Mid-Season Top 50 Review – Part IV

Injuries are a concern with Reese Havens

In this edition of the Mid-Season Top 50 Review, InsidePitchMagazine.com runs down prospects #11-#20. Look inside for more details about each prospect's first half of the 2009 season and how it may or may not have affected his current stock.

#20. Scott Moviel: 0-4, 4.50 ERA, 8 GS, 36 IP, 21 K, 9 BB, .282 OBA

Moviel missed the first half of the season due to a meniscus tear in his right knee that needed two operations before it was fully repaired. He returned in late June to make two rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League—which he expectedly cruised through—but has been roughed up in six starts with St. Lucie.

The knee surgery provides a very tricky dynamic for a 6-foot-11 pitcher who already battles with consistency of his delivery. There are a lot pieces in his motion to put together and when the slightest detail is off, Moviel fights with his command and ability to keep the ball down in the zone—the key to his success. The tender knee will create further challenges for the right-hander who may not be fully right again until 2010.

#19. Shawn Bowman: .289, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 32 R, 21 BB, .338 OBP

Bowman finally began his season in April for the first time in what feels like ages and produced through June and early July before going back on the disabled list with a back injury. The anticipation is that the injury—which boasts the risk of recurring virtually at any time—is not as serious as the ones that have fallen upon him in recent years. Nonetheless, it is a disappointing bump in the road for the third baseman who was returning to form in 2009.

As far as his tools, Bowman continues to show the skills on both sides of the ball particularly his strong glove and throwing arm, and the ability to hit for average. The remaining question mark has always been, would the power re-emerge once healthy? Well, seven home runs through 76 games is a good start but the days of Bowman's power projecting out to 20-25 home runs are likely behind him.

#18. Greg Veloz: .236, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 38 R, 27 BB, 18 SB, .301 OBP

The 21-year-old second baseman has not put together the season expected from him during his first full season in St. Lucie. Veloz's bat shows potential as he makes solid contact, when he does drive the ball, but his approach is not consistent as he has yet to find a balance between aggressiveness and a short, contact stroke.

However, he still finds other ways to make an impact on the game as he still runs the bases with an attacking mindset, attempting to steal bases at any chance. He still has work to do slowing the game down defensively and improving his glove work to bring his tools together in what is still a raw overall game.

#17. Michael Antonini: 5-4, 6.56 ERA, 19 G, 14 GS, 81 IP, 63 K, 27 BB, .313 OBA

Antonini has been one of the larger disappointments at the upper level of the farm this season following the opportunity to pitch in big league camp during Spring Training. The left-hander has maintained his ability to keep the walks down, but he is finding too much of the plate with his secondary pitches (slider, changeup) when last year he was keeping hitters honest with both. He made two very poor starts in Buffalo (0-1, 7 1/3 IP, 10 ER) before returning to Binghamton bullpen and now back into the B-Mets rotation as of yesterday.

In last fall's scouting report, we pegged Antonini has a back end starter or a reliever, because of his ability to throw strikes, if his slider never really came around. Pitching in the rotation is better for his development, but he needs to strengthen his slider to remain a long-term, projectable starter.

#16. Reese Havens: .233, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 30 R, 36 BB, .353 OBP

The second year shortstop was besieged by injuries again through the first half of the Florida State League season and that alone makes for some long term concern in his ability to remain on the field. He got off to a great start by hitting .275 with four home runs in April, but a leg injury followed by a wrist injury limited him to just 32 games over a ten week span.

At the plate, Havens swing got away from him as he began to open up a little more which diminished his previously compact stroke that allowed him to turn on balls on both sides of the plate. Defensively, Havens has his moments with the glove but he still lets the ball play him too much at times and often lets the ball travel too far into his body. Now, thoughts are "well just shift him to second", but it is not that easy with Havens. His value as a prospect still remains at shortstop, but more and more he looks like a guy who will be forced to hit his way up the ladder.

#15. Juan Lagares: .290, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 20 R, 5 BB, 8 SB, .324 OBP

Admittedly, Lagares is one prospect we take a mulligan with in regards to his ranking. He has not played since May 26 due a right wrist injury, and though he was riding a hot streak until that point, he was bumped out of the infield by other young competition. Regardless of the roster competition in Savannah, Lagares was a man without a position heading into the season as he attempted to make a transition to the outfield.

At 20 years old, Lagares will not completely drop from the Top 50, but with still raw tools and an undefined defensive role, his stock has taken a hit. He is young and still should still have his chances, but repeated injuries the last two years and a slide down the depth chart do not bode well.

#14. Ruben Tejada: .279, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 41 R, 30 BB, 9 SB, .349 OBP

The first thing one notices about Tejada this year in Binghamton is his comfort level. The game was visibly to fast for him last year in St. Lucie and the long season eventually wore on him. But with Binghamton, Tejada has a much better feel for the strike zone and his defense. His quick stroke and strike zone recognition keep his strikeouts at a minimum (45 K in 344 AB) and the decreased hitch in his swing has allowed him to put the ball in play at a higher rate. Better footwork and softer hands have gone a long way to stabilizing his defense.

For such a young player in Double-A, Tejada has responded well to the challenge presented by the organization and there is no doubt his overall value has increased. There is still refinement and experience for him to gain, but Tejada's development has been promising.

#13. Matt Bouchard: .252, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 32 R, 15 BB, 10 SB, .301 OBP

It was another challenging year for Bouchard. He received the Opening Day second base job in Binghamton (where he would have likely gone in 2008 if not for injury), but appeared out of his comfort zone at the plate as he lost some of his discipline and began lunging at the ball and expanding his strike zone—two very uncharacteristic signs from an overall well disciplined player.

After 15 games in Binghamton, he bounced around St. Lucie and Brooklyn before succumbing to yet another labrum tear in his hip which will sideline him for the rest of the season. Bouchard, a big league defender now, received what appeared to be an early vote of confidence from the organization with his Double-A starting point, but questionable roster changes and later injuries have left him in a very tentative position in the organization heading into the off-season.

#12. Dillon Gee: 1-3, 4.10 ERA, 9 GS, 48.1 IP, 42 K, 16 BB, .253 BB

Gee earned a spot in Triple-A following a strong Spring Training season and just four starts in Binghamton last year. He had his moments with the Bisons but had six starts of 5 1/3 innings or less with a dramatically higher walk total then he was accustomed to. Gee's repertoire did not change much from 2008. He still had his high-80s to low-90s fastball with his excellent changeup and sharp breaking stuff, but really it was a matter of adapting to a much higher level of competition in just his second season.

The most significant result of his labrum injury was the possible loss of a chance at New York this season. Now, as mentioned, he has his rough spots but his effort during March firmly put him on the radar as one of the first arms to be called up in a time of need which certainly presented itself in Queens this summer. He is still recovering from the injury and, as of now, has not required surgery but Buffalo coaches did not sound too optimistic in regards to his return this season.

#11.: Scott Shaw: 4-7, 3.96 ERA, 19 GS, 104.2 IP, 87 K, 47 BB, .259 OBA

The challenges Shaw faced were documented in yesterday's feature about him, but those challenges were in line with what many second year pitchers will face as they make the jump to the more difficult atmosphere of the Florida State League. Along with fastball command, the velocity has not returned as expected as he still sits about 88 MPH though flashing low-90s at times. He is using his slider and changeup with confidence, but needs to be more aggressive with the heater and curveball to regain the balance he showed in Brooklyn and what is currently missing form his game.

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