Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Scouting Reports on Trayce Thompson, Reid, and Shirek

Ryan Reid has been in the Rays system since being drafted in the 7th round in 2006. At 27 years old, he isn't really a prospect, but was one of the better pitchers in the International League (AAA) this season with a 3.69 FIP and a nice strikeout rate. He is a well undersized right-hander at 5-11, which is not only another reason he is not a real prospect and hasn't made the Majors as of yet, but is a reason why he has been basically a reliever his whole minor league career (with an occasional start). His fastball is 91-93 MPH (dropped down to 89 MPH) with tail (nothing real straight). His secondary pitch is a 85-87 MPH slider with good drop but was struggling with control. It looks like a legitimate swing and miss pitch.The lack of a 3rd pitch also keeps him in the bullpen.

Charles Shirek of the White Sox AAA (age 26, drafted in the 23rd round in 2007) is 6-3 but is not very big overall (listed weight of 205 doesn't look accurate). He sits at about 91-92 (gets as low as 89 and as high as 93) MPH with a little arm side tail. I've seen reports of a cutter, but I didn't see it when I watched him pitch. His velocity has also improved in the minors, which probably explains why he was drafted so low. He also throws a 83-85 MPH change that doesn't move a whole lot. It seems to be more of a "show me" pitch than something he can actually get hitters out with. His better off-speed pitch is 86-87 MPH slider that has better movement. It occasionally has two plane break, and breaks differently than many sliders as it just jolts down a lot. He didn't miss a lot of bats in his introduction to AAA (16.8 K%), but had a solid year anyway (a SIERA .44 points better than league average and a FIP .16 better than league average). His best attribute was getting ground-balls, which he did over 51% of the time, holding opposing hitters to an OPS of .025 lower than league average.

Unlike Reid and Shirek, Trayce Thompson is a legitimate prospect at age 21. Drafted in the 2nd round by the White Sox in 2009, Thompson made his AAA debut late this year after a short stint in AA that followed a 109 wOBA +, 122 OPS + performance in A+ in over 100 games. In A-ball in 2011, he was about the same with the bat (106 wOBA+ and 115 OPS +). He has a pretty solid looking swing that is pretty flat. His stance is slightly strange with a downward crouch that almost looks uncomfortable, but it doesn't matter because he has a quick bat and gets on pitches quickly. The plate discipline could use some work, but he has had solid walk rates throughout the minors. It looks like he can run as well, although I didn't get much of a read on him defensively. He was playing left field when I saw him (which was strangely the only game in his professional career that he has played left), but has played most center in his minor league career. His hitting numbers have been good and he has been young for the level, but the numbers are not overwhelming and his current size (he should add some more weight) won't allow him to hit for a ton of power in the Majors (although he has had no problems getting past 20 homers a year). This makes whether or not he can play center really important, even though he appears to be a good enough hitter that he should be a solid MLB player if he plays a corner position well.

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