Today’s Prospect Stock Watch takes a look at a former Mariners pitching prospect making good in the Braves system, yet another impressive Dodgers prospect and a Yankees prospect that could be on the move at the trade deadline.
Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves: The Braves organization has drafted a number of impressive, young arms in recent years but the club has also had eye for acquiring talented mound performers. Gohara was acquired from the Mariners at the beginning of this year in a deal that had Mallex Smith going the other way. A native of Brazil, this young left-handed spent parts of five seasons in Rookie or A-ball – as he struggled to stay healthy and find consistency. He opened 2017 in high-A ball in Atlanta’s system and struck out 39 batters in 36.1 innings with a 1.98 ERA. Gohara, 20, has been equally successful in double-A with 60 strikeouts in 52 innings. Overall, he’s whiffed 99 batters in 88.1 innings with just 28 walks. He has a sturdy frame and should be capable of developing into an innings-eating starter if he watches his weight. Another option, given Atlanta’s incredible pitching depth, would be to consider shifting him to a high-leverage relief role where he could be overpowering with a mid-90s fastball and potentially-plus slider.
Starling Heredia, OF, Dodgers: Like Gohara above, Heredia is another young player that will need to watch his conditioning. But if he stays on the right side of the scale, this young Dominican has a huge ceiling. Just 18, he’s currently hitting .427 in 21 games over two Rookie ball levels. Heredia has some swing-and-miss to his game (consider how old he is) but he’ll likely also strike out a bit as he produced big-time power numbers; 18 of his 38 hits have gone for extra bases — including six homers. On the plus side, he offsets the whiffs with walks and has taken 12 free passes so far. His on-base percentage is close to .500. In time, he should be an impact hitter with the strong arm needed in right field. Heredia should move up to full-season ball in 2018 as a teenager and could be on the fast track to The Show.
Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees: The Yankees seemingly have a new pop-up prospect every three or four months. Florial is the most recent “it” prospect from New York — although he hails from Haiti. This young outfielder had a strong pro debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2015 but struggled when he came to North America in ’16. Back on track this year, he’s doing a nice job of getting on base (40 walks and a .299 average in 87 games) while displaying gap pop (with more raw power to develop) as witnessed by 36 of his 98 hits going for extra bases and a 21% line-drive rate. Florial, 20, also has the speed to top 20 bases in a full season. The biggest knock on him at this point is the swing-and-miss number — 118 Ks in 328 at-bats (31.7%). Defensively, he should be able to stick in center but has the arm needed for right. Lots of teams are asking about him, so it will be interesting to see if he changes uniforms at the trade deadline.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.