I watched the Boise Hawks (Cubs) and Eugene Emeralds (Padres) game from Sunday June 24th (on MiLB.TV). So here are some notes from the two short season Northwest League teams:
Willengton Cruz was the starter for the Hawks. Cruz was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and pitched in the Dominican Summer League from 2009-2010. Last year, he made his American debut and while certainly showed he belonged, didn't overwhelm anyone with his numbers.
He was throwing some change-ups early, which is pretty strange (most likely in a good way, meaning he is advanced) at this level. He can throw it for strikes but it doesn't look like a great pitch with out much movement. However, it was good enough for this level, as he was fooling hitters on a lot of low ones. He also had a slider that he had basically no control over. His fastball doesn't have elite velocity, but he can locate the 4 seam pitch all over the zone and it is not straight or flat. He really wasn't getting the inside calls, but hitters were having problems squaring it up.
Felix Pena showed a fastball and curve combo out of the bullpen. He was pretty fastball heavy and a few of them had tailing action. His curveball was really his put away pitch, but the tailing fastball low was probably a better pitch. He also backdoored one to a righty, making it tail in the zone late. That was an incredible, basically unhittable pitch if the batter doesn't see it coming.
Pete Levitt is a huge guy out of the bullpen. His fastball was staying high but it wasn't flat or straight. Typically, you want the moving fastball to get down, but the first one that did get down turned into a double. Levitt was really wild and had an awful outing, giving up a grand slam.
Marco Hernandez is a good looking athlete that played shortstop. He didn't really have great range, and was making mistakes out in the field, very unrefined looking. His swing is not a power swing, but he has a happy zone up and in. When the ball is pitched there he can hit some hard liners. You can fool him on breaking balls though.
Chadd Krist has a good looking arm at catcher. He didn't see a lot of strikes at the plate (which can be a problem at these lower levels, as most of the pitchers have very unrefined command) and doesn't have great swing mechanics. However, he hit a low breaking ball pretty well.
Jeimer Candelario is a very aggressive hitter and at one point chased some breaking balls to strikeout. It looks like has some legit power and definitely has an uppercut swing which will lead to a lot of infield fly-balls. I don't really see him sticking at 3rd, as he is big and not moving real well.
Dong-Yub Kim out of South Korea played in 37 games for the Arizona affiliate last year. As far as offense goes, it didn't go real well, with a 38/4 K/BB ratio. He did steal 12 bases in 13 attempts though. He played LF, despite not showing much power. He certainly doesn't profile as a corner outfielder. He did look like a good defender, so it would be nice to see him as a centerfielder. He has absolutely no patience, chasing breaking pitch after breaking pitch in the dirt. He seems to have good contact skills, but still struck out twice thanks to a lack of discipline.
Stephen Bruno is a plus defender at 2nd base, but isn't much of a hitter, at least from what I saw.
Shawon Dunston has some power and wants to pull the ball. He mixes this with good speed but didn't take a great route in center field. He mixes this with an okay looking arm.
Gioskar Amaya can run and hit some line drives. He is listed as a shortstop but I only got to see him as a DH. He hit a ball the other way hard, which looked really impressive.
Willson Contrares played 1st base but doesn't really have a 1st baseman skill set. He can run well and seems to be a ground-ball hitter with that swing.
For Eugene, the starting pitcher was Genison Reyes. The tall lanky righty has a messy delivery that seemed to lead to and inconsistent release point. The ball was over the place and he didn't have any idea where it was going. He was basically throwing batting practice. He had a big loopy curve and a harder curve that may be a slider. Amazingly, it seemed that the curve was the pitch he had the best command over.
Mark Picca is a lefty who brings his arm back and tries to hide it behind his back. The terms "soft tossing" and "crafy" are overused, but they apply to Picca. He threw a lot of breaking balls. He has good size but he doesn't have a good fastball.
Tony Wieber had a kind of flat fastball without great velocity. His curveball provides him some decent break and velocity.
Matthew Shepherd has a moving fastball he can throw both low and high. He has a little bit of a low arm angle with a big moving slider that was getting swings and misses.
As far as the position players go, Eric Charles out of the University of Purdue was drafted in the 29th round. He was struggling at 2nd base, and didn't look very good at the plate. It was not a good approach. Chris O'Dowd is a pretty bad looking receiver behind the plate.
Ronnie Richardson was the designated hitter but really didn't hit the ball well (besides one double on a tough pitch low and away) and has some good speed. Brian Adams is a solid runner, and the right fielder creamed 2 pitches but whiffed on a breaking ball. Catcher Dane Phillips, a 2nd round pick, had a pinch hit appearance. The left handed hitter chased a breaking ball way out of the zone, chased the very same pitch again to fall behind 0-2, and then hit a breaking ball that didn't get all the way down decently to center field for an out.