Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scouting Notes on Boise Hawks and Eugene Emeralds

I watched the Boise Hawks (Cubs) and Eugene Emeralds (Padres) game from Sunday June 24th (on MiLB.TV). So here are some notes from the two short season Northwest League teams:

Willengton Cruz was the starter for the Hawks. Cruz was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and pitched in the Dominican Summer League from 2009-2010. Last year, he made his American debut and while certainly showed he belonged, didn't overwhelm anyone with his numbers.
He was throwing some change-ups early, which is pretty strange (most likely in a good way, meaning he is advanced) at this level. He can throw it for strikes but it doesn't look like a great pitch with out much movement. However, it was good enough for this level, as he was fooling hitters on a lot of low ones. He also had a slider that he had basically no control over. His fastball doesn't have elite velocity, but he can locate the 4 seam pitch all over the zone and it is not straight or flat. He really wasn't getting the inside calls, but hitters were having problems squaring it up.

Felix Pena showed a fastball and curve combo out of the bullpen. He was pretty fastball heavy and a few of them had tailing action. His curveball was really his put away pitch, but the tailing fastball low was probably a better pitch. He also backdoored one to a righty, making it tail in the zone late. That was an incredible, basically unhittable pitch if the batter doesn't see it coming.

Pete Levitt is a huge guy out of the bullpen. His fastball was staying high but it wasn't flat or straight. Typically, you want the moving fastball to get down, but the first one that did get down turned into a double. Levitt was really wild and had an awful outing, giving up a grand slam.

Marco Hernandez is a good looking athlete that played shortstop. He didn't really have great range, and was making mistakes out in the field, very unrefined looking. His swing is not a power swing, but he has a happy zone up and in. When the ball is pitched there he can hit some hard liners. You can fool him on breaking balls though.
Chadd Krist has a good looking arm at catcher. He didn't see a lot of strikes at the plate (which can be a problem at these lower levels, as most of the pitchers have very unrefined command) and doesn't have great swing mechanics. However, he hit a low breaking ball pretty well.
Jeimer Candelario is a very aggressive hitter and at one point chased some breaking balls to strikeout. It looks like has some legit power and definitely has an uppercut swing which will lead to a lot of infield fly-balls. I don't really see him sticking at 3rd, as he is big and not moving real well.
Dong-Yub Kim out of South Korea played in 37 games for the Arizona affiliate last year. As far as offense goes, it didn't go real well, with a 38/4 K/BB ratio. He did steal 12 bases in 13 attempts though. He played LF, despite not showing much power. He certainly doesn't profile as a corner outfielder. He did look like a good defender, so it would be nice to see him as a centerfielder. He has absolutely no patience, chasing breaking pitch after breaking pitch in the dirt. He seems to have good contact skills, but still struck out twice thanks to a lack of discipline.
Stephen Bruno is a plus defender at 2nd base, but isn't much of a hitter, at least from what I saw.
Shawon Dunston has some power and wants to pull the ball. He mixes this with good speed but didn't take a great route in center field. He mixes this with an okay looking arm.
Gioskar Amaya can run and hit some line drives. He is listed as a shortstop but I only got to see him as a DH. He hit a ball the other way hard, which looked really impressive.
Willson Contrares played 1st base but doesn't really have a 1st baseman skill set. He can run well and seems to be a ground-ball hitter with that swing.

For Eugene, the starting pitcher was Genison Reyes. The tall lanky righty has a messy delivery that seemed to lead to and inconsistent release point. The ball was over the place and he didn't have any idea where it was going. He was basically throwing batting practice. He had a big loopy curve and a harder curve that may be a slider. Amazingly, it seemed that the curve was the pitch he had the best command over.
Mark Picca is a lefty who brings his arm back and tries to hide it behind his back. The terms "soft tossing" and "crafy" are overused, but they apply to Picca. He threw a lot of breaking balls. He has good size but he doesn't have a good fastball.
Tony Wieber had a kind of flat fastball without great velocity. His curveball provides him some decent break and velocity.
Matthew Shepherd has a moving fastball he can throw both low and high. He has a little bit of a low arm angle with a big moving slider that was getting swings and misses.

As far as the position players go, Eric Charles out of the University of Purdue was drafted in the 29th round. He was struggling at 2nd base, and didn't look very good at the plate. It was not a good approach. Chris O'Dowd is a pretty bad looking receiver behind the plate.
Ronnie Richardson was the designated hitter but really didn't hit the ball well (besides one double on a tough pitch low and away) and has some good speed. Brian Adams is a solid runner, and the right fielder creamed 2 pitches but whiffed on a breaking ball. Catcher Dane Phillips, a 2nd round pick, had a pinch hit appearance. The left handed hitter chased a breaking ball way out of the zone, chased the very same pitch again to fall behind 0-2, and then hit a breaking ball that didn't get all the way down decently to center field for an out.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Scouting Report on Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole made his first start in AA on Wednesday June 20th 2012. Cole was picked by the Yankees in the 1st round of the 2008 draft, and then (after attending UCLA) was picked in the first round again in the 2011 draft by the Pirates. He was ranked as the Pirates 12th best prospect coming into the year by Baseball America and received similar rankings from other publications. So far, in what is still a pretty small sample size at 14 starts, Cole has been as advertized with a 3.02 FIP and 3.09 SIERA. Over a quarter of his at-bats end with strikeouts for a really nice 3.57 K/BB ratio. The Baseball Cube rates his strikeout ability as his best attribute at 91 out of 100. 

