Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Instructs

Bounced around a bit on this day, attending the first 3 innings of the Royals vs. the Reds and then went to Glendale to watch the Dodgers play the Rangers.

RHP Brooks Pounders (Royals) - Pounders is a big, physical bulldog in a mature body.  I only watched him pitch 1 inning, but he appeared to be in command from periodically looking over.  He featured a FB at 89-91 to pair with a SL at 85 and a CH at 80.  None of his pitches were above avg and didn't see a lot to be intrigued about.

RHP Nick Travieso (Reds) - The Reds 1st rounder this year, was able to catch up with him and watch him throw 2 innings.  The guy with some projection left (and some bad weight) features close to a perfect pitcher's body with sloped shoulders.  He comes from a H 3/4 SWU and there is some effort there, as it is a bit of a rock and fire delivery.  He featured a FB at 92-93 w/ gd angle and more velo to come with a inconsistent SL at 82-86, a mdm downer CB at 76-78 and a CH at 82-85 that was too firm.  Overall, the SL was better in the 2nd inning, but it only flashed below avg.  His downer CB was an early breaker and his CH had gd armspeed, but little life and he tended to bury it.  There is still a potential middle of the rotation starter in there, but it is going to take time, as he needs to work on commanding the zone and refining all of his offspeed pitches.

LHP Cesar Ogando (Royals) - Ogando was another big bodied pitcher on this day and started against Travieso in the instructs game (Pounders started the co-op game).  Ogando missed all of this year with an injury after being popped by the Royals in the 6th round last year and appears to be working his way back now.  He is built like C.C. Sabathia, minus about 3 or 4 inches in a physical frame with a strong lower half.  His delivery is similar to C.C's and he comes from a 3/4 SWU.  His FB was 86-89 with a little run (we saw it higher last year) and he paired that with a CH at 79-82 that had gd armspeed w/ fade and sink and a CB at 77 that was a mdm downer with ok spin.  Both offspeed pitches will work and it will be interesting to see if the FB comes back.  He is probably more Jose Mijares then C.C. Sabathia.

Some quick notes on the hitters, Bubba Starling again showed that he has all the tools in the world, showing off his plus bat speed by doubling off Travieso and singling off another pitcher.  Jack Lopez also showed above avg bat speed in a slightly cleaner swing, although he let the ball get in deep on him. 

OF Nomar Mazara (Rangers) - Mazara was the massive bonus baby and features a projectable big frame that can put on a lot more muscle.  He hits with a mini leg kick, but does a good job keeping his hands back and being able to explode on the ball.  He can get fooled by off-speed pitches, but that is to expected at this stage of development.  Mazara projects as a middle of the order hitter with the ability to play a solid avg RF.  He showed some bat speed today that I hadn't seen until today due to the fact everything was synced up.  Very intriguing.

OF Ronald Guzman (Rangers) - Guzman is one of my favorites, also featuring a big, projectable frame that can put on a lot of muscle.  He will be a 1B and profiles to be no better then avg at the position defensively.  He hit another HR today, which makes me feel he is learning how to utilize leverage and create some more loft.  He still has work to do with it, but I still see him as a .260, 25+ HR guy.

3B Joey Gallo (Rangers) - Yet another, big projectable body the Rangers have, Gallo is right there with Mazara in terms of raw power.  Gallo's swing has a little more length to it and he can battle his timing moreso then Mazara, but the pure bat speed is more consistently there from Gallo then Mazara IMO.  Gallo will be your typical 3 true outcomes player and is going to hit 30+ bombs in the majors if his batting eye allows him.  Still very high on him.

LHP Kevin Matthews (Rangers) - Matthews really battled his command in the SAL (64 BB and 66 K in 74 IP) and for a guy whose polish led him to be a 1st rounder, it is a concern.  He commanded the ball ok on this day, throwing a lot of strikes.  The mdm, athletic kid who lacks the prototypical pitcher size (closer to Tom Milone then Clayton Kershaw) came from a H 3/4, SWU.  The delivery appears to utilize his legs, but he throws with almost all arm, as he gets disconnected early, never engages his lower half and doesn't really utilize his glove hand either.  Stuff wise, he worked 87-89 (up to 90) with a little run and sink to pair with 2 avg off speed pitches in his CH (80-83 w/ gd armspeed and fade at times) and a CB at 73-77 that was a 2 plane breaker w/ tight spin.  You can project both off-speed pitches as above avg, but I wonder if he is going to be able to be a middle of the rotation starter.  Strikes me as a middle reliever, as the CB will allow him to have success L on L.

Other pitchers I saw on this day were Connor Sadzeck (made pro debut at Spokane, where really battled command.  Stuff may work in middle relief role, as was 90-92 w/ a power CB at 76-78 and a CH at 84 that is a non-starter for me) and Nerfy Nunez (lefty making States debut was 87-88 w/ a CH at 78 and a mdm downer CB at 73).

Tomorrow, will be trying to head out to watch the Rockies vs. Angels in Tempe to get a look at David Dahl.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Central Arizona JC @ Rangers

The Rangers, on a work day, invited Central Arizona JC to play them (they will also be playing again next week).  This provided the rare opportunity to see how some of CA's top prospects match against pro players.  I was focused more on them then the Rangers.

RHP Ricky Jacquez (Central Arizona) - Jacquez transferred in from Texas, where he saw time as the Sunday starter as a freshman.  He appeared to be very similar to what I saw then, as he is a small, athletically built pitcher who lacks the size and strength for what scouts want to see from the guys they project in the rotation.  He was in his element today though, as he featured 3 avg or better pitches in a FB that was 90-92 with solid life, a CH at 78-82 thrown w/ gd armspeed and fade and a CB at 77-78 that was a power mdm downer w/ gd spin.  He showed advanced pitchability, throwing his off-speed stuff in hitters counts (especially the CH) and kept Texas off balance for his 3 shutout innings (which was against the big boppers in the Texas lineup).  It all comes down to ultimate role and I think he is either going to be a 5th starter or middle reliever, although I have heard reports of higher velo's in shorter stints.

OF Spencer O'Neil (Central Arizona) - I thought O'Neil (a 33rd rounder by the Yankees in 2011) was the best offensive prospect that Central Arizona had and the only other besides Jacquez I would throw a draft grade on based on today.  O'Neil is a tall, athletic projectable player w/ ok present strength.  Hits from a spread w/ a shift of weight and load.  Swing has a tendency to get long, but features avg bat speed and pull power (one AB that I did not get video of was when he hit a 1 hopper to the wall in RF).  In RF, he shows a plus arm w/ accuracy that has him listed as a pitcher on Central Arizona's roster as well.  The ball he drove to the wall was off a lefty, so he will not have any L on L issues.  All that being said, he did struggle with offspeed stuff and there is some pitch recog issues there.  Profiles as a 4th OF type.
OF Jordan Dunatov (Central Arizona) - Dunatov was a 14th rounder by the Pirates in 2011, but was committed to Oregon State and has now ended up at Central Arizona.  He is a tall, athletic (6'5", 200) whose body doesn't appear to be able to support too much weight and will likely end up playing at 215.  He hits from a rotational swing that features below avg bat speed.  He is a long strider and aggressive on the bases w/ above avg speed.  He also features a plus arm, making him a very intriguing package in CF, where he gets ok jumps and takes gd routes.  I just don't know if there is going to be enough offense to make him worth it for a professional organization.
SS David Masters (Central Arizona) - Masters transferred in from Arkansas (14 AB as frosh) to Central Arizona this year after being selected in the 50th round by the Diamondbacks in 2011.  Masters has a mdm, athletic build w/ some projection left.  He hits from a shoulder-width position w/ a stride and mini load.  For me, his calling card is defensively, where hs features soft hands and gd body control, although I don't think he is a SS as a professional and will need to move to 2B.  Offensively, he features below avg bat speed that can drag through the zone and has some length.  Not a draft guy for me based on this 1 game look.
2B David Petrino (Central Arizona) - The 3 hole hitter in Central's lineup, he featured a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strenght in a close to mature body.  While he plays 2B now, his body type will likely move him to 3B.  Offensively, he hits from an open stance w/ a stride and load.  He features below avg bat speed and, while standing at the front of the box against JUCO competition will work, he needs to stand in the back of the box against the caliber of pitching he faced today.
OF Sean Hurley - Hurley was a Miami commitment, but switched his commitment to Central Arizona.  The juco freshmen features a mdm to tall athletic build w/ gd present strength and a close to mature body.  He features a leg kick that causes his weight to go forward and you can tell he was having timing issues against this caliber of pitching.  He featured below avg bat speed and didn't do much to stand out in the other facets of the game because he was DHing.  He is recovering from offseason Tommy John surgery and the fact he had to have his first game against Rangers pitchers working in the low to mid 90's definitely had an impact on his ability to be on time and let his tools play.  Will be a guy to monitor in the spring as he gets further recovered from surgery.
Also looked a few Rangers, where Ronald Guzman hit a line drive HR to right field, which continues my line of thinking that he just needs to add some leverage to his swing (which will diminish his avg ability) to make him a more valuable hitter.
And Joey Gallo was late, but showed his above avg bat speed and wasn't tested at 3B.
Also, Keone Kela was on the mound for the Rangers and appears to be making strides towards becoming a solid relief option for them, although the only velo I got was 93.  He was up to 97 in the AZL, but appeared to be pitching with more command today.
Tomorrow, I am definitely going to Kansas City to watch Travieso start for the Reds and am not sure if I will then head to Glendale to focus more on these Rangers or just watch the Royals play.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

