Derek Norris, C, 23 (OAK)
Current Level: AAA
Norris possesses great natural power from the 6-foot, 220 pound frame. He has the potential to hit 20 home runs a year at the big league level. Don't let his stature fool you, he can get down the base paths with above-average speed for a catcher. I've seen him beat out multiple balls for base hits in the hole when fielders underestimated his ability to run. He does have trouble laying off the breaking stuff and he's susceptible to the changeup from left handers. He was over-anxious at times last year, struggling to lay off the first pitch and the elevated fastball. That said, Norris has a plan at the plate. He's able to be very patient and make solid contact.
Behind the dish, he has soft hands and displays impressive mobility. He receives the fastball deep and has the ability to go out and get a good breaking ball and stick it for a strike. The pitchers he's caught seem to be comfortable with burying a pitch in the dirt with him behind the plate, trusting he'll be able to go down and block it. A case can be made that his catching skills are ahead of his skills at the plate.
Dellin Betances, RHP, 24 (NYY)
Current Level: AAA
Betances looks more like a power forward on the mound than he does a pitcher. And he has a strong, imposing look to him on the hill. Athletic. Powerful. Poised. He's a fierce competitor when he's out there and can pitch out of jams with plus, Major-League-quality stuff.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s with slight arm side run. He'll dial it up to 95-97 MPH when he's in need of a strikeout or in a tight spot. His slider is devastating to both lefties and righties. He throws it from a high, over-the-top arm slot, which creates sharp downward action in the 84-88 MPH range. He will also mix in a change up to lefties, but it's merely a show-me pitch at 82-85 MPH.
The only thing that worries me about Betances are his mechanics. He's slightly herky jerky. He has a very long stride and a lot going on before he releases the ball. When he finds his release point and is in his groove, he possesses No. 1-2 starter stuff. If he continues to struggle with command and release point, he will most certainly find his way to the bullpen, where he could hone above-average, late-in-the-game-type stuff.
I believe he's best suited for the bullpen and would fit well in a closer mold. Intimidating stature, 95+ FB, and the ability to strike a lot of guys out. Time will tell.