10/19/17 Instructs Notes

Giants at Royals – Surprise, AZ – Surprise Stadium Backfields

Heliot Ramos (CF) San Francisco Giants – Ramos is among the best players in fall instructs. It’s a sexy bat. We are talking potential 60 hit and 60 power. He has good bat speed and a very compact swing. Overall, Ramos makes the game look easy. I know that sounds reductive, but it’s true! Physically, Ramos has a thick build and a big ass. A scout comped him to Juan Uribe. Currently listed at 6’2” 185, I think he’s closer to 200 and it’s not hard to envision another 20-30 lbs on him. Right now he’s an above average runner, posting home to first times around 4.25 from the right side. I would expect him to settle in to be an average runner at maturity. It’s possible slowing down would necessitate a move to an outfield corner, but I think the bat is good enough to profile there too. It’s an impressive profile, and it’s not hard to see why the Giants made him the 19th pick in last year’s Rule 4.

Joe Marciano (LHP) San Francisco Giants – The heir apparent to former Giants QB Jared Lorenzen’s nickname, Marciano is a hefty lefty. He’s listed as 6’5” 250 lbs which might be a little light. A lot of guys his size struggle with body control, but it’s not an issue for Marciano. He pitches with a gracefulness that I find oddly endearing. Marciano’s repertoire is headlined by a plus high 70s curveball with big two-plane break. I have seen him get swinging strikes in and out of the zone with it. His fastball hovers around 90. His third offering is a mid 80s change. Marciano has an outside shot to be an innings-eating backend starter, which would be an amazing outcome for a 36th round pick. In my humble estimation, it was a great job by the Giants amateur staff finding this guy.

Diego Rincones (OF) San Francisco Giants – He continued doing Diego Rincones things today. The approach is ultra aggressive. I think he saw five total pitches in four at bats. In spite of the approach, he makes a ton of contact. He reminds me of Vlad Sr because he is a good bad ball hitter and likes seemingly every pitch that he sees (*disclaimer not a comp*). Today he had another three hits. This is a wait and see guy for me because I am worried about how his approach will play at higher levels. Right now it’s working so you can’t bash it too much.

MJ Melendez (C) Kansas City Royals – The words defensive wizard will be used to describe Royals catcher MJ Melendez. He oozes athletic ability in a way few other catchers do. He displayed impressive quickness and a plus arm. I loved his blocking ability and a throw he made from his knees with a 1.90 pop. He likes to test runners and is able to get out of the crouch quickly to fire throws over to first. At the plate he took a 98 mph pitch from Melvin Adon to the opposite field for a double. If the bat can be a 40 or 45 this guy is a major league regular.

Khalil Lee (OF) Kansas City Royals – The first thing I noticed about Lee is he swings the bat extremely hard. At 5’10 170 (basically my build!) he does not have the look of a power hitter, but make no mistake, he can mash baseballs. There is a lot of loft in his swing due to an uppercut that should result in a high FB% and high ISOs. He hit a deep home run to right center in today’s game. In my looks there was a decent amount of swing and miss on breaking pitches. I don’t have a great feel for Lee’s arm, but have read that he was a two-way player in high school so it can’t be half bad.

10/14/17, 10/17/17 Instructs Notes

10/17/17 – Royals at Giants – Scottsdale, AZ – Giants Complex at the Intersection of Hayden and Camelback

Glenn Sparkman (RHP) Kansas City Royals – Sparkman was my favorite arm of the day. His arsenal featured a sinking fastball that ranged from 92-95 and moved either glove side or armside. The cambio was his top offspeed option. To my eye, it looked like he could manipulate it to either drop 12 to 6 or to have fade and drop. The change was in the 83-85 velo band. His curve was high 70s and was a serviceable third option.

