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.