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May 24, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts

May 24, 2013

by BP Prospect Staff

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(If you missed our introduction: A primer on these eyewitness reports)

Direct Links to Individual Player Reports

Matt Barnes Brandon Workman Allen Webster Duke Von Schamann
Erik Cordier Duke Welker Alex Meyer Alex Colome


Name: Matt Barnes

RHP

Boston Red Sox

DOB

6/17/1990

Height

6’4’’

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2014

Weight

205

Throws

R

Date Seen

4/19/2013

Date Filed

4/23/2013

Filed By

Chris Mellen

Acquired

Drafted 1-19 2011 Boston Red Sox

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; easy and controlled delivery; creates leverage/steep plane via leg drive and follow through in line with home plate; keeps head and eyes on target; soft landing on front foot; at times loses balance on landing causing feet to drift and weight to veer toward first base; low energy expending delivery; repeats mechanics; delivery and body of starting pitcher.

#1 Pitch

Four-Seam Fastball: 91-95, top 96. Command: solid-average. Movement: arm-side run in lower tier of zone; late downward finish in lower tier when thrown glove side; flat when elevated above the middle of thighs. Threw strikes to both sides of the plate and in total velocity band; reached for velocity when needed; pounded zone early and elevated late; can miss target and back into plate on the glove side.

Grade: Present 65/Future 70

#2 Pitch

Curveball: 75-78. Command: Fringe-average. Movement: 11-to-5 break; flashes deep, overhand break, but inconsistent. Loose and slurvy in upper range of velocity. Struggled finishing pitch; tends to wrap wrist rather than pull downwards; got better deeper into outing; presently lacks power; needs to miss more bats.

Grade: Present 45/Future 55

#3 Pitch

Changeup: 83-85. Command: average. Movement: arm-side fade with drop; occasional cut to glove-side. Throws with two-seam grip; improved arm-speed to that of fastball; developing trust in any count; increased feel; more of a contact inducing pitch; will hold onto too long.

Grade: Present 50/ Future 55

Other

In control during entire outing; level demeanor and body language on the mound; was not rattled; did not have best fastball velocity, but blended elements of power and finesse when situation called for it; lost 1-2 mph after 65 pitches; was not taxed in any inning; high pitchability and IQ; showed understanding of how to execute craft.

Overall

Fastball-dominant outing for Barnes, as 28 of first 34 pitches were fastballs; consistently got ahead of hitters by pounding strike zone early and often with heater; spots up well to both sides of the plate; did not need much of secondary offerings, but worked to mix them into sequences in fourth and fifth innings; velocity and movement made up for mistakes; will need to be selective when elevating fastball in higher levels; can't afford to consistently work in upper tier of strike zone due to lacking life when he gets underneath the baseball; needs to find consistency with curveball. Fought to snap off the pitch during start; changeup has evolved into viable offering, with less firmness.

Overall, project Barnes as a solid third or fourth starter at the major-league level, as arsenal is currently constructed. Potential for more due to feel there is future growth with curveball. Barnes’ curve flashed solid-average-to-plus break, but needs repetition locking into consistent arm slot. Tended to speed up at the end of delivery when throwing, to lose balance. Presently, he is not pressed to deepen pitch sequences due to caliber of fastball and ability to command/control offering against competition. More advanced hitters will force Barnes to either improve execution of secondary offerings or stagnate towards reaching ceiling. Present stuff is good enough to reach big leagues. Still building stamina; although Barnes was not taxed in the outing, velocity started to drop after 65 pitches. The pitcher has the body and delivery to log 200-plus innings. Feel Barnes needs a full year or so of seasoning before entering the major league mix.

