July 2nd Links
This is how I rank the top 10 players in this class based on my in-person evaluations and input from scouts, not my prediction of who will get the highest bonus. As covered in the July 2nd Basics, players aren't eligible to sign until they turn 16, which for two of the below players isn't until August. Look out for a July 2nd notebook coming soon to expound on why I ranked some of the players the way I did, what I think of the class as a whole and coverage of a number of team-based story lines. For an explanation the new bonus pools, see July 2nd Basics and to see the amounts each team has to spend click here
As a preview of what subscribers are getting, I've included the full report, video and projected signing bonus/team for my top player below. I'll be covering over 30 players in the next few days with additional reports, video and predictions.
1. Gleyber Torres, SS, Venezuela
5'11/185, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.55, Trainer/Agent: Ciro Barrios
Tool Breakdown: Hit: 60/60, Power: 45/50, Run: 50/50, Field: 50/55, Throw: 55/55
Scouting Report: Torres isn't the prototypical July 2nd shortstop, with a maxed-out frame and just average speed. That said, he's got a lot of present skills and has trains with Ciro Barrios, the most prolific talent producer in Venezuela. Torres has an above average arm and very good hands and actions, but his average foot speed limits his lateral quickness, which is why some scouts think he could fit better at second base long-term, with third base another possibility. That said, he'll go out as a shortstop after signing and I wouldn't underestimate Torres' ability to overachieve, with great instincts and feel for the game.
He also has a bat that stands out now, with a high leg kick for timing but a simple, direct, loose swing that lashes line drives to the gaps. Torres has some lift to his swing and you can project average raw power, or 15-18 homers annually in the big leagues at maturity. He hit well in the games I saw (despite being out front in both game swings in the above video) and scouts seem sold on his ability to hit with gap power and stick up the middle, but Torres' upside isn't the same as many previous top July 2nd prospects. If you'd like to know their names, many have already been released and the certainty Torres offers along with everyday player upside at a premium position is plenty. Since he doesn't have the highest upside in the class and clubs differ so greatly on 15/16 year old talent, Torres won't be getting the highest bonus in this class.
Torres' swing has some similarities to Derek Jeter and Torres is also comparable to the player that got one of the highest bonuses last year, another Venezuelan infielder, Blue Jays prospect Franklin Barreto. Barreto signed for $1.45 million and has similar skills and superior speed but also likely moves to second base and is only 5'9 (see my full Barreto report) One scout said Torres seemed less interested and was already "shutting it down" early in showcase season and speculates he had a deal done as early as last November. The Cubs have been mentioned as his most likely landing spot for awhile and they have over $4.5 million to spend, so this marriage seems natural.
Predicted Team/Bonus: Chicago Cubs, $1.8 million
2. Rafael Devers, 3B, Dominican Republic
6'1/205, L/R, July 2 Age: 16.69, Trainer/Agent: Rudy Santin
See this story from March for more information & additional videos of Devers
3. Eloy Jimenez, RF, Dominican Republic
6'4/205, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.60, Trainer/Agent: Amauris Nina
4. Micker Zapata, RF, Dominican Republic
6'3/225, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.81, Trainer/Agent: Abel Guerra
See this episode of my podcast to hear me interview Zapata in person after the showcase shown in the scouting video.
5. Leonardo Molina, CF, Dominican Republic
6'2/175, R/R, July 2 Age: 15.92 (Eligible to sign August 1st), Trainer/Agent: Decarte Corporan
6. Yeltsin Gudino, SS, Venezuela
6'0/155, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.46, Trainer/Agent: Carlos Guillen
7. Jesus Lopez, 2B, Nicaragua
5'11/160, B/R, July 2 Age: 16.74, Trainer/Agent: Wilfredo Blanco
8. Luis Encarnacion, 3B, Dominican Republic
6'2/195, R/R, July 2 Age: 15.90 (Eligible to sign August 9th), Trainer/Agent: Juan Herrera
9. Marcos Diplan, RHP, Dominican Republic
5'11/160, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.79, Trainer/Agent: Luis Polonia
10. Carlos Hiciano, SS, Dominican Republic
6'2/175, R/R, July 2 Age: 16.68, Trainer/Agent: Decarte Corporan