10/14/17 – Dodgers vs White Sox (shared complex) – Glendale, AZ – Camelback Ranch Backfields

Justin Bruihl (LHP) Los Angeles Dodgers – “Crafty lefty” is a hackneyed term, but they were the first words that came to my mind as I watched Bruihl. His stuff was not overpowering. The fastball sat 90-91, touching 93. The slider was 74-77. And the change was 80-84. I was impressed by Bruihl’s willingness to throw seemingly any pitch in any count and pitch backwards. I also like his smooth low three quarters delivery, which he repeated well. Despite the positives, this is still a command guy who will need to hit his spots and sequence to succeed. The good news is right now he appears capable of doing that effectively.

 

10/13/17 Instructs Notes

Reds at Brewers – Maryvale, AZ – Brewers Training Complex next to Maryvale Stadium

Nelson Hernandez (RHP) Milwaukee Brewers – There was a sobering moment in today’s game. Hernandez was hit in the neck/head by a comebacker. He collapsed to the ground in a heap, and a stunned silence fell over onlookers. Play was stopped and a cart came over to bring him off the field. Later in the evening he was reported to be OK. These type of things put everything into perspective. Baseball is JUST a game!

To make things weirder, a few minutes later, the left fielder missed a fly ball. It hit directly off of his head, bounced up, and was corralled by the center fielder. This is Friday the 13th type sh**!

Carlos Herrera (RHP) Milwaukee Brewers – Herrera uses a low three quarters arm slot. His arm “whips around” a bit, but it does not appear high effort to me. The fastball sat 90-91, and scouts are hopeful he can get a few more ticks on it as his frame fills out. Herrera is listed at 6’2” 150 and probably weighs around 165 now. His mid 80s curveball is a plus, bat-missing offering.

Demi Orimoloye (OF) Milwaukee Brewers – I did not have a good read on him, but scouts I have spoken with said Orimoloye is a good fastball hitter who struggles with breaking balls. They believe he is an average runner when underway, but it takes him a while to get to full speed. I was surprised to hear them say he was formerly a 70 runner. Orimoloye is currently 6’4” 225. Huge dude!

Miguel Hernandez (SS) Cincinnati Reds – This was my second viewing of Hernandez. He impressed in the first outing, and today he pulled a homer to left in his second at bat. Scouts in attendence were impressed, and they asked me what I knew about him. This guy is a deep sleeper who could move up lists fasts. He should be on Reds top 30 lists sooner than later.

Leonardo Seminati (1B) Cincinnati Reds – He is an 18 year old Italian kid who recently came over to the states. It really shows. Last week, Seminati struck out three times in a game with some ugly swings. He made a mental error in this game after sliding back to first base on a pickoff attempt. Seminati made it back safely but voluntarily came off the bag before the first baseman threw the ball back to the pitcher and was subsequently tagged out. He has a muscular frame and looks older than 18. Overall, it is far too early to write this guy off. Fall instructs was his first exposure to pro ball.

Edwin Yon (OF) Cincinnati Reds – I saw Yon three times this fall and now understand both sides of the coin. He’s a guy with plus raw. Whether or not he can get to it in games will be the crux of his future success or failure. Like many young hitters he excels with fastballs and has trouble hitting offspeed pitches. He lacks the ability to track spin and is often fooled by offspeed pitches low in the zone. There is good bat speed here, and he can turn on velocity without too much trouble. A scout I spoke with thought his overall approach and outfield defense were a bit lackadaisical. The scout also believed he lacked #want.

10/12/17 Instructs Notes

Dodgers at Reds – Goodyear, AZ – Reds Complex directly south of Goodyear Park

Hunter Greene (RHP) Cincinnati Reds – Watching Hunter Greene was an experience. The fastball ranged from 97-101 with some heavy sink. It’s pretty unfair to be honest. Maybe this is due to the fact that I am new at scouting, but I was blown away by Greene’s athleticism. He would vary the speed of his delivery and at times it was lightning fast. He would work quickly, and he aggressively controlled the tempo. At times, Greene lost control when working inside and hit a couple of batters. He could play with the fastball and make it sink to both sides of the plate. It is a potential 70 or 80 offering. The slider was mid 80s with bite. Only a couple of changeups were thrown, and they were in the 89-90 range. In isolation they were not special, but they should play up due to the superlative fastball. As a side note, I heard rumors that Hunter Greene has been granted special privileges by the Reds, such as traveling separately from the team. If true, this strikes me as a terrible idea as it promotes a sense of entitlement.