AIL - Goodyear @ Glendale

Took in a quick sim game at the Dodgers complex (to see most of the Dodgers pitchers making their States debuts) and then went to the stadium to watch the Goodyear squad (Reds and Indians) take on the Glendale squad (White Sox and Dodgers).

OF Yorman Rodriguez (Reds) - I have heard rave reviews about Rodriguez from this season and got my first look at him today.  Features a mdm, athletic build w/ some projection left.  Offensively, he showed above avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing in a swing where he can generate a little better leverage.  I wasn't really impressed by him and not sure where he fits long term based on a 1 game look.

OF Courtney Hawkins (White Sox) - In a pleasant surprise, the White Sox first rounder out of high school played CF in today's game.  He features a linebacker build, as he is a strong kid who doesn't have a lot of projection left.  He shows above avg bat speed in a swing that features a lot of movement and needs to be quieted down.  He is currently an above avg runner, but will settle in as average.  While he is playing CF now, his rawness was evident in his routes and his overall glove.  He profiles as a potential power hitting corner OF.

2B Joey DeMichele (White Sox) - DeMichele was one of my personal favorites as a hitter at Arizona State and he was very similar to what I saw then, as he showed above avg bat speed and still has decent power potential for 2B.  Didn't get tested much on this day in the field, but he has the tools to be a solid avg regular from an offensive standpoint.

OF Juan Duran (Reds) - Duran is a 6'7" monster who has long levers and has really struggled to repeat his swing.  He shows avg bat speed, but is too raw to allow the tools to play.  I don't see a lot of potential with him.

OF Bryson Myles (Indians) - Myles is built like a running back and is an extremely physical, smaller athlete.  He shows avg bat speed, but is late in getting his foot down and it causes everything to rush.  He still has a 4th OF profile.

OF Levon Washington (Indians) - Washington still has a lot of tools, featuring above avg bat speed and remains a plus runner.  However, his swing will not work and is the cause of a lot of his problems.  He is never on time, causing him to hit the ball to LF way too often.  He also features a leg kick, which helps complicate his timing.  He has a below avg arm, so he is limited to either CF or LF and on this day showed enough defensively to think he can stick in CF.  All this doesn't matter if the bat doesn't get fixed.

RHP Fabio Martinez (Indians) - Martinez features projectable, loose body that already gets up to 95 and has more velo in there.  He features a little run on his FB and paired that with a SL at 84-86 that had 3/4 tilt, but was an early breaker that didn't have a lot of definition.  The 22 year old came over from the Angels after experiencing serious control issues, but only lost the strike zone for stretches today.  Interesting arm with potential.

RHP Steven Sides (Indians) - The reliever put up big strikeout numbers en route to getting to High A in his first full season.  He was 91-95 with a little ride and paired that with a tight, short SL at 83-86.  The SL will work in A ball, but he will need to get more depth to have success at higher levels.

Other Indians pitchers seen on this day were Naoki Hashimoto (a typical Japanese pitcher who worked 86-90 and threw everything and the kitchen sink at you).

RHP Erik Johnson (White Sox) - I graded out Johnson very highly for the 2011 draft as a back-end reliever.  On this day, he continued to be similar to what he was at Cal, working 91-95 w/ ride, a CH at 82-85 w/ gd armspeed that he trusts, a CB at 73-74 that was a big downer and effective early count pitch and a SL at 87-88 that can lack definition and become a cutter at times.  The delivery got cleaned up a bit, but he still projects as a reliever for me, though not as well as he did in 2011, as his SL hasn't developed the way I hoped.

Other White Sox pitchers seen on this day were Brian Blough (worked 91-93 and paired with 2 below avg secondary pitches, a SL at 82-84 that broke early and a CH that was too firm at 86-87) and Brandon Hardin (a 10th rounder this year who got a small bonus was 91-94 w/ a sweeping SL at 81-83.  Pure thrower had little idea where ball was going).

RHP Brooks Pinckard (Reds) - Pinckard was a guy on my radar entering the 2011 draft, but I was unable to get any video of him to write him up.  Based on 2010, he was a big armed closer who came from an unique delivery to generate velo.  On this day, he showed more of the same, coming from a 3/4 NWU in a delivery that was cleaned up a bit to get him standing upright more.  He settled in firing sinkers at 93-94 and they are making a point with him to develop command to the armside to saw off righties.  His SL was similar to his time at Baylor, coming in at 84-87 w/ inconsistent depth and shape.  Potential as a middle reliever thanks to the sinker and the SL will determine just how far he can go.

Tomorrow is a bit up in the air for me.  I was informed that Nick Travieso, the Reds first rounder, would be throwing tomorrow.  I also really wanted to go watch the Rangers take on Central Arizona JC.  Haven't decided if I would try and hit up both, or just stay at the Reds game, where they are playing the White Sox.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AZL Top 20 Prospects

With Baseball America publishing their list of the top 20 prospects, I figured I would post mine.

Since I worked in the AZL for the Dodgers all year, I got a pretty decent feel for a number of prospects. 

Below are my reports with a brief writeup:

1) SS Addison Russell (Athletics) - Russell will stay at SS and has a very special bat that projects to hit for avg and power.  He is a future All-Star with the bat and the glove is advanced enough to play an above avg SS, as he showed gd arm strength with soft hands and only got in trouble from moving too fast. 

2) 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers) - Gallo features 2 tools that grade out as an 8 for me, his power and his throwing arm.  His throwing arm hasn't played like an 8 yet, mainly because he is still learning the position and how to move his feet and keep everything timed up.  I think he is going to advance enough to stay at 3B.  From an offensive perspective, he basically is going to try and be Adam Dunn.  He features great leverage in his swing with above avg bat speed and hit some long home runs.  He is somewhat patient, though he will expand his zone at times if he feels he has been pitched around too much.  Due to the length of his swing, he is also going to strike out.  With that being said, I am very high on Gallo and forsee a potential 40 HR hitter at a corner infield position.

3) OF Albert Almora (Cubs) - Almora was touched on earlier in this blog when I followed up with the Cubs, but he projects as a plus defensive CF (Gold-Glove worthy) with a .280 avg and 15-20 HR's (with more avg to possibly come in peak years).  Big time prospect.

4) OF Jorge Soler (Cubs) - Soler would not have ranked this highly based on his AZL season, but the adjustments I saw in the instructs game made me feel confident enough to put him here, and an argument could be made that he should be as high as # 2.  He features the best bat speed of any of the prospects listed here and projects to be a middle of the order RF.

