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ZAC VEEN, OF, COLORADO ROCKIES (LOW-A FRESNO)
Drafted by the Rockies with the ninth-overall selection of the 2020 draft, the 19-year-old outfielder opens his first professional season as the organization’s top ranked prospect. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, the teenage Floridian is a long-limbed athlete who can affect a ballgame in a variety of ways.
After a slow start to his inaugural pro campaign, Veen’s offensive production has improved in recent weeks. While his lengthy physique can promote a loopy, inefficient swing, he’s demonstrated the body awareness and bat control needed to consistently and effectively strike the baseball. He utilizes the opposite field well, driving the ball gap-to-gap with a balanced, middle-of-the-field approach. Veen has yet to homer in 136 AB but his 12 extra-base hits hint at the latent natural power to develop with maturity. His 35 percent strikeout rate is a result of the elongated swing, but his .372 OBP points to his advanced plate awareness and pitch selection.
Veen’s defensive prowess and baserunning contributions further add value to his game. His Low-A West leading 20 stolen bases are a product of his instincts and aggressiveness on the basepaths. He plays an above-average corner outfield, utilizing long strides to cover ample ground and an accurate throwing arm to thwart overzealous baserunners. Ultimately, the progression of Veen’s hit tool will be the crucial factor in his development and path to the big leagues. His athleticism and aptitude could make him a vital piece of the Rockies lineup as early as 2023. —Brandon Williams
BRYCE JARVIS, RHP, ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (DOUBLE-A AMARILLO)
Recently promoted from High-A Hillsboro to Double-A Amarillo, Jarvis is the best pitching prospect in the Diamondbacks system. He has a modern pitching approach and many of the characteristics prized by talent evaluators. He was one of the biggest risers in his 2020 draft class, but his pro debut a year later has been a slightly mixed bag.
The Duke product has a fastball that worked 92-95 in my looks while he was with the Hops, focused up in the zone to get the most from his over-the-top release that generates plus spin and ride. He’s maintained his velocity well, holding steady at 93-94 the entire seventh inning in his best start of the year up in Everett. Both his changeup (low-80s) and his slider (upper-80s) tunnel well, and Jarvis locates them with decent consistency below the zone. The slider was most effective in my looks, with a steep 11-5 break that falls off the table to draw chases once Jarvis gets ahead with his heater. Getting ahead is vital for Jarvis, because his off-speed seemed less well-suited to stealing strikes. That can leave him vulnerable to aggressive fastball hitters, and despite showing plus command in college, he’s been less efficient with his pitches thus far as a pro.
Jarvis works with great pace, a trait that feeds his tools when he’s commanding the ball well, putting opponents on their back foot and controlling the flow of the game. His delivery reflects this as well, with each stage of the motion—step, set, leg lift, hands break, landing, follow-through—coming at breakneck speed. For the moment, the 6-foot-2 righty seems not quite as consistent in repeating this delivery from one start to the next, and he needs his command pinpoint for the rest of the profile to thrive. If he can lock in his fastball command with regularity, the rest will fall into line well enough, but right now there’s a little less accuracy than guys working in his velo range can afford. —John Trupin
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https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories ... ly-5-2021/
Team: High-A Rome (East)
Why He’s Here: .381/.440/1.408 (8-for-21), 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 3 BB, 7 SO.
The Scoop: Franklin’s awful May is but a distant memory now. The Braves’ third-round pick out of Michigan in 2020 hit only .200/.228/.253 in May. He figured out High-A East in June, hitting .338/.412/.757. And now at the start of July, he’s hitting like he wants a promotion to Double-A Mississippi. Franklin is hitting .467/.529/1.267 in July. (JC)
14. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, D-backs
Team: Double-A Amarillo (Central)
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 1.13, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: The D-backs promoted Jarvis to Double-A on June 22, and he made his first home start at hitter-friendly Amarillo on Saturday. The 2020 first-round pick handled the difficult conditions masterfully, tossing seven dominant innings to give the Sod Poodles a 4-1 win over Wichita. Jarvis opened the game by striking out three of his first four batters, had eight strikeouts through five innings and finished his outing with a punchout and a grounder back to the pitcher. Jarvis has a 3.58 ERA through 10 starts this season, a solid debut for the No. 18 pick in last year’s draft. (KG)
15. Curtis Mead, 3B, Rays
Team: Low-A Charleston (East)
Why He’s Here: .414/.452/.793 (12-for-29), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB.