The first thing you notice about Cole is his velocity. He hit 95 MPH to the first batter on a tailing pitch out of zone. It looks like he has a straight 4 seamer and a moving fastball to go along with it. He sits 97-98 MPH on his straight 4 seamer. He has a very easy looking delivery, seemingly using very little effort. He has a slight hesitation but not it's not a crazy pause. You could count 5 different pitches, the fastballs, a slider, a slurve looking pitch, and a changeup. A nasty pitch with late break got a looking strikeout, and then he got a whiff on the next batter at 96 MPH. He was throwing strikes, and getting ahead of hitters very well. He really showed no breaking stuff in the first. Cole isn't afraid to just throw it down the middle, which is both a positive and a negative thing. He was getting a lot of weak fly-balls, and the 2nd was mainly fastballs as well. However, he threw a lot of moving fastballs until he showed off a nasty slider in a 1-2 count for a strikeout. The slider has very good late break at 86 mph. It can basically be his feature pitch when he wants it to be. He then started mixing in the slurve looking pitch. Occasionally, he throws a 94 MPH moving fastball down in the zone that is really good . It looks almost like a sinker, or at least functions like one. Defensively, he appears to field his position well and looks like a good athlete. It did appear like he was having control problems with his change. Cole sometimes throws it nowhere near the plate and sometimes right down the middle, but it's a good pitch with good break and good speed differential (and yet another potential strikeout pitch). I don't think he is going to be a ground-ball pitcher. Strikeouts and weak fly-balls will be what he gets when he is on, despite the low moving fastball (he got a lot of ground-balls in A+, so he may be able to be a ground-ball pitcher, it just didn't really look like it considering his stuff). The 4 seamer is a pitch he likes to throws high. He can throw the slurve for strikes but hangs it at times. This may not matter when all of his pitches are working. Other than occasional lapses in control, Cole looked very advanced. If one was looking for flaws, one could point out that he threw too many flat fastballs down the middle. The Baseball Cube rates his control at 58, but from what I saw, it seems better than that.

Cole pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2011 and threw 15 solid innings. This is only notable because we actually have Pitch F/X data from one of those outings. The pitch classifications are a little weird as it had him as a Fastball/Sinker/Cutter/Slider/Changeup pitcher, a little different then what I had him (the big thing is that I didn't see the cutter). It was only a 29 pitch outing, so he was able to run the velocity up a little bit more, but he was averaging 99.36 MPH on his fastball with a change around 88 MPH. He also had pretty good movement on his pitches, as you can see here:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scouting Reports on the Idaho Chukars and Orem Owlz

On Monday, June 18th 2012, I saw the Orem Owlz take on the Idaho Chukars (Royals) in the Pioneer League opener. It was a wild 16-14 game in which Idaho won.


Bryan Brickhouse is a 20 year old pitcher that was making his professional debut. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 2011 by the Royals. He looked sort of like a guy that was making his professional debut. He had very raw control that fluctuated between decent and awful. At one time in the game, he walked 3 in a row. It was a disastrous outing where he didn't make it out of the 2nd. He was throwing quite a bit of curves, and had some real problems with it. He wasn't throwing it for strikes, but he did end the 1st with some good ones. His fastball hit 94 MPH and in the first inning he was getting ahead with it, throwing a lot of strikes, but also giving up a lot of fouls. He gave up a homer in the first, but when he throws the fastball near the zone, he is too advanced for his league with that velocity. If he can gain fastball command, and throw it high consistently like he likes to, he can be really good (especially if he gains any kind of control over his curve).

Clayton Shulz was actually an undrafted left-handed relief pitcher. Last year with the Arizona Royals, Shulz threw 16.1 scoreless innings. He appears to be a soft tossing lefty, throwing a lot of breaking balls and giving up a lot of contact. He gave up a couple hard line drives, but he also got some ground-balls. His breaking ball gets all the way down to 73 MPH and he appears to be a decent athlete.
Alec Mills was the 22nd round pick in 2012 out of Tennessee-Martin. His professional career started out as a disaster, throwing 2 ugly pitches to start, then following it with a home run. After a couple hard hit balls, Mills settled down. His 69 MPH slow curve got him a couple whiffs.