5) OF Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - Brinson was said to have been a raw OF, but he was anything but raw here.  He showed big tools, featuring a swing that should hit for avg and provide some power.  He is a better athlete then Almora, but isn't the defender quite yet, as he takes some circuitous routes.  The 1st rounder should be an everyday CF.

6) SS Dorssys Paulino (Indians) - Paulino shows very good bat speed and a bat that profiles to hit for avg and power.  His ultimate question will be where he winds up defensively.  While he has the tools to play an average SS, it is rare for a team to employ an avg SS.  The bat will play at 3B or 2B, so it shouldn't be a problem moving him off.  Projects as a potential everyday player and a middle of the order bat is his best case.

7) C Clint Coulter (Brewers) - Coulter struggled like crazy against us until the last time we played the Brewers, where he went and hit a 430 foot HR and then pulled a ball foul that was about 360.  His swing is simple and repeatable and should hit for average, while he has the ability to hit 25+ homers as a catcher.  Defensively, he still has some work to do with his receiving and throwing, but he has the tools to stay behind the plate.

8) 1B Matt Olson (Athletics) - Olson is Adam LaRoche to me when all is said and done.  The 2 sport star is incredibly nimble around the bag and makes all the plays and can be projected as a plus defender.  At the plate, he profiles to hit for some avg and power, with the ability to top out as a .280 hitter w/ 25 HR's in his prime.

9) OF Nomar Mazara (Rangers) - While I don't have a love affair for him like a coworker does, he features near 80 raw power and his swing has gotten cleaner from extended spring to the AZL, topping it with a 400+ foot HR against us in the playoffs.  I am not sure where he profiles in the field or how much average he will hit for, but the 17 year old has true light tower power.

10) 3B Daniel Robertson (Athletics) - Robertson makes 3 Athletics in my Top 10 and, while I only got a 1 game look at him, he immediately stood out with his tools.  He features a simple repeatable swing that will for avg and power and he will move to 3B as his frame develops.  Projects as a solid avg regular.

11) 1B Ronald Guzman (Rangers) - I think Guzman will hit 20 HR's, but will struggle to hit for avg, which is the exact opposite of the numbers he is putting up now.  I think a little more loft will add to his power ability and will take away from the avg numbers he is putting up now.  He will never be more than an avg defender at the position and his bat will need to carry him.

12) OF Gabriel Guerrero (Mariners) - Another guy who helps make it on my list thanks to an instructs view, Guerrero features big time bat speed and the ensuing rawness.  He is a guy who will profile in an OF corner and could be a very special bat with the ability to hit for power and avg and the ability to draw almost zero walks.  One of the ultimate high risk/high reward players.

13) OF Nick Williams (Rangers) - Williams was one of my favorite prospects entering the AZL season and I will never understand how he fell so far in the draft.  He features above avg bat speed in a swing that will for avg and some power.  He is an above avg runner, though he is still learning to figure out how to use that speed in the field.  I think his bat will play enough to handle a corner outfield spot.

14) OF Henry Moreno (Padres) - Moreno just flat hit this year.  An above avg runner, he showed a short stroke that has some current pull power to it.  He is still a bit raw as a CF and the body is a concern for outgrowing the position, but he has the chance to stay there.  If he is forced to move to a corner, the bat will ready need to develop.  An intriguing prospect.

15) 1B Stryker Trahan (Diamondbacks) - Trahan generates special bat speed, but I have a lot of concerns with his swing.  He gets out on his front foot too quickly and I think he is going to be in trouble against quality breaking stuff.  I also don't think he is going to be able to handle C.  He makes this list however because he gets plus power from that special bat speed and has a chance to hit for a little avg.  Just going to be at a corner instead of catcher.

16) RHP Zach Bird (Dodgers) - Due to the fact I work for the Dodgers, I will not be posting a writeup on him.

17) RHP Mitch Brown (Indians) - Brown showed a 4 pitch mix in a close to mature body, which I have questions about how much growth there is left to his frame and stuff.  He comps to a pitcher that I will not name.  Overall, he worked 89-92 w/ a developing 4 pitch repetoire featuring a gd 2 plane CB, a developing 3/4 tilt SL and a CH that he throws with gd armspeed.  Profiles nicely as a potential middle of the rotation starter.

18) 1B Dan Vogelbach (Cubs) - Vogelbach has a bad body that will limit him to 1B and will be, at best, a below avg defender.  The bat is potentially special, as his barrel stays in the zone for a long time and he shows the ability to square pitches up.  He has big time power and it showed itself at times.  With that being said, he really struggled against lefty breaking balls against us and he will need to work real hard to be an everyday player.

19) OF Jonathan Reynoso (Reds) - Reynoso ran a bit hot and cold against us, but shows avg bat speed from a short, simple swing.  He needs to get some better separation so his power will play better, but he has the potential for 5 tools, although possibly no better then avg across the board.  Projects as a potential everyday OF that will hit in the bottom third of the lineup.

20) OF Alexis Rivera (Royals) - The big bodied OF showed avg ability and developing power in a mature body that will be limited to LF.  I felt he had one of the better present bats in the AZL and there is potential for a league avg bat at the position. 

* I did not see C.J. Edwards pitch

Notable Prospects Not On Top 20
RHS Nick Travieso (Reds) - Reported to camp a bit out of shape and just didn't throw the ball well against us.  Having seen him, I need to catch him later on in instructs or next season to see if it is a big concern.
3B Renato Nunez (Athletics) - I just flat hate the swing.  There is a lot going on that I think will be exposed at higher levels and he is just an org guy.
LHS Tyler Pike (Mariners) - Dotted FB's against us and showed feel for 2 breaking pitches, though he didn't throw them much against us.  I question how much projection is left to his frame and I think his upside (back of the rotation starter) is lower then the players ranked ahead of him.
3B Joe DeCarlo (Mariners) - DeCarlo is probably # 21 and he was helped by a quality look during instructs.
2B Timmy Lopes (Mariners) - Lopes profiles as a utility IF to 2nd division regular at 2B.
RHS Collin Wiles (Rangers) - The supplemental 1st rounder doesn't have near the present tools of any players ranked above him and is a pure projectability guy.
RHR Ben Eckels (Diamondbacks) - If you believe relievers are valuable, Eckels probably should have made the list, as he will likely have his future in the pen and was one of the more impressive pitchers I saw this year.

SS Andrew Velazquez (Diamondbacks) - Velazquez showed bat speed, but concerns about his size and future power potential lead me to more of a utility IF ceiling.

SS Joe Munoz (Diamondbacks) - Too raw at this time, but I am very intrigued by his frame and swing.

RHP Keiran Lovegrove (Indians) - Lovegrove showed tools, including a projectable body with a FB up to 94, but didn't show a lot of present stuff to be rated ahead of some of these other pitchers.

C Christian Carmichael (Mariners) - One of my favorite prospects, but there are doubts to his ability to stay behind the plate.  Bat should play at 2B if they choose to move him there.

OF Jose Pena (Brewers) - Showed power and a plus arm and was one of the players in contention with Rivera, DeCarlo, etc. for that # 20 spot.

2B Janluis Castro (Rangers) - Hit .350, but is short w/ a massive platoon split and lacks the power to profile as anything more then a utility IF.

2B/3B Tanner Rahier (Reds) - Lacked size and was overwhelmed by facing quality pitching.  Has the upside of a utility IF.
Angels - SS Jose Rondon (UR) - One of the least talented teams out here, Rondon stood out for having above avg bat speed, but little idea of how to use it.  Has a chance to profile as a utility IF.
Athletics - SS Addison Russell (# 1)
Brewers - C Clint Coulter (# 7)
Cubs - OF Albert Almora (# 3)
Diamondbacks - 1B Stryker Trahan (# 15)
Dodgers - RHP Zach Bird (# 16)
Giants - LHR Zach Edgington (UR) - Another team that had minimal talent, I will say Edgington is the best prospect based on his ability to mix 3 pitches from the left side and features an above avg CB and CH at times, which may allow him to profile in a pen.  This assumes that E.J. Encinosa is ineligible for the list.
Indians - SS Dorssys Paulino (# 6)
Mariners - OF Gabriel Guerrero (# 12)
Padres - OF Henry Moreno (# 14)
Rangers - 3B Joey Gallo (# 2)
Reds - OF Jonathan Reynoso (# 19)
Royals - OF Alexis Rivera (# 20)

Monday, September 24, 2012

PG Evoshield Underclass

Took in the PG Evoshield underclass over the weekend, which featured many top prospects for 2014 and 2015.

