Friday, September 25, 2009

Astros on the App League Charts

Astros 1st Round pick Jiovanni Mier was named Baseball America's 2nd-ranked Appalachian League prospect, just behind the Braves' RHP Julio Teheren.

BA, on Mier's bat:
Mier has the quick hands and the coordination to hit for average, though his bat slowed noticeably as the summer wore on. He'll improve offensively as he learns to use the opposite field. With knowledge of the strike zone and few other threats in the Greeneville lineup, he took his walks when pitchers worked him carefully.

Though he projects as more of a gap-to-gap hitter, he did show home run juice to left and center field. He tied for the league lead with six triples, and once he fills out, he could deliver 10-15 homers per year.

On his glove:
Mier is a classic shortstop defender who shows great instincts and maturity on the field to go with above-average range and arm strength. His quick feet and impressive technique, combined with average speed, make him a rare high school shortstop who projects to stay at the position as a pro. A need for more consistency in turning double plays and in making strong throws on routine plays were the only critiques of Mier's defensive play, but they're not long-term concerns.

On his approach:
Mier models his game after Derek Jeter's, and his natural leadership skills and energy reminded observers of the Yankees captain. And despite his youth and first-year status, Mier served as a vocal leader for Greeneville.
Pitcher Juri Perez made the list, as well, at #10:

Greeneville manager Rodney Linares credited Perez with having the best changeup in the league. Thrown with deceptive arm speed, it bottoms out as it reaches the plate. Batters seldom put the changeup in play, driving up Perez's pitch counts.

With a fastball that ranges from 88-93 mph and sits at 91, Perez is more than a one-trick pony. With the savvy and poise to mix his primary weapons, he needs only to refine his below-average curveball, which he resists throwing at this stage, to profile as a mid-rotation starter.

And Jonathan Meyer ranked in at #18:

A high-energy player, Meyer has the strong hands, bat speed and the gap power to hit as he moves up, though he may never be a significant home run threat. He led the league with 36 walks, displaying uncanny patience for a high school player.

On defense, Meyer has the first-step quickness and range to profile as a plus defender at third base. He touched 92 mph off the mound in high school and also spent time at catcher, so he has more than enough arm for third. He's not much of a runner but has average speed underway.