The Scoop: Thanks to the lost 2020 season, it’s easy to have forgotten about Mead. The Rays acquired him from the Phillies in a trade that sent LHP Cristopher Sanchez to Philadelphia in November 2019. But with no 2020 season, Mead had to wait until this spring to make his full-season debut. He’s had quite the debut. Mead is working on a 11-game hitting streak and he had both a four-hit and a three-hit game this week. Overall his .358 average is second best in Low A East. His .589 slugging percentage is sixth-best in the league and he leads in hits (68) and doubles (21), and is second in extra-base hits (29) and total bases (112). (JC)
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A bat-first catcher, Cartaya joined the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in late May and has lived up to the billing by putting up a .295/.409/.600 line through 127 plate appearances. He has an advanced approach at the plate; showcasing strong strike zone recognition and pitch selection for a 19-year-old, though there is a good bit of swing and miss as he continues to get accustomed to quality breaking stuff. He generates easy raw power that plays in-game, which should result in a middle-of-the-order 25-30 home run bat.
There are some questions on the defensive side of the ball, where the arm is an asset but he has stiff hands and struggles to consistently block balls in the dirt due to his size. The emergence of an electronic strike zone would solve half of those and significantly improve his odds of sticking behind the dish, but the bat would play at first base should he ultimately need to move there. There’s a good bit of risk/variance, but also significant upside if he can stick behind the plate. —Trevor Andrese
https://www.baseballprospectus.com/pros ... d-fallers/
Nolan Gorman, Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals)—Gorman on Wednesday turned in his first three-hit game since arriving at the Triple-A level on June 29. The 21-year-old third baseman hit a homer and drove in three while raising his slash line to .264/.328/.455 with 12 homers and 32 RBIs.
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories ... y-15-2021/
In Saturday’s doubleheader, Veen continued to race around the field and stabilize his offensive numbers as he adjusts to big league ball. The power started slower than the rest of the package, but is catching up quickly.
Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 3-5, 2 HR.
This weekend was a brilliant one for Gorman, who had struggled to barrel the ball up as well in his first dozen or so games in Triple-A. The 21 year old keeps thumping.
Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees (Low-A Tampa): 2-4, HR, BB, K.
https://www.baseballprospectus.com/pros ... rodriguez/
Team: Low-A Fresno (West)
Why He’s Here: .667/.750/1.556 (12-for-18), 12 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBIs, 5 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS
The Scoop: After taking about two weeks to find his footing in the Low-A West league, Veen has been a very steady performer. He’s shown his hitting ability and has gotten on-base at an impressive clip. But this past week was the one where he shifted gears from being a productive hitter to a dominant one. Veen came into the week with four home runs. He left it with nine. He came into the week with two three-hit games this season. This week he had a three-hit game and a four-hit performance. Away from Fresno, Veen is now hitting .305/.429/.525. He’s showing signs of being the middle-of-the-lineup force he has been projected to be. (JC)
13. Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals
Team: Triple-A Memphis (West)
Why He’s Here: .375/.464/.917 (9-for-24), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Even with a season lost to the pandemic, Gorman has zoomed to Triple-A. He reached the level in just 231 games. That’s faster than any high schooler from the first five rounds of the 2018 draft class other than Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic. So far, so good for Gorman at the minors’ highest level. He’s already collected a pair of three-hit games with Memphis, and four of his first 13 hits have left the yard. (JN)
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