Below, is a breakdown of the prospects I saw (with video!) and they are listed in the order that Perfect Game ranks them (with the number being the ranking nationally).


RHP Ryan Castellani (PG # 14, UCLA Commit) - This was the 2nd time I have seen Castellani pitch.  Featuring an ideal pitchers frame, the 6'4", 190 pound righy is tall and athletic w/ a body that can get up to 230 w/ gd present strength.  He wasn't as good on this day as I had seen him previously, as he was 86-89 w/ gd run and a slurvy SL at 75-78 that flashed below avg.  He comes from a 3/4, SWU and throws a bit across his body.  For him, I think you are buying the body and the fact you think you can teach him to spin it.  I think this ranking is a little high, as I have some concerns with being able to teach a guy a breaking ball.  I think he will end up being a late 1st or early 2nd round pick in 2014.


2B Blake Wiggins (PG # 64, Arkansas Commit) - Wiggins is committed to his in state school of Arkansas and he jumped out to me based on his pure hitting ability.  The projectable middle infielder has a mdm, athletic build w/ a strong base and gd present strength.  He features avg bat speed, which projects above avg, and a knack for getting the barrel on the ball.  He doesn't top spin a lot of balls like some of the other players do, but he showed the ability to hit line drives to all fields.  He projects as a 10-12 HR guy when all is said and done and he isn't the special type of athlete to handle SS at the pro level.  He does feature gd defensive actions with soft hands and avg arm strength to go with what will be fringy speed.  He projects as a solid avg regular at 2B, which would make this rating correct.

OF Gerard Hernandez (PG # 70) - Hernandez had the best bat speed at this tournament.  The mdm, athletically built OF has gd present strength and some projection remaining, which will likely move him off the CF he is playing now to a corner, which his bat will have no problem handling.  He features above avg to plus bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing and projects to have plus bat speed.  He does generate his bat speed by hitting off of his front foot and that will be a concern moving forward.  However, he backspinned numerous balls and was a true presence in the lineup.  In a lineup featuring numerous highly rated players (2015 Chris Betts, 2015 Michael Hickman), Hernandez hit 3rd.  He is an aggressive hitter who looks for his pitch and will get himself out early in the count.  He is a below avg runner that projects to not be a clogger, but not an asset on the bases either.  He is a top 50 high schooler in my opinion.

1B/RHP Keaton McKinney (PG # 71, Arkansas Commit) - This was my 2nd look at McKinney both on the mound and in the batter's box in as many weeks.  He is still what I wrote up last week, but I think I prefer him as a hitter now.  On the mound, he was 88-90 w/ a 70-72 mdm downer CB that flashed gd spin and a 71-73 CH with fade and sink, though he noticeably slowed his arm down.  I am concerned with some mechanical aspects of him, as the arm continues to be late and doesn't appear to have the flexibility to repeat his delivery.  As a hitter, he continued to show avg bat speed that projects above avg with a big power ceiling (and right handed power is something a premium will be paid for), though he was swinging for the fences this week.  I think teaching him a little patience (not to get out on his front foot so much) will unlock the special hitter that he can be.  I think this ranking is about right, though I wouldn't be surprised to see him taken as early as the supplemental 1st round in his draft year.


OF Scott Hurst (PG # 72, Cal State Fullerton Commit) - Hurst did more to stand out then any other player at this tourney to me.  The small (5'11", 170 pounder) features ok present strength, but needs to add a lot of muscle.  His overall package as a hitter could be scary.  He backspinned almost every ball I saw him swing at.  Even on a pitch he got jammed, the ball found a second wind as it went over the infielders and almost got over the RF.  He showed avg bat speed which projects to plus w/ a very slight uppercut swing.  While he doesn't have the size of most big time hitters, Hurst projects as a potential .300 hitter w/ 10-15 homers and gap power.  He also should be an above avg runner.  His ultimate question, which I didn't see enough of to answer, will be if he profiles in CF or in a corner.  Big time prospect who is a top 30 high schooler for me.

C Tommy Pincin (PG # 77) - Pincin features a mdm, athletic build w/ some stockiness and gd present strength.  He is a solid defensive catcher, moving well behind the plate and setting up gd targets.  His throwing mechanics need some work, as he takes a giant step forward when throwing the ball to 2B.  He features a solid avg throwing arm to pair with reliable accuracy.  I believe he was battling a non throwing shoulder injury and it appeared to affect him at the plate.  While his timing was never right, he featured below avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing.  He has gap power now and projects to have power to LF and CF and should be able to hit for some average as well.  Right now, without seeing the bat play the way I think it should, he is rated a bit too high and would probably be out of my top 100.

3B/RHP Jordan Pearce (PG # 86, San Diego Commit) - This was my 2nd look at Pearce, as I got to see him take one swing last week before getting to focus on him for 2 games here.  The 2 way player, features a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and has some projection left to him.  Pearce is the rare type of player who could play both ways in college.  On the mound, he was 87-89 (and maintained deep into his outing) featuring some run and sink.  He featured the FB the first time through the order before working in his 2 off-speed pitches, both of which show avg or better potential.  His CB was 77-79 and featured a sharp, late 2 plane break to with a CH at 78-80 w/ gd armspeed that had life at times.  His delivery featured some effort, coming from a H 3/4 release.  As a hitter, he showed avg to above avg bat speed in a simple swing with a gd bat path.  He projects to hit for both avg and power as his frame fills out.  He worked counts well and stayed within himself.  For me, I will be surprised if he makes it to San Diego, as he profiles as top 5 rounder to me.  Based on the looks I have of him, I would recommend drafting him as a hitter with the mound being a backup option.

C Darren Miller (PG # 121, Florida State Commit) - Miller is a short, stocky catcher w/ a close to mature body and a thick lower half.  He is listed as both a SS and a C, but with his body, he will be a C at the next level (be it college or pro).  He has gd actions behinds the plate w/ quick feet and a plus arm.  He has all the tools to be a plus defender at least.  Offensively, he currently has below avg bat speed that projects to avg w/ a swing that is flat to a slight uppercut.  He is never going to be a big power guy and will instead look to hit gaps.  He worked quality at bats, which makes you think he will draw enough walks to have value.  At this point, I think the ranking is a little high and I think he will end up at Florida State.

OF Nate Alam (PG # 132) - The switch hitting OF didn't do much to stand out for me this week.  He showed below avg bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing in a mdm, athletic body w/ ok present strength and projection remaining.  He played a speed based game, but didn't have a lot of speed.  His ideal projection would be that of a 4th OF.  I think he will end up at college.

SS Ryan Day (PG # 188) - Day kind of jumped out to me, as he was not on my initial watch list.  The 6'0", 165 pounder w/ a lean, athletic build and projection remaining jumped out to me due to his glove.  He featured plus hands with a soft glove and should be able to handle SS at the next level, whether that is college or in pro ball.  What will stop him from getting to pro ball out of high school (besides the leanness of his frame) is his bat.  He features below avg bat speed and I never got to see him barrel any balls.  He was hitting third on the same team as Tommy Pincin, though that is likely because Day will never be much of a power threat, as he projects to be a line drive, gap to gap hitter.  I would say his ranking is correct and would expect him to attend college.

