By Kerry Hofmeister, Buckhead GM
ATLANTA, GA – The current crop of Bow Ties players are making the youngsters in the farm system very popular these days. The big club boasts a starting lineup that features four regular starters hitting under .200. Ties fans have their eyes glued to the minor league box stores these days trying to catch a glimpse of the gentlemen that have the ability to restore their club to Premier League mediocrity.
1. Manuel “Gargoyle” Carmona RF
Acquired: 2022 IFA for $11.2M
Scouting Report: After spending a full season developing in the Buckhead International Complex Carmona has made a big splash in A ball this year. Despite not being able to chew tobacco he has been able to OPS over .900 in full season ball. Since signing he has seen steady development due to his excellent work ethic. While “Gargoyle” projects to do damage on all sides of the baseball his carrying tool will always be his ability to make contact. Buckhead scouts were blown away by his ability to spray line drives all around the ballpark during his workouts in his home country of the Dominican Republic.
Scout quote: “No question Carmona is a red ass player. The series I covered him I don’t think that he ever had a clean jersey. His contact is already PL average, and I expect it to be plus-plus before it is all said and done. It would not surprise me to see him in the Buckhead lineup before his 20th birthday”
2. Raul “Crusher” Ruiz 2B
Acquired: 2021 IFA for 10M
Scouting Report: Buckhead brass took a gamble when they plunked down the hefty sum of 10M for the Venezuelan Ruiz. Long bereft of up the middle talent Bow Tie scouts were drooling when they saw the young Ruiz’s potential to impact the game on offense and defense. Raul’s game is centered around a steady glove that only looks to improve, but his bat is not without pop. Offensively his game centers around the ability to drive the ball in the gaps earning his nickname “Crusher”. Even though he has gotten off to a strong start the development process hasn’t been an incredibly smooth one for Ruiz. The latest reports are hedging their bets in terms of what Ruiz will ultimately be.
Scout quote: “I just see a guy here, I don’t have him as a GUY. If he can develop his plate discipline, and make some mechanical adjustments to allow some power to play through his swing we might have something here. It wouldn’t shock me to see him develop into an SL/PL bubble guy in the future”
ETA: Spring 2024
3. German Rodriguez SP
Acquired: Scout find 2021
Scouting Report: Buckhead scout Brit Thompson went to the Dominican and brought back a gem. It costs the Bow Ties nothing to obtain the services of G Rod, and the ROI might be very strong. Rodriguez could be a future staple in the Buckhead rotation if a few things click with him going forward. By all accounts he is a workhorse that is working on developing three solid pitches.
Scout quote: “Here is the rare example of the Buckhead system producing a homegrown starting pitcher worth a damn. He won’t kill you with speed, but the boy fills up the zone. He could be a horse that you ride for 150 innings a season and that is worth something in today’s game”
ETA: Spring 2024
4. Ricardo Cardenas SS
Acquired: 2022 IFA for 10M
Scouting Report: Cardenas is another potential up the middle moon shot for the Bow Ties. His carrying tool is his offensive prowess. Some reports say that he will be able to handle his midseason promotion to single A Mancelona, but not everyone agrees. If Ricardo can keep his K’s in check he could be a future all-star for Buckhead.
Scout quote: “The ball just makes a different sound coming off the bat. If I didn’t see him hit a ball 450 feet with a wood bat at 15 I wouldn’t believe it either. You have a kid that could be an absolute force at a premium position. I would never make a Wilcox comp because I want to keep my job, but he is only a few standard deviations away”
5. Mysterious Walker CF
Acquired: 9th overall pick 2023 draft
Scouting Report: Nothing is mysterious about Walker’s ability to play defense. The former Hurricane CF went in the top 10 for his ability to patrol the outfield with ease. Those that watch Mysterious closely are wondering if his bat will be able to play at the PL level. Luckily, with all of the other things that Walker brings to the table Buckhead does not need him to be in Silver Slugger contention in order to provide value.
Scout quote: “I am not a believer in the bat to be honest. He is a skinny little kid that might get the bat knocked out of his hands when he faces elite velocity. His glove is so good I could see him having a nice major league career, but I don’t expect it to be at the highest levels”