The Prospect Stock Watch: Bichette, Locastro, Palacios

Today’s Prospect Stock Watch takes a look at a Blue Jays’ Futures Game representative, an early 2017 Rule 5 candidate out of the Dodgers and an underrated Minnesota Twins infielder.

Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays: A 2016 second round draft pick, Bichette barely made some publications’ Top 10 prospect lists for the Jays but, six months later, he’s jumped onto everyone’s Top 100 overall prospect lists. The teenaged shortstop is hitting more than .380 and has flirted with .400 much of the first half of the year. He’s going to the Futures Game this weekend and will move up to high-A ball (with 18-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) at the beginning of next week. Bichette has the ability to make uncanny consistent hard contact and leads the Midwest League with 32 doubles (only one other player – five years older – has more than 23). There are doubts over his ability to stick at shortstop but he’s a smart player that seems to pride himself at proving people wrong — so don’t underestimate him. However, even if he does move, he should have lots of arm and power for third base or right field.

Tim Locastro, IF/OF, Dodgers: Locastro is the kind of hard-nosed, give-it-your-all player that fans love to watch and Blue Jays followers weren’t thrilled when he was traded to the Dodgers for international slot money in 2015 — but that deal (which also included Chase De Jong) allowed the Blue Jays to lock up Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is probably a Top 5 prospect in the game now. Meanwhile, the speedy Dodgers prospect has methodically moved through the system and has tasted action in both double-A and triple-A in 2017. Locastro isn’t the most physically gifted player but he gets the most out of his abilities and is willing to play all over the field. He’s not a home run threat — even during this juiced ball era — but he has gap pop (20 doubles in 80 games) and could steal 30 bases in a full season. More likely than not, though, he’s going to reach the Majors as a utility guy who understands that his job is to put the ball in play and use his wheels. Because he plays in a very deep system, Locastro will likely be exposed to the Rule 5 draft in December and has the skill set that should be valuable to a lot of teams — maybe even his old organization, given the health woes of Devon Travis and Darwin Barney’s impending free agency.

Jermaine Palacios, SS, Twins: Minnesota is absolutely flush with shortstop prospects. Nick Gordon is the top player in the system and the Twins doled out $4 million to international signee Wander Javier in 2015 (and he’s looking good in rookie ball). From a depth perspective, Palacios falls somewhere in the middle, having spent time at both A-ball levels in 2017. He’s done nothing but hit the cover off the ball throughout his pro career (outside of an ugly 2016 season) with an average of .298. The 20-year-old middle infielder is hitting .324 in 2017 and just recorded his 100th hit in 74 games. Palacios is still raw in a number of areas. He needs to be more patient (15 walks in 309 at-bats), get better reads on stolen bases (12-for-22 in attempts) and get more consistent on defence. If he doesn’t stick at shortstop, Palacios — who’s seen a big jump in his home run output in 2017 — could develop into an offensive-minded second baseman.

We hoped you liked reading The Prospect Stock Watch: Bichette, Locastro, Palacios by Marc Hulet!

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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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