3B Sean Bouchard (PG # 210) - Bouchard plays for the prestigious San Diego Show travel team and was out here last week as well.  I was only able to get a chance to watch him play in one game and didn't get a great feel for him.  He is a tall, athletic kid w/ a body that should fit at 3B once it is filled out.  He showed a SL Uppercut w/ below avg bat speed and had a good path, although he appeared to lock himself up at times.  Had him as a slightly below avg runner.  Don't have any feel on him, so won't discuss the ranking.
C David Banuelos (PG # 216) - Banuelos is a mdm, stocky catcher w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  As a hitter, he showed below avg bat speed which projects to avg with a swing that didn't have as much loft as it could have, as his bat plane had a tendency to get flat and pound balls on the ground.  He projects to have some avg ability w/ gap power.  Defensively, he sets a good target w/ solid mobility and catch and throw skills.  Projects as an avg to slightly above defensive catcher.  He is probably a better fit to go to college then to be drafted out of high school.
OF Elijah Skipps (PG # 221) - Skipps is a monster and built like a LB.  The 6'3", 190 pounder is nowhere near that anymore and appears to be closer to 6'4", 220.  He is big and athletic with a current professional body w/ excellent present strength.  He is a plus athlete and a long strider, which helps be an avg runner.  Currently playing CF, he will be in a corner at the next level.  He features below avg bat speed in a swing that needs some work.  He is raw at the plate and it will show itself at times, though he has gd plate discipline and rarely expands the zone.  With his body, it is hard to not project at least avg power.  I think Skipps should be a top 150 player and has a chance to get drafted out of high school if he can continue to develop his swing.
1B Quinn Brodey (PG # 261) - Brodey is a big, sturdy corner OF w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  He featured a simple, repeatable swing w/ below avg to avg bat speed and a slight uppercut.  He projects to hit for power, as he hammered a ball down the RF line around 340 feet just foul.  Whether he hits for avg will determine what his ultimate role will be.  He is a below avg athlete who will be limited to LF or 1B, but he projects well as a potential org guy and draftee out of college.  I think his ranking is correct.
OF Marcus Wilson (PG # 268) - You want tools?  Marcus Wilson is your man.  The long, rangy, loose athlete features a projectable frame that you would typically see in a WR (6'4", 170).  He features near plus-plus speed, but that is his only tool that plays right now.  He is incredibly raw, showing below avg bat speed in a swing that can be cleaned up.  He is raw as a baserunner, not getting great secondaries or understanding how to use his speed.  And he is a raw OF, who takes very interesting routes which prevents his speed from playing there as well.  He probably needs college to develop, but it will be interesting to see how far he develops.
2B Brian Ginsberg (PG # 278) - Ginsberg is build like a potential utility IF who can play every position in the IF besides 1B.  The 6'2", 180 pounder still features projection in his athletic build.  He showed below avg bat speed in a slight uppercut with an aggressive approach.  Doesn't project for a lot of power, rather hitting doubles in the gap.  Should be a college guy.
2B Tristan Hildebrandt (PG # 326, Oklahoma Commit) - Hildebrandt is your classic small middle infielder.  Measuring at 5'11, 165, he appeared to be even shorter at this event, though that may have been because he was hitting after 6'4" Kyle Molnar.  He has little present strength in his small, athletic build and needs to build up his body a bit in the weight room.  He featured below avg speed in a flat swing and really struggled offensively this week.  He appeared to be out of rhythm and let prior bad at bats snowball.  While there are some questions with the bat, there is no question that he is a more then capable defensive infielder w/ soft reliable hands and gd body control.  He features avg range and a fringy throwing arm, which makes his likely position 2B as opposed to SS.  College guy with a chance to be drafted as a potential utility IF after 3 years.
2B Tyler Urbach (Unranked) - Urbach is a projectable athlete w/ a strong base.  He features a developing swing that needs to better sync up the lower and upper halves.  He shows enough bat speed to project to avg and should be able to hit for some average.  He has a pretty limited ceiling however, featuring below avg arm strength and projects to be just an avg runner.  Tools wise, he rates out as your typical utility IF without the ability to handle SS.  I think he will end up at college.
3B/RHP Daniel Slominski (High Follow, Oregon State Commit) - Slominski is a mdm, athletic projectable kid who should get taller and stronger, though he already features a strong lower half.  I prefer the 2 way player as a hitter, where he showed what will be avg bat speed in a simple swing and should hit for average with the potential for average power.  On the mound, he worked 82-84 with run in a rock and fire delivery that created a lot of deception.  He also featured 2 developing offspeed pitches in a late big breaking downer CB at 70 w/ a CH with gd armspeed at 77 w/ fade and sink.  He is likely a college guy, as he needs the time to develop the body.  While I prefer him as a hitter, it wouldn't surprise me to see him become an important cog of the Oregon State pitching staff.  I do think he is one of the Top 500 high school players in the nation and think the ranking is far too low.

RHP/OF Kyle Molnar (PG # 1) - Quite possibly the worst thing to happen at the Underclass Tourney was the Orange County Red Sox getting upset in Round 1 of the playoffs.  This meant that all I had to evaluate Molnar as a pitcher was a 1 inning look where he threw nothing but fastballs.  A tall, strong kid w/ a classic projectable pitchers build, he worked 88-90 and generated easy velo.  Coming from a H 3/4, SWU, he showed a little run on his pitches.  Without seeing a breaking ball, it is near impossible to get a feel for how advanced the offspeed stuff is.  As a hitter, he featured a long swing w/ below avg bat speed, but projects avg.  Currently features gap power, he projects to be a 12-17 HR guy.  There is length to his swing and he wouldn't be the top 2015 prospect as an OF.  Wish I could have seen him throw more then 1 inning.
RHP Joe De Mers (PG # 4) - De Mers is a big bodied pitcher with feel for 2 quality present pitches in his FB and CB.  A big strong kid w/ a thick lower half, he doesn't have a ton of projection remaining.  Coming from a H 3/4, SWU, he features an electric arm that worked 88-90 and can safely project into the 93-95 range as he moves forward and better learns to use his legs in his delivery.  His CB has good spin and is a big downer w/ a 2 plane break.  He didn't throw a change in this outing, as he threw only 2 innings, likely saving him for what Angels baseball thought would be a playoff game before they got bounced in the 1st round.  Based on those 2 pitches, which can both be projected as plus offerings, I think the ranking is appropriate and he is a very special pitching prospect.  He also hits, but the swing is pull heavy and long and he will be a pitching prospect.

C Lucas Herbert (PG # 6, UCLA Commit) - Herbert is a 6'0", 200 pounder with a bulldog build.  Mdm, athletic w/ a solid base and gd present strength, there is still some projection left.  He showed avg bat speed from a spread, no stride rotational swing.  He shows an ability to keep his hands back and should be able to hit to all fields, though he will never be a big avg guy.  He will hit for power, already possessing avg to above avg raw power and projects to be a 25+ HR guy when all is said and done.  Defensively, he has the tools to remain behind the plate, setting a good target w/ ok mobility and appears to just need a tweak of his catching stance to give himself more flexibility.  I would agree with this ranking and I will be surprised if he makes it to UCLA. 