Jose Adames (RHP) – When Greene came out, I expected to be somewhat let down by the next pitcher. Instead, Jose Adames was unexpectedly fun. The stuff made an impression on me, and he came out dealing. First batter: FB98. FB99. CB85. Goodbye. The next couple of batters were less smooth. His mechanics were not too consistent, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of his delivery, but you can’t knock the stuff. I think the ceiling is high-leverage reliever, not bad for a guy the Reds selected in the 2016 AAA Rule 5 Draft (http://m.mlb.com/news/article/210663962/reds-select-3-players-in-rule-5-draft/).

 

10/11/17 Instructs Notes

Brewers at Giants – Scottsdale, AZ – Giants Training Complex at the intersection of Hayden and Camelback Road

Braden Webb (RHP) Milwaukee Brewers – I have seen Webb twice and came away with similar thoughts each time. The raw stuff is tantilizing. The fastball sat easily around 94-95 and touched 96. His slider was in the 84-87 range with above above average movement. The same could be said for his mid 70s curveball. The problem is his command causes everything to play down. Even the fastball command was sporadic.

Marcos Diplan (RHP) Milwaukee Brewers  – I was let down by Diplan. I first became aware of him in 2015 when I read an optimistic and glowing report, which said he touched 97-98 with a 60 potential slider. This fall, he was in the 92-94 range (touching 96), and he looked to have no idea where it was going. He was unable to find the strikezone with any consistency. His 85-87 slider was equally inconsistent. It’s a bad look at the moment.

10/09/18 Instructs Notes

White Sox at Reds – Goodyear, AZ – Reds Training Facility south of Goodyear Park

Tanner Rainey (RHP) Cincinnati Reds – The fastball sat 96-97 and touched 99. Sometimes it would run armside in an effectively wild manner. It played in the zone or could be used as a chase pitch up. The slider was 89-90 with mostly vertical movement. Rainey could throw it at the bottom of the zone or out of the zone. It’s a closer profile.

Andy Sugilio – (OF) Cincinnati Reds – Sugilio is a speedy guy, posting home to first times in the 4.00 to 4.15 range. The swing seems to generate a lot of ground balls, which is a bit concerning. I would like to see him elevate more. Defensively, he needs to work on reads off the bat. His speed can cover up for this.

Jeter Downs (SS) Cincinnati Reds  – I really like his all around game. He is a quality hitter for a shortstop. Downs strikes me as a smart player with good baseball instincts. He was able to take an extra base on a ball he hit to left center. The outfielder threw it to the cut off man rather than to second directly. Downs sized up the throw and aggressively took the extra bag.

Ted Andrews (RHP) Chicago White Sox – His delivery looked “arm-heavy” and didn’t utilize his lower half much. In that regard, it actually reminded me of Alex Reyes. Stuff-wise it was a different story! His fastball was 89-91 and was fairly straight with some plane. Andrews also mixed in mid 80s change and mid 70s curve.

Andre Wheeler (LHP) Chicago White Sox – He was my favorite of three sidearmed lefties the White Sox used consequtively in this game. (The other two were Ryan Riga and Kevin George). Wheeler was interesting in that he threw mostly changeups in the mid 80s. The movement on this pitch was unusual. They would start by moving inside toward the plate then cut back outside (toward right side of plate from hitter perpsective). Wheeler also had a high 80s fastball and a mid 70s curve. He got some good swing and miss in this outing.

