Minors | General | 12/9/2019

PG in the Pros: NL East

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Trevor Rogers (Perfect Game)

As part of Perfect Game's recurring PG in the Pros series David Rawnsley will take a look at some of the top prospects in minor league baseball and their impact on the sport prior to their professional careers. This will be done in a six-part series, one feature for each division in Major League Baseball while identifying one of the top prospects for each team. Links are provided below to past installments of the PG in the Pros series for other reports on prospects, both past and present.

2019-20 PG in the Pros series:  AL West
| AL Central | AL East | NL West | NL Central

Atlanta Braves

Before They Were Pros, 2013-14
– Lucas Sims, J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh
Before They Were Pros, 2014-15 – Alec Grosser
PG in the Pros, 2015-16
– Dansby Swanson
PG in the Pros, 2016-17 – Kolby Allard
PG in the Pros, 2017-18 – Austin Riley
PG in the Pros, 2018-19 – Touki Toussaint

Bryse Wilson, RHP

Wilson was a two-sport standout in North Carolina in high school with a football resume that was just as impressive as his baseball accomplishments. As a senior, Wilson rushed for over 1,000 years, made 93 tackles on defense and blocked seven kicks on special teams. On the baseball field, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete went 10-2, 0.75 as a senior with 11 complete games and 133 strikeouts in 84 innings, giving him a 33-4 career record.

Wilson did have the time in the summers to pitch for the Canes organization in seven different WWBA tournaments over a three-year span and was named All-Tournament at four of those events. He also received an invitation to the 2015 PG National Showcase and had an impressive outing, sitting at 93-94 mph for the most part with very good command of his fastball. His report from that report read:

Strong well-proportioned athletic build. Big leg lift delivery with a good hip coil, uses his strong lower half well to drive to the plate, high three-quarters to an over-the-top arm slot, gets very nice downhill plane despite his modest height and really pounds the bottom of the zone well. Fastball topped out at 94 mph, spent lots of time at 93-94 mph from the wind up, occasional nice running action. Short breaking slider with some two-plane shape but lacks present power. Rare changeup. Big arm and fastball is a major weapon with location, movement and plane but will need to improve his secondary stuff.

Despite not having a refined breaking ball coming out of high school, Wilson’s fastball and overall athleticism stood out. The Braves had six picks in the first 109 selections that year and went heavy for high school pitching, selecting Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller with their first three picks, then grabbing Wilson with the 109th overall selection. Wilson had signed with home state North Carolina and was an outstanding student in the classroom but the Braves were able to sign him for a $1.2 million bonus.

Miami Marlins

Before They Were Pros, 2013-14 – Andrew Heaney, Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani
Before They Were Pros, 2014-15
– Trevor Williams, Avery Romero, Justin Nicolino
PG in the Pros, 2015-16
– Tyler Kolek
PG in the Pros, 2016-17 – Braxton Garrett
PG in the Pros, 2017-18 – Dillon Peters
PG in the Pros, 2018-19 – Nick Neidert

Trevor Rogers, LHP

The deadline for selecting the players for the Perfect Game All-American Classic is loosely in early July for the game that is generally held the second Sunday in August. There have only been a couple exceptions to that in the last decade, as by then just about all the rising seniors have been seen and evaluated and there are logistical hurdles to overcome when selecting a player any later. One such player was California righthander Matt Manning, who ended up being the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft and is now one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. The other notable exception was Carlsbad, New Mexico lefthander Trevor Rogers.

Rogers was well known to area scouts in the Four Corners but hadn’t pitched in anything outside of New Mexico basically, not even tournaments in the nearby Phoenix area. He had gone 9-2, 0.70 with 122 strikeouts in 69 innings as a junior, which is hard to overlook for an area scout, but talk about him only reached the PG staff in July. The only time to possibly see Rogers before the 2016 All-American Classic was at the Area Code Games the first week of August.

This scout was there to see Rogers and took the following raw notes over Rogers’ two short outings in Long Beach.

Outstanding projectable body, 6-6/185 and looks it, slopped shoulders and long limbs, some bone thickness in his hips, hand drop deliberate delivery, very easy low effort delivery. Extended three-quarters, throws with the same minimal effort as Kumar Rocker and the same velocity. 93-95 in first. Throwing the ball where he wants it. 77 CB was short and late. Primary FB this inning, one inning outing. Later CB was 79 and hung and was knocked up the middle. Babied 75 change, not comfortable with that pitch yet. Wow. This might be the top pitching prospect in the country, seriously. 2nd outing: 89-92 but showed very good command, worked CB more and threw strikes with it.

Needless to say, all the last-minute logistics were scrambled together to get Rogers to San Diego to throw in the All-American Classic.

Rogers was even better as a senior, going 11-0, 0.33 while striking out 134 hitters in 63 innings while allowing only 14 hits and 13 walks. He threw steadily in the mid-90s early in the spring and there was talk about him as a potential top five pick, although that calmed a bit as the spring progressed and teams started factoring in Rogers older age, as he would turn 20 years old within months of signing.

The Marlins, who were in a pattern of picking high school pitchers in the first round, picked their third in four years (Tyler Kolek in 2014, Braxton Garrett in 2016) by grabbing Rogers with the 13th overall pick and signing him away from a Texas Tech scholarship with a $3.4 million bonus.

New York Mets

Before They Were Pros, 2013-14 – Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo
Before They Were Pros, 2014-15
– Steven Matz, Dominic Smith
PG in the Pros, 2015-16
– Gavin Cecchini
PG in the Pros, 2016-17 – Thomas Szapucki
PG in the Pros, 2017-18 – Pete Alonso
PG in the Pros, 2018-19 – David Peterson

Mark Vientos, 3B

The Miami area seems to produce an endless string of athletically gifted 6-foot-4 middle infielders and two happened to be Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado. Vientos was the Class of 2017 version of that mold and endured all the early ARod/Machado comparisons and expectations.

