On Thursday August 23rd, I watched the Grand Prairie Airhogs and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. Thanks to a previous rain-out I have a ticket for another Grand Prairie game, so I will just put the Fargo-Moorhead scouting report here and write the Grand Prairie one after the second game.
Eric Campbell was the Redhawks' cleanup hitter and played 3rd base. He was in the Mariners organization and played in 58 games with the AA team where he had a .713 OPS before being released. Since joining Fargo-Moorhead, he has been about as good as he was in his 2010 stop with the team (1.013 OPS in 2010, 1.039 OPS this year). When he was with Seattle, I wrote about him here and here. Defensively, he made a bad throw for an error (he really should be a first baseman, although the bat hasn't really played there in affiliated ball, it plays there in Independent ball). Offensively, he hit a ball hard, but he also weakly chopped one as he was hitting grounder softly the end of his bat (usually meaning he was being fooled by breaking balls, as he was in affiliated ball).
Carlos Cota was picked in the 33rd round by the Blue Jays way back in 2002 (he is 31 now). He was with the organization until 2007 but found the transition from A+ (where he had good numbers) to AA (where he was terrible) difficult. He has been with Fargo-Moorhead since 2008, and has a .808 OPS in that time. He has a little bit of pop, but there is too much swing and miss in his game for his size.
The catcher was 24 year old Ryan Delgado. Delgado was drafted in the 32nd round by the Braves in 2010 and put up decent numbers (especially for a catcher) in small sample sizes. He showed off a really good arm behind the plate and I thought he did an okay job blocking the plate for an extremely wild pitcher. It looks like he has some pop in his bat, and is able to go the other way and pull the ball with a little authority. He did take some really ugly swings, and plate discipline seems to be an issue. In 83 games with Fargo, he is hitting .314/.363/540. I really wouldn't be surprised to see him get another shot at affiliated ball.
25 year old Jon Gaston has a little bit of power, especially considering his size (listed at 6-0 220, that might be a little charitable). He did have one really ugly hack to strikeout. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Houston Astros in 2008, and played in 17 games for the White Sox AA this year. He was somewhat of a Lancaster mirage, with an OPS near 1.000 there, and significant regression in AA Corpus Christi (he was actually worse in AA the second year, which lead to the end of his Astro career).
Nic Jackson was the 3 hitter and had 3 hitter type build. He has a bit of a weird stance as far as his hands go and had a big whiff on a high fastball (those two were probably not unrelated). He lacks speed and pull power. He is having a pretty good year for the Redhawks, but is already 32 and hasn't been in affiliated ball since 2007, when he was with the Mets' AA and hit just .209/.280/.396 in 100 plate appearances. He was a one time top 100 prospect according to Baseball America and was picked in the 3rd round in 2000 by the Cubs. He got to AAA but had just a .710 OPS in the hitter friendly PCL.
Zach Penprase is the 27 year old starting shortstop. He was drafted in the 13th round in 2006 by the Phillies but never made it past A ball thanks to an absolutely absent bat. He has an extremely strong arm, and as his minor league numbers suggest, he was not impressive with the bat (other than hitting a 88 MPH fastball hard). Unfortunately, he didn't show off much speed either. He has been with the Redhawks since 2008 and has a .786 OPS (which probably gives you an idea of the competition in the American Association).
The starting pitcher was Paul Burnside, a 25 year old out of the University of Auburn and former 39th round pick by the Chicago Whitesox (2009). He had an impressive stint in A-ball, but was let go earlier this year after 4 awful relief outings in A+. Since joining Fargo, he has a solid ERA but terrible K/BB ratio. As those numbers suggest, he had all kinds of problems throwing strikes and was extremely wild. He was mostly 89-91 MPH, okay for a right-handed starter, but his breaking ball didn't have sharp bite.
Joe Harris is a rather soft tossing lefty that the Redhawks used out of the pen. His breaking ball was decent and he used it often. He has been used exclusively out of the pen, even though some starters have succeeded with that stuff. He was never drafted and I can't find evidence of him playing college ball, so he seems to have appeared from nowhere. He is not small at 6-3, and has a 2.86 ERA out of the pen out of the last 2 years. He walks too many hitters for his stuff at about 3.5 per 9 innings and as expected doesn't strikeout a lot of batters.