Friday, April 13, 2012

Minor League and College Prospects Notes

Note: As regular readers of this blog know, I have been going to college and high school games and providing scouting reports on all the players. Due to a combination of time, money, and the fact that the MLB and MILB seasons have started, I will no longer be doing this (consistently that is, I may do an occasional one). Instead, I am going to be doing posts on minor leaguers and some college players using a television and a subscription. I don't know how often these posts will be (Blogger has been doing its best WordPress impression and has been deleting stuff I saved, so that is why this took so long), it just depends on time and how much notes I have. What I want to do is all original work, so I won't be using stats or outside scouting reports because you can (and should) find those at other places on the Internet. I won't necessarily be doing full scouting reports on players, it will just be some general observations. I also won't be doing full team reports, it will just be players I have something interesting to say on, so not even necessarily top prospects. I am not a scouting expert by any means so I expect to be wrong at times, but I would hope consistent readers would I agree that I know at least something about baseball and would find some observations helpful. I find it interesting that this blog went from a general sports ranting/comedy blog to a sabermetrics blog to a scouting blog. By the way, I am still writing about the Mariners at, and random sabermetric/fantasy stuff at Thanks for reading.
Omar Poveda of the Jacksonville Suns has a big looping breaking ball that he can both throw for strikes and throw low to get hitters to chase (Kentrail Davis looked pretty comical trying to hit it). His fastball isn't overpowering, but it is hard enough and has good sinking action.
Josh Stinson in the Brewers system (already on the 40-man) has a 2-seamer with a ton of movement, a mediocre 4-seamer, with what looks like a slider. The slider he only threw occasionally in what I saw, and he didn't look like he had good control of it. The 2-Seamer wasn't exactly going where he wanted to either, but if he harnesses that pitch with any kind of consistency, the big pitcher could break a lot of bats and be successful.
Daniel Nava for the Pawtucket Red Sox looks absolutely silly on curveballs, while Jose Iglesias showed some plate discipline when I saw him (although he may have been too patient as he took a 1-1 fastball down the middle).
I watched Aaron Cook pitch, and he was throwing an 89 MPH 2-seamer that has some movement, but not a lot.
Pat Misch of the Phillies AAA team threw a bunch of breaking balls early on when I saw him, with a soft fastball. The lefty got a fly-ball, ground-ball, infield fly-ball, hard hit ball in the infield, ground-ball, line drive, and a strikeout on an outside fastball.
Chris Schwinder of the Buffalo Bisons (the Mets AAA affiliate) had problems getting his curve down, but it looks like his fastball has good movement and decent velocity.
Daryl Thompson of the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the Twins, has a slow curve that would make most Korean pitcher blush. The fastball provides some nice speed differential, but he doesn't seem to have much control of it.
For the Greenville Drive (in the Red Sox organization), Keury De La Cruz plays a good left field despite not having superior speed. His arm is very pedestrian though. Yeiper Castillo has a nice breaking ball that he can throw for strikes and get swing and misses with.
Wes Benjamin is a lefty freshman starter for the University of Kansas. He isn't even close to what you would call overpowering, but his arm angle gives him some interesting movement. He was leaving the breaking ball up, and really had control issues. He walks way too many batters, but he doesn't give them a lot of good pitches to hit. He looks like a ground-ball type pitcher.
Robbi Rea of Oklahoma State plays a decent 2nd base, and has good plate discipline with really long at-bats with fouls that lead to walks.

Dallas Beeler for Tennessee Smokies is a tall right hander that keeps the ball low for the most part, with decent velocity and some movement on fastball. He doesn't seem to have a great feel for his breaking pitch, but it is a big dropping curveball. Also throws more of a straight 4-seam fastball that has good velocity that he likes to keep away from righties. He seemed to be throwing a lot of pitches down the middle of the plate and really developed control problems as the game went along. He looks to be a good fielder of his position.