OFP Grade: High-6: no. 2 starter

Risk: Moderate

***


Name: Brandon Workman

RHP

Boston Red Sox

DOB

8/13/1988

Height

6’4’’

Bats

Right

MLB ETA

2014

Weight

195

Throws

Right

Date Seen

5/5/2013

Date Filed

5/5/2013

Filed By

Chris Mellen

Acquired

Drafted 2nd round, 2010

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; shorter with arm action; effort in the delivery; some jerk and head snap; improvement becoming smoother; balanced motion; uses body to finish; expends extra energy; body to handle rigors of the position and the long baseball season; not the best of feet, but lands soft enough.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 90-94, top 95. Command: solid-average. Movement: downward glove-side finish in lower tier of strike zone; flat when elevated above the thighs. Threw quality strikes; improved command; generated swings and misses; stayed on top of offering well; controlled outing with pitch; used heavily throughout the start; touched for home run when elevated; spots glove side better than arm side; around the plate.

Grade: 60.

#2 Pitch

Curveball: 75-78. Command: fringe-average. Movement: two-plane, overhand break. Flashed deep, hard break; struggled staying on top of ball; wraps around and behind ball during release; shows ability to pull down; drops release point a tad; held onto too long; used sparingly in outing; have seen when better, but pitch comes and goes.

Grade: Present 50/ Future 55.

#3 Pitch

Cutter: 86-89. Command: average. Movement: dive and dart; late break across the line of sight. Over-threw pitch on occasion; short, sharp break makes it effective; enhanced by command of fastball; weapon against lefties; primarily throws glove side; will grab too much of the plate and back up arm side.

Grade: Present 55/Future 60

Other

Occasionally threw 84-85 changeup; slows arm down; lacks quality action to be more than “show me” pitch; comes after hitters; bulldog mentality; composed; worker; looks heavier than listed; not overly athletic; showed understanding of what he needs to do to be successful; got sloppy at times; couldn’t finish sixth inning after being given the lead.

Overall

Fastball-dominant outing; commanded offering very well in lower tier of zone; pounded zone with heater; got ahead of hitters; missed bats with the fastball; limited solid contact; one major mistake with pitch was taken deep; lacks life and movement at 90-91; better at throwing pitch glove side; got away from him arm side; inconsistent snapping curveball; soft when wraps wrist around ball; hard break when stayed on top; delivery looked looser than previously; arm action on the short side; didn’t have best feel of cutter; will need secondary stuff against advanced hitters.

Overall, project Workman as a seventh/eighth inning reliever, with a set-up man ceiling. The pitcher has a chance to continue starting in the near term and at the very least get a shot at Triple-A, but I feel he is best suited for relief over the long run. Workman has made strides improving his fastball command, which showed in this outing. He consistently hit the target in the lower tier of the strike zone and avoided working elevated too often. He had an easier time hitting spots glove side than arm side. Workman’s fastball tended to get away from him in that spot due to the way he releases the ball. I was impressed with the amount of swings and misses he got with the heater, but it was a very weak Double-A lineup. I don’t think he’ll be able to churn through an advanced lineup without having his secondary stuff, which was very inconsistent in this start. Workman’s curve showed some flashes, but he struggled snapping it off and staying on top of it. The pitcher does expend some extra energy during his delivery and wear down when he labors. The mechanics and arm action can get jerky as well, although in this outing things were smoother. For me, Workman’s stuff has a chance to play up well in a relief role. While his stuff is good, the secondary stuff is on the inconsistent side and shorter outings may allow him to strip down to what is working. It is a good sign he is making progress at the level. I will be interesting to see how Workman handles making adjustments now that lineups are seeing him for the second time.

OFP Grade: High-5; set-up man

Risk: Moderate

***


Name: Allen Webster

RHP

Boston Red Sox

DOB

2/10/1990

Height

6’3’’

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2013

Weight

185

Throws

R

Current Team

Triple-A Pawtucket

Date Seen

5/3/2013

Filed by/date

Chris Mellen; 5/3/2013

Acquired

Part of trade with LA Dodgers for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto (18th Round, 2008 by LA)

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; easy, balanced delivery; consistent timing and pace; stays out in front of ball during landing; low energy expending motion; at times speeds up prior to release and jerks head off target; works from center of rubber; creates explosion via strong back leg drive; loose body; repeats arm slot and delivery

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 91-96, top 97. Command: average. Movement: heavy sink and downward action, especially from knees to middle of the thighs; arm-side run at 91-92; straight above the belt. Kept ball from top of the thighs to the knees; hit target in lower tier of strike zone consistently; missed plate arm side; hitters consistently late and chewed up; can stand to throw more strikes; misses bats; velocity dipped from 93-97 in first inning to 92-95 in fourth inning and beyond; sat 92-94 in the stretch.