Jack Lopez is the 19 year old shortstop drafted in the 16th round in 2011. He didn't show much range on defense. On offense, it looks like he likes to pull the ball. On an outside pitch, he had a weird reach hack, but he could put good swings on pitches that weren't on the outside part of the plate.
Adalberto Mondesi is the son of former MLBer Raul Mondesi and was signed for 2 million dollars by the Royals last year. He is just 16, so much younger than his competition. He DH'ed in the game I saw him. He got a pitch up and hit it well, and showed a surprising amount of discipline, although he did chase a couple pitches. As a switch hitter, his bat speed wasn't great and he got jammed in one at-bat and it left his bat in splinters. He showed off some really plus speed as well.
Nicholas Cuckovich is 21, but still raw looking at the plate. He has nice size and good speed to go along with it. He has a crouched stance, but he comes out of it a lot. Julio Aparicio is another guy with a lot of speed despite looking bigger than his listed weight of 6'2" 175. He chased a breaking pitch to ground-out, but has good looking contact skills with not a good looking approach.
Jin-Ho Shin looks like a good receiver and pitch blocker behind the plate, with a pretty good looking arm as well. However, he looked pretty ugly at the plate (although he did have a hit the other way).
Carlos Garcia is listed as a 3rd baseman but played 2nd. He did not look good at all defensively and really showed nothing at the plate either.
Elier Hernandez is 17 years old and played right field. He was signed in July of last year out of the Dominican Republic. He had a pretty weak arm and wasn't a very refined fielder, dropping an extremely easy fly-ball. He has good speed, but the ball doesn't really fly off his bat. It doesn't look like he has much power at all, especially for a corner outfielder. Ethan Chapman was a 30th round pick by the Royals in 2012. He has good speed, and a good defensive reputation as a centerfielder. He is sort of a slappy type hitter with some food contact skills. He was fooled on a breaking ball, but he could definitely get his share of line drives.

For the Orem Owlz, the Angels' Pioneer League affiliate, Drew Martinez played centerfield and made some good defensive plays. He has good range and can run down quite a bit of balls. The speed element is obviously key to his whole game, as he bunted himself on base, then stole 2nd. He played 48 games last year with two different low level affiliates and had a minuscule slugging of .281, but a .357 OBP. Wendell Soto is a small switch hitting shortstop with above average speed. This is his 3rd year and the minors, and his OPS has hovered around just .660 the whole time. He had a long at-bat with good contact on fouls before pulling a wind aided homer. Another long at-bat included a chase and whiff of a long fastball before popping out. Defensively, he booted a really easy play.
Jarrod Parks played 2nd, despite being listed as a 3rd baseman. He really didn't look like he had a good arm. He was picked in the 24th round in 2011. He hit a ball hard, but also was chasing at pitches and whiffing. Michael Bolaski played 3rd base, and was picked in the 23rd round in 2010. He has a pretty mediocre arm. So far, his minor league career has been pretty poor as far as offensive numbers. Jonathan Walsh out of the University of Texas had one of the worst defensive games I have ever seen in right field. He made 3 errors, but had at least 3 other misplays out there. He also has a mediocre arm, which didn't help him. Offensively, he chased the first breaking ball he saw and whiffed on another one.

Brandon Efferson was the starter for the Owlz, and he really had mixed results in the Arizona League last year. He struck out more than 3 times the amount he walked, but gave up more fly-balls than ground-balls and had an ERA over 5. He is really small for a potential starting pitcher (he pitched mainly in relief last year) at 5'11. He had okay looking velocity, and it looked like he had a moving fastball too. However, he was breaking ball heavy. His breaking pitch was 82 MPH and it wasn't really a put away pitch and it didn't have a whole lot of break. His control wasn't all that good and he was hit pretty hard.
Garrett Baker pitched 18 games with the Owlz last year and it went terrible. The lefty was getting a lot of soft grounders in the game. He has a curveball he can throw for strikes, but it flattens out at times. It is definitely his favorite pitch.
Joseph Krehbiel pitched in 5 games last year and was absolutely rocked. Monday was no different. He has a 90 MPH fastball with a slider, but he has a really weird delivery that seems like it would be hard to repeat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Scouting Reports on the Midland Rockhounds and Frisco Roughriders

I went and saw the Frisco Roughriders (Rangers AA) play against the Midland Rockhounds (Athletics AA) play on Tuesday June 12th. It was a fun 14 inning game, on to the scouting reports:


Connor Crumbliss was the lead-off hitter for Midland and the small 5'8 170 player was what you want in your basic lead-off hitter. He had long at-bats. He was fooled on a 2-1 slider and fouled it in his first at-bat. He ended up walking though, laying off a high fastball. He had another long at-bat, where he struck out chasing a breaker. The 3rd time he worked a full count before fouling off a low 95 MPH fastball and then walked. He also had another walk. The patience is great, but he is so small that he certainly doesn't project to hit for much power, which is a problem if he is a corner outfielder. Anthony Aliotti chased a curve in the dirt to strikeout the first time, and then took 2 fastballs for strikes in his 2nd at-bat before meekly grounding out. Michael Choice is a big man with a big hack. He got jammed for an infield fly-ball in his first plate appearances. He also drove a ball in the gap and had another line drive for a single. He looks like a guy who will hit for a ton of power but swing and miss a lot. Jeremy Barfield (i.e. Baseclogger on Twitter) hit the ball pretty hard too, as he hit a fastball to reasonably deep left field after being late on 2. He hit another one hard to center field. In left field, he made a horrible read, but he has a good arm and can run too. I really like him, especially if his exploits out in the field are usually better than what I saw. Josh Horton had some mixed results out in 2nd before being taken out early for some reason.