Evan Skoug (C) Chicago White Sox – Defense was an issue for Skoug today. He allowed a few passed balls and displayed poor lateral movement. He also allowed stolen bases with pop times in the 2.20 to 2.25 range. Scouts are wondering whether he will be able to stick at catcher.

10/07/17 Instructs Notes

Diamondbacks at Rockies & Rockies at Diamondbacks! (Shared Complex) – Salt River Field

Elvis Luciano (RHP) Arizona Diamondbacks – Luciano will be 17 years old until next February. Now 17, Luciano was in the 91-92 range with his fastball and in the mid 80s with his changeup. His mechanics and arm action were repeatable for both pitches, which should help keep hitters guessing. The fastball touched as high as 94. Luciano also threw one curveball in this game. It came in 78 and was respectable but a clear third pitch. Luciano is only 17 and has a thick lower half, which suggests there could be more velocity down the line. This is a guy I like.

Matt Tabor (RHP) Arizona Diamondbacks – Tabor sat 89-90 with his fastball and touched 94. It’s possible that Tabor, a relatively raw pitcher from the Northeast, may be able to gain a few ticks on his velocity. His change was in the mid 80s. Tabor varied his speed of delivery utilizing a quick pitch and a delayed delivery, taking a page from the Stroman book of pitching.

Will Gaddis (RHP) Colorado Rockies – Gaddis sat 88-90 with his fastball today, topping out at 91. The curveball was his most frequently used  secondary offering. It had good depth, and Gaddis was able to locate it in or out of the zone. This pitch caught my eye because he started Chris Owings and Yasmani Tomas with it. This was a wise way “steal strikes” and get the 0-0 count in his favor. Gaddis also showed a mid 80’s changeup that was used sparingly. I am wondering if the Rockies wanted him to focus on his curve this fall. Various reports say his changeup is his best offspeed pitch, but he used the curve more in this outing.

10/4/17-10/5/17 Instructs Notes

10/05/17 – Giants at Angels – Backfields next to Tempe Diablo Stadium

Trent Deveaux (OF) Los Angeles Angels – Deveaux smashed a triple to left and reached third in 11.70 seconds. It was a thing of beauty. He also made some circuitous routes defensively. One fly ball sticks out in my mind because he “got turned around” and made a last second adjustment to come down with it. I like his aggressiveness on the base paths, but it can border on reckless. He slid head first into home despite a teammate motioning for him to come home standing.

I found this article which gives some context to home to third times

http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/11/23/209340878/2016s-fastest-baserunning-feats-in-mlb

10/04/17  Giants at Rockies –  Field R1 directly south of Salt River Field

Jacob Gonzalez (3B) San Francisco Giants – The son of former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez is still learning to recognize pro-caliber breaking stuff. Scouts opined he has looked somewhat raw at the plate, and he displayed occasionally stiff movements defensively.

Diego Rincones (OF) San Francisco Giants – Rincones has an uncanny ability to hit. There was very little swing and miss in my looks. And there is good bat control in this one (spoken like a true Jedi). I am hoping to see him another couple of times before the end of fall.

 

10/2/17 Instructs Notes

10/2/17 Diamondbacks at Athletics – Mesa, AZ – Fitch Field (1/2 Mile South of Hohokam Stadium)

Marcos Brito (2B) Oakland Athletics – The 17 year old has quick hands. At the plate, he will spit on breaking pitches out of the zone and wait for “his pitch”. He has an advanced approach for his age. There is room for growth on his slender frame, which could lead to more power down the line.

Miguel Mercedes (1B) Oakland Athletics – It’s no shit plus raw, but how much of it is playable in games? He appears to hunt fastballs.

Norge Ruiz (RHP) Oakland Athletics – He’s a 23-year-old Cuban signee. The stuff is not overpowering. As a result, a high percentage of pitches were offspeed, moving in various directions.

Rafael Kelly (RHP) Oakland Athletics – Hitters had a difficult time laying off his mid 70s curve. It induced a swing and miss from Chris Owings (who was on rehab assignment) and two other batters. The fastball was 90-91. I would like to see more of him.

