Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Northwest League Scouting Reports: Edwards, Pugliese

Initially this was going to include a couple of different Northwest League (A-) pitchers, but it worked out a little differently than I originally planned. Here are scouting reports on two NWL pitchers I went back and watched:

James Pugliese is a 20 year old right-handed starting pitcher in the Cubs organization. Pugliese was a 18th round pick in 2011 out of junior college.
He has sort of a quirky delivery and comes clearly over the top. He has decent height at 6-3, but he threw too many balls in the middle of the plate. So on one hand, he is a strike thrower (a 7.7 % BB rate is certainly not bad), but he is also very hittable (over 10 hits per 9 innings in both Arizona and the NWL with an identical .354 BABIP in both leagues over the last two years). The fastball seems to sink a little bit, but he simply wasn't able to get it down consistently (after not having a good GB% in the AZL last year, he had a solid GB rate this year in the NWL). He was very fastball heavy when I watched him, and he seemed to have decent velocity but was not overpowering (he seems to cut it or at least get horizontal movement on it). He didn't get change down either, but he broke out a slider that was probably his best pitch in movement. His best bet is when he gets his pitches down to be able to get some ground-balls, as he doesn't have the stuff to get a lot of strikeouts. At his age, he has plenty of time to fix his command, and control does not seem to be a problem. He is sort of interesting as a pitchability slider/sinker guy. 

C.J. Edwards was a 48th round pick in 2011, but was rated as the 8th best prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America this season. Edwards has very good velocity and some tail on his fastball. It looks like there is separate 4-seam and 2-seam fastball. It was too good for the levels he was pitching at this year. He misses a lot to arm side and really seemed to regress (especially command wise) when he had to go to the stretch.
He has decent height at 6-2, and is currently scrawny at age 21. Edwards' curveball is somewhat of a hard curve. He couldn't get it down, and it was actually above the strike zone a whole lot.The command of it got better as the game went along, but I don't think it is a great pitch (the break isn't very impressive). When he got the command of it down, he was really fond of it, throwing it frequently. His 3rd pitch is a change with some solid movement. It was pretty inconsistent but his command of it was better than his curveball for the most part. I also saw what looked like a few cutters/sliders that he kept low in the zone away from right-handers. Out of the two, Edwards is perhaps a little more raw (10.4 BB % in A -), but clearly has better stuff. He was also much more successful, with a 1.98 FIP (32.8 K %) and 2.61 SIERA with Spokane. He didn't give up a single homer in the AZL or the NWL in 69 innings this year.

He sure looks like a MLB pitcher to me, with at least 2 MLB pitches and good velocity. The command will need some work, but you can say that about just every pitcher at age 21. He has swing and miss stuff with a good fastball. That makes you a good prospect.

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