Murphy Smith was the starter for Midland and he had weirdly inconsistent velocity. He was sitting 88-89 MPH at times, and then 92-93 MPH at other times. Obviously, he is much more interesting with the latter velocity. At first, I thought he just had a 2 seamer to go along with the 4-seamer, but it didn't look like there was any difference in the movement. He was really lacking in command of the pitch too, with a lot of balls. He also had a rare 86 MPH slider. That is not much speed differential. He was really fastball heavy, but he also threw a 79-81 MPH changeup. Both of his breaking pitches have some dip, but it doesn't seem like he can throw them for strikes. He was getting a lot of grounders, including one that was smoked for a run. He had a dominant 1-2-3 inning to the top of the order in the 3rd where he got 2 foul infield outs along with a comebacker. That was followed by a rough 4th inning with some bad luck and bad defense (some of it by himself).
James Simmons came in as a reliever and was throwing 89-91 MPH with a wild 78 MPH breaking ball. Paul Smyth immediately gave up a line drive shot by Mike Olt, but it was turned into an out. He was throwing 91 MPH with a 83 MPH slider. He walked 2 in a row and has sort of a low arm slot.
Arnold Leon wasn't showing much command but was 95-96 MPH on his fastball. Mike Olt was late 3 times in a row on it. He then struck out Profar on a slow curve, followed by another strikeout and another strikeout. He was downright dominant. He had a 82 MPH breaking pitch that was pretty wild. He has big league stuff, it is pretty obvious.

Carlos Hernandez had a 77 MPH pitch that moved like a 2-seamer, was probably a change. He once hit 84 MPH on a pitch that was straight, but the change looking pitch was his feature pitch, and it has some movement and deception and reached 80 MPH. He also showed a 69-71 MPH curve.

Roy Oswalt pitched, and you can find my analysis of him here. I will also have something on Frisco's Justin Grimm on fantasycpr.com.

Fabio Castillo came out of the bullpen and started out wild at 91-92 MPH. He then got up to 93-94 MPH and got a weak grounder which he made a play on. He then reached 95 MPH with good movement but not much control. He finally broke out a breaking pitch, an 84 MPH slider with decent movement. He blew away Aliotti with a 93 MPH fastball and then got a swinging strike for a strikeout on a slider. He got a nasty strikeout on a swinging strike on a moving 92 MPH fastball down and in. He along with Midland's Leon has big league stuff if he can ever harness it.

For Frisco's lineup, Leury Garcia showed off some nice range at 2nd base. He was pitched inside in his first at-bat, and stole a base after reaching. He had a 1 pitch infield out in his 2nd at-bat. Jurickson Profar is the real super prospect on Frisco, so I didn't feel the need to write a lot about him. In his first at-bat, he got ahead 3-1 before a big whiff on a moving fastball. He ended up walking on an outside pitch. The next at-bat started with a couple of fouls to get him behind 0-2. He took 2 breaking pitches before fouling back to the catcher on a high fastball. He then had a long at-bat where he battled back from 0-2 to get to a full count and he ended up hitting a deep fly-ball. Defensively, he booted the only ball hit hard to him. He also did 1st baseman type splits on a ball thrown to him by the pitcher but he couldn't come up with a low throw.
Mike Olt hit a hard ground-ball for a double play. In the 4th, he got to a 2-2 count and chased a slider but fouled it off. He ended up hitting a hard ground-ball up the middle. He hit another really hard grounder. Defensively, he is exceptional at 3rd base. The talk is moving him to third because of Adrian Beltre anchoring down 3rd. That would be a real shame. He also runs okay. Chris McGuinness played 1st and made a really brutal play defensively. However, he absolutely smoked 2 balls offensively.
Engel Beltre was a guy that I was interested in seeing. He has always been really toolsy but hasn't matched it with success at the plate. In his first at-bat, he took outside/middle for strike 1 on a fastball. He fouled off the next pitch, an inside fastball was taken before he fouled off a breaking pitch. He then chased one in the dirt for a strikeout. In at-bat 2, he took a low fastball, fouled off one the other way that was in the zone before popping up another fastball to the pitcher in foul territory. The next at-bat ended quickly, he grounded into a fielder's choice. The next time, he got up 2-0 before taking a strike and then grounding out. In his final at-bat, he fouled a bunt off before grounding out to first.
Defensively, he took a really poor route but used his speed to get to a ball. He used his speed to get to another ball that an average speed player probably wouldn't have caught. He also flashed off a good arm, but had weird mechanics, making him inaccurate at times. He fell down as he threw a ball to home. His arm in the game didn't seem to be as good as it was in between innings, as weird as that sounds.

