Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scouting Reports on Mike Piazza and Bobby Borchering

Mike Piazza, whom I believe is a cousin of the great Mets catcher, was not drafted out of a technical college in Florida. However, he has had quite a bit of success for the Angels minor league system (2.74 career ERA), mainly out of the bullpen. However, he has been making some starts for the Angels AA team (a team that is a little thin starting pitching wise thanks to the Zach Grienke trade). I watched his outing from August 10th to see how Piazza looked. Piazza is pretty big at 6-4 205, definitely looking like a starting pitcher. He doesn't have a prototypical delivery, as he comes over the top. He has a
92 MPH fastball (90 MPH by the end of the game) and can sink it (or throw it straight low in the zone) and throw it high. It was better when it was low.
Piazza had some issues with his changeup. It would sometimes stay up, and it was not a very good pitch when it did this.  The pitch can get him quite a bit of grounders (he hasn't shown a very impressive ground-ball rate in his career, but is getting them 43% of the time this year) when he locates it. He has quite a bit of movement and almost breaks like a splitter. This gives him something to get lefties out without a plus fastball. However, anecdotal evidence showed that it was more effective to righties than lefties. Piazza also has a overhand curveball that he throws on occasion, but the only swing and miss pitch is his change when located. While he has shown he can pitch in AA, it seems that he will have to rely on good location, especially low in the zone and out of the zone to have success in AAA and the Majors. The delivery may give him the deception to make up for average velocity and mediocre secondary offerings, and one could see a scenario where he is an okay MLB starter or long man out of the pen. He does not have the stuff to be an elite reliever, so I think trying him out as a starter is the right move. If he proves that he cannot get lefties out, his value as a MLBer probably all but evaporates.

Left-Handed reliever Buddy Boshers throws 92-93 MPH. He was drafted in the 4th round in 2008 by the Angels. In 13 outings in AA this year, he has a 4.29 FIP but 2.25 SIERA. In A+ this year, he missed bats, striking out over 28% of the hitters he struck out.

Bobby Borchering is a switch hitter acquired by the Astros in the Chris Johnson trade. There are some questions about his defense and swing and miss tendencies. He is currently in the Astros AA affiliate, which was convenient as I got to see him in the same game against the Angels AA. He is tall looking for a 3rd baseman at 6-3.

As a lefty, he has sort of a closed stance and saw a lot of breaking pitches. This was for good reason, as he was fooled on the first off-speed pitch he saw and many after that. He has a big swing but it doesn't appear to be slow. The swing is flat, without a loop that would favor fly-balls. He kind of comes out of it, with not a good ending position with his feet. You can see the power though, and seems to want to pull the ball. As a righty the story and stance is about the same. He still has the same swing and miss.

He really struggled in AA before the trade, but since the trade he has a 129 wOBA + and 170 OPS +. He is actually hitting less line drives and more ground-balls. The big difference is that he is walking a lot more. He is just 21, but there is a lot to dislike at the plate.

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