2016 NL “Ones to Watch” Report Card

We are at the midway point of the MLB season and 14 weeks into my 18 week minor league tracking period. It’s a good time to pause to see how the 2016 “Ones to Watch” are faring. Twenty four of my 30 choices are either at the LoA or HiA level, and a host of those have been promoted to Double-A . With those that have been traded, I have included the “Next up” pitcher based on my “Just off the scope” choice.
RHP Carlos Hernandez – 22 years old
Report Card : B-
Seeing his first full season, Hernandez is doing well with LoA Kane County, with June being his best month this season. For the year he’s: 4-5, 2.77 ERA, 68.1 IP, 21 ER, 44 BB, 70 K in 16 appearances with 12 starts.
LHP Trevor Belicek – 23 years old
Report Card : C-
Belicek was traded along with Brandon Barker to the Orioles for Brian Matusz. With Altanta, he would have scored a straight A, as the 16th round pick (2015) was assigned with LoA Rome where he excelled (3-0, 2.49 ERA, 25.1 IP, 7 ER, 1 BB, 29 K in 11 appearances) and a cameo at Double-A Mississippi. The Orioles placed him in the HiA Frederick rotation which didn’t go well (0-2, 8.16 ERA) and not much better after going back to the bullpen in the mid-relief role.
NEXT UP: Patrick Weigel – Now with Belicek out of the Braves system, I had Weigel listed just off the scope in the preseason, but his signal has been loud & clear with consistent scoring in my system, and was my Top NL UTR Pitcher for June with the Braves.
RHP Trevor Clifton – 23 years old
Report Card : B-
Clifton has been solid for HiA Myrtle Beach going 4-6 with a 3.12 ERA. He needs to cut down on the free passes, as he’s issued 32 walks in 69.1 innings along with 77 strikeouts. The 12th round selection (2013) was a Top NL UTR Pitcher and best overall in May.
RHP Tyler Mahle – 23 years old
Report Card : A+
Mahle was promoted to Double-A Pensacola and no longer appears on the UTR instrument panel. But taking a look into his Pensacola starts, he’s only had one bad outing out of the four. He got off to a quick start this season and was another OTW to be named Top UTR Pitcher for April. Over the two levels he’s : 11-4, 2.76 ERA, 101 IP, 31 ER, 24 BB, 100 K in 17 starts.
RHP Jesus Tinoco – 21 years old
Report Card : D
Tinoco was an intriguing OTW pick, as a piece in the Troy Tulowitzki trade. As I wrote, prior to the trade, he spent one season with the DSL Blue Jays and then was assigned state-side. He was over matched in the GCL and Appy Leagues, but the TPS system loved his peripherals. He started to breakout in 2015, was then traded and continued to perform well with LoA Asheville. What a difference a year makes. Tinoco began 2016 at HiA Modesto with 4 starts and a 14.85 ERA, missed all of May (not sure if it was a DL stint or back to extended Spring Training) and was sent back to Asheville where his struggles continue. TPS could not find the silver-lining in his numbers this season, coming in at .205 (.117 in 2015)…but the tools are there. Let’s see if he can make the adjustments, but it’s apparent he’s fallen from the OTW graces.
Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP Tommy Bergjans – 23 years old
Report Card : B-
Bergjans is handling the California League, but is finding out that it’s a hitters paradise. He’s been tapped for 97 hits (23% Line Drive rate) in 93.1 innings and 8 home runs. The other side shows 22 walks and 95 strikeouts, which has increased his K/BB ratio to 4.32, an almost 1.00 improvement from 2015.
RHP Chris Paddack – 20 years old
Report Card : A+
Paddack has been the all-everything OTW for 2016, even though he got off to a late start this season. In 8 starts thus far, the 8th round pick has been mentioned 5 times during my daily mentions. What could have been… if Paddock would have completed a full month in April and May. In June, he clearly was the choice for the Top NL UTR Pitcher for the Marlins. He was traded to the Padres in early July and is already making his mark there. In 19 career appearances (82.2 IP), Paddock has a ridiculous 15.00 K/BB rate.
NEXT UP: LHP Dillon Peters is ready to step up and take the OTW crown with Paddack’s vacancy. At HiA Jupiter, he’s is 7-6, 3.09 ERA, 81.2 IP, 28 ER, 11 BB, 71 K in 16 starts.
RHP Angel Ventura – 23 years old
Report Card : B
Ventura has just been promoted to Double-A Biloxi. While at HiA Brevard County he went: 3-3, 3.73 ERA, 62.2 IP, 26 ER, 25 BB, 63 K in 15 appearances with 9 starts.
New York Mets
RHP Joel Huertas – 20 years old
Report Card : C-
The 16th round pick in 2014 saw success as a starter in the GCL in 2015, but struggled early on in the NY-Penn League. He was recently moved back to the bullpen to work things out.
2-2, 7.54 ERA, 22.2 IP, 32 H, 19 ER, 6 BB, 21 K in 5 appearances with 3 starts
LHP Tyler Gilbert – 22 years old
Report Card : B-
Take away 3 horrible starts from the 6th rounder (2015) and Gilbert would have score a B+. In those starts, Gilbert only lasted 4 innings throwing 13 innings and allowed 16 earned runs with 5 home runs. He needs to be a more consistent strikeout pitcher to take that next big step. The command from last season is absent, but Gilbert is still very solid.
RHP Yeudy Garcia – 23 years old
Report Card : B
With all the movement of the Pirate pitchers before the All-Star Break, I would have thought that Yeudy Garcia would have been bumped to Double-A. It didn’t occur as Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow only got cups of coffee in Pittsburgh. Its bound to happen with the Club now shopping Jeff Locke and past UTR Steven Brault which should stop the revolving door in getting Taillon and Glasnow in the rotation full-time. Garcia has been solid with HiA Bradenton which has seen a increase in strikeouts (10.2 K9) from 2015 (8.1 K9).
San Diego
RHP Dinelson Lamet – 23 years old
Report Card : B-
Lamet is now at Double-A San Antonio and has another OTW in his rear-view mirror with newly acquired Chris Paddock at LoA Fort Wayne. The right-hander started the season at HiA Lake Elsinore and went 7-1 with a 2.35 ERA.
San Francisco
RHP Jordan Johnson – 22 years old
Report Card : D
The California League hitters have feasted on the  2014 23rd round pick offerings. He has allowed 38 extra-base hits, which includes 14 home runs over 79.2 innings. In 15 starts, Johnson has posted a 5 .65 ERA with 23 walks and 69 strikeouts. The right-hander also saw action (6 starts) at HiA San Jose with a late season promotion.
St. Louis
LHP David Oca – 21 years old
Report Card : C
It was surprising to see Oca starting the season, in taking a step back with Appy League Johnson City. He advanced quickly last season over 3 levels from the DSL to NY-Penn League State College. During that time, he posted a 10-2 record with a 1.45 ERA in 16 appearances with 11 starts. He also looked good in limited action from the bullpen in the Venezuelan Winter League. In 4 starts with Johnson City, Oca has a 5.09 ERA with 8 walks and 17 strikeouts in 23 innings.
RHP Pedro Avila – 19 years old
Report Card : B+
Avila may have seen an increase in walks this season, but thats OK given thats he’s only 19 years old pitching at LoA. He has posted at 7-6 record, 2.73 ERA with 30 walks and 80 K’s in 82.1 innings.
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