In this debut edition, Friday’s during the summer I will be highlighting numerous top baseball prospects I have personally scouted in a segment named Friday Scouting Chatter. I observe numerous elite prospects during the 50+ minor league games I watch each summer, yet for various reasons I have been previously unable to write a proper scouting report for them. This week I feature top prospects Jorge Alfaro of the Texas Rangers and Manuel Margot from the Boston Red Sox.
Jorge Alfaro Catcher Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers)
Often referred to as simply #TheLegend on Twitter, like a tween girl at a 5 Seconds of Summer concert, I was actually salivating to see Alfaro in person. Alfaro is one of, if not THE, most physically impressive catchers I have ever seen, with obvious athleticism and above-average speed. A powerfully built athlete at 6-2 185lbs, Alfaro resembles a high school nose guard yet runs like a college cornerback – it is almost difficult to comprehend until you see him in person.
Only 21-years-old Alfaro struggles defensively with his footwork and blocking wayward pitches in the dirt. However, his tremendous physical skills, along with a cannon-like throwing arm, give Alfaro a chance with refinement to be a future gold glove defender behind the dish.
Offensively Alfaro has apparent plus bat speed and obvious raw home run power, but like many young hitters, he is overanxious at the plate and racks up plenty of whiffs without many walks. His eagerness to swing the bat will hinder his future on-base percentage numbers, but the thunder in his bat should more than compensate with quality slugging percentages. Alfaro is still quite raw and needs another 500+ at-bats in the minors to refine his game, but he has the ceiling of a multiple all-star game type talent. Bottom line, Smarty Jones thinks Alfaro is a stud.
Manuel Margot CF Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox)
Two weekends ago while attending SaberSeminar, a fellow audience member asked Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington to name a sleeper prospect in their farm system – after debating who would be considered a sleeper, Cherington and the other Boston representatives in attendance unanimously mentioned Manuel Margot.
One look at Margot and it is immediately evident why Boston’s front office is enamored with him, as he is an elite athlete with prototypical size and speed for a centerfielder. Armed with plus (or better) speed and a solid arm, the still 19-year-old projects as a potential gold-glove talent defensively, with game-changing ability on the bases. Margot’s energy for the game is simply contagious.
At the plate this right-handed batter shows apparent above-average bat speed, impressive balance through his swing, and a keen batting eye. The only obvious flaw in his game is his likely below-average power, though his wiry strength could allow him to hit 10+ home runs each year while peppering the gaps with doubles. Like any 19-year-old recently promoted to High-A, Margot needs further game experience to polish his rough edges and help translate his monster tools to game production.
Margot may have entered this season somewhat overlooked, but I expect him to be well represented on prospect lists this offseason. He is an easy top-100 prospect in baseball to me.