Nick Struck of the Smokies has a big looping breaking ball that breaks to the left, but he can't really throw it for strikes. If he ever gets to where he can, it will be a really nasty pitch. He also has either a splitter or slider that is sort of a weird pitch, along with a moving fastball that he can throw for backdoor strikes. His 4-seam fastball has some nice velocity. Casey Weathers had no real control at all when I saw him, with a ton of wild pitches and walks.

Alberto Cabrera of the Smokies has a hard moving sinker with a hard breaking ball that possesses a lot of break but not much control. Stuff isn't the question with Cabrera, control will be. Also has a nice little curveball he can break out for speed differential.
Rebel Ridling is listed as a first baseman for the Smokies but played left field and doesn't have the arm to play there. Mike Burgess for Tennessee Smokies can run reasonably well and drove a pitch low in the strike zone. Defensively, he has a good arm.

Wellington Castillo of the Iowa Cubs has a violent uppercut fly-ball type swing. Adrian Cardenas drove a ball really well, but he is not a great runner. Anthony Rizzo brought up questions about contact and bat speed with a big hack and miss. Ty Wright has a big swing but can make contact on offspeed pitches. He also seems to have decent speed as well.

Bobby Wahl of Ole Miss has 88-91+ MPH straight fastball. Hitters were really late on it but location wasn't always great and really faded. His 73-78 MPH curveball can be throw for strikes and get swing and misses, and he kept it away from righties. What I found concerning was that his velocity dipped rather early in the game and didn't come back. This could simply mean he doesn't have a great amount of arm strength built up, which isn't concerning at all, or he could just have to put a lot of effort to get the fastball up at its peak, which means he should be a reliever. Worst case scenario is that there is some kind of injury there.
At Ole Miss Alex Yarbrough is a great fielder at 2nd with the arm, range, and everything you look for in a middle infielder.

Georgia Michael Palazzone: It is hard to excited about a right handed pitcher who is hitting 85 MPH on the radar gun but he has a big looping curve (sometimes under 70 MPH) he can throw for some quality strikes. Also has a change-up at 78 MPH. That pitch is not near as good.

Peter Verdin (Georgia) nice double on a breaking pitch that stayed too high. He is a pretty good runner too. Kyle Farmer for Georgia has range, but the arm isn't great. He can run okay.

DJ LeMahieu Colorado Springs AAA, late on fastball in first at-bat, but pounded a 3-1 letter high fastball for an extra base hit the other way. Tim Wheeler made a terrible throw out in right field, but drew a couple of walks. Andrew Brown seems to be having contact and pitch recognition problems.
Christian Friedrich has a decent 90-94 MPH fastball with a curveball that looks like it could be a good pitch. He was really fastball heavy when I saw him, but it seems he can locate it well other than a few he placed in the heart of the plate.

D.J. Mitchell of the Yankees AAA has quite a bit of movement on all his pitches, including a slider and a curveball. He doesn't have hardly any control at all of those pitches, but his velocity seems adequate.
Jason Bulger has a decent loop his breaking ball, but can't really locate it well from what I have seen. His fastball really isn't very good. Chris Dickerson covers a lot of ground in center field.

Jeurys Familia of the AAA Mets, has a hard fastball that he can throw both low and high. Jeremy Hefner has sinking action on some of his pitches with an occassional curveball. The tall right hander throws high fastballs and is pretty athletic.

Scott Rice of the Isotopes (Dodgers' system) is a big lefty without great velocity. He was having a lot of problems with his breaking ball command. Josh Fields has a nice looking power stroke, and he hit a ball for a homer.

For Creighton University, Kurt Spomer has decent 2-seamer velocity for a side armer. He struck out hitters from both sides of the plate when I saw him, which may suggest that he isn't strictly a platoon pitcher. Mark Winkleman has a hard moving breaking pitch that he was able to keep low to go with his curveball. Jake Peter showed off some great defense at 2nd base.