C Michael Hickman (PG # 16) - Hickman is a 6'1", 185 pound catcher who projects to stay at the position.  Featuring a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and projection remaining, he showed avg bat speed in a pull oriented approach.  The swing path itself is good, but he has a tendency to fly open with his front shoulder, limiting his plate coverage.  He already features avg pull power and projects to plus pull power w/ avg overall power from the left side.  Adding even more value, he has the tools to remain behind the plate with an avg throwing arm (doesn't play avg due to struggles with footwork on throws) and he is a quality receiver who sets a good target and is a quiet mover.  He also features the agility to box balls.  A top end prospect who has a chance to go in the 1st round.
C Chris Betts (PG # 25) - Betts can flat out hit.  He is a tall, somewhat stocky prospect with excellent present strength and some projectability remaining, though he has a thick lower half.  He features avg bat speed, which projects above avg to plus, with a slight uppercut swing.  He backspins a lot of balls and already features above avg power, as he drove numerous balls 370 to 380 during this tournament.  The bat is not his question mark.  Defense will be a factor for him.  While he has the raw tools to be a plus C, he is still learning the position and I think he is going to outgrow it as his body fills out.  He features a plus arm (which allowed him to throw 87-88 off the mound) and gets pop times around 2.0 right now.  He can get stabby and loud with his target behind the plate and is still learning to box balls.  It would be a waste to put his arm at 1B, but I don't know that he will have the mobility to handle LF or 3B.  A big time bat that is ranked correctly thanks to defensive questions.
SS Brandon Perez (PG # 33, Oregon Commit) - Perez is an all around baseball player and while he doesn't do any one thing exceptionally, he does everything well.  Mdm, athletic loose body w/ ok present strength, he still has projection remaining.  Tools wise, he is a plus athlete w/ above avg speed, though he projects to be a solid avg runner once he is mature.  At the plate, he has avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing and the swing is repeatable (though he will get into times where he loads too deep).  He has all the tools you look for in a player and is a guy to monitor going forward.  I think the ranking is about right for now, but wouldn't be surprised to see him become a mid-1st rounder.
OF Tyler Williams (PG # 38) - This was my 2nd look at Tyler Williams in as many weeks and he continued to show a tremendously projectable body and a raw skillset all around.  His mechanics were a bit more out of whack this week and didn't really barrel a ball like he did last week of his at bats that I watched.  He does get good jumps in CF, which translates to a potential above avg defender in a corner once his body has matured.  A very intriguing guy who is probably ranked too high right now due to his rawness, but who can find his way into the Top 10 if he develops his swing and body.
RHP Jiovanni Orozco (PG # 43) - Orozco is a very intriguing 2015 righty.  Featuring a mdm, sturdy build w/ gd present strength and a solid lower half, he has a little projection left (though not as much as most 2015 kids do).  He has good present stuff, featuring a FB at 87-90, which dropped to 85-87 in the 4th and 2 developing offspeed pitches in his 65-69 mdm downer CB and his 69-70 CH w/ some fade.  He slows his arm down on both breaking pitches, which will hurt him as he advances.  He comes from a H 3/4 SWU with a slight hook in his delivery and appears to be a guy who will struggle to pitch in the bottom third of the zone, as he understrides a bit and struggles to get extension at times.  He pitches around the zone with the FB and has the feel to elevate it out of the zone to serve as his out pitch.  A very intriguing arm with good present stuff, I think the ranking is about right for him, as he needs to learn to throw his off-speed pitches at the same arm speed as his FB.
RHP Drew Finley (PG # 67) - Finley was fairly unimpressive here.  On the mound, the tall, projectable (6'2", 195 - place him closer to 6'4") righty worked 83-84 w/ a gd downhill plane.  Stuff wise, he showed ok armspeed for a CH at 79 and a CB at 67 that was a big downer.  He has the tools to eventually become a draft guy as a senior, but will need to continue to get stronger.  As a hitter, you can project for his power to come, but there is a lot going on his swing that will need to be tampered down to experience consistent success.  I think he is rated too high based off of this look and I am not sure if I prefer him as a pitcher or hitter.
3B Niko Navarro (PG # 97) - I admittedly didn't get a great feel for Navarro.  The 6'1", 170 pound lefty hitter featured a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  He seemed content to line balls to the left center gap and rarely looked to turn on the ball.  He showed avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing that got flat a little too often.  Interesting bat.
OF Blake Brewster (Unranked, Oklahoma Commit) - Brewster will not be unranked for very long.  The Oklahoma product has already committed to the in state school and features a rare ability to backspin balls.  The projectable CF w/ a mdm athletic build and ok present strength has avg bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing.  The swing is fairly unique, as he brings almost all his weight back and then hits while his weight is coming forward.  For the swing, the closest comp I can think of is Adam Kennedy.  Brewster profiles as a top of the order bat w/ avg ability, some pull power and above avg defense in CF, where he showed gd routes and just needs to learn to not drift with the ball.  A concern with him to being at the top of the order is his plate discipline, as he was an early count swinger on this day.  A very intriguing prospect who, IMO, should be a top 100 player for his class.


Game Report - Royals @ Mariners Instructs

Apparently I couldn't get enough of the Peoria complex this weekend, as I returned there to watch the Mariners host the Royals.  Below is what I saw:

OF Bubba Starling (Royals) - Last saw him in extended, where I said he has the most tools I have seen of any minor leaguer, but there is bust potential there.  Got a brief look at him today over the course of 3 plate appearances (where he walked twice on 8 total pitches and struck out in the other AB), so it wasn't a great look at his swing.  It appears he is starting consistently late, causing his bat to have to rush through the zone  This limits his bat speed a bit and helps prevent him from tapping into his power more consistently.  He is still a plus runner with a long stride.  Saw nothing today to change my opinion.

2B Jack Lopez (Royals) - Features a high maintenance, handsy swing and didn't do much to convince me he could be an everyday player.  I feel there is a hole inside and he really struggles to keep his swing on time.  This probably helps explain the massive struggles he had in his full season debut. 

3B Patrick Leonard (Royals) - Leonard is a 6'4", 225 pound 19 year old who already has a major league body.  He is another guy who has some interesting swing mechanics, as he starts his hands in tight on his body even with his back armpit.  This causes some struggles with getting to the inside pitch.  He showed good power in the Appy league for his pro debut and has a chance to profile as a solid avg to slightly above avg regular at 3B.

3B Mike Antonio (Royals) - Another Royal who had a horrific full season debut at Kane County, he also has some swing issues despite featuring above avg bat speed.  He has a tendency to jump at the ball and fly open, limiting his ability to cover the plate or handle off speed stuff.  The bat speed is a positive and if you can get his swing cleaned up just a bit, you could have a utility IF.

3B Joe DeCarlo (Mariners) - Saw DeCarlo in the AZL, where he started hot and struggled down the stretch.  I came away liking him more then I thought I would.  The 2nd rounder from this year, he features a very simple swing that should just need reps against quality pitching.  He did struggle against the first couple of Royals pitchers who had some velocity, but that all should come together as he sees this velocity more.  I think he has the potential of a solid avg 3B.

OF Gabriel Guerrero (Mariners) - Guerrero hit only .355 with 11 HR's in 200 AB's in the DSL, so he came over to the States to make his debut halfway through the AZL season, where he continued to hit (.333-.350-.560 in 75 AB's).  Guerrero is the nephew of Vladimir Guerrero and features similar plate discipline, jumping out of his shoes at times to swing at pitches.  The swing itself is a problem, as he has a lot of things going on (including a big leg kick that causes his weight to come forward), but he features above avg to plus bat speed.  He has a knack for barreling balls and has a short to the ball swing that can hit for average.  He is a project, as he was made to look silly in his 1st AB by 3 curveballs where he wasn't close.  A very intriguing toolsy, raw player.

OF Guillermo Pimentel (Mariners) - Pimentel is another player who had a horrendous full season debut and he underwhelmed me.  Not very physically imposing at 6'1", 205, he features avg bat speed in a whippy swing.  His setup is interesting, as he is slightly hunched over the plate and is in a position with his lower half like he is about to sit in a chair.  He also takes a deep hand load, which creates length to his swing.  Think he is more org depth.

RHR Edwin Diaz (Mariners) - Diaz was the Mariners 3rd rounder this year and we saw him in the AZL before getting another look at him today.  Out of Puerto Rico, I didn't notice much improvement from the AZL to instructs from him.  He is a pure thrower with little idea of where the ball is going, coming from a low 3/4 full windup.  He has gd deception, but will need to throw more quality strikes to take advantage of it.  Stuffwise, he features a FB at 91-93 (though it was 88-89 out of the stretch due to struggles to incorporate his lower half) and 2 developing off speed pitches in a slurve at 78 and a CH at 85 that was straight w/ gd armspeed.  For me, he probably fits better as a reliever.

RHS Victor Sanchez (Mariners) - The 17 year old was the Mariners starter on this day and threw 2 innings.  He had a stellar pro debut at Everett considering his age and you can see why.  He featured advanced stuff, as he had a FB at 91-92 w/ a little late run (just enough to miss the barrel) to go with a straight CH at 81 and a SL at 81-83 that flashed avg more times then not.  He is a close to mature body however, featuring a mdm, stocky build w/ a strong lower half.  Coming from a H 3/4, SWU, he is a guy to watch, as I think he may fit in a middle relief role when everything is said and done.

