9.jpg
o662tq1407965389.jpg

Note: This list's order was not set by me, but by MLB.com. I've provided my video, photo and interviews as additions. MLB’s list can be found here. Click each player's name for more content.


17. Matt Duffy

SS | San Francisco Giants (MLB) | 6’2″ | 170 lbs | 2012, 18th round | 24-years old

From MLB.com: "Long Beach State has sent several of its shortstops to the big leagues through the years, with Chris Gomez, Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria and Danny Espinosa all making appearances in the last decade. The next in line is Duffy, who was far less heralded than his predecessors when he signed for $50,000 as an 18th-round pick in 2012.

Duffy batted .303/.389/.433 in his first full pro season, then he got off to an even better start in 2014. He has a quick bat and controls the strike zone well, though he won't have more than gap power. Duffy's speed is fringy, but he shows some aptitude for stealing bases.

Duffy is a steady if unspectacular defender. While he lacks the quickness of a typical shortstop, he has reliable hands to go with a solid arm. Duffy may not be able to displace Brandon Crawford as the Giants' starting shortstop, but Duffy could find a role as a utility man."

My take: Matt Duffy creeped his way onto the scene towards the end of the 2013 season when he was promoted from Augusta to San Jose. He helped the Giants to a playoff berth, slugging .509 in 26 games with the club. That and his above average defense earned him a promotion to Richmond to begin the 2014 season, where he has really opened eyes with his hit tool. As of July 26, Duffy owns the best batting average in the Eastern League at .338, including 117 hits and 21 doubles in 346 at-bats. Duffy, a shortstop who also played some second base in college at Long Beach state, started his first pro game at second on July 25. He had previously started in 233 professional games at shortstop dating back to 2012.


18. Joan Gregorio

RHP | Augusta GreenJackets (A) | 6’7″ | 180 lbs | Signed: 2010 | 23-years old

From MLB.com: "At 6-foot-7 and 180 pounds, Gregorio might be the skinniest pitcher in the minor leagues. He's also one of the toughest to hit, as his 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings would have led the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2013 if he had enough innings to qualify. Oblique and blister issues limited Gregorio to 14 outings.

Gregorio's tall, lanky frame allows him to throw on a steeper downhill plane and a wider angle than most pitchers, making him difficult to hit. His best pitch is a low-90s fastball that he can sink in the lower half or ride by hitters in the upper half.

Gregorio will flash a true slider in the mid-80s, though it can get sweepy at times. He's still working on a changeup that he throws with too much velocity."

My take: Gregorio seems to have put on a bit of weight since his Augusta GreenJacket days, and that's a good thing considering the man is 6'7". His height and length definitely create a steeper angle in general, though he offsets it a bit with a sightly lower, more 3/4 arm angle. Still, 6'7" coming at you at 90-93 with good sink is difficult. His slider is slurvy, and I would prefer and more sharp version, but it's effective. The changeup looked good, too, at 80-82. 

Continuing to fill in that body would do wonders for him. He's remarkably calm on the mound, as well. Overall, I like what he brings. No reason he shouldn't have a 8-to-10 win, sub-three ERA season with San Jose in 2014.