Biggest Weaknesses

Going over our Top 50 Prospects rankings again, we'll highlight each of the player's biggest weaknesses in cheat sheet format to highlight the area of their game that might prevent them from reaching their potential if they don't make the necessary adjustments.

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1. Luis Severino - Consistent slider. It's being a little nit-picky but Severino, who boasts a plus fastball-plus changeup combination seemingly at will not only in every game but throughout each start, could benefit from a similarly consistent plus slider and not just flash it a few times per game. It's really the only thing lacking in his game.

2. Greg Bird - More aggressiveness. An ultra-patient hitter who has superb command of the strike zone, Bird could stand to be a little more aggressive earlier in counts. In fairness to him he has stepped it up quite a bit over the past year and that aspect of his game has gotten better, but he still lets a few too many juicy fastballs go by him earlier in counts in the name of seeing more pitches.

3. Aaron Judge - More aggressiveness. Just like Bird, Judge's biggest issue is foregoing some of his natural plus patience attacking meatier pitches earlier in counts. It would certainly help make better use of his plus power to all fields, not hitting as frequently when behind in counts.

4. Gary Sanchez - His drive. Physically he has all of the tools to be an absolute difference-maker on both sides of the ball but what gets in the way from more consistent production is himself; he simply has to put forth 100 percent effort in every play and be more of a 'gamer'.

5. Jorge Mateo - Lack of experience. Being more patient and selective at the plate could easily be listed here too, but more than anything this 18-year old, who has all of 58 States-side at-bats to his name, needs more in-game reps. He has shown enough requisite pitch recognition in the early going that it would serve him better simply to see more pitches and get some experience playing under the lights too.

6. Rob Refsnyder - Defense. As is the case with Severino, Bird, and Judge, Refsnyder really doesn't have a glaring weakness in his game. Defensively, however, while he has gotten much better over the past two years to the point where he is more than serviceable in the field and arguably better than average, it is still the biggest [and arguably only] weakness in his game.

7. Luis Torrens - Power. Just like Mateo this 18-year old could use a lot more experience too and it could easily be listed here as well. However, what might prevent him from becoming one of the elite catching prospects in the game is a lack of true plus home run power. More on the average side power-wise, getting a bit stronger in the coming years could be pivotal in becoming the top-notch dual threat many scouts believe he could become.

8. Manny Banuelos - Command. His smaller height [5-foot-11] is definitely not a positive but at 23 years old he figures to be done growing. More than anything he just needs to get back to being the control pitcher he once was in his younger days; throw more strike ones and get ahead in counts consistently, and limit the walks. If he can do that, with his knockout secondary pitches, he can get back to being the dominant pitcher he once was.

9. Eric Jagielo - Foot speed. Listing 'defense' is simply too general. More than anything he needs to improve his overall foot speed and agility. Even if he can't improve it enough to remain at the hot corner long-term, he could use more of it should he move either to left field or first base.

10. Tyler Austin - Health. He's patient but yet aggressive when it counts, he has power, he uses the whole field when hitting, and he's a solid defender in the outfield. More than anything he just needs to stay healthy enough to play everyday. Should he be able to do that he should be just fine as a potential big league contributor.

11. Ian Clarkin - Lack of experience. For a 19-year old just finishing his first full season of pro ball this left-hander has virtually no glaring weaknesses. He has three above average to plus pitches, strength, stamina, control and command. More than anything he just needs a little more experience and perhaps even dealing with a little bit of failure too -- two things he's lacking right now.

12. Miguel Andujar - Power. More than a capable defender right now with room to get even better and proving to have the ability to be a consistent hitter too, Andujar's biggest weakness is lack of true plus home run power potential while playing a power-hitting position at third base. His power is more average right now and projects to be above average long-term. Getting a bit stronger and perhaps learning to pull inside pitches a bit better would benefit his game.

13. Austin DeCarr - Changeup. Obviously being a first-year pitcher fresh out of high school, lack of experience is another weakness too. He'll get that in time though. More than anything he just needs to develop his changeup, which already shows a lot of long-term potential, into a big league offering to make better use of his plus fastball-plus curveball combination.

14. Jake Cave - Power. Taking a few more walks would be beneficial too but while they haven't been piling up he shows the requisite patience and pitch recognition to someday start adding more of them. More than anything he just has to prove his home run power potential is at least average production-wise. He's flashed that kind of power, now he just has to prove it consistently.

15. Ramon Flores - Power. Like Cave, Flores needs to show a bit more home run power in games because everything else in his game is at least average enough for him to be a consistent performer. Unlike Cave, however, Flores is more of a natural corner outfielder so the power improving is even more important.

16. Jacob Lindgren - Control. He has superb makeup and even better stuff, and the combination screams impact pitcher. His biggest attribute, however, the movement he generates with all three of his pitches, is his biggest weakness too as sometimes he can't control it in the strike zone. If he can master that a bit more consistently he could be deadly on opposing batters.

17. Abiatal Avelino - Power. With just 220 long-season league at-bats this 19-year old could obviously use a bit more experience too but given his command of the strike zone and smooth defensive abilities he is better equipped than most young players. More than anything, like Torrens and Andujar, he could use a bit more power in his game. It's really the only weakness in an otherwise solid game.