Wilkin Ramos (RHP) Oakland Athletics – Ramos will not turn 17 until 10/31. He’s listed as 6’5” 165, and I overheard a scout body-comp him to CJ Edwards. He already sits 91-92 with a change in the mid 80s and a curve in the mid 70s. The frame is pretty lithe so I think projecting a large weight increase is a mistake, but there is still room for some more weight right now.

Matt Brill (RHP) Arizona Diamondbacks – It’s a relief profile but a high-leverage one. The fastball sits 95 touches 97. His change is in the mid 80s. I overheard a coach in attendance comparing his delivery to Jason Motte.

Andy Yerzy (C) Arizona Diamondbacks – He hit the ball hard in my looks and was especially deadly against fastballs. The strike zone awareness looked good, as he was able to lay off of breaking balls below the zone. He’s an “Off the Bus Guy” as Up and In used to say, meaning his physicality stands out.

9/30/17 Instructs Notes

Giants at Athletics – Mesa, AZ – Fitch Field (1/2 Mile South of Hohokam Stadium)

Athletics video crew had Trackman up and running today in Mesa. After every pitch a member of the A’s video crew would call out the pitch type and velocity. This was really helpful as it allowed me to put down my radar gun and focus more of my attention on the field. To my surprise, I even heard scouts calling out RPM numbers.

Athletics RHP Dakota Chalmers has a pretty impressive arsenal. His curveball featured sharp, tight spin and RPMs in the 2900-3000 range. To put this into perspective there were 236 major league pitchers who threw over 100 curveballs or knucklecurves this season (source Baseball Savant). Chalmers would have had the 6th highest spin rate in this group, putting him in the top 2.5%. The importance of spin rate has been well-documented. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/161770876/how-spin-rate-affects-curveball-outcomes/ Chalmers also sat 93-95 with his fastball and was able to touch 96. His change was in the 85-88 range. Chalmers strikes me as a fiery guy. He shouted an explative (at himself) after throwing a curve in the dirt a foot or two in front of the plate. (10/23 Edit -There have been rumors that Chalmers has undisclosed character issues.)

Another interesting Oakland arm was Brett Graves. He kept a fast tempo and pounded the zone. The four-seamer was his primary offering. It sat 94-95 and touched 96 . A cutter was his most used secondary pitch. He threw some nasty ones in the 91-93 range with late movement. This pitch should help him generate weak contact against LHHs. Graves rounded out his repertoire with a low 80s curve and a high 80s change. Each were thrown more sparingly. The curve moved 12 to 6 and was located below the zone as a chase pitch. Graves was a fun guy to watch. I loved how he challenged hitters. It wasn’t surprising to see he is 24 and pitched in AA Midland this past season. He looked more advanced than his competition this fall.

9/29/17 Instructs Notes

9/29/17 Instructs Notes

Giants at Brewers – Maryvale, AZ – Brewers Training Field adjacent to Maryvale Stadium

Not many of the Giants’ arms stood out to me today, but Melvin Adon showed electric stuff. His fastball sat 95-96 and touched 98. He was able to maintain velocity in the stretch, and the fastball had some armside run. His secondary offering was a mid-high 80s slider that could play to average off of the fastball. Adon’s command was erratic. Right now it’s more command than control so he can find the zone but isn’t adept at locating within the zone. In the long run this isn’t good enough. For now it’s a sexy fastball, and let us hope the control within the zone improves.

Keston Hiura looked good for the Brewers. He was considered by many to be the best college bat in the 2017 amateur draft. In this game he showed patience, controlled the zone and was able to foul off pitches en route to drawing a couple of walks. Due to an elbow injury in college he was forced to DH, casting some uncertainty on his future defensive position. Today he played second base and made all the routine plays. The profile is passable defensively. His bat is the calling card that will carry him.

