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July 26, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts

July 26, 2013

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

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Direct Links to Individual Player Reports

Luis Sardinas Jake Skole Kolten Wong
Robert Stephenson Eduardo Rodriguez Hernan Perez

Luis Sardinas

SS

Texas Rangers

DOB: 05/16/1993

Height: 6’1’’

Bats: Switch

MLB ETA: 2015

Weight: 150 lbs

Throws: Right

Current Team: High-A Myrtle Beach

Date(s) Seen: 07-8/12-2013

Date Filed: July 25, 2013

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: International FA; 2009; Venezuela

Filed By: Jason Parks

Physical/Health

Injury history to both shoulders; very slender; skinny legs; not much to physically project; thin wrists; narrow waist; lacks much upper body strength.

Hit Tool

Excellent bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate; fluid swing; clean; gets into zone quickly; controls the bat very well; uses the entire field; contact/line-drive swing; good bat speed; the kid is a hitter; can square velocity; tracks the ball well; natural.

Grade: 5 Present/High 6 future

Power

Limited strength; swing not geared for over-the-fence power; can generate slugging through doubles/triples; has extra-base hit potential; not a power threat.

Grade: 2 Present/2 Future

Glove

Silky smooth leather; well above average actions; soft hands; absorbs the ball; natural fielder when focused; good backhand pickup; good on balls directly at him; very good range/lateral quickness; it’s all very easy; true Venezuelan shortstop; projects to stay at position.

Grade: 6 Present/7 Future

Arm

Strong arm; easy plus; throwing mechanics can get sloppy; can whip it from lower slot and lose accuracy; when he needs to gear up, he has plenty of arm strength; can make every throw; weapon.

Grade: 6 Present/ 6 Future

Baserunning/Speed

Inconsistent run; can show 7 times to first; more than enough speed to impact game; can get too causal on base; drifts aggressively off first; has 30-plus stolen base potential; needs baserunning refinement.

Grade: High 6 Present /High 6 Future

Other

Not a max-effort player; can give away at-bats; frustrating; makes it all look very easy, both with the glove and when it comes to contact; when he wants to shine, he can.

Overall

Impact shortstop at highest level; easy plus glove; easy plus run; plus arm; plus potential hit tool; natural player; questionable work ethic/effort; limited power; leadoff potential if bat develops; has idea/approach at the plate; down-the-lineup glove-first type as a floor.

OFP Grade: Role 6; first-division player

Risk Factor: High; injury history/makeup concerns

***


Jake Skole

OF

Texas Rangers

DOB: 01/17/1992

Height: 6’1’’

Bats: Left

MLB ETA: 2015

Weight: 200 lbs.

Throws: Right

Current Team: High-A Myrtle

Date(s) Seen: 07/8-12/2013

Date Filed: 07/25/2013

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: First round; 2010 draft

Filed By: Jason Parks

Physical/Health

Football build; thick upper body; noticeably strong; mature/lacks projection.

Hit Tool

Poor hitter; struggles against velocity; struggles against off-speed offerings; swing has slow trigger; length; fringe bat speed; small pocket for sweet-spot contact; can hit mistakes from right-handers; chewed up by arm-side pitching; not impact bat.

Grade: 3 Present/High 3 Future

Power

Good strength, but doesn’t generate good bat speed and doesn’t make enough hard contact for power numbers; not going to get easier as he climbs; could run into a few mistakes; batting practice displays don’t indicate much.

Grade: 3 Present/ 3 Future

Glove

Can play center field defense; above average glove; good instincts for the position; good reads/routes; defensive versatility (can play all three spots); best tool; can refine more.

Grade: 5 Present/High 5 Future

Arm

Average arm strength; gets good utility out of it; good transfers; good release; can make throws from right field; plays well in center; good accuracy.

Grade: 5 Present/5 Future

Baserunning/Speed

Below average times to first (~4.3); limited baserunning looks; runs better in center; good athlete that makes up for lack of plus raw speed with good jumps/first step; should maintain present speed

Grade: 4 Present/4 Future

Other

Long history with player; never impressed with defensive skill set; walked away from series very impressed with ability to handle up-the-middle spot; lacks ideal speed but has instincts and proper reads/routes so range is solid; only above average tool; played with effort; ran every ball out; heady in the field during the game.