Aside from his extremely projectable build and his obvious athleticism, the thing that stood out about Vientos from a young age was literally his age. He was exceptionally young for his class, with a mid-December birthdate that made him over a year younger than many of his peers in the 2017 class. Sometimes scouts seemed to lose perspective on that, as it was almost more pertinent to compare a 16-year old Vientos with a member of the 2016 July 2 international class than with the 2017 amateur draft class.

Vientos started playing in PG events when he was 13 years old with the Elite Squad and was a regular over the next four years both in tournaments and at showcases. He started off taking regular turns on the mound and was throwing up to 87 mph as a 14-year old, but never threw in a summer or fall event after that. As he started to physically mature later in high school much of the conversation shifted to whether the long and angular Vientos, who was light on his feet defensively but not ideally quick-twitch and speedy, would stay at shortstop or move to third base in the near future.

Vientos’ righthanded bat made scouts dream about his future power potential. He crushed a few home runs at the 2015 PG Junior National Showcase batting practice as a 15-year old and had a long, loose and graceful swing that produced plenty of bat speed and jump off the barrel. As with many young, tall hitters, his swing mechanics weren’t consistent and he didn’t have a true power approach yet at the plate, but Vientos flashed it enough to show scouts the potential.

Perfect Game had Vientos ranked 16th in their final 2017 class rankings but he lasted until late in the second round, with the Mets selecting him with the 59th overall pick. Vientos was a Miami signee but agreed to start his professional career immediately with a $1.5 million signing bonus.

Philadelphia Phillies

Before They Were Pros, 2013-14 – Jesse Biddle
Before They Were Pros, 2014-15 – J.P. Crawford
PG in the Pros, 2015-16 – Zach Eflin
PG in the Pros, 2016-17 – Cornelius Randolph
PG in the Pros, 2017-18 – Mickey Moniak
PG in the Pros, 2018-19 – Cole Irvin

Alec Bohm, 3B

Bohm grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and went to three PG showcases and a handful of tournaments while in high school and was well known to local scouts. He always had an outstanding athletic build and was listed at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds as a teenager but with a notably young-looking face and tons of physical projection despite his present size. Blessed with excellent righthanded bat speed, power was always his big tool, although he was a solid athlete for his size.

Bohm’s first PG showcase was the 2014 Rocky Mountain Showcase at the beginning of his junior to senior summer. He received a PG grade of 9.5 and the following report:

Outstanding young athletic build, long legs, good upper body strength, young face. Righthanded hitter, big-time power, deep busy hand load, timing intensive swing, very good bat speed and barrel control, timer works well for him, handled velocity well in games and crushed no doubt HR on softer stuff, high level power tool. Surprisingly agile defensively at third base, light on his feet especially to his left, flexible thrower, made plays on the run, strong throwing arm when feet set.

Bohm was ranked 157th in the final PG 2015 class rankings and went undrafted out of high school and continued on to Wichita State for his college career. He had a very respectable freshman year, hitting .303-6-30 in 51 games and continued to develop his power with a .330-11-51 summer performance in the Coastal Plains League.

What really put Bohm on the prospect map with scouts was the following summer in the Cape Cod League. Now 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, Bohm was one of the most impressive bats in the Cape in 2017, hitting .351-5-28 in 39 games and only striking out 21 times. He entered his junior spring at Wichita State as one of the top hitting prospects for the 2018 draft and did nothing to disappoint, hitting .339-16-55 with 39 walks versus only 28 strikeouts and consistently performing well against the top pitching matchups on the Wichita State schedule.

The Phillies have been looking for bats at the top of the draft for years and had the third pick in 2018. They selected Bohm and signed him for a $5,850,000 bonus.

Washington Nationals

Before They Were Pros, 2013-14 – Lucas Giolito, A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin
Before They Were Pros, 2014-15 – Michael Taylor, Jake Johansen
PG in the Pros, 2015-16
– Trea Turner
PG in the Pros, 2016-17 – Andrew Stevenson
PG in the Pros, 2017-18 – Blake Perkins
PG in the Pros, 2018-19 – Carter Kieboom

Tres Barrera, C

Barrera grew up in deep South Texas and was a dominant two-way player at Sharyland High School in Mission, Texas. He hit .455-13-107 in 95 high school games, including .556-6-47 as a senior, while also going 22-1 on the mound in three years. He was well known to scouts and competed at both the 2012 PG National Showcase and the 2012 Area Code Games along with playing for the South Texas Sliders. His report from the 2012 National read:

Strong athletic build especially in the lower half, fairly mature physically. Very good catching skills and tools, quick feet, compact exchange, strong arm, athletic actions shifting, 1.84 best pop time, can also play third base well, versatile athlete. Righthanded hitter, quick hands, aggressive swing with some length, good bat speed, power potential and back spins the ball well, good swing plane, squares the ball up consistently, ball really comes off the barrel well. Also pitched, slow paced delivery with pause at the top, low three-quarters arm slot, long loose arm action, has deception. Steady upper-80s fastball topped at 89 mph, throws both curveball and slider with hard spin and bite, definitely a two-way college player with pitching tools.

Both Barrera’s parents are teachers and Barrera was an outstanding student so it was a foregone conclusion that he would continue his education at Texas. He was a three-year starter at Texas and was incredibly steady over his three years, with his best offensive year being as a sophomore when he hit .288-9-34 with 33 walks in 57 games.

The Nationals recognized Barrera’s steady and mature defense behind the plate, his durability and his potential for offensive improvement and made him a sixth-round pick after his junior year in 2016, signing him for $210,000.

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