Wilfredo Boscan was wild. He walked the first hitter and was 89-92 MPH. He got a strikeout on a fastball and also showed a 76-79 MPH slider looking pitch. He fooled Choice with it to get a whiff. It is slow, but it doesn't look like a curve at all. It does provide some good speed differential. He got 2 double plays.

Joseph Ortiz is short, but it doesn't really matter. He throws 91-92 MPH with an 84-85 MPH slider with some good movements. He got a couple swings and misses and got Aliotti to strikeout swinging
Ryan Rodebaugh had a 88-91 MPH fastball with a 79-80 MPH breaker that he could throw for strikes. He had a lead-off walk but got Choice to chase in the dirt for a strikeout. He also mixed in a 73 MPH pitch to get a strikeout of Crumbliss. He got another strikeout on it on a check swing. Barfield had a long at-bat after taking 2 fastballs down the middle. He really earned that single. He got Luke Hughes to swing through for a strikeout. As he had to keep pitching, his velocity dipped and he gave up a lot of fouls, but his breaking stuff was still good.
Carlos Pimentel was an almost sneaky 91-92 MPH, touching 93. He walked Crumbliss, but also had a 81-82 MPH slider with some decent drop and late break. He couldn't throw strikes with it really, but he got some chases and whiffs with it. He had a lot of control issues, especially in his 2nd inning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Scouting Report on Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano in the Twins organization has been turning some heads with some pretty good power numbers. He is also a guy that swings and misses a lot. Currently in A-ball, I wanted to get a look at Sano, so I watched a few of his games. Some have thought that the Twins will eventually have to move him from third, so I also wanted to look at his defense.

Sunday June 10th:
The first impression is that the guy is just huge, and could even get bigger as far as weight and muscle, but he would definitely have to move off 3rd if that happens.

Offense: At-bat 1: took curve for strike, fouled off high curve (was early on i), took inside curve, took high inside curve, took moving fastball in, chased low moving fastball in the dirt for a strikeout. I almost wrote that he wasn't just wildly chasing everything before he chased the last one. In his 2nd at-bat, Sano took a curve on the inside part of the plate for a strike before chasing a moving fastball low and away. A curve on the low inside part of the plate turned into another swing and miss. In 3rd at-bat, he finally swung at the first pitch curve in the zone, but it was a weak fly-ball to 2nd. In his 4th at-bat, he took a low breaking pitch out of the zone in the dirt to get ahead. A breaking ball then appeared to drift off the plate and Sano loaded but decided to not pull the trigger. The umpire erroneously called it a strike. The pitcher then hung a breaking ball, and Sano got around on it but was a tad early. He grounded out to 3rd base.

Defense: First batter in 2nd inning hit the ball to him, didn't have to move at all and made play easily. It looks like he has a cannon! Later in the inning, a ball was hit in his area again, and it appeared that it just hopped over his glove. He didn't get an error. In the 9th, the first hitter hit a chopper just to Sano's left. He got to it easily and threw it quickly and hard to get the out.

I wanted to see more of Sano, so I went back and watched part of his game on the 9th on Milb.tv. In his first at-bat, you don't really see anything different . The pitcher threw a curveball for a looking strike on the inside corner, followed by another one to get up 0-2. He then tried to get Sano to strikeout how we saw in the previous game, by throwing a breaking pitch low and away. Sano stayed off that one, but a curve in the same spot was chased by Sano for a strikeout. In the bottom of the 1st, the first hitter hit the ball hard to him at 3rd. He had problems with at first, bobbling it, but showed off the arm and got the runner out. If they really do have to move him from 3rd, I hope he is moved to LF/RF as that arm would basically be a waste at 1st.
In his 2nd at-bat, a wild breaking ball low and outside got Sano ahead 1-0. A low and away change-up was swung at by Sano, and missed. A 2-seam looking fastball was thrown middle-down in the zone and Sano missed that one too. Another low and away breaking ball was taken to even it at 2-2. A moving fastball hit the dirt to run it to a full count. A middle-low 2-seamer was hit very softly toward the 1st baseman, and Sano was an easy out as the pitcher made the play. Again, we see that Sano is not chasing wildly. In that sense he is not just absolutely overwhelmed at the plate. However, Class A pitching clearly has a plan against him: Throw nothing straight, keep it low, work mostly away, especially when ahead. Sano obviously has some very serious adjustments to make.
He got another chance defensively at 3rd base in the 4th, as the 2nd hitter in the inning. It was a soft grounder and he handled it pretty easily.

