At the plate, he’s a switch-hitter with above-average bat control and a willingness to take the odd walk. He’s not the biggest player and may never be a home run hitter but he’s been making adjustments and now hits the ball more consistently in the air. As a result, he could develop solid gap pop. ETA: 2022
Taylor Guilbeau, LHP (AA): A 10th round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2015, Guilbeau was miscast as a starter early in his career. Moved to the bullpen in 2018, he’s really taken off at the Double-A level this season. He’s missing bats and throwing more strikes (K-BB of 39-9 in 32 IP) while inducing ground balls at a high rate. He’s allowed just one home run as a reliever in two seasons. Guilbeau has a mid-90s fastball and above-average slider. There is seventh- or eighth-inning reliever potential here. ETA: 2020
Wil Crowe, RHP (AA): A 2017 second-round pick out of college, Crowe doesn’t have a huge ceiling but he has a big, strong frame and has a chance to develop into an innings-eating No. 3 or 4 starter. He has a chance to have four average-or-better offerings and throws a lot of strikes. His fastball works in the low-to-mid 90s. He’s pitched well at Double-A this season but his control has been ahead of his command and he allows too many hittable pitches at times. ETA: 2020
New York Mets
Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP: One of the youngest players drafted in 2018, Woods-Richardson will play the entire year at the age of 18. As a result, you have to take some of his numbers with a grain of salt. His ERA sits at 5.12 through 16 Low-A ball starts in part because of inconsistent command which has resulted in 66 hits allowed. But his control is very good and he’s walked just 13 batters. He’s also been able to blow hitters away with a mid-90s heater and above-average curveball; he has 73 strikeouts to go along with an above-average ground-ball rate. The Mets will need to be very cautious with Woods-Richardson’s innings and pitches thrown given his young age and still-developing body but the organization may have something special here. ETA: 2022
Francisco Alvarez, C: Deep sleeper alert. Alvarez is just 17 and in rookie ball but he has a high ceiling – as witnessed by the $2.7 million the club paid him as an international free agent in 2018. Despite his youth, he already weighs at least 225 pounds (on a 5-11 frame) so his conditioning will need to be regularly monitored. But there is natural hitting ability here, rarely seen at such a young age and rarely seen from a catcher. Through seven games, Alvarez is hitting .462 but the most impressive part is the bat control. He has a BB-K of 4-4 while showing above-average power with 50% of his hits going for extra bases. ETA: 2023
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.