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July 18, 2013

What Scouts Are Saying

July 18, 2013

by Baseball Prospectus

Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.

Phillies SS prospect J.P. Crawford (Rookie GCL Phillies - Phillies 1st round pick (16th overall) of the 2013 draft, BP Scouting Video): "J.P. has come in from day one and embraced a leadership role. A lot of first-round picks come into rookie ball with an attitude and isolate themselves. That’s not the case here. Players gravitate to him, and he welcomes it."

Phillies OF prospect Cord Sandberg (Rookie GCL Phillies - Phillies 3rd round pick of the 2013 draft): "He's a dude. A dude with excellent makeup. He brings the QB mentality to baseball, and it is working."

Reds OF prospect Billy Hamilton (Triple-A Louisville - Reds 2nd round pick of the 2009 draft, Reds no. 1 ranked preseason prospect): "The speed is absolutely fantastic. He's fun to watch when he's on the bases, but I just don't see how it's going to work. There's nothing else that makes me believe he's an everyday big leaguer. You can knock the bat out of his hands with good velocity and he doesn't have the discerning eye to work counts and lay off spin. I just think the hit and on-base comes up short and he's a virtual zero offensively. If he can figure everything out in center field then maybe has a future hitting eighth or ninth and playing good D, but that's even stretching it for me."

Tigers OF prospect Danry Vasquez (Class-A West Michigan, non-drafted free agent signed by the Tigers in 2010, Tigers no. 4 ranked preseason prospect): "[Vasquez] can hit, and I think he will hit some home runs. I want to not like him because of the lack of hustle and the bad defense. I can't ignore the bat, though."

Pirates RHP prospect Erik Cordier (Triple-A Indianapolis - Royals 2nd round pick of the 2004 draft): "First time my radar gun has read 101. Of the 28 [fastballs Cordier] threw, 15 were 100 or 101 mph. Exciting to watch, even if the [pitch] lacks life and command."

Astros 2B prospect Delino DeShields (High-A Lancaster - Astros 1st round pick (8th overall) in the 2010 draft, Astros no. 4 ranked preseason prospect): "He is not going to stick at second base, and his makeup is awful. Outfielder profile and probably a left fielder at that. He has a quick bat, but I see more of a Rajai Davis type of player. He'll make it to the majors and stick for a while because of his name, but he won't be a regular."

Rockies RHP prospect Eddie Butler (High-A Modesto - Rockies 1st round pick (46th pick of the 2012 draft, no. 48 in Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects): "I've been thinking about Butler. In a showcase setting like the Futures Game, where we've got premium talents who have to make their impressions in their quick glimpses, where we see more velocity than ever (everyone throws 95), in order to stand out and truly create that buzz-worthy feeling, you have to show special stuff. That's what Butler accomplished Sunday. It was flat-out electric…three pluses, and make it four if you include his fastball movement. Everything was explosive and tight. Sharp slider, power change up, and an 8 fastball. Having only seen him in this setting, he has more of a bullpen look to him that I'd think would be tough to repeat and consistently command it as a starter. There's some effort and length to it, but it's energy and swing-and-miss stuff that could fit in the back end of the pen."

Rays LHP prospect C.J. Riefenhauser (Triple-A Durham - Rays 20th round pick of the 2010 draft): "I really like Riefenhauser. He attacks with the fastball, and he can spin it, works down in the zone. He's more than a situational guy, but lefties don't stand much chance. He's deceptive, but not to the point there's anything gimmicky or funky about it. He can pitch, and has legit stuff."

Red Sox 2B prospect Mookie Betts (High-A Salem - Red Sox 5th round pick of the 2011 draft): "One player who really stood out was Mookie Betts, who is now in Salem. Doesn't look like he's old enough to vote and would have to stand on a phone book in a voting booth just to see the candidates, but he made consistent contact and showed an otherworldly feel for the strike zone. People balk at robot umpires calling balls and strikes, but you could probably put Betts back there and no one would know the difference."

Yankees OF prospect Slade Heathcott (Double-A Trenton - Yankees 1st round pick (29th overall) of the 2009 draft, Yankees no. 4 ranked pre-season prospect): "Slade Heathcott had a terrible approach when I saw him but was still arguably the most physically talented prospect I've seen this year. He is having a down year, but farm directors dream about players having tools like that, and at his age I would not give up on him."

Related Content:  Quotes,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues,  Scouts

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Fantastic feature! Thanks, guys!

Jul 18, 2013 05:43 AM
rating: 11

I second this! Scout's takes are one of my favorite parts of Perotto's "On The Beat". Glad to see you've given it it's own platform.

Jul 18, 2013 15:26 PM
rating: 0

This was a good piece. Very interesting buts of insight.

Scouts down on both the speedsters here, although for different reasons.

I wonder what the makeup issues with DeShields were.

Jul 18, 2013 06:01 AM
rating: 0
Randy Brown

According to this article...

...it sounds like lack of hustle might be high on the list of makeup issues with DeShields.

Jul 18, 2013 06:31 AM
rating: 0

I was hoping Hamilton could do a decent Juan Pierre impression. He's not yet 23, so writing him off at 22 at AAA is probably premature. Shifting from SS to CF is another possible reason for his struggles as he's learning on the job at a new level. That's the optimistic side. He's still only hitting .240 something with few walks and obviously no power. I see the Reds signing a guy like David DeJesus to fill in the CF gap next year with Choo most likely gone and Hamilton in need of another season at Louisville.

Jul 18, 2013 06:15 AM
rating: 0

Good stuff. This is a cool addition to the already impressive breadth of prospect coverage.

It gives me a chance to ask this question too: when a scout says a player is the best he's seen or the most physically talented or whatever superlative he employs, what am I supposed to take from that? I don't know who he's seen. Should I just just take it as a general statement of enthusiasm? It seems like its meant to convey more weight than that. It's an attention-grabbing statement but without context it's difficult for it to mean much.

Jul 18, 2013 06:40 AM
rating: 3
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think the weight is inherent given their profession, regardless of the specifics of the tenure. It's hard to assign anything more concrete without a more detailed explanation from the source or a complete examination of their resume. I always take such a statement as the highest praise, regardless of the experience involved. One of the reasons I say that is because one of the most respected scout sources I have has only been scouting for a few years. Been in the game all of his life, but only scouting for a short time. I'd put his opinions over most in the game, and that includes guys who have been scouting for 20+ years. I comes down to who you trust, and for this series, we are extracting quotes from sources we have relied on in the past and that we trust. Doesn't mean they are always right, but we feel confident in their evaluation skill-set.

Jul 18, 2013 07:37 AM

I appreciate the response. Not trying to question the legitimacy of your sources, just trying to understand how to evaluate that type of a statement. I consider this a learning process for me, so thanks for indulging the question.

Jul 18, 2013 10:14 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Just a quick comment for emphasis. We WILL continue to include Major League players in these articles. There weren't any this week, but we go with the reports we get at the time.

Jul 18, 2013 09:16 AM

These are the kind of articles that make the BP subscription valuable. Just love this scout stuff.

Jul 18, 2013 19:31 PM
rating: 0

Just seems like there is a large gap between Jimmy Nelson and Butler, but both are considered most likely pen arms. Not everyone has 8 mechanics and even 6 at that, so is this a guy who's a little odd that's being grouped with the alot odd? love that sentence lol

Jul 25, 2013 14:48 PM
rating: 0
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