18. Ty Hensley - Health. With just barely over 42 innings collected since his first round selection in 2012, 'experience' could be listed here but it goes hand in hand with health. After five surgeries since his selection, he just needs to stay out of the operating room and the trainer's office to tap some of his immense potential.

19. Jose Campos - Health. Just like Hensley, Campos has above average command of three pitches that range from above average to plus big league offerings. He just needs to stay healthy, a feat he really hasn't accomplished since coming over from the Mariners in the Jesus Montero trade in the winter of 2012.

20. Nick Rumbelow - Changeup. This is nit-picking a bit considering the reliever already has two plus big league pitches and doesn't really necessarily need a third, and he's already shown a quality changeup thus far. Using it a bit more, however, and getting more consistent with it will make him better and it's really the only "weakness" in his game if one wants to deem it as such.

21. Brady Lail - Velocity. He has everything anyone would want in a pitcher -- confidence, stamina, four above average or better big league pitches, command, and makeup. And it's not like he's a soft-tosser either as he will sit anywhere in the 91-93 mph range with his four-seam fastball. However, a bit more power with the fastball, thus putting it into the plus range, could elevate him from one of the safer big league pitching bets to potentially a dominant one.

22. Mason Williams - Confidence. Some might list power here as a bigger weakness but that's not really his game. Some might list 'drive' as another area of need too and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong. However, more than anything this once confident prospect has fallen on unproductive times and seen the criticisms rise all around him. He needs to get some confidence and swagger back because the physical talent is still very much there.

23. Nick Goody - Command. He has plenty of stuff and impeccable makeup, and the combination gives him immense upside. But he's lost some of his command after receiving Tommy John surgery and he simply needs to get it back in order to become the high-impact reliever he once was.

24. Slade Heathcott - Health. Some might list 'maturity' here but he has really grown up over the years. More than anything he just needs to stay on the field consistently. With multiple knee and shoulder surgeries he just can't afford to lose anymore development time.

25. Tyler Wade - Power. Kind of a left-handed hitting version of Abiatal Avelino given his solid overall game, like Avelino this former fourth round pick could use a jump in his power production. It's really the only weakness in an otherwise advanced game.

26. Thairo Estrada - Experience. He doesn't project to be an impact power hitter but there is already some impact gap power with room to get better. Throw in a solid defensive game, average or better running skills, and an advanced hitting approach, he really doesn't have many weaknesses in his game. More than anything he just needs more reps and in particular playing under the lights [he has all of 59 at-bats playing night games in his career].

27. Angel Aguilar - Range. The 19-year old still has yet to play a night game so getting more experience will be key going forward but more than anything he could stand to improve his range in the field. He's a solid defender at short but his natural quickness isn't quite on the same level as other young shortstop prospects in the organization and it could force Aguilar to play other positions even in the short-term.

28. Domingo Acevedo - Breaking ball. He'll sit in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball, he has a plus changeup, his mechanics are solid, and he can throw strikes. What is lacking in this 6-foot-7 monster's game is a consistent swing-and-miss breaking ball. If he can develop that then the sky is limit for his ceiling.

29. Leonardo Molina - Approach. He has tools across the board and incredible makeup for a teenager. In fact very few scouts seem too concerned about him making the long-term adjustment. More than anything he needs to learn how to balance his patient approach while being aggressive at the right times, and learn to use the whole field more consistently.

30. James Pazos - Changeup. Kind of a southpaw version of Rumbelow, Pazos has an electric fastball-breaking ball combination, so much so that he doesn't really need to have an equally effective changeup as a short-inning reliever. But when he does pitch multiple innings in an outing or when he can't seem to locate his two primary pitches on a given night, having a reliable third pitch would make him more effective.

31. Simon De La Rosa - Changeup. Put De La Rosa's slider in Acevedo's arsenal and frame and you'd have one of the more electric pitching prospects in all of baseball. As it stands, improving a rather pedestrian changeup to the average or better range would certainly enhance De La Rosa's chances of becoming one of the top pitching prospects in the farm system.

32. Dustin Fowler - More foot speed. Taking more walks would be beneficial too and perhaps so would using the whole field consistently more often, but more than anything Fowler could stand to improve his foot speed. He has a solid approach to hitting and intriguing power potential so if he could improve his natural speed some and not only become more of a threat on the base paths but improve his range to be a more viable centerfield option, it would vastly improve his stock.

33. Tyler Webb - Velocity. This former University of South Carolina standout really has no weakness to his game. All of his pitches grade out as average or better, he can control his pitches, and shows real pitch-ability. We're nit-picking here but if he could improve his fastball velocity just a tick or two more and avoid some of the 88-89s that occasionally pop on the radar gun, he could be even more effective.

34. Cesar Vargas - Changeup. His biggest weakness as a starting pitcher remains his biggest weakness as a reliever, the only difference is now it's not nearly as exposed in his new role. He'll snap in some effective changeups here and there, but a more consistent one could help limit left-handers a bit better. Again, it's a not a huge weakness.

