The Spikes didn’t have many standout young hitting prospects. Most of the younger prospects skipped over State College this year and went directly to West Virginia. Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco, Jose Osuna, and Willy Garcia all played in the GCL last year, and a few of them stopped briefly in State College at the end of the year before moving on to West Virginia this season.
Below are the stats from each hitter in State College, broken down by age groups. The first age group is where you’ll find the majority of prospects. The second group can include prospects, but these guys are getting closer to being too old for the level. The final group is mostly organizational depth. A breakdown of each group can be found below.
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20 and Under
This year and next year could be the same situation with hitting prospects skipping over State College. The top guys from this group were Dilson Herrera and Eric Wood, who both joined State College at the end of the year after spending the rest of the season in the GCL. Herrera and Wood both are candidates to make the jump to West Virginia next year due to their advanced bats.
Jared LaKind was an overslot signing in the 2010 draft, taking $400,000 as a 23rd round pick. He was a two-way prospect, also spending time as a left-handed pitcher. His upside was best seen as a hitter, due to his power potential. He didn’t show much of that this year, and looked poor at first base with ten errors in 40 games. A lot of those errors were throws to second base. LaKind looks like he’s heading down the Wes Freeman path — good power potential, but his bat is very raw.
Jodaneli Carvajal and Yhonathan Barrios were both highly regarded prospects in the 2008 international signing class. Carvajal is known more for his defense at short, although he’s yielded that position to several other players the last few years, spending more time at second base. He doesn’t hit for power, and struggled in other areas of his game this year. He started the season in West Virginia, got off to a hot start, then quickly cooled. It was the same story in State College. After a hot start he cooled off.
Barrios was also a big signing in 2008, taken as a shortstop. He profiles more as a second or third baseman due to his lack of range. He’s got power potential, but didn’t show that in State College this year, and didn’t do much with the bat. Both Carvajal and Barrios have been passed by 2009 signing Alen Hanson. It looks like they’re about to be passed again by 2010 signing Dilson Herrera, and at this rate they’re looking more like organizational players.
Jesus Vasquez was promoted from the GCL mid-season. He’s got some pop in his bat, something that has been apparent since he was in the international rookie leagues. He also has a strong arm in right field. However, his K/BB ratio doesn’t suggest he’ll have a lot of success beyond A-ball.
Most of the hitting prospects in State College were in this group. The top prospect was Barrett Barnes, taken in the compensation round of the 2012 draft. Barnes put up good numbers, which are even better when you consider he had a slow start in the first few weeks of the season. He missed a big portion of the season with a leg injury. As a college hitter, he could be a candidate to move to Bradenton next year, similar to the path Alex Dickerson took this year.
Tyler Gaffney was a later round pick in the 2012 draft, and put up some excellent hitting numbers, highlighted by his strong K/BB ratios. He’s a college hitter, so his numbers at this level should be taken with a grain of salt. However, those numbers were good enough to make him a late round sleeper, similar to Adalberto Santos a few years ago.
Jacob Stallings didn’t do a lot with the bat, but showed off some good defensive skills. He was a key for the young pitching staff in State College, immediately developing a relationship with guys like Luis Heredia, Clay Holmes, and Joely Rodriguez, despite those guys all coming from much different backgrounds and presenting much different personalities. His upside in the future could be a backup catcher.
D.J. Crumlich was drafted by the Pirates for the second year in a row. This time around he was taken in the ninth round to save money in the bonus pool. He hit for average and got on base at a good rate this year, but didn’t hit for much power. Just like Gaffney, his numbers as a college hitter should be taken with a grain of salt at this level. The fact that he didn’t hit for power doesn’t profile well for his chances in the upper levels. He led the team in runs created this year, but will need to improve his power in the future to continue as a prospect.
Walker Gourley is looking more like an organizational player, spending his third year in State College. He played almost every position this year, including several games in center field. His versatility looks good, but his lack of hitting in his third year in the NYPL suggests he’ll be organizational depth in the lower levels.
Chris Diaz had 16 errors, but his defensive skills at shortstop looked good. He didn’t do much with the bat, making him look more like an organizational guy with good defense.
Ages 23 and Up
Samuel Gonzalez looked like he could be a potential two-way catching prospect prior to the year. However, off-season shoulder surgery moved him to first base, where his bat isn’t as strong. He also saw a drop off in numbers from last year to this year, which could be due to the injury. He could eventually move back behind the plate, but he’s getting a bit old for this level, which is hurting his chances as a prospect.