Grade: 70.

#2 Pitch

Slider: 85-88. Command: average. Movement: tight and late break; appears like fastball before darting from line of sight. Very deceptive offering when fastball is consistently down in zone; varies shape; can bury or throw for a strike; at times holds onto too long; misses bats; did not throw arm side; only used late in the count, with two strikes.

Grade: Present 55/Future 60

#3 Pitch

Changeup: 81-86. Command: plus. Movement: arm-side fade, with drop and strong depth. Seamless arm speed; used at any point in the count; extremely deceptive; misses bats; major-league out pitch; keeps hitters way out front; separation between fastball makes up for mistakes; hard to wait back on.

Grade: 65

Other

Even demeanor; attacks hitters; came out of the gate hot; lack of weight a concern; needs to improve stamina; still learning how to pitch and work both sides of the plate; fastball can get by with area command; stuff is major-league ready; noticeable drop when working out of the stretch.

Overall

Was barely touched in the outing – one or two hard hit balls in play all night; improved keeping fastball down in the zone; strong life and movement with offering when utilized in that spot; lot of late swings against heater; generated swings and misses with all three of his pitches; eight of nine strikeouts swinging; showed outstanding feel for changeup; slider pattern can become predictable; would like to see Webster pitch with fastball; currently a thrower; will need to prove he can establish inner third against big league right-handed hitters.

Overall, project Webster as a third starter or high-leverage reliever at the major-league level. The stuff is by far good enough to remain as a starter and he can have an arsenal of three plus pitches, but the stamina over the long season and ability to maintain stuff deeper into games is currently a question. Webster almost seems to come out of the gates with too much energy and adrenaline. Part of maturation process will be to manage outings better. I have a tougher time seeing Webster as a 200-plus-inning pitcher year in and year out. He will have to prove his durability and team will likely have to balance wearing him down. Webster’s secondary offerings are well advanced against the level of competition. I feel both the change and slider will continue to miss bats at the next level, but he will use the slider more often earlier in sequences to avoid high quality hitters from jumping on the fastball quickly. Potential to make an All-Star game or two. Reminds me of Tim Hudson.

OFP Grade: 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor: Moderate

***


Duke Von Schamann

RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers

DOB

6/3/91

Height

6’5”

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2015

Weight

220

Throws

R

Current Team

High-A Rancho Cucamonga

Date Seen

4/9/13

Filed by; Date

Chris Rodriguez; 5/20/13

Acquired

15th round pick in the 2012 draft by the Dodgers

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Big body; ¾ arm slot; repeatable delivery; grabs the ball and throws; doesn’t waste any time on the mound; really consistent throughout the game from the windup and the stretch.

#1 Pitch

Sinker: 89-92 (T93). Touched 93 in his sixth and final inning. Command: above average. Kept the ball down in the zone and worked it in and out. Throughout the game he looked to get more confident with the pitch, throwing it on more 0-2 and 1-2 counts. Froze some righties with it on the outside corner. Movement: natural sink and dart down in the zone. Created a lot of ground balls and weak contact. When left up, it gets flat and hitters put some better swings on it.

Grade: Present 50/Future 55

#2 Pitch

Curveball: 76-77. Command: developing, currently fringy. Left a couple up in the zone. Also broke off a beauty for a strikeout on the corner. Movement: long break, shows ability to spin it well. Not a sharp breaker but it was enough to keep hitters off balance of his sinker. No cement mixers. Started mixing it in around the third inning.