Other Mariners I saw on this day were Neritzon Osorio (making his States debut in instructs after dominating in the Venezuelan Summer League, he was 85-87 w/ a CH at 78-81 and has some projection left, which he better b/c that velo won't work as a righty), Pina (can't find a first name or who the heck he is, but he was a close to mature righty who worked 89-90 w/ 2 below avg secondary offerings) and Nate Saquilon (who I believe is an undrafted FA who was 85-86 from the left side w/ no below avg secondary offering).

RHR Aroni Nina (Royals) - Nina is a long, loose lean pitcher who has a frame that doesn't project to add any more muscle.  He made his United States debut this year and showed strikeout ability and better command then he had shown previously.  On this day, he was impressive.  He worked 91-95 w/ gd angle to go with a CH at 83-86 w/ gd armspeed that flashed avg and a CB at 77-79 that was a mdm downer w/ tight late break.  His stats haven't yet catched up to his stuff and considering he made his States debut at 22, he will probably need to be a reliever down the road.

Other Royals pitchers I saw on this day were Igol Feliz (making his States debut in instructs, was 87 w/ a short SL at 81-82 with a mature body), Jose Rodriguez (87-91 w/ a short SL at 80 that won't work), Ashton Goudeau (27th rounder this year, was 87-89 w/ an early breaking CB at 73 that helped him put up K numbers in the AZL) and Sam Lewis (90-91 w/ a big downer CB at 71-74 and a CH at 85 w/ little life and struggled to throw strikes on this day).

The Co-Op game was also going on the field next to me and stopped over to watch David Goforth (Brewers), who was a big arm strength guy at Ole Miss and wasn't near the pitcher I used to see in college.  On this day, he was 88-92 w/ minimal deception and was still a thrower minus the plus velo he had in college.  His SL was 78-80 w/ 3/4 tilt and wasn't even average.  Was pretty disappointed with where he was at.

Because I apparently can't get enough of the Peoria complex, I will be returning to watch the Padres host the Royals tomorrow, as I want to see if I can catch one of the Padres young guns.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Game Report - Dbacks @ Cubs Instructs

Long day of scouting, as my day began by thinking the instructs game was at the Diamondbacks complex.  Had I known it was at the Cubs beforehand, I never would have gone, as the Cubs complex is one of the worst places to watch and evaluate a game.  After that, due to the game being 3 hours, had to travel immediately to Goodyear for the PG Evoshield, which was a success for what I wanted to see.

Below is the report on the instructs game, as the tourney report (with video!) will not be posted until the conclusion of the tourney.

OF Jorge Soler (Cubs) - I saw Soler in the AZL for 1 game before he got bumped up and I was concerned with what I saw.  There was a hand hitch within his swing (presumably to hit for more power) that really slowed his bat through the zone.  I remember coming away disappointed.  Today however, he showed me everything and more.  The hitch was gone and his plus to plus-plus bat speed was evident on each swing.  He still has a ways to go with pitch recognition, but I saw a simple swing that will hit for avg and power to go with a body with a ton of projection on it.   Impressive player who projects as an All-Star RF.

OF Albert Almora (Cubs) - I saw Almora for one game in the AZL as well and he didn't stand out much at the plate (when you are logging a game in BATS, it is incredibly difficult to focus on hitters).  Being able to watch Almora the hitter today, I came away impressed.  He showed above avg bat speed in a simple swing that consisted of a leg kick.  Normally, I abhor leg kicks because it is incredibly difficult to keep your weight back.  Almora's leg kick is different though, as it is purely a timing mechanism and doesn't involve his weight coming forward, as he gently lifts it up and gently places it back down.  In addition to the bat, Almora is a true 7 defensive CF who has Gold Glove potential.  For me, Almora is a .280, 10-15 HR and plus plus defender.  Those have just a little value in the majors...

1B Dan Vogelbach (Cubs) - Saw Vogelbach more then the avg Cub in the AZL and came away impressed with the bat and the body.  Vogelbach will never win a beauty contest, but hearing all the horror stories about his frame had concerned me.  While not in great shape, he isn't out of shape and carrying extra weight.  He features a simple swing that gets long at times and plus power.  He has above avg bat speed and can get in trouble when he over strides.  Vogelbach will be interesting to watch, as I don't think the bat will play enough to account for below avg defense at 1B.  Fits well as a potential bench bat or DH on an AL squad.

OF Shawon Dunston Jr. (Cubs) - Dunston was a guy I liked in the AZL, as he showed barrel control and plus speed.  Getting to focus on him as a hitter though, there is a lot to be concerned about.  He is the classic example of a leg kick I hate.  His leg kick is a hanging leg kick that, when it comes down, can't help but bring your weight forward.  This causes him to hit on his front side and, for a player without a lot of power, to struggle to hit balls the other way with authority.  I want to monitor him to see how this affects him moving forward.

C Stryker Trahan (Diamondbacks) - He had just 1 AB on this day, but the bat speed continued to be there and the swing was cleaned up a bit from the AZL (still hits off of his front side) as he is very calm at the plate.  The ball just makes a different sound off of his bat.  Wish he was catching, as I would have liked to see if he made growth as a defender.  Interesting bat that showed well in his 1 AB.

3B Jacob Lamb (Diamondbacks) - I was shocked Lamb signed.  Shocked.  He always had big tools at Washington, but struggled to put it together.  If he had a big year this year, he would have been a top 2 round guys.  Signing as a 6th rounder, he put up a big season in the Pioneer League.  Looking at the swing, he has the prototypical middle of the order build w/ bat speed and leverage.  It isn't hard to see him hitting 20 bombs a year.  What gets him in trouble is there is length to his swing, which also creates a hole inside for power pitchers.  Has a lot of tools, but coming up with an upside on him based off 2 AB's is too difficult.

RHR Dallas Beeler (Cubs) - The Cubs starter, it is rare for a AA guy to be pitching in instructs (I assume it is to just lengthen him out for the Arizona Fall League).  He featured a FB at 89-92 w/ a little run, a short early breaking SL at 81-83 and a splitter at 84-85 w/ ok dive.  He may have been throwing a CH as well, but didn't show one in the game that I saw.  There isn't a lot to work with, as it is hard to call a 23 year old projectable and just need to accept that is what his body will be.  Came from a H 3/4 FWU.  Think he is just an org guy.

RHR Jose Paniagua (Cubs) - The 1.5 million dollar bonus baby for the Cubs this year, he appears to be making his pro debut in instructs.  Raw stuff wise, he is very impressive, working 92-95 w/ an inconsistent slurve at 81-85 and a developing CH at 78.  He isn't like your typical Dominican sign, as he is 22 years old after going through an age check.  His FB has a little extra oomph and his SL flashed avg w/ gd spin, but really struggled to repeat the depth and it was flat w/ minimal break at times.  Mdm, athletic build w/ projection remaining, he came from a H 3/4 NWU.  Think he can move fast as a reliever and will be interesting to watch his development in the States.

Other Cubs pitchers I saw were Starling Peralta (put up good numbers as a 21 year old repeating Low A, working with a FB at 93-95 and 2 developing secondary, still just a pure thrower whose stuff plays down due to a lack of deception) and Jose Arias (looks the part, but was 88-90 w/ a gd mdm downer CB, just an org guy for me).

LHR Will Locante (Diamondbacks) - The best Dbacks pitcher I saw on this day, Locante worked 91-93 w/ a FB that bored in on LHH.  He also had a late breaking sweeping SL at 79-81 that was short and a CH at 82 that didn't do much.  The 11th rounder from this year generates a lot of deception, throwing across his body from a low 3/4 slot.  He should be a solid 2nd lefty in a big league pen based on the FB alone and the development of a SL will determine just how important his role will be.

Other Dbacks pitchers I saw were Michael Blake (has had a lot of strikeouts at 2 rookie ball stops, but that is based on a current avg CB at 70-73 that is a big breaker.  FB was 88-91 and didn't generate much deception), Luis Hernandez (88-91, up to 92 w/ a slurve at 76-77), Silvino Bracho (making his States debut in instructs after putting up video games #'s in DSL (.32 ERA, 28 IP, 30 K), worked with a FB at 91-93 and an early breaking SL at 81-82 with a CH at 84.  Close to mature 19 year old is likely org depth) and R.J. Hively (strong pro debut from Mississippi State, bulldog worked 90-91 w/ a CH at 78-83 and a SL at 84.  Lacked consistent mvmt to all his pitches).