On Monday the 11th, I watched 3 more of his at-bats:
In the first one, he saw an outside and low breaking ball, a 95 MPH fastball outside and up hit for a foul. He then took a low pitch in the dirt for ball, before a curveball low in zone was hit for a soft single in the air to center field. He was then out on a double play. He doesn't have plus speed but doesn't seem to be a horrible runner.
In his next at-bat, he took an outside breaking pitch, then one on the inside corner before taking another one to make it 2-1. A low breaking pitch, not the curve, was chased to make it 2-2. Then a curveball in the dirt was chased for a strikeout.
In his next at-bat, he hit a grand slam in an at-bat that kind of capsulized everything Sano is. After swinging through two pitches to fall behind 0-2, the pitcher threw 2 pitches in the dirt that Sano laid off (he checked his swing on the first one). The next pitch was a curve that stayed up a little bit and Sano pulled it well over the fence.

So far this year in 64 games, Sano has a line that you would kind of expect, hitting .240/.349/.511. His ISO at .270 is actually down from what it was last year at rookie ball (an eyepopping .345). Its .278 so far in his minor league career, giving him a 96 power rating according to the Baseball Cube. His contact is at 20, and that is always going to be a problem. He has struck out 27.3 % of the time so far in his minor league career, and if his pitch recognition and plate discipline doesn't get better, that rate will only get higher as he moves up. His line drive rate is low, which you would expect considering his swing. Amazingly, over 50% of the time he makes contact, it is an outfield fly-ball. The guy has power, but he won't hit for much of an average. Whether or not he is able to make contact enough will not only determine what kind of player he turns out to be, but will also decide whether he is even a big leaguer or not.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Scouting Reports on Pat Cantwell and William Carmona

Stony Brook played LSU in a wild game that ended up being rained out on June 8th 2011. I watched the game to see two draft prospects, Pat Cantwell and William Carmona.
Pat Cantwell was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round. The Senior catcher's best rating according to the Baseball Cube is contact at 93, while his patience sits at just 45. He has a pretty high speed rating at 75, even though he looked like a mediocre runner. In 4 seasons at Stony Brook, Cantwell was nothing special, hitting .319/.395/.432. His best year was his sophomore year, the last year before they changed the bats, suppressing offense somewhat. His OPS with the new bats was pretty poor: .769 in 2011, .820 in 2012. The right handed hitter has what almost looks like a closed stance, and was batting 2nd behind 1st round pick Travis Jankowski. Early on, he was batting against Aaron Nola, who was struggling early but righted the ship later on. He was late on the first two fastballs he saw, then took 2 breaking balls to make it 2-2 before he was jammed for a weak grounder. The bat speed question popped up again in his next at-bat, after he took a inside fastball and a inside curve. He whiffed on one fastball, and then another. Nola went to a breaking pitch, and Cantwell hit a weak pop-up. In his third at-bat, he took an outside breaking pitch, then an inside breaking pitch, then watched an inside and low strike to go to 2-1. Nola came back with basically the same pitch, and Cantwell fouled it back. A fastball on the low outside corner was hit decently well and was a fly-out to left center-field. The next time Cantwell took a fastball on the outside corner before taking a high one and a low and away breaking pitch. Nola then hung a breaking ball, but Cantwell rolled over on it for a weak grounder to 3rd. The next two at-bats started with him trying to bunt, and he was unsuccessful on the first pitch both times. The second time, he sac bunted on the second pitch. The first time he got to a 1-1 count before chasing an outside pitch and fouling it. Then another outside pitch was hit to center field for an out. His ability to handle breaking balls looked spotty, as you can see, he took some, but chased some as well.
Defensively is more of Cantwell's game than offense. He seemed to be a good receiver behind the plate, but was a particularly good pitch framer. He kind of lunged at the ball with his glove, and it cost his pitcher at least two calls pretty early on. Cantwell does have a plus arm, and he knows it. On a bunt play, where he most likely should have thrown to first, he threw to second, and it turned into an error. LSU's lone stolen base attempt against Cantwell went much better for him. Arby Fields is more of an athlete than a baseball player, and he tried to steal 2nd on a curveball thrown low. Cantwell threw a perfect strike and got him out.One ball did get by him, but it was more of the pitcher's fault than it was his.