Overall

Lacks impact potential; can play all three outfield spots; bat won’t play as regular; lacks bat-to-ball ability; shows some approach; will play in upper minors; glove gives him a chance.

OFP Grade: Role 4; 5th outfielder

Risk Factor: Moderate; glove-first player

***

Kolten Wong

2B

St. Louis Cardinals

DOB: 10/10/1990

Height: 5’9”

Bats: L

MLB ETA: 2014

Weight: 185

Throws: R

Current Team: Triple-A Memphis

Date(s) Seen: 06/18-21/2013

Date Filed: 07/25/2013

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: 1st round (#22); 2011

Filed By: Jason Cole

Physical/Health

Listed height/weight appears relatively accurate; short but well built with good core strength and athleticism; little to no concern about the smallish frame holding up over the long haul.

Hit Tool

Very good feel for hitting; knows his game and executes it; doesn’t try to overstep his boundaries at the plate, a trap many undersized hitters fall into; approach is best described as selectively aggressive; doesn’t often expand zone and will take a walk, but is very aggressive on pitches within the zone and looks to attack; ideal approach for a pure hitter; can use all fields but likes to turn with some authority; hands are quick and strong; shows ability to make adjustments on the fly; employs a leg kick; have some concerns about timing issue often created by leg kick, but was getting it down on time and adjusted to pitchers using slide step and other timing-disrupting mechanisms in this look.

Grade: Present 55/Future 60

Power

Has good sock given his size, but below average power on the whole; shows some gap-to-gap pop to all fields; can turn on a ball with some home run power pull side; projects for more gap-to-gap/doubles power with low-double digit HR annually.

Grade: Present 40/Future 40

Glove

Instincts and first-step quickness at second base are fantastic; enables pure tools to play up; reads groundballs very well off the bat and gets to his spot; quickness/reads allow him to consistently get in front and center himself on tough balls; range is at least solid-avg; hands are good enough; polished look at second; could have the glove to handle left side in a pinch if absolutely necessary, but best suited for 2B.

Grade: Present 55/Future 60

Arm

Short second baseman’s arm action; below average strength but good accuracy and feel on throws; arm plays fine at second base but lack of strength may be an issue if he ever plays left side in a pinch.

Grade: Present 40/Future 40

Baserunning/Speed

Average runner; 4.20-4.25 times home to first; no reason to believe body will get out of hand or lose athleticism in near future; should maintain speed; plays up a tick on base paths with excellent instincts and baserunning skills; picks his spots well; 14/15 SB thus far in Triple-A.

Grade: Present 50/Future 50

Other

N/A

Overall

Between his feel to hit, glove, baserunning skills, and overall instincts, Wong is a solid across-the-board player. He’s one of the more complete position players in the minor leagues, particularly when you factor in his polish and the fact that he’s relatively close to the major leagues. Wong won’t light you up with raw tools, but it’s fun to watch, and it’s the type of player who logs a long big-league career as a solid-average regular. While I love his general approach to hitting, I have a few questions about the leg kick and would like to see that over a longer look. I think it could lead to some inconsistency and will, at the very least, always be a watching point in his setup/swing mechanics. I don’t think it’ll keep him from being a fine major leaguer, however.

OFP: 55; solid-average regular

Risk Factor: Low

***


Robert Stephenson

RHP

Cincinnati Reds

DOB: 2/24/93

Height: 6’2”

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2016

Weight: 190

Throws: R

Current Team: High-A Bakersfield

Date(s) Seen: 7/19/13

Date Filed: 7/24/13

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: 1st round (27th overall), 2011 Draft

Filed By: Chris Rodriguez

Mechanics

High 3/4 slot; athletic body/delivery; super quick arm; arm slot is consistent throughout game; good stride toward the plate; some effort in delivery; whips head and neck down after release; room to fill out physically.

#1 Pitch

Fastball was 97-98 (T 99) early; dipped down to 94-96 around the third; high arm slot gives the pitch good shape and plane; movement was good; ball has more life when it’s in the 94-96 range; tends to flatten out at the higher velocities; struggled staying on top of the ball; missed arm-side and high later in the game; hitters put good swings on it and got some hard contact when pitch was centered in the middle of the plate; has the look of an elite pitch when command sharpens.

