Here is my latest set of reports from around the South Atlantic League. Below I cover prospects from the Greenville Drive, Delmarva Shorebirds, Lakewood BlueClaws, and Charleston RiverDogs.
Triston Casas, 1B, Greenville Drive
Casas was drafted by the Sox in the 1st round of the 2018 draft. He was a well known prep corner-infielder at American Heritage HS in Florida. Casas has a large frame, listed at 6’4″ 238 lbs, and he looks like all of that to the eye. The Red Sox prospect has tree trunks for legs and a tank of an upper body. He’ll stand out from the bunch, but not just due to his body, but also due to his premium raw power which was probably the second best in last years prep class to only Nolan Gorman.
Early in the count, Casas stands back in the box in an almost upright position, with his legs about shoulder-width apart. He holds his bat with his hands in front of the letters on the front of his uniform. Casas generates good hip rotation and plenty of loft in his swing, while also having a short stroke. He has a good selective approach at the plate forcing the pitcher to work and give him a pitch that he likes.
With two strikes, Triston not only shortens up his swing but gets much lower to the ground by spreading his legs out much further than he does with less than two strikes.
At first base, he moves fine for his size and has a strong arm. Casas’ offensive potential is unparalleled by any hitter in the Red Sox organization. He is going to need to improve his contact ability to reach this upside.
— Owen (@CountryRoads277) July 28, 2019
Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, Lakewood BlueClaws
The second half of the season has been much of the same for Garcia as the first. He has had a rough go of it all season long at the plate which isn’t a shocker due to the fact that Garcia is still 18 years old and playing in full-season ball. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to have this degree of trouble. Garcia doesn’t seem to be affected by the struggles though, at least going by what meets the eye when you watch him out there. He’s always in a good mood during warmups and infield while having fun with his teammates.
Garcia has such and exciting skillset that while it would have been more encouraging to see him rake in Lakewood at 18, I’m still not worried one bit about his potential. He projects as an around average major league shortstop, with a plus arm and good actions at the position. He doesn’t have quite the ideal range for a shortstop, but his hands and footwork along with a strong arm will likely cause him to stick at shortstop. (That is, barring being blocked by Bryson Stott.) He tries to be a little flashy in the field too often. This usually results in errors such as popping up too early allowing the ball go under his glove, but this should get corrected over time. He is a very skilled infielder.
As far as offense, Garcia has a quick bat with really good wrists and solid contact skills from both sides of the plate. There’s not much power here. Any pop he gets is going to come from the hands and wrists, and Luis is capable of shooting the gaps. Next year, I would imagine he comes back to Lakewood to start the season. While Luis’ potential is huge, he is very raw. I will look for him to make better quality contact and reduce the amount of mistakes in the infield.
Lakewood’s Luis Garcia rips a third-inning grand slam to give the Blueclaws a 4-3 lead … It’s the 18-year-old’s third home run of the season pic.twitter.com/aOFYx5SBvv
— Mitch Rupert (@Mitch_Rupert) June 21, 2019
JC Encarnacion, 3B, Delmarva Shorebirds
There is plenty to dream on with Encarnacion, but he also comes with extreme risk. JCE does not have a very good approach at the plate, often chasing bad pitches and quickly getting himself into unfavorable counts. His swing is a bit long as well causing him to be late on some pitches.
The positives that make JCE such an intriguing prospect begin with his body. He’s athletically built at 6’3″ 195 lbs with long legs and some remaining projection to his frame. Encarnacion possesses very plenty of strength in his upper body along with 55 to 60 raw power. His athleticism and strength give him a large amount of upside, but he’s 21 in Low-A, and still a long ways off.
— Delmarva Shorebirds (@shorebirds) April 14, 2019
Luis Medina, RHP, Charleston RiverDogs
Editor note: Medina was promoted to High-A Tampa shortly after this column was submitted.
Medina has electric stuff and when it’s all working he’s probably the nastiest pitcher in the Yankees system. However it’s rarely all working.
He flashed both a changeup and a curveball but they both don’t appear to be much of a factor at the moment. He’s going to need to refine his command which was rough in this outing. He was often missing glove-side. If he wants to start he’s also going to have to alter his mechanics. Medina has a very unbalanced delivery with his momentum taking him toward the first base dugout.
Since July 11, #Yankees RHP Luis Medina has the third-most strikeouts in the minor leagues. Overall, in that span he’s gone:
0-1, 2.03, 40 IP, 27 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 13 BB, 59 Ks.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) August 21, 2019
Stay tuned for my next article which will feature 2019’s #1 overall pick, Orioles catching prospect Adley Rutschman.
Owen Surett covers the South Atlantic League for Prospects1500. Owen is an enthusiast of baseball at all competition levels from college/MLB Draft, to all levels of the minor leagues and MLB. He is an avid fan of the New York Mets and West Virginia Mountaineers. His springs and summers revolve around going to as many baseball games as possible, seeing prospects, and writing scouting reports. He is from New Jersey and regularly attends minor league games in Lakewood (Phillies A) and Trenton (Yankees AA). You can follow him on Twitter @CountryRoads277.