Greg Reynolds from Round Rock has a nice breaking pitch with plate to plate movement that he can get for called strikes. Even though he broke a bat, he gave up some pretty hard contact. Tommy Mendoca struggled on a play at 3rd base, while Julio Borbon looked awful out in centerfield (but this is something we already knew).

Casey Fien in the Twins AAA has no real control of is breaking stuff (even though it has a big drop), even though he threw one good one low and outside. His fastball was staying in the middle to high middle of the plate without much velocity.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scouting Reports on Texas A&M Kingsville and Tarleton

On Sunday April 1st (No April Fools I promise) 2012, I watched Texas A&M Kingsville play Tarleton University.

The starting pitcher for Kingsville was Zachary Pettiford, a right handed junior listed at 6-4 220. He was throwing quite a bit harder than Tarleton's starter (more on him later), but was most likely south of 90 MPH. He also had a hard slider and a curveball, and although he threw some good ones, he had real control issues with those pitches. He hit a batter with one, but they seemed to be good complementary pitches even though he will have to live with mainly his fastball while those pitches develop. I am not sure he can do that with his fastball. He gave up lots of flyballs and it turned into lots of runs in the game.

For Kingville's lineup, Sophomore Dustin Aguilar can fly, at 5-10 165. The center fielder has a decent arm but had some trouble with the breaking ball. For the most part he wasn't chasing but he really didn't do much with pitches I thought he should have crushed. Ben Villafuerte can play in both the outfield and 2nd base (where I saw him). The small junior wasn't real fast and lacks patience at the plate. Trent Wagner has good size at 6-3 200, but the right fielder is really slow out in the field. Catcher Jake Mediola has a good arm, with a relatively quick release. Predictably, the senior is pretty slow. 1st baseman James Wallace looked awful on most breaking pitches, even though he did smack a hanging one. The junior drove the ball to the wall once but struck out the next time. The DH was listed 2nd baseman/pitcher Cameron Dullnig. The senior had some pretty lackluster swings, even with a couple of hits. He can definately run though. 3rd baseman James Black drove the ball pretty well in his at-bats. The junior stands at 6-0 185. Mario Siller is a small freshman shortstop who isn't a quick runner. He did seem pretty solid in the field,but couldn't drive the ball very well. Julian Duran had an awful drop in left field, and was chasing a bunch of breaking pitches. He does run pretty well though.

Cole Foster is a freshman right handed reliever who stands at just 5-11 179. He isn't going to blow you away with velocity, but not many pitches were in the middle of the plate. He threw mainly fastballs, with a very mediocre breaking pitch that he couldn't get down. The glove flies ahead of him in his delivery and 2 of his first 3 pitches turned into contact. He does field his position pretty well.

For Tarleton, a team I have seen 3 times now (and will see them at least one more time), the starter was Matt Buckmaster, a pitcher I have seen before (read previous posts to see more detailed scouting reports on the team). The lefty junkballer threw a lot of strikes (his first two fastballs were down the middle), and had some hard hit balls. His breaking ball stayed pretty low, but it provides very little speed differential.
Landon Thompson is a guy who I have seen with the bat and in the field but hadn't seen pitch yet. He is just 5-11 190, and has okay velocity. His plan was clearly to just throw a lot of low fastballs. They weren't fooling anyone, and just made him get behind in the count. When the fastballs crept up he was hurt and he couldn't consistently throw them low. He broke out a curve but has little to no feel for it. He threw a couple good ones finally, only to hang the next one. Even though he was awful for the most part, his fastball seemed better when he put it on the inside or the outside of the plate (and not at the low part).
Kyle Supack came in and showed a good pickoff move. He got a nice jamshot and put a lot of fastballs in the middle to middle low part of the plate. He hit 2 batters in a row and was absolutely tattooed.
Tanner Ross was throwing a lot of curveballs and looked a lot better than the last time I saw him. He had some good stuff, and was getting quite a bit of swing and misses early but then walked 2 in a row as the stuff became less deceptive.