35. Alexander Palma - Power. Kind of a right-handed hitting version of Ramon Flores, it's Palma's advanced hitting ability that is going to take him where he wants to go. However, while maintaining his conditioning and perhaps even improving it in the ensuing years would be beneficial, it's improving his rather average power for a corner outfielder that would help elevate his prospect status to the next level.

36. Danny Burawa - Slider. He could stand to have a more consistent changeup too but more than anything stepping up the consistency with his slider that flashes plus potential would be an even better benefit. Not only would it help him have another swing and miss pitch but it would help him keep hitters honest on the outer-half of the plate and not focus on just one half when he misses in the zone.

37. Branden Pinder - Slider. Very much Burawa-like, Pinder's need for a more consistent slider is even greater because he throws primarily four-seam fastballs and has a harder time controlling the lower-half of the strike zone, and therefore has a smaller zone for hitter's to respect if he has trouble getting the slider to bite or throwing it near the strike zone.

38. Gosuke Katoh - Swing mechanics. He has solid power, a naturally patient approach, he can run a bit, and he has makeup. While he could stand to be a bit more aggressive earlier in counts and not let good early pitches go by him, more than anything he needs to be shorter to the ball and consistently go to the opposite field more.

39. Caleb Smith - Slider.. He has plenty of fastball, sitting 91-94 mph and showing late life, and his changeup is already a big league pitch. What he lacks right now is a consistent slider that he can throw against lefties [left-handers hit 150 points higher in Charleston this year]. Without that he won't be able to tap his considerable potential as a starter nor will he have much use as a reliever.

40. Mark Payton - Power. He can hit, he can run, he can play defense, and he is a real gamer. What he doesn't have is a lot of power. If he did he might be in the big leagues right now. He doesn't need plus power, he just needs to have some a little closer to big league average. It's the only weakness in his game.

41. Daniel Camarena - Velocity. Kind of the pitching version of Mark Payton, the only thing lacking in Camarena's game is power. He has an above average to plus curveball-changeup combination, and his overall pitch-ability is truly advanced when he's trusting his stuff and pitching ahead in counts. But his rather average velocity will sometimes have him trying to paint corners and that rather careful approach can backfire on him. A couple of more ticks on the radar gun would take his game to the next level.

42. Cito Culver - Driving the ball. The former switch-hitter hasn't exactly lit it up offensively since batting exclusively from the right side and his biggest problem is impacting the baseball. When he has made contact it has usually been of the harmless ground out variety. He needs to focus on hitting more line drives from gap to gap.

43. Matt Tracy - Strikeout secondary pitch. He has admirable power from the left side, sitting mostly in the 91-94 mph range, but while his secondary pitches are big league average they are more built to induce contact. That's fine when the defenses behind him are solid but he could really use one of his secondary pitches, most notably either his breaking ball or his relatively new cutter, to become a strikeout pitch. It would aid his case as a potential reliever too since left-handers currently have as much, if not more success, against him as right-handers do.

44. Kyle Roller - Defense. He has patience and power, and defensively he's not a liability. However, his lack of standout defensive game is going to make it hard for him to get big league chances in the field and it's incredibly hard for any team to break in rookie designated hitters.

45. Gabe Encinas - Command. Like Goody, Encinas is a Tommy John recipient working his way back lately. He still shows a plus fastball-plus breaking ball combination, but like Goody it's been the location of his pitches that has been slowing down his comeback bid. A little more cheese at the knees would help him get back his once rather high prospect status.

46. Angelo Gumbs - Patience. 'Health' is an obvious weakness here but more than anything he needs more patience and it's not only relegated to his time at the plate. While he could stand to take a few more pitches and draw more walks, he needs more patience in expectations from himself. He's missed so much development time that he presses too hard at the plate in attempt to make up for lost time. He just needs to stay calm in all phases of the game.

47. Rookie Davis - Secondary pitches. He has tremendous makeup, size, and power. In fact, he sat mostly in the 92-95 mph range in 2014. His biggest issue are his secondary pitches which not only haven't progressed but actually regressed somewhat. His curveball in particular once showed a lot of promise and he'll need to rapidly improve it's break and location soon in order to keep hitters off of his heat.

48. Dante Bichette Jr. - Power. He could stand to take a few more walks and he could use a little more improvement defensively too at third base, but more than anything he needs to show more home run power because his positional use is limited to the corners and those kinds of players show a bit more power than he has thus far.

49. Chris Breen - Foot speed - Like Bichette, Breen could stand to show a bit more home run production going forward since he too will be limited to a corner spot at minimum defensively, but a bit slower running-wise, he could actually stand to improve his foot speed more to become a more viable left field or first base option or otherwise be limited to designated hitter duties, and thus further limiting his potential big league chances.

50. Ben Gamel - Power. He could certainly make taking more walks a bigger priority and improve his on-base percentage but more than anything it's improving his in-game power production that is in more of a dire need. He doesn't need to be a home run hitter necessarily but he should at least be a double-digit home run threat, and he has just ten home runs in 1,634 career at-bats thus far.


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