Grade: Present 5/Future 8

#2 Pitch

Curveball was his best secondary pitch; sat 82-84 with the same arm speed as fastball; very good spin; can get on the side of ball and it can turn into a slurve; flashed the ability to throw the pitch for strikes and get hitters to chase; hung a fair share of offerings; created some ugly swings due to raw movement/velocity; future above average offering.

Grade: Present 4/ Future 6

#3 Pitch

Changeup was much too firm early and lost most of its movement; was 90-91 and was tough to distinguish with the naked eye that it wasn’t a fastball; found the proper speed and kept it around 86-88 for most of the game; standard circle-change grip; arm speed was good; movement was decent; pitch got flat when it was left up; showed good feel for the pitch in later innings; could be an above average pitch going forward, but it’s likely a league-average pitch.

Grade: Present 3/ Future 5

Other

Overall command was fringy; wasn’t able to hit the same spot twice in an at-bat; tough to say where he will end up, but his overall athleticism gives him a good command profile; might be prudent to add a pitch to his arsenal that would be more conducive for strikes, like a slider or cutter; will most likely get to the majors with present three pitches alone; around 1.20-1.25 to the plate from the stretch; controlled running game well; quick pace; was poised on the mound; didn’t seem to get rattled for being such a young guy.

Overall

Stephenson has elite stuff with a future in the top of a rotation. The fastball is already very good, and once the command sharpens he’ll be able to move the pitch wherever he wants in the zone. The off-speed pitches are still far behind what they can be in the future, but they have at least league-average ceilings. The great stuff, athletic body, and good poise all lead to a no. 2 starter when it’s all said and done. Some scouts have even thrown the word “ace” out there, but I believe that’s a bit aggressive. If they decide to push him, he could get a cup of coffee late in 2015, with 2016 being the more conservative development plan.

OFP Grade: Role 7; no. 2 starter

Risk Factor: High

***

Eduardo Rodriguez

LHP

Baltimore Orioles

DOB: 4/7/1993

Height: 6’2

Bats: Left

MLB ETA: 2014

Weight: 200

Throws: Left

Current Team: Bowie (Double-A Eastern League)

Date(s) Seen: 7/23/2013

Date Filed: 7/24/2013

Have Video? No

How Acquired: Signed as Amateur Free Agent, January 2010

Filed By: Mark Anderson, Jr.

Mechanics

Quiet from start to finish; very simple; repeatable; stays tight throughout; good balance at the top; will show a deep knee bend on the drive leg but maintains angle most of the time; lift leg stays tight to body, helping balance and repeatability; arm is quick and loose and stays with rest of body throughout; gets caught a little short out front at times, not finishing pitches; shows aptitude for correcting delivery on the fly; finishes square and prepared to field; strong overall mechanical profile.

#1 Pitch

Fastball, Velocity: 90-93 (T94); consistent 91-93 through first four innings; velo dipped to 90-91 starting in fifth inning. Pounded the strike zone; consistently moved ball to both sides; worked ladder as well; left ball up when he didn’t extend out front; projects for plus command on the back of mechanical simplicity/repeatability and early feel for moving FB around the zone. Lacks significant movement but isn’t true either; FB showed more life later in start as velo dipped; will rely on angle and command more than natural life. Some physical projection remaining and as such, some FB projection; should sit in upper velocity register at physical peak; overall fastball profile is robust with velocity, command, angle, life, etc.

Grade: Present 5+/Future 6

#2 Pitch

Changeup, Velocity: 83-84 (T85); consistent velocity throughout start. Arm-side fade was consistently present; occasional sink, particularly when thrown in 82-83 mph range; movement keeps pitch off barrel. Confident in pitch; threw it in a variety of counts, including behind; good velo delta from FB; maintains arm speed; sells it very well; pitch plays well off FB; sets it up well but will pitch off CH at times; quality second pitch.

Grade: Present 5/Future 6

#3 Pitch

Slider, Velocity: 81-84 (T86), crisp in 83-84 mph range; tried to add and subtract but many in slower range (81-82) he got around the outside. Harder SL showed darting two-plane movement; shorter break when thrown harder but could miss bats; slower SL was looser and lacked tight spin; showed more sweeping 2-to-8 break when he got around it; much better overall movement when thrown harder. Struggled with feel early in start; rotation and overall quality improved throughout outing; can move around and outside the zone; showed several above average versions and a couple with plus grades; inconsistent feel for offering.

