The Arizona Cowboys are still years away from seeing their top prospects break into the major level, say baseball analysts.
Though the prospect rankings won’t come out until May, just before the season starts, it is not expected that the team will rise significantly above its 18th position in the team rankings.
However, they do have a couple of bright spots to look forward to as early as late 2018 in some cases. Arizona’s fans and front office have been a long time waiting for good news, as the team has faced struggles since joining as a 2012 expansion team, with none of their first-round picks from the last six drafts performing well, despite three of them breaking into the major level.
But the current crop of prospects could change that.
Jose Solis, a 19-year-old from Santo Domingo, DR, was signed as an international prospect last year and has not yet been assigned to any roster in the organization. The future left-handed starter could be huge for the team, and OSA scouts project big things from him.
He has managed to increase his velocity to 93 mph in a recent assessment, but it is thought to have come at the expense of some of his pitch movement. Once he is loaded onto a roster, perhaps in the Florida Rookie League’s Hollywood Cowboys, his future picture will become more clear.
Their top position player is 72nd ranked Alex Ortiz, a 21-year-old outfielder who joined the team out of the Rimouski organization after the six-player trade last year that saw the team send #4 prospect Nick Seer to the Fighting Moose, along with 2013 first-round pick Ron Ehresman, in exchange for four players that included veteran catcher Gordie Lazenby, former #7 prospect Jorge Velazquez, and 21-year-old minor league southpaw Sam Popovich, in addition to Ortiz.
Ortiz spent 2017 with the CFB Trenton Arrows, in short season A level, where he demonstrated great contact, but saw little of his power develop. At the end of 2017, he was placed on the 40-man roster presumably to keep him out of reach from the Rule 5 draft, but he is not seen as ready for the big time yet and has never played at AA or above.
Still, Ortiz could be a factor by August, when rosters expand. Arizona has a frighteningly shallow talent pool in the outfield and have so far taken a dartboard approach to filling lineup holes, throwing another name out there periodically to see what works.
However, once he’s matured, along with the other younger talent on the team like Alexis Rosa, the team could have a solid outfield that dominates the AEL for years.
Also worth mentioning is the deep pool of talent in the international roster, yet to be assigned to any team. A full 29 players await assignments, mainly Dominicans, and at least a handful could find work at rookie level in 2018. Solis is one of the oldest, and best, but there is gold in them thar hills and guys like 17-year-old shortstop Edwin Lozano could blossom into solid contact hitters that will help the team’s efforts in getting out of the league basement.