Prospect Stock Watch: Amaya, Alonso, Straw, Cabrera

Today at the Prospect Stock Watch we look at a sleeper prospect behind the plate for the Cubs, a first baseman that could impact the playoff race for the Mets, an outfielder that could help fill in the gaping hole in left field for the Astros, and another intriguing arm in the Rays system.

Miguel Amaya, C, Cubs: If you like deep, deep sleepers then keep an eye on Amaya, who could be developing into an intriguing offensive-minded catcher if the early season returns are a sign of things to come. Signed back in 2015 for $1.25 million, the 19-year-old athlete was assigned to full-season ball in just his second season in North America. Amaya is hitting .279 and showing excellent power. Nine of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases (including three home runs). Perhaps more impressively, he’s shown a good eye and has eight walks to go with 13 strikeouts. Defensively, he’s caught just two of 21 runners attempting to steal and he has a lot of work to do behind the plate. It will be interesting to see how the young backstop holds up to the rigors of a full season of catching, although the club has also been giving him some time at first base.

Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets: Has the Mets organization finally found its long-term first baseman? After turning to the likes of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Dominic Smith this former second rounder just *might* be the answer. Alonso, 23, came into pro ball with a number of questions around his hitting profile but he’s shown the ability to consistently hit for both average and power. And double-A has posed no challenge in the early going this season. The hulking first baseman has six homers in 19 games and sports a .388 batting average. He’s also getting on-base at an excellent clip with 14 walks. The aforementioned Smith is hitting OK at triple-A but he may be in danger of losing his footing in the Mets organization. With veteran big league first baseman Adrian Gonzalez scuffling, the club may soon look to the minors for a spark. I wouldn’t be shocked if the name that gets called is Alonso over Smith.

Myles Straw, OF, Astros: Houston is playing well but the outfield has had its opportunities in the early going. Left field and the fourth outfield spot have both been a mess with offensive struggles by Derek Fisher, Jake Marisnick and even Marwin Gonzalez (who is perhaps feeling pressure from his impending free agency). Top prospect (and outfielder) Kyle Tucker is hitting OK in triple-A but Straw is doing just about everything right in double-A. The 23-year-old outfielder generates zero power with his approach but it works for him and he has a .359 batting average in the early going (He has a .312 average in pro ball). He also takes a lot of walks and has 14 in 22 games — after walking 94 times in 127 games last year. And Straw knows what to do when he gets on base. He’s 13-for-15 in steal attempts this year and has shown the ability to nab 30+ bases in a season. The former 12th-round draft pick likely isn’t suited to a full-time role in the Majors but he could develop into one of the best fourth outfielders in the game despite his unique skill set.

Genesis Cabrera, LHP, Rays: Tampa Bay’s pitching depth took a hit when top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell succumbed to Tommy John surgery earlier this year. Cabrera, 21, might be stepping up his game at just the right time. He leads the Southern League in innings pitched and has allowed just 13 hits in 28 innings. The hard-throwing lefty has also missed a good number of bats with 29 strikeouts. Still, he has some work to do. His control has taken a step back in the early going and he’s walked 17 batters. He’s also been an extreme-fly-ball pitcher — which is a trend that’s followed him throughout his career. At just 6-feet tall, he struggles to generate downward plane on his offerings. Because he’s not overly physical, there are come concerns over his ability to hold up as a starter but he’s shown no major injury issues over the past few seasons. If he can find a way to generate some more ground balls, Cabrera could develop into a No. 4 starter. His fastball-slider approach could be overpowering in the bullpen.





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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