Grade: Present 4/Future 5+

Other

Everything looks easy; good physicality; long arms and legs with good leverage in spite of deep drive leg bend; very confident on the mound; good presence; strong overall pitching IQ; sets hitters up and will throw all pitches in any count; threw SL confidently despite intermittent success; pitches forward and backward; established FB early; pitched inside more as velo dipped during start; holds runners well; 1.19-1.38 to plate; varied move to first; didn’t see best pickoff move; good fielding position at completion of delivery; reacts well to the ball off the bat; has fielding instincts.

Overall

Broad profile; potential for three above average or better pitches; FB-CH can be excellent combo; SL flashes disguise and could be a very good complimentary offering; tremendous feel for the craft at a young age; knows what he’s doing and why he’s doing it; polished despite age; limited physical projection remaining; doesn’t need substantial grade jumps to reach ceiling; command profile is strong with likelihood of at least average command, if not better; quality mid-rotation arm.

Grade: 6; No. 3 starter

Risk Factor: Moderate


***

Hernan Perez

2B

Detroit Tigers

DOB: 3/26/1991

Height: 6’1

Bats: Right

MLB ETA: 2013

Weight: 185

Throws: Right

Current Team: Detroit (American League)

Date(s) Seen: 6/11/13 and 6/14/13 through 6/16/13 (with Double-A Erie)

Date Filed: 7/24/13

Have Video? No

How Acquired: Signed as Amateur Free Agent, July 2007

Filed By: Mark Anderson, Jr.

Physical/Health

Surprising size for Latin American middle infielder; lean; athletic; wiry strong; quick twitch ability; impressive physicality for his position.

Hit Tool

Simple load with easy swing mechanics; repeats everything well; hands are consistently in a position to get the bat to the zone on time; above average bat speed and quick trigger; allows ball to travel deep and works entire field with ease; likes to swing; will get caught out front at times due to eagerness; occasionally shows aptitude for recognizing spin; lacks consistency with secondary stuff but has made strides since prior viewings; contact is consistently hard and sprayed; quality situational hitter who can handle the bat; potential average hit with only approach refinements necessary.

Grade: Present 4/Future 5

Power

Bat speed with wiry strength; strong wrists; snaps the bat through the zone with authority; can drive to both gaps and pull down LF line; minimal lift in swing; potential line drive machine, translates to plenty of doubles; despite physicality, doesn’t have power projection; strong gap power projection but not overwhelming.

Grade: Present 3/Future 3+

Glove

Has all the tools; excellent instincts; has feel for second base; very good first step; moves well to both sides; above average range; soft hands; movements are confident and fluid in all respects; gets a little rushed on the pivot at times; has footwork and transfer to turn excellent double play; needs overall consistency as tools don’t always play; tools could play on left side in spurts, adding to versatility.

Grade: Present 5/Future 6

Arm

Left side arm; good raw strength; likes to show it off; quick release helps arm play up; accuracy is very good when feet are set; has to settle down on rangy plays and trust his arm instead of forcing it; arm plays well on pivot; true plus tool.

Grade: Present 6/Future 6

Baserunning/Speed

Run looks easy but he doesn’t get there as quick as you expect; fringy times to first; better runner once underway; lets it all hang out; max effort runner; instinctual baserunner; can take extra bases; instincts lead to good jumps and steals; potential for 15-20 annually; instincts help raw run play up.

Grade: Present 5/Future 5

Other

Highly intelligent; baseball rat; understands his role in every scenario; good leadership ability; loves the game; makeup is off the charts; scrappy player; carries himself like a big leaguer.

Overall

Nothing stands out but he does everything well; defense and arm are best tools; plus ability on right side; has average potential on left side, adding to versatility; offensive approach is aggressive but won’t hinder natural hitting ability from coming through; average hitter who can do everything that’s asked of him; could fit in two-hole at peak but likely fits better in bottom third of the lineup; power is surprising; pop will manifest in doubles more than home runs, but not without over-the-fence juice; broad skill set that plays up with instincts, intelligence, and effort.

Grade: 5; Solid Everyday Second Baseman

Risk Factor: High

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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