Attended another fun game at Phoenix, where the Desert Dogs scored 8 unanswered runs to win 12-11 with a walkoff single from Max Stassi. Below is what I saw today:
OF Rymer Liriano (Padres) - People have been telling me that Liriano had changed, he had figured things out and I didn't believe them. I am now converted. It helps when you hit a 420 foot bomb to CF on a ball squared up in a simple swing with above avg to plus bat speed. He is a very physical kid who fits the prototype for RF. He is much more under control then he used to be and appears to keep himself in position to hit a breaking ball. He did look bad on his strikeout today, but the tools are there for an above avg major league corner OF.
3B Stefen Romero (Mariners) - Romero continued to rake, collecting 3 hits today including an absolute bomb to LF. He also played 3B today and made a nice diving play to his right to throw out a runner in the 1st inning. However, he has a quirky release with a fringy arm, which is why the Mariners were trying to teach him 2B. The bat has immense value, so I believe he can be a passable 3B at least, especially in a park where his approach and offensive ability would hold so much value.
SS Didi Gregorius (Reds) - Gregorious is a long, slenderly built middle IF who did some nice things today, showing barrel control and line drive ability to go with a package that can stay at SS with nice hands and an above avg arm w/ gd carry. Very intriguing potential SS for Cincy.
1B Brock Kjeldgaard (Brewers) - Another 1 trick pony, similar to Derrik Lutz, Kjeldgaard has big power and hit his 4th home run as a taxi squad player (only plays on Wednesdays and Saturdays). He is a big, physical player who generates his power more from his excellent raw strength then bat speed. He has a better swing then Lutz, but doesn't project to hit for a lot of avg, though you can see him hitting enough to stick in the majors. Intriguing first look.
2B Tim Beckham (Rays) - Beckham hit a homer to CF that got in the jetstream and carried out. He showed better offensively today, making adjustments from pitch to pitch and staying within himself with 2 strikes by lining a base hit to RF with 2 strikes. There is a major leaguer in there, but it won't ever be a package worthy of the # 1 pick.
3B Richie Shaffer (Rays) - First look at Shaffer and he showed better defensively then offensively on this day. Range is a question mark for me right now, but he features plus arm strength w/ gd carry in a release that will need to be quickened. Offensively, he was never comfortable today, but showed some of his raw power on a foul ball down the LF line. Will be curious to watch him as we move further.
LHP James Paxton (Mariners) - First look at Paxton and he was ok on this day. His FB was fine, working 92-95 with ride in a long arm action. His CB showed flashes at 79-81 as a tight mdm downer, but he buried it during warmups and struggled to finish the pitch in the game. His CH was 84-85 w/ gd sink and generated a few swings and misses and profiles as a solid avg pitch. He is similar to Cosart to me, where he would have a lot of value as a reliever and the key will be to determine if you want a guy who is probably never going to stay healthy for a full season as a starter. I see him more as a # 3 right now then a # 2, but am sure my mind will be swayed if he shows better feel for a CB.
RHP Shawn Haviland (Athletics) - Haviland really struggled on this day and left the game with an apparent injury. He was 88-91 w/ run and sink, though it flattened out at times and paired it with a mdm downer CB at 74-76, a CH at 81-83 w/ gd armspeed with fade and sink and an ok cutter at 85-87. Not a lot there judging from this outing, especially in an org with as much pitching as the Athletics have.
RHP Lenny Linsky (Rays) - Linsky had to bite the bullet today after the Haviland injury and he got absolutely hammered. He was 91-93 w/ a little ride and a gd dwnd angle that he struggled to throw for strikes and a SL at 81-85 that was an early breaker and hitters teed up w/o problem. If he has FB command, he can be effective, but he has a max effort delivery w/ head violence and his overall cmmd ceiling is low. Will be curious to watch over the course of the AFL season.
RHP Carson Smith (Mariners) - Velo wasn't as high as it was during the season, but Smith was a godsend on a day where the bats ruled. He has a max effort delivery that is going to blow out at some point, whether it is next season or 3 seasons from now, so you hope you get contributions from him at the big league level. He was 91-95 with a little sink and paired it with a CH at 85-88 w/ gd armspeed and some late diving action and a SL at 83-84 that had some sweep and tilt. Solid avg middle reliever w/ upside of setup reliever.
RHP Cory Rasmus (Braves) - Didn't do much to stand out, working with an above avg CB at 72-74 that was a tight mdm downer and potential swing and miss pitch. His other pitches, (FB at 89-90 and CH at 83) were fringy to below avg.
LHP Jay Johnson (Phillies) - The 2nd lefty in a pen wannabe worked from a L 3/4 to sidearm release and featured a FB at 88-91 w/ some boring actoin, a sweeping SL at 83-84 that has potential to work in the big leagues and a CH at 83 that won't be a factor for him as he moves up despite it having some potential. He has the ability to throw in a big league pen.
LHP Chris Rearick (Rays) - Rearick is a tall, athletic lefty w/ a H 3/4 release. He worked 87-88 w/ a CH at 80-81 and a SL at 81-82. He doesn't really have an avg pitch, as the FB didn't have enough life to offset the lack of velo and his CH and SL were more fringy then avg, though his SL flashed avg with 3/4 tilt and avg depth.
LHP Caleb Thielbar (Twins) - Thielbar was a lefty that was just there and didn't really have an out pitch despite a solid avg CB at 70-71 that was a big downer w/ gd spin and buckled some knees early in the count. The rest of his repetoire (FB at 90-91, I believe a SL at 79 and a CH at 81) was pretty mediocre.
LHP Bobby LaFramboise (Mariners) - The 2nd lefty wannabe doesn't have the pitch necessary to get major league lefties out consistently, working 86-88 w/ a sweeping SL at 76 and a CH at 78. Didn't see an avg pitch there.
RHP James Simmons (Athletics) - The former Athletics 1st round pick came out and threw the ball pretty well, working 87-92 with his FB with a little run and sink and paired it with a CT/SL at 84-85 that had some late break and inconsistent depth. Still not a guy, but has a chance to continue to build on it to become a middle reliever.
RHP Gary Daley (Rockies) - My 2nd look at Daley, he worked 91-93 w/ a FB that consistently had some cut action to it and consider his primary FB a cutter. His CB at 83 is a power mdm downer that has a chance as an out pitch. Probably more of a middle reliever.
RHP Tyler Knigge (Phillies) - Knigge took the loss today and featured a power FB at 93-95 w/ a little ride and paired it with a SL at 83-85 that had tight 3/4 tilt and late break. He got hit today because he was elevating his pitches a bit too much and devolved into a thrower at times. Profiles as a potential setup guy.