Halo HQ Top 10 Prospects: On The Bubble

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Updated: January 25, 2017

Before we start our top ten prospect countdown, there are a few players that just missed that number ten spot. Here are a few who missed the cut.

RHP Jaime Barria

Barria has all the tools to become a solid middle of the rotation type of guy if everything goes right and swingman potential if everything doesn’t. The only reason I left him out of the top ten is because of his development. Since being signed in 2013, he has spent all but one year in rookie ball, but he gets a pass because he came out of Panama at the age of 16.

In 2016, he finally reached full season ball and found some success in Burlington, going 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Since he doesn’t have a bunch of velocity on his fastball, he most likely will have to stick as a starter if he wants to make an impact in the majors. His breaking pitches are still in their infancy, but his slider could be his best weapon by the time he reaches the majors. A good showing in 2017 and further development of his slider and curve could put him in the top ten next year.

RHP Grayson Long

Grayson was taken in the third round of the 2015 draft after going 7-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 51 innings his junior year at Texas A&M. He had a real rollercoaster of a season in 2016. He started in the Arizona League and got rocked, went to Burlington and was lights out, striking out 45 in 40 innings, then went to Inland Empire and got rocked again. Like Barria, he has mid rotation potential, but has a bit more promise. His motion is real low effort and easily repeatable. His fastball sits at 88-93 and has nice sinking motion, but he can touch the mid-90s on a good day. His motion is very deceptive due to how low effort it is. If he can be more consistent, he will advance through the minors rapidly and hit the majors possibly in 2019.

SS Connor Justus

With Nonie Williams taking the number ten spot in our countdown, Justus is the next best middle infielder in the Halo system. He’s a glove first guy, hits for average rather than power, and has decent bat speed. He hit well in Orem and not as well in Burlington, but he can get on base. In 68 games between the two this season, he hit .276 and got on base at a .394 clip. Had he been in the majors, he would have ranked sixth in the league in OBP, just ahead of Miguel Cabrera and .002 points behind Jose Altuve. All players that had an OBP of .390 had at least 4.0 WAR. If Justus can keep his keen eye through every level, he could be Andrelton Simmons’s successor.

OF Michael Hermosillo

Hermosillo really jumped onto the prospect radar this season after hitting .317 with an .869 OPS between Inland Empire and Burlington last season. He’s fast, a great fielder, and has a cannon for an arm. He had seven outfield assists last season with at least two coming from each outfield position. That’s not bad for a guy who was drafted in the 28th round in 2013. After this year’s breakout season, he can easily emerge as one of the top prospects in the Halo system with a stellar 2017.

RHP Chris Rodriguez

Rodriguez hasn’t spent much time in the minors after being drafted in June, but he impressed in 11.1 innings pitched. He struck out 17 and opposing hitters only hit .154 against him. He was no fluke, as his BABIP against was .273, meaning those hits were legit hits. He has mid rotation projections and Halo prospect guru Taylor Blake Ward has said he will most likely end up as a late-inning bullpen piece, but if he sticks in the rotation, I think he has number two starter potential. He has a funky, high-effort delivery, but has a great fastball and good control. If his breaking pitches progress, he could end up as a Garrett Richards type of pitcher.

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