1) RHP Casey MeisnerBats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight: 6'7", 190 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round 2013 (Cypress Woods HS, TX)
Born: May 22, 1995 (Cypress, TX)
In his age 19 season, Meisner slides a few slots, six, from last year because he was ok in the New York Penn League but from from dominant in a way that foreshadows a successful big league career. To be fair, I missed Meisner in my brief look at the Cyclones in 2014, so I am unfortunately left to rely on secondhand sources for him. If a fan wants a guy to dream on in this part of the rankings, I still think Meisner is the guy based on flashes of potential and a huge 6'7" frame, that should, in theory create plus velocity and downward plane through the strike zone.
For the second straight year, Meisner did his best work in August at the end of the season. In 2014, his stuff improved, if the reports I read were accurate. Early in the year, he was reportedly 87-91, but later he was 90-94 with his fastball. That's a fairly important difference as it moves him from a below average MLB fastball to the range of average. There’s a chance that he will settle in with average velocity from a 6’7” frame and an average secondary offering in his curve.
His last five starts for the Cyclones: 30.2 IP, 28 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 32 K. That’s a 1.47 ERA, a 3% walk rate and 27% strikeout rate.
Best-case Scenario: My No. 4 starter.
Worst-case Scenario: Tall guys have trouble repeating, so I'll take him as an org-level arm.
Projected 2015 Start: A-Ball with the Savannah Sand Gnats.
MLB Arrival: Given his age, 19, expect him to spend all of 2015 in Savannah. That puts him in the big leagues during 2018.
2) RHP John Michael GantBats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight: 6'3", 175 lbs
Acquired: 21st round 2011 draft (Wiregrass Ranch HS)
Born: August 6, 1992 (Savannah, GA )
2014 Overall Rank: NR | Stats
Gant, in his age 21/22 season had a really nice year in the Savannah rotation. He was durable and effective all year long. How did he succeed? He worked with a fastball that was mostly in the upper 80s which he commanded well. His secondary offerings including a changeup and a curveball, both of which have a chance to get to MLB average. He is long and lean and repeats a windup with some funk which creates deception. He'll need to add a weapon or two as he moves up the ladder, but he should reach double-A as a starter.
Best-case Scenario: No. 5 starter
Worst-case Scenario: Not enough fastball to succeed for any length of time in the big leagues
Projected 2015 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie
MLB Arrival: Late 2017 or 2018
3) RHP Andrew ChurchBats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round 2013 draft (Basic HS)
Born: October 7, 1994 (Henderson, NV)
Church slips seven spots from a year ago for two reasons in order of importance: 1. when I saw him in the Appalachian League, I was quite disappointed in the quality of his arsenal and 2. his results in the Appy were poor.
I saw Church's first start of the year for Kingsport. To start with, his body has filled out, but not in an especially productive way; he looked soft to me. His delivery was unexceptional, a word which also describes his arsenal. His fastball was flat and mostly 90-91 mph. He had a changeup at 81-83 mph and a slurve at 77 mph. He struggled to locate all three of his pitches.
However, Church's pedigree as a second-round pick helps buoy his stock a little. This coming season, his first in a full-season league, will be fairly telling as to whether he looks like he has real big league potential or is just another guy.
Best-case Scenario: #5 starter
Worst-case Scenario: #3 starter in a-ball. Never pitches effectively in AAA.
Projected 2015 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2018, maybe