Today it was pretty interesting to overhear scouts telling one another stories. One story was about a player named who will remain unnamed. Let’s call him Jeremy Duplane. He had a commitment to play football and baseball at a D1 school in the American Athletic Conference. Duplane and the storytelling scout’s former team had an unwritten, handshake pre-draft deal in place. The deal was for $300k. The team used its 4th round pick on Duplane as planned. Duplane changed his mind at the last minute and upped his asking price to $1.1 million. Due to bonus pool constraints, the team was unable to sign him, rendering the pick useless. The scout who brokered the deal was fired on the spot! The storytelling scout was shocked by the whole situation, especially considering he was friends with the canned scout. Going forward the storytelling scout would relay The Story of Jeremy Duplane to amateur athletes in an attempt to protect himself. Kids have to understand the implications of their actions; scout jobs are on the line.

As an aside, I googled Jeremy Duplane and found he played for four years in the NFL as a wide receiver.

9/28/17 Instructs Notes

Dodgers at Reds –  Goodyear, AZ – Reds Training Facility directly south of Goodyear Stadium

Anthony Desclafani made a rehab start. He missed the entire 2017 MLB Season due to an elbow injury. (http://m.mlb.com/news/article/246445274/reds-anthony-desclafani-has-elbow-tendinitis/ ) An MRI from early August revealed elbow tendinitis. Earlier reports suggested he was suffering from a sprained UCL, so the tendinitis diagnosis came as somewhat of a relief. It also meant Desclafani would be able to get reps this fall rather than being shut down for the year. I was encouraged by his outing today. The first two times through the order he threw fastballs (S91-T93) and sliders (86-87) exclusively.  Later in the outing he began to mix in an upper 70s curveball. Desclafani had good control of all three pitches, locating them in and out of the zone at will. On the downside, his velocity was still below its 2016 average of 94 mph (Source BrooksBaseball).

Reds shortstop Miguel Hernandez raised scouts’ eyebrows.  Defensively, the 18-year-old Venezuelan displayed soft hands and a strong arm. Although one throw was errant and flew wide of the first baseman. At the plate Hernandez made contact with surprising pop. Despite his slight frame (listed 6’0” 170 lb), he mashed a couple of baseballs: one for a double and another for a loud out to center field. There seems to be room for physical projection here. On the basepaths Hernandez was the lead man of a double steal. I also clocked him at 4.30 to first from the right side, which is average on the 20-80 scale. I think he’s an average to above average runner, as this didn’t appear to be a max effort time. I suspect this is a guy who will start appearing on prospect lists.

Reds outfielder Edwin Yon made hard contact in a couple of his plate appearances, including a double off of a 96 mph fastball from Confesor Inoa that he laced down the left field line. Yon has a quick right-handed swing and didn’t seem to have any trouble with velocity. I also overheard scouts saying he hit a bomb a day or two ago. The bat is intriguing, and I would like to see some more of it.

Speaking of Inoa, he had some of the best velocity of the day. The fastball ranged from 91-96. He seemed to be able to amp it up when he needed to. His secondary offering was a slider in the low 80s that had good late break. Inoa had poor command in this outing, but hitters were not squaring him up when he was able to find the zone. I think he could have two average or better pitches.

Dodgers OF Starling Heredia was perhaps the best player on the field today. He stuffed the stat sheet like a kid playing Madden on rookie mode, going 4/5 with two triples and a double. Even his out was a laser pulled directly at the left fielder. He also stole third base and is fast for his size (listed 6’0” 231 lbs). We appreciate the precision Dodgers! Heredia seemed to have a good approach and good bat speed, granted it can be hard to tell from a single viewing.

Coming into the day Heredia was on my radar because the Dodgers paid him $2.6 million coming out of the Dominican during the 2015 J2 period. This is a guy to keep tabs on. He could force his way onto 2019 top 100 lists if he repeats his 2017 level of performance in full season ball next year.