Grade: Present 40/Future 50

#3 Pitch

Changeup: 80-81. Command: average. Kept it down for the most part but a couple were left up and in and got hit. Movement: slight fade down and away to lefties, as he threw it mostly to them. Mainly used to set up hitters for the sinker, didn’t show any plus offerings.

Grade: Present 40/Future 45

Other

High-maintenance body. Doesn’t seem as tall as 6’5”. Heard that he throws a slider as well but I didn’t see one in this look. Before the Nuts batters knew it, they were going 1-2-3. Feasted on quick outs. Leaned on good sinker early in the game and started throwing curveballs and changeups when batters began to time it. Showed that he could back up his curveball with another curve.

Overall

Wasn’t going to mention him until I realized he was pitching so well. The sinker could be a slightly above average pitch, with some depth and ability to locate. The problem could lie in his off-speed pitches, as they do not have plus major league projection. He could possibly become a fringy, innings-eating workhorse but that would put a lot of pressure on his sinker and command of all his pitches.

Grade: 40/Future 45; Spot-Starter or Fringe no. 5.

Risk Factor: High

***


Erik Cordier

RHP

Pittsburgh Pirates

DOB

2/25/86

Height

6’4

Bats

R

MLB ETA

N/A

Weight

248

Throws

R

Current Team

Indianapolis (Triple-A)

Date Seen

5/19/13

Filed by/date

Mark Anderson; 5/19/13

Acquired

Minor League Free Agent, 2013

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Stretch only; typical ¾ slot; stabs on the back side; short arm stroke, borders on true short-arm; drives hard to the plate; some effort throughout delivery, but nothing that hampers overall ability.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 94-96 (T98). Command: below average but does throws strikes. Movement: lacks movement; shows straight even in lower velocity range. Gets squared too easily; lots of hard hit balls off fastball; pure velocity in plus-plus range but plays down because of lack of movement/command.

Grade: Present 6/Future 6

#2 Pitch

Slider: 82-83 (T84). Command: well below average; frequently misses strike zone completely. Movement: loose, loopy break; more of a slurvy breaker. Not a reliable offering; lacks disguise; hangs too often; doesn’t show feel to suggest significant improvement.

Grade: Present 4/Future 4

#3 Pitch

Changeup, velocity unknown. Command: unknown. Movement: Some arm-side fade during warmups. Thrown during warmups both innings, but didn’t show in games.

Grade: N/A

Other

Thick lower half with strength throughout the body; needs to be more aggressive with high-velocity fastball; quality competitor.

Overall

Fastball velocity is plus-plus; lack of movement is a big problem; finds the barrel too often resulting in plenty of hard hit balls; pounds the strike zone, almost to his detriment because strike throwing comes without location in the zone; slider lacks consistent hard bite; gets around the side of it; frequently loose; needs movement on fastball or improved slider to profile better; did not show changeup during two-inning outing; big-league velocity but lacks big-league profile because of other deficiencies; may get a cup of coffee.

OFP Grade: 4; organizational reliever

Risk Factor: Moderate

***


Duke Welker

RHP

Pittsburgh Pirates

DOB

2/10/86

Height

6’7

Bats

L

MLB ETA

2013

Weight

240

Throws

R

Current Team

Indianapolis (Triple-A)

Date Seen

5/19/13

Filed by/date

Mark Anderson; 5/19/13

Acquired

Drafted 2nd round; Pittsburgh Pirates 2007

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Stretch only; high-3/4 arm slot; average leg kick; bumps front leg with glove at the balance point, just prior to separation, apparent timing mechanism; short arm sweep; inconsistent release point; some effort during drive to plate and follow through.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 92-94 (T96). Command: below average. Movement: solid life at the plate; gets on hitters quickly and can jump a bit to miss the barrel; flattens out at upper velocity registers. Solid overall pitch that can occasionally be blown by hitters; not a dominant offering.