William Carmona is the junior 3rd baseman on Stony Brook, and he was drafted in the 11th round by the Phillies in this year's draft. Carmona gets very high marks for his bat, rating 96 in batting by Baseball Cube and 97 in power. His patience is just 38 and his contact just 52. In 3 years, he had an OPS of 1.044 at Stony Brook. His ISO was .239, pretty solid, and even better his junior year at .305. As a switch hitter, his first few at-bats were from the left side. He started by taking 2 pitches to make it 1-1, but then had a check swing strike on an ugly breaking ball. He has kind of a weird swing, where he has some kind of step that gives him an abnormal stride. That would seem to affect just how fast is he able to get around on a fastball, so bat speed or power may be a question. A long at-bat with fouls and a 3-2 count ended with a ground-ball the other way. He was almost running out of the batter box when he hit it. Again, he hit for plenty of power in college, but it is really hard to see how and it is also hard to see him doing it in professional ball with that swing. It should give him a balanced spray chart, as one could see him being able to go to all fields though. His next at-bat started with two more takes around the outside part of the plate to make it 1-1. He was then late on a fastball. He took high, then fouled back a fastball. His swing was pretty violent here, he may just have a lot of problems putting together a consistent swing. Maybe his hit tool is just raw. He then chased a breaking ball out of the zone for a strikeout. The next at-bat started with him laying off a breaking ball, and then chasing one. He took inside and outside to get 3-1 before getting under the ball and flew out to LF. Against a new pitcher (Joey Bougeious), he got up 2-0 before taking a fastball on the inside part of the plate and fouling off one down the middle. At 2-2, he took a good curve and then walked on a pitch that bounced. In the next at-bat, he was batting right handed and he hit a breaking pitch on the outside corner to left field (pulled!) for a double. In the 11th, batting left again, he took 2 inside strikes, then fouled off an inside curve and an inside fastball. Then a fastball that didn't get all the way in was turned into a bloop single.
Defensively, he looks goofy running, as he is sort of a weird looking body type. That doesn't mean he can't play 3rd though, as his arm is really impressive. That shouldn't really be surprising, as he used t be a closer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Own Draft

This is sort of a "fantasy" draft, I almost decided to post this at Fantasy CPR. Here I am getting my own 40 guys from the draft (I didn't get one from the Supplemental Round) in relative order (meaning I could only take 2 in one round if I skipped a round, I noted some of the rounds I skipped, but not all of them).
The big rule was that I had to have seen the player, either in person or on TV. This disqualifies almost all high school players, as I have mainly seen college games (even though I have watched video on a lot of high school prospects).
If a guy doesn't sign, I just lose him like a normal team. So here are the players' the schools they went to, their position, and who they were drafted by.

I don't know how often I will update this, but certainly I will after the signing deadline passes to denote which ones signed and which ones didn't. I'll also try to keep up with the signing bonuses to see how much my players cost compared to other teams. This post was mainly for fun, but as their career's go along, I will update how they are doing compared to other team's drafts.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Scouting Notes on the Albuquerque Isotopes

I saw the Dodgers AAA affiliate (the Albuquerque Isotopes) play in Round Rock on June 2nd. I was there to see Roy Oswalt pitch, you can read my write up on his start here. I originally saw that the pitcher for the Isotopes was Fernando Nieve, a AAA veteran (parts of 8 different seasons in AAA) at 29 years old. I didn't start writing notes on him until I saw the radar gun give us some pretty interesting figures.

He was showing off an above average fastball at 91-04 MPH, hitting 95 MPH a few times. He blew a few of the younger hitters away, and one of the old hitters, Brad Nelson. He also murdered Nelson's bat in an earlier at-bat. He struck out 2 straight batters in the 2nd before giving up a double. He did give up a couple hard line drives that turned into outs. He had an okay slider at 84-85 MPH that fooled some hitters. He also threw it for some quality strikes. Mike Biannucci, a man of monster power, hit a homer on a slider that wasn't really bad, it was a ball down low. The only thing you could complain about it was that it was just kind of slow. He had some horrible luck in the 5th when two ground-balls got through. The line wasn't overly pretty or anything, but it was a quality start and there is something to be said about that in the PCL.
In 99 games (mostly relief appearances) in the Majors, Nieve had a 5.40 FIP and 4.58 SIERA (much closer to his ERA). His average velocity was 92.7 MPH. From what I saw, it looked like he could be a guy that could help a weak starting rotation on the back-end or perhaps be a long man or other reliever and be able to just throw all fastballs and add a couple MPH on his velocity.

Brian Cavazos-Galvez is a pretty young (25 years old is younger than league average) left fielder. He is really slow both in the field and on the bases, sort of surprising with his size. He has no real plate discipline, but has a good contact tool. He chased a low breaking pitch and hit it pretty hard, then did the same thing and hit a homer. He then struck out a very similar pitch to end the game.

Josh Fields had some brutal plays at first base. With his speed, he really has the lack of tools that one would guess a first baseman would have. He doesn't have the bat to make up for it though. He got ahead 3-1 in one at-bat only to chase a breaking ball (he ended up grounding out to end the at-bat).
Jeff Baisley is listed as a 3rd baseman, but played DH and looks more like a DH. It looked like he had a good eye until he chased some Aaron Heilman sliders. He has a weird looking swing where it looks like he is dipping like crazy. He is also pretty slow. Luis Cruz is a middle infielder with a good contact tool but the ball doesn't exactly jump off his bat. It didn't look like he has any power, it must be a PCL miracle that he has 5 homers this year. Tim Federowicz doesn't look like he is going to chase low pitches, but he was having problems with the high fastball. He obviously isn't much of a runner.

