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.
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
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.
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.