Grade: Present 6/Future 6

#2 Pitch

Slider: 82-84 (T86). Command: below average. Movement: not a true slider in the classic sense; shapelier two-plane offering, but not quite a curveball; frequently sharp bite. Lacks consistency; snaps it consistently but inconsistent arm slot hampers consistent bite; potential solid second pitch.

Grade: Present 5/Future 5+

Other

Physically imposing; attacks with both pitches; no third pitch.

Overall

Reliever only profile; has some effort in the delivery but effort plays well and adds some deception/aggressiveness to approach; gets to his balance point cleanly but needs improved consistency as he drives toward the plate; mechanical consistency will help in developing fringe-average command; command improvement is necessary for sustained major-league success; good velocity separation between fastball and slider; consistently above average slider will help quality fastball play up; lacks high-leverage profile without a true swing-and-miss pitch.

OFP Grade: 5; seventh-inning reliever

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Name: Alex Meyer

RHP

Minnesota Twins

DOB

1/3/1990

Height

6’9’’

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2014

Weight

220

Throws

R

Current Team

Double-A Rock Cats

Date Seen

5/5/2013

Filed by/date

Chris Mellen; 5/5/2013

Acquired

Acquired as part of trade with Washington for Denard Span. (First Round, 23rd overall by Washington)

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

Between mid-and-3/4 arm slot; consistently lands square to plate with feet; natural motion takes body towards first base after finish; can drift too much towards first when over-throws; creates strong leverage with frame; throws downhill; slings ball a bit; tough arm angle on righties; lefties get a good look; long levered; some effort at tail-end of motion, but easy creating velocity; repeatable; lot of body to control.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 93-97, Top 98. Command: below average. Movement: downward glove-side finish in lower tier of strike zone; ride when elevated; occasional bore on righties. Plenty of life and hop; explosive out of hand; jumps; misses bats and gets late swings; lively in all four quadrants of the strike zone; does not spot; rears back and throws; challenge pitch, but not consistently as starter; grabs a lot of plate; below average pitchability.

Grade: 65.

#2 Pitch

Slider: 82-86. Command: fringe-average. Movement: late break, with heavy tilt off the table; will sweep at times. Creates excellent angle; feels pitch well; consistent snap; changes shape to throw for a strike, but does not spot well; power pitch in upper velocity band; misses bats; must bury down/in to lefties; throws from same slot as fastball; major-league out pitch.

Grade: 60.

#3 Pitch

Changeup: 83-86. Command: below average. Movement: some arm-side fade; some drop. Lacks depth; too firm; looks like a fastball he is taking something off of; non-existent in sequences; shows little trust; occasional flash of depth, but unsure if by design.

Grade: Present 35/ Future 40

Other

Composed on mound; competitor; imposing figure due to size; release appears to be right on top of hitter; held velocity throughout outing; predictable pitch sequences; solely relied on fastball and slider; thrower; ran into stretches of wildness; swings against got better third time through lineup; goes into challenge mode with men on base.

Overall

Impressive fastball and slider combo; great size; knows how to use body to create leverage; cruised through first three innings; got wild with fastball in fourth inning; stuff began to fade in fifth; grabs too much plate with fastball; covers mistakes with velocity; slider is legit out pitch; tough to handle when ahead in the count; needs to throw more called strikes; every at-bat seemed like “challenge time”; uncomfortable on right-handers; will have to pitch more with fastball against quality left-handers; controlled aggressiveness; reliever mentality.