For the lineup on a day when the ball was carrying, Garrett Hardey hit a homer on a breaking pitch. That is pretty remarkable considering he hasn't done anything on breaking balls in other at-bats I have seen him. Defensively, he looked awful with 2 really bad defensive plays.
Ryan Small hit a double on a fastball right down the middle. Andrew Jacobi DH'ed but is listed as a catcher, and is really small for a catcher. He can run though, which he has to as he is a ground-ball hitter. Andrew Wolfe made a really nice play at center field, while Noah Ringenberger looked bad out in right field. He did drive a low fastball to the wall though.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Scouting Reports on Weatherford and Ranger Colleges

On Saturday March 31st, we saw Weatherford College play Ranger College

Blaine Halencak was the starting sophomore pitcher for Ranger. He showcased a not very impressive fastball (he doesn't throw very hard at all), and he threw mostly fastballs early. The short pitcher also had a breaking ball that was outside to lefties and was nice at times, but it he did hang it for a home run (the next at-bat was a 4 pitch walk on all fastballs). He also threw a lot of what looked like a change-up. He missed over the plate a couple of times in the 2nd, and there was lots of hard contact being made off of him even on pitches out of the zone. There was a home run on a breaking ball in the dirt and he gave up lots of fly-balls. He didn't have excellent control overall, with a handful of 58 footers. He is going to have to live away with his fastball, something I thought he did pretty well to both left handers and right handers.

Marcos Dominiquez was taller and kind of lanky. He is from the Dominican Republic and was throwing harder than Halencak, possibly at 90-91 MPH. He brings his arm way behind his back and head. He had one good outside low fastball for a strikeout, and it was awesome when it is up and in. He also had a good hammer curve, that he can throw both for strikes and in the dirt. The pitch sometimes stayed in the middle of the plate. He does seem to lack swing and miss stuff, and had 4 at-bats in a row ended with reasonably hard contact. He seems to have good command of his pitches even though a couple of curves slipped out of his hand. He got absolutely no help from his defense.

Roberto Sanchez Rosa is a big right handed pitcher with okay velocity and a pedestrian breaking pitch. He was giving up lots of hard contact.
Ben Sollows is a lefty who is probably 6-1 or 6-2. He has a delivery that looks easy but he was grunting with every pitch. He was not throwing real hard, and had low fastballs with a breaking pitch he left up. He wasn't throwing a lot of strikes in his 1 inning.
Kody Peacock is a freshman big sidearming righty. As expected, he doesn't throw hard, but they weren't really meatballs either. He was having major control issues, either walking or hitting all 3 hitters he faced. He ended up leaving with injury. He didn't have much plate to plate movement at all, which is strange for a sidearmer. The movement was more downward and most everything is inside to righties and outside to lefties.
Justin Bigham was another right hander that Ranger brought out of the bullpen. He had an over the top delivery, with a reasonably hard fastball. He also threw a lot of unimpressive breaking balls, and had problems throwing strikes. The ball wasn't going where he wants to and he gave up 3 fly-balls.

For Ranger's lineup, Dustin Palmore batted leadoff. He runs okay but is not fast. The short left-fielder made some solid contact the other way. He has a .438 OBP at this point in the season. Kevin Carrasquillo is a freshman who played at second base. He is small, but made some good contact, including a nice liner on a fastball down the middle. He is not a bad runner as far as speed, but isn't a smart one. Defensively, he had problems with a hard hit ball his way. Lito Roman is the small 3rd baseman. He wasn't much of a runner, and lost a pop fly he should have caught. Offensively, he chased two breaking balls in a row, but hit a home run on a hanging breaking pitch later on. Justin Dossey is a good size listed right fielder who we saw play left field. He had some big whiffs on breaking balls, but also hit a deep fly-ball. He made a nice diving catch, even though he doesn't run very fast (it is worth noting that that he missed a play that was almost exactly the same). Andrew Williamson is a small center-fielder who was not getting good jumps out in the field. He runs really well though. He chased some awful breaking balls, but did manage to walk. Alomar Guzman played right field and showed off a really good arm. The listed utility player has good size but not a good swing on breaking balls. He did hit a hard liner right at the first baseman. Juan Carlos Parades has a nice swing with decent size and plays what looks like a quality (not great) shortstop. He runs well and is a real athlete (he skipped one throw to first so maybe there is a problem with his arm). With the bat he had a long foul ball that was almost a homer. The most amazing thing about it was that it was a breaking ball almost in the dirt. Here is some video of him batting against Justin Garcia:

Luis Del Rio was the starting catcher in the first game, and he got under the first pitch he saw. He is not a good runner and doesn't have an impressive arm. Josiah Candelaria played catcher in the second game and he is smaller than Del Rio. He runs well for a catcher but there is nothing special about his arm. Hector Corona started at 1st base, and he was really bad in the field. He has kind of a weird build and had some problems catching up with the fastball early on. He also chased breaking balls and struck out the first two times he was up. He has legit power though, with a long homer in the game, he just swings and misses too much (he did walk though). Kyle Kulczyk is a lefty hitter who DH'ed (he is listed as a first baseman) and made some solid contact. He runs pretty well, but he had some issues with the breaking ball. He pulled a ground-ball on a long at-bat where he got a good pitch to hit.

For Weatherford, we saw the same starter I had seen the weekend before, Cameron Cox. Cox didn't start well, with the fastball staying in the middle of the plate too much, and he was hit hard by the first 3 batters. He got out of the inning without a run, and was very lucky. He had some nasty breaking balls both in and outside of the zone. He had better fastball command in the 2nd and got a strikeout, and 2 ground-balls. The command left him again in the 3rd and he gave up a line drive, 2 fly-balls, and a ground-ball. He was throwing nearly exclusively fastballs, and for too many strikes. He really got better as the game went along, in the 5th he had good command of his breaking stuff and his fastball. When he is like that he is just deadly. The 4th is when he really started throwing more breaking balls, but didn't have a feel for it. It did get better as the inning went along and everything was a strikeout or on the ground that inning. He had a very good K/BB ratio for the game, but he had an awful hanger for a homer in the 6th inning.

Justin Garcia pitched in relief, and we had seen him before too. The ball was staying in the middle of the plate and his 2 seamer had less movement on it. His breaking ball still looked good though. He gave up a line drive hit, a ground-ball hit, a bizarre intentional walk, another line drive hit (for a double), a fly-ball to center-field, and a ground-ball to shortstop.

Daniel Milliman also pitched a gain, and he got a 1 pitch ground-ball to Paredas to start the game. He did give up a lead-off walk in the 2nd, but made some very nice defensive plays. He started the game with a bunch of hard fastballs and used a nice breaking ball to get 3 strikeouts. His high fastballs were getting fouled off, and his low ones were turning into ground-outs. He gave up lots of fouls, and hung a breaking ball for a homer.

For Weatherford's lineup (see the previous post on Weatherford for a more in depth look at both the pitchers and the lineup), Colton Hall played center field and showed off a nice arm. Even though it looked like he was having problems with pitch recognition, he pulled a breaking pitch for a homer, and also made nice contact on a low breaking ball way out of the zone. Tyler Ervine had some contact problems but when he made contact it was usually hard Collin Zabasky had a nice other way hit an at-bat where he looked mostly bad (as he looks in the majority of his at-bats). Erik Garcia looks like he has a broken finger or something with a big wrap on his hand. He had some problems throwing but he still threw someone out. He hit a lot of balls hard, and hit another homer on a breaking ball. Tyler Cotton played left-field, and had a long at-bat where he got jammed for a ground-ball. He also grounded into a double play and hit another ground-ball. He is listed as exclusively a pitcher. Connor VanDaveer looked awful on a 3 pitch strikeout where he chased a breaking pitch. He did make a nice defensive play though. Cody Semier hit a ground-ball to pitcher and hit a line drive to center.

Thanks to Rachel for taking the video