100. Bailey Ober, RHP, Elizabethton
2017 Stats: 28 IP, 3.21 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 3/35 BB/K
Info: Big (6’8″, 215 pounds) right hander from College of Charleston was drafted in the 12th round this season by the Minnesota Twins. He made 6 appearances, 4 of them starts for Elizabethton. Ober had Tommy John after his freshman year, and he’s never regained the velocity he had at that point, but he’s shown tremendous improvement in his understanding of the art of pitching, using his height to generate excellent downward plane on his fastball, mixing in an above-average-to-plus change, and seeing his breaker work much better in pro ball. If he can continue the progression with his breaking ball, working in the upper 80s and lower 90s will not be an issue, especially if he’s only allowing 0.96 BB/9, but the profile is one that is very tough to succeed, so he’s at this point on the list.
99. Anthony Marzi, LHP, Cedar Rapids/Fort Myers
2017 Stats: 60 2/3 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 16/41 BB/K
Info: An unsigned free agent out of Connecticut, Marzi pitched in rookie ball for the Yankees in 2015 before pitching all of 2016 and opening 2017 in independent ball. The Twins signed him and started him with Cedar Rapids in early July. Marzi is a textbook “crafty lefty” with a fastball that works in the upper 80s, touching 91-92. Marzi works in two breaking pitches in his curve and slider, and he can get a strikeout with both. He has a change that is average currently, but it flashed a huge ceiling due to a bit of deception in his delivery allowing the pitch to play up when he can really work the arm deception and movement on the pitch well. Marzi made 10 starts after being signed, and he does an excellent job keeping the ball in the park.
98. Patrick McGuff, RHP, Cedar Rapids
2017 Stats: 50 2/3 IP, 2.49 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 19/53 BB/K
Info: Drafted in the 36th round in 2016 out of Morehead State, McGuff has shown well in two pro seasons now for the Twins. He worked as a multi-inning reliever primarily for the Kernels this season, and his three-pitch mix works well in that use, playing just through the lineup once or maybe twice at most. His velocity has ticked up a touch this year to touching mid-90s at the very peak, but sitting more in the 90-93 range, and I noted a lot more late movement on the pitch, allowing for a very solid strikeout rate. His future is in the bullpen, but his three pitch mix should work well to allow him to work multiple innings in that role, even as he advances.
97. Yeltsin Encarnacion, IF, DSL
2017 Stats: .318/.408/.523, 8 3B, 2 HR, 6 SB, 22/20 BB/K
Info: Typically when a guy is in his third season of the Dominican Summer League and breaks out, you take it with a grain of salt, but Encarnacion’s season was such that it’s hard to ignore. A bit of a swoon toward the end of the season actually brought down his numbers significantly, as he was hitting about .350 with a near .450 OBP on August 10th before finishing the season a bit rough. Encarnacion has an excellent arm defensively, but is not exceptional with his hands, leading to a question as to his best position. He played primarily 2B and 3B in 2017. While a guy with a breakout in his 3rd year of DSL often is having his one solid season in pro ball, it’s worthwhile to note as it could be the sign of figuring something out, especially with the exceptional BB/K rate that Encarnacion showed in 2017.
96. Kolton Kendrick, 1B, Elizabethton
2017 Stats: .231/.345/.385, 4 HR, 22/45 BB/K
Info: A hat tip to my cohort Matt Powers, who covers the Atlanta Braves minor leagues (among others), as I knew Kendrick’s name, but I hadn’t looked heavily into him before talking with Matt about him. Kendrick has a very pretty power swing from the left side, and he knows how to take a walk, but the issue he has had so far as a pro is simply making consistent contact as he has some load getting into the zone, as that pretty swing has plenty of arch into and exiting the zone, but through the hitting zone, Kendrick has tremendous bat speed and generates big-time power. The 2015 high school draftee from Louisiana hasn’t made it out of rookie ball yet, but his level of power and willingness to take a walk is something very desired in the game. If he can work to shorten up some in 2-strike situations, he could shoot quickly up the system.