Overall, project Meyer as an eighth-inning reliever, with a closer’s ceiling. The pitcher has a more-than-capable fastball and slider combination for getting batters out at the highest level in short bursts. He can be consistently overpowering out of the bullpen, with the fastball likely to play up into the high-90s and the slider trouble for hitters when behind in the count. Meyer does not have a deep enough arsenal as constructed to start at the big-league level. I don’t presently see it even in a short-term capacity to see if he can stick. Of concern are Meyer’s command and bouts with wildness. The pitcher can get by with area command, but gets hittable when he is consistently behind in the count, despite even his heater potentially playing up to 97-98 out of the ‘pen. His slider also loses effectiveness as it is designed for batters to chase. Meyer will try to drop it in for a strike, but advanced batters can pick up on the change in shape more quickly. It will be interesting to see how a conversion to the ‘pen helps his command and control. Given his athleticism and ability to create leverage, I feel there’s a good chance he can see growth in both enough to trust in high leverage situations. I’m mixed on whether Meyer is going to throw enough strikes with his fastball to close consistently, but the stuff is good enough.

OFP Grade: 6; first-division closer

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Name: Alex Colome

RHP

Tampa Bay Rays

DOB

12/31/1988

Height

6’2’’

Bats

R

MLB ETA

2013

Weight

185

Throws

R

Current Team

Triple-A Durham Bulls

Date Seen

5/3/2013

Filed by/date

Chris Mellen; 5/3/2013

Acquired

International Free Agent, 2007 Dominican Republic

Have Video?

No

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; lot of moving parts to keep in sync; doesn’t consistently stay square to the plate or repeat arm slot; generates torque to create velocity; effort in delivery, but doesn’t put a lot of stress on the arm; stiff landing; long arm action that gets late on landing; mechanics work in short bursts; opens quickly causing release of ball early.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: 91-95, Top 96. Command: below average. Movement: glove-side finish at 91-93; on the straight side at 94-96. Struggled with both command and control of fastball; can beat hitters elevated; jumps when staying on top of pitch; lost effectiveness due to control issues; found in short bursts; missed too many spots.

Grade: 60.

#2 Pitch

Changeup: 85-87. Command: Fringe-average. Movement: arm-side fade, but tended to float and lack depth. Telegraphs due to wavering arm speed; slows arm and body down when delivering; too firm; flashed ability to execute; likely a show pitch to keep batters honest.

Grade: 45.

#3 Pitch

Curveball: 76-79. Command: fringe-average. Movement: 11-to-5; Deep and tight break at 78-79; rolled at 76. Creates the necessary snap; will show early; pulls down on pitch; shows trust; will speed up at end when throwing it; can be tough late in the count; lack of ability to get ahead in counts rendered curve ineffective; can miss bats.

Grade: Present 50/ Future 55

Other

Not a great finisher of delivery; found better feel of arsenal as outing progressed, but was not sharp; low energy on mound; poor body language; seemed to be trying to get things over with rather than fully compete through the outing; strong arm

Overall

Ineffective outing for Colome due to command and control issues; extremely inconsistent finishing delivery; does not repeat arm slot well; fastball was live, and despite working behind in counts had batters late in hitter’s counts; body looked bigger than listed; will get hit around by big league hitters with current command; missed high and out of the zone; also threw an 85-86 slider on a couple of occasions, with cutting action; good change of sight line; finds delivery in stretches; held fastball velocity until lifted; tough to correct root cause of command issues.

Overall, project Colome as a seventh-inning reliever, with the ceiling of an eighth-inning guy. The arm is live and there is a foundation of secondary stuff, but the command profile makes it difficult to see the pitcher as a starter long term. Colome will need a good chunk of improvement to maintain a career in the majors as well. I feel that short-burst outings will allow him to focus more on repeating the delivery and simplify things. There were a couple of stretches where Colome locked in for a few hitters and showed more overall crispness. These fluctuations lead me to believe he can be successful in the role with the right mindset. The fastball jumps on hitters and is likely to operate mid-to-high 90s as a reliever. Colome wasn’t overly stressed in getting up to 96 during the start. At times, he looked like he was trying to throw too easy and wasn’t going with what comes natural. I did not like the body language and the vibe the pitcher gave off after a tough first inning. It felt like he had resided himself to a tough night. An area to follow up on in subsequent looks since Colome won’t be successful in high-leverage situations with that kind of mentality.

OFP: High 5; set-up man

Risk Factor: Moderate

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