Out of the bullpen, 28 year old Derrick Loop pitched 2 innings. His fastball was anywhere from 85-90 MPH without much break on it. He finally broke out the breaking pitch in his 2nd inning of work, a 76 MPH pitch with some okay break. He gave up a hard liner to Matt Kata, an infield pop, a broken bat ground-ball, and got a double play despite having problems throwing strikes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scouting Report on Chris Lofton

Chris Lofton was a 9th round pick by the San Francisco Giants. He is currently playing for the San Jose Giants, and that is where I watched him play on May 31st 2012.

Defensively, he wasn't tested hard, but he made all the routine plays and showed off some pretty good range in center field (range factor suggests that he has under average range). His arm seems pretty accurate, even on the run, but it is a pretty weak arm. On the bases, a botched pickoff move gave him two extra bases. He probably wasn't running his hardest but I thought he showed above average speed (Baseball Cube suggests that speed is his best attribute, rating it at 79 out of 100).

Offensively, he showed his above average patience (69 according the Baseball Cube) when he got ahead 2-0, faked a bunt to get 3-0, then took low and away to walk. As a left handed hitter (right handed thrower), he was mainly pitched away it seemed. In his next at-bat, he took an outside fastball for ball before hitting a hard liner to 2nd for an out. Next time at the plate, he took a low pitch and then hit a high pitch hard to first for a ground-ball out. He got ahead in his next at-bat 1-0 again, before faking another bunt to make it 1-1. He then swung and missed at the best pitch he saw in the whole at-bat, but worked an 8 pitch walk with some good takes and fouls. So what I saw was a decent but not great contact hitter with a good eye with not much power but some bad luck.
Statistically, Lofton has not had a good professional career. Despite a .319 career BABIP and walk rate just short of 10%, he has a .642 career OPS. He doesn't seem to have any power to speak of, and his "speed scores" are extremely disappointing.

He is extremely unpolished, and the ceiling certainly is really high, but there is some talent there obviously.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scouting Report on Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. According to Baseball America, he was the 48th best prospect in all of baseball coming into the year. I saw him play against the San Jose Giants on May 31st 2012.

The first question was his defense. Hamilton is a shortstop, but there have been tons of questions about his defensive play, and it has been speculated that he will be moved to center field to better suit his speed (more on that later). In what I saw, he handled everything just fine at shortstop. He did fine with both popups, and grounders. He got good jumps on balls, and his range was pretty good. There were no glaring holes in his defensive game that I saw, but it is much harder to scout one game defensively than it is offensively. You just don't always get to see them in action. If there have been multiple scouts and writers that question his defense, it is hard to overrule them just from what I saw. It could also be argued that even if he becomes a good shortstop, that there may be more value in him playing center.

Now for offense, Hamilton leads off for his team, the Bakersfield Blaze, most likely because of his speed. He showed off that speed in his first plate appearance, when he bunted in a 1-1 count. He bunted to the pitcher, but the pitcher made a throwing error, and Hamilton made it to 2nd base. Speed is Hamilton's game, as he is rated as having 80 speed on the 20-80 scale by everyone. He already has 222 steals in 297 professional games in his career. Baseball Cube rates his speed at 99 out of 100, and his speed scores have been 8.9, 9.6, 9.2, and 9.5. In his 2nd at-bat, he hit a first pitch low fastball up the middle for a single. After several pickoff moves that weren't close, he stole on a 1-1 count. In his 3rd, he took a high fastball, then popped a low middle fastball up to center field. In at-bat 4, a first pitch down the middle was fouled back, and then he popped out to first base. He was intentionally walked and scored in his next at-bat (it was a traditional intentionally walk situation). His next at-bat, he took 2 pitches to get to 1-1 before hitting a pitch right down the middle for a single. A walk brought him to 2nd base, and then in a bizarre play, the catcher picked off the runner behind him and he took 3rd. It did not technically count as a steal. His next at-bat was in the 12th inning of the game, and he chased and missed breaking balls to get to 1-2 before hitting a grounder for a fielder's choice. Naturally, he stole second. I thought he showed a decent approach at the plate (the last at-bat being more of an exception) and good contact skills. With that speed, striking out is an utter failure. So far in the minors, he has struck out 20.6 % of the time, way too much. Hamilton is far from polished at the plate, and will be eaten up alive by advanced level pitching (he is currently in High A) if he doesn't continue to progress. With his speed, he also needs to be a line drive/ground-ball hitter. While his ground-ball % has stayed at just shy of 50%, his line drive rates have been pretty low. Weak popups are an absolute waste, especially for a guy who didn't look like he had much power (stats also support this, as he has just 6 professional homers and .386 SLG. Baseball Cube rates his power at just 29). His walk rates have increased as things have gone along, and like I said, he looks like he has a decent approach, but those 2 pretty weak pop-ups were pretty frustrating. The speed is great, and he has some tools, but his overall game, both defensively and offensively needs a lot of polish before Hamilton becomes anything more than a guy that stole a lot of bases.