With attending the PG Tourney tomorrow from 9 AM until 6:30ish, I will not be attending an Instructs game.  If I have time, I may do a different type of post in regards to the AZL.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game Report - Padres @ Reds Instructs

Attended the Reds instructs opener, where they hosted the Padres.

This game was a disappointment on a lot of levels (no 2012 draftees for San Diego, no Travieso or Langfield for Cincy), but there was some talent on the field:

OF Yeison Asencio/Yoan Alcantara (Padres) - First off, this is the same person.  Asencio was found to have been about 3 years older then his listed age.  That being said, the 21 year old still has tools.  Features avg bat speed that is short to the ball and low maintenance.  He could incorporate a bit more loft in his swing to help reach his power ceiling.  Takes good routes in RF and overall played hard.  He has a chance to be a solid avg regular.

3B Duanel Jones (Padres) - Jones jumped out to me last year by just his sheer size and he is still a big, strong youngster (now 19).  There aren't a lot of people who believe he is 19, but he hasn't been banged yet.  He features avg bat speed in a swing that cuts him off.  For me, the swing has gotten worse (and longer) from last year and I wonder if this was done to help him tap into his power.  He DH'd on this day, so didn't get to see if he was still a below avg 3B.  The tools haven't yet caught up to his production and I am concerned with his motor.

OF Edwin Moreno (Padres) - Moreno had a succesful American debut in the AZL this year and appears to still be building on it.  He showed above avg bat speed w/ a swing that should hit for avg and some power (10-15 HR).  He is still a developing CF, getting bad jumps and taking interesting routes, but projects to be an above average defender thanks to plus speed once underway.  A very intriguing prospect whom I believe is ready for Low A next year.

OF Jonathan Reynoso (Reds) - Reynoso has avg bat speed in a swing that is easily repeatable, projecting to hit for some avg and power.  He is an avg to a tick below runner, so his bat will need to play to handle a corner. 

OF Beau Amaral (Reds) - My first live look at the former UCLA CF and he underwhelmed me a bit.  I saw a fringy to avg arm in CF w/ ok jumps (though he has the speed to make up for it).  He is short to the ball, but doesn't have a lot of bat speed.  For me, he has a 4th OF upside and would be even more valuable if he could show the positional flexibility his dad (Rich) had during his big league career.

OF Jeff Gelalich (Reds) - Another UCLA, the 1st rounder didn't start on this day, but came on to play RF in the 6th and had 2 AB's.  Hits from a spread stance w/ no stride and ok separation.  His swing is short to the ball and will have pull power, as well as the ability to hit for average.  My concern with him is will there be enough overall power to justify a corner?  Will be interesting to watch.

C Jose Ruiz (Padres) - Ruiz is making his United States debut in instructs.  The current 17 year old soon to be 18 year old has starting catcher upside in my eyes based almost solely on his catch and throw ability.  Ruiz played the 2nd half of the game and threw out 2 baserunners with pop times of 1.91 and 1.87.  1.9 is the MLB average...  He features a 7 arm and a quick release.  These times will only continue to improve, as he has issues with his receiving and can be lazy behind the plate.  Offensively, he projects to have avg bat speed in a swing that needs to make some adjustments.  He is a pull heavy hitter who struggled to keep his lower and upper halves in sync.  But, for a 17 year old, this kid has all the tools you want.

1B Jose Dore (Padres) - I first saw Dore at a pre-draft workout for the Nationals and I couldn't believe I was looking at the same player.  The bat speed has decreased, although it flashed above avg on balls he pulled foul later in the game and he appears to be hitting from a position where he is inflexible.  Combining what I saw today with what was essentially a lost year for him at the plate, there is reason to be concerned.

3B Tanner Rahier (Reds) - Rahier never really impressed me during the AZL season and was just there today as well.  He has a body that can continue to get stronger, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him take a big step forward next year.  He shows below avg bat speed now w/ gap to gap ability.  He has a gd first step at 3B with an avg arm.  For me, he projects to be a utility infielder that doesn't have SS ability.

RHS Justin Hancock (Padres) - The best arm I saw on this day, Hancock is a tall, slender righty who comes a 3/4 to H 3/4 release.  While slender, he doesn't have a lot of projectability left and I think he is going to have more of a Jon Garland body as he ages.  He generated easy velocity, working 91-94 in his 2 inning stint, with gd angle and run.  He also showed enough with his other 2 pitches (79-81 late breaking slurve and a 78-79 CH w/ fade and sink) that you can project him to be a middle of the rotation starter.  He absolutely shoved at Eugene to end the year and with the stuff he showed today, it doesn't surprise me.

RHS Erik Cabrera (Padres) - Cabrera did something that is extremely rare, he made his United States debut in the Midwest League and more then held his own.  Cabrera is a slight, projectable right hander and comes at you from a 3/4 FWU.  The rawness can be seen on the mound, where he is a thrower who flies open and struggles to take time over the rubber.  Raw stuff wise, there was a lot to like, as he worked 92-94 w/ a little late run to pair with a SL at 77-83 that flashed avg and a CH at 87 that is developing.  Due to his stature (6'1") and his overall frame, I think his future is in the pen.  He will be interesting to watch, as there are another couple of ticks in there.

Other Padres pitchers I saw on this day were Cam Stewart (20th rounder from 2012, all projection (6'8", 220) with little present stuff, as his FB was 86-88 and his CB was 76), Ivan Marcano (making his States debut at age 21, 88-91 w/ 2 below avg secondary pitches) and Cory Bostjanic (15th rounder this year, 92-93 w/ little life and developing secondary offerings)

RHR Tony Amezcua (Reds) - Of all the guys the Reds threw, Amezcua was probably the best.  Working 91-93 (dropping to 89-92 in his successive 2 innings) with 2 developing secondary offerings (CH at 82-86 was being overthrown and the CB at 78-82 had inconsistent shape and action), he likely profiles in the pen, as he is another slight (6'0") pitcher who can't maintain under the rigors of starting every 5th day.

RHR Pedro Diaz (Reds) - Diaz had a very good debut in the states and we saw a lot of him this year.  I wasn't paying as close attention when he was on the mound b/c of this (focused on seeing a number of Padres hitters from the side) but still worked with a FB at 91-94 and a CB at 79 that has improved since the start of the AZL season.  Diaz is physically mature, so what he is pitching with is going to be what he has and I think it can work in a pen.

Other Reds pitchers I saw on this day were Mike Saunders (24th rounder this year, features 3 fringy pitches (87-90 FB, 80-81 SL, 81-82 CH) and doesn't offer much projection), Jordan Remer (21st rounder this year, lefty featured little in way of projection or stuff, working 87-89 w/ a CH at 79 and a developing SL at 79-83) and Ryan Fennell (undrafted FA this year worked 88-91 w/ an early breaking SL at 79)

Tomorrow will be a busy day, as I will be driving half an hour away to Scottsdale to watch the Diamondbacks take on the Cubs and then return to Goodyear for 4 games of the PG Underclass Tourney.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PG Evoshield - Underclass

Perfect Game is hosting the underclass portion of this tournament at the Peoria and Goodyear complexes this coming weekend.  These are 2014 and younger kids and I have planned my schedule for the first 2 days of this tourney.

This tournament features a team (Angels Baseball) which already has 8 BCS commits to it, including Keaton McKinney, who was on the Iowa Select Team last week.  In addition to McKinney, this team features Brady Aiken (LHP committed to UCLA), Darren Miller (SS committed to Florida State) and Brandon Perez (a 2015 SS committed to Oregon).

That team will be my primary squad, but the Orange County Red Sox Scout Team features RHP Kyle Molnar, whom Perfect Game rates as the top 2015 prospect and the Arizona Prowlers feature 2015 OF Tyler Williams, who was also written about last week.

Be sure to check back for updates from this tournament (hopefully with video) later next week!