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August 16, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts

August 16, 2013

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

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Direct Links to Individual Player Reports

Blake Swihart Danny Burawa Nate Karns
Tyrone Taylor

Blake Swihart

Catcher

Red Sox

DOB: 04/03/1992

Height : 6’1’’

Bats: Both

MLB ETA: 2015

Weight: 180 lbs.

Throws: Right

Current Team: High-A Salem

Date(s) Seen: 07/08-11/2013

Date Filed: 08/15/2013

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: 1st round; 2011

Filed By: Jason Parks

Physical/Health

Bigger than he looks on the field; stands a solid 6’1’’; good build; lower half not as rotund as most backstops; clean health.

Hit Tool

Clean stroke from both sides of the plate; eerily similar swing; shows very good bat speed; good bat control; good high-ball hitter who can get square velocity above standard plane; line-drive stroke; has good raw pop but doesn’t sell out for power; works himself into favorable conditions but can be aggressive early against fastballs; tracks the ball well; has natural bat-to-ball ability; will use entire field.

Grade: Present 4/Future High 5

Power

Can sting the ball; loud contact; swing lacks big lift; has raw strength and bat speed to send a few over the fence, but mostly a gap-to-gap type because of the swing plane; doesn’t project to hit for average home run power.

Grade: Present 3/Future 4

Glove

Better glove than I was led to believe; very good athlete behind the plate; butt rides low to the ground and the target isn’t large; receives well; shows some drift but nothing sloppy; excellent footwork to stay centered on balls; no question that he stays behind the plate; will improve a full grade because of work ethic and baseball aptitude.

Grade: Present High 4/Future High 5

Arm

Very strong arm; flashed several 7 throws to second; consistent plus; pops in the sub 1.9 range; quick into throwing position; quick release; good accuracy; should develop into very good catch/throw type; aggressive on the back-pick; comfortable and confident in the arm strength; weapon.

Grade: High 6

Baserunning/Speed

Average-at-best run; good athlete with some quickness and agility, but not a true above-average runner; good baseball instincts will eventually show up on bases; heads-up player; won’t be a stolen base threat; not a clogger.

Grade: Present fringe 5/Future 4

Other

Elite makeup; baseball instincts and drive; relatively new to catching; will develop into an above-average receiver; has a plan to his game; good eye at the plate; aggressive but not to a fault; understands the responsibilities of a catcher; legit dual-threat talent; no batting gloves; red ass player.

Overall

Switch-hitting catcher with legit defensive skills and a projectable hit tool; power isn’t big part of game, but should produce extra-base hits from a down-the-lineup role; makeup is top of the scale; will maximize skill-set; could develop into .275 hitter with 10 bombs and 20-plus doubles from behind the plate; top 101 prospect in the game with helium.

OFP Grade: High 5; major-league regular from premium defensive spot

Risk Factor: Moderate

***

Danny Burawa

RHP

New York Yankees

DOB: 12/30/88

Height : 6’2

Bats: R

MLB ETA: Mid-2014

Weight: 210 lbs.

Throws: R

Current Team: Double-A Trenton

Date(s) Seen:6/11 and 8/14/13

Date Filed: 8/15/13

Have Video? No

How Acquired: 12th Round; 2010

Filed By: Zach Mortimer

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; first base side of rubber; short arm action; fast and loose arm; plus torque; high front side; high effort; below-average balance.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: Velocity: 94-98; Command: below average; Movement: plus arm-side life

Notes: attack pitch

Grade: 70/70

#2 Pitch

Slider: Velocity: 85-87 Command: average Movement: sharp break with depth.

Notes: plays well off of fastball; misses are low out of the zone.

Grade: 60/60

#3 Pitch

Other

Will lose complete command at times; injury history mixed with high-effort delivery raises flags.

Overall

Strength: plus-plus fastball; plus slider; violent stuff.

Weakness: below-average command; limited arsenal. Overall, Burawa has near elite arm strength and violent stuff. The below-average command will keep him from pitching in the back end of games, but he can be a useful piece in the middle innings.

OFP: 50; Middle-inning reliever

Risk Factor: High

***

Nate Karns

RHP

Washington Nationals

DOB: 11/25/87

Height : 6’3

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2014

Weight: 230 lbs.

Throws: R

Current Team: Double-A Harrisburg

Date(s) Seen: 8/14/13

Date Filed: 8/15/13

Have Video? No

How Acquired: 12th Round; 2009

Filed By: Zach Mortimer

Mechanics

¾ arm slot; maintains good posture; simple repeatable delivery; maintains line to plate; uses lead arm to whip arm through with a bit of effort; stiff front side.

#1 Pitch

Fastball: Velocity: 91-95(T96); Command: Below average; Movement: good plane and shows arm-side life.

Notes: Command issues make it difficult for Karns to use it as a put-away offering. Will leave elevated over the middle of the plate.

Grade: 60/60

#2 Pitch

Curveball: Velocity: 83-84; Command: plus; Movement: sharp two-plane break.

Notes: attack pitch that can be thrown as a strike as well as a put-away offering. Strikeout offering drops violently out of the zone late.

Grade: 70/70

#3 Pitch

Changeup: Velocity: 84-86; Command: Below average; Movement: flashes arm-side fade.

Notes: inconsistent arm speed; will leave elevated over heart of plate; inconsistent life.

Grade: 40/45

Other

Inefficient; lack of a put-away fastball causes longer at-bats; completely maxed out physically; injury history; front-side stiffness causes inability to command.

Overall

Strength: Curveball is a high-end offering and Fastball Velocity.

Weakness: below average command profile; changeup still needs work; inefficient.

Overall, Karns has a plus-plus curveball and a plus fastball. The lack of a mature changeup, and below-average command leads me to project a future in bullpen.

OFP: 50; 8th inning reliever

Risk Factor: Low

***


Tyrone Taylor

OF

Milwaukee Brewers

DOB 1/22/1994

Height: 6’0”

Bats: R

MLB ETA: 2016

Weight: 185

Throws: R

Current Team: Low A

Date(s) Seen: June 29-30, 2013; July 11, 2013

Date Filed: 8/15/2013

Have Video? Yes

How Acquired: 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Second Round (92nd Overall)

Filed By: Nick J. Faleris

Physical/Health

Athletic build; broad shoulders, medium-broad waist; body projects; lower half could thicken as body matures, solid strength already; moves well in field and on bases.

Hit Tool

Good strike-zone awareness; hits from a wide base with slight rock into load; pre-swing head movement but generally quiet through delivery of barrel; slight tendencies to early lower-half transfer, forcing front-of-center contact and limiting ability to adjust to off-speed; swing can get long, but length not a fixture in mechanics – time to smooth out and more consistently stay compact through contact; bat speed plays, as does approach.

Grade: Present 30/Future 50

Power

Some idea as to how to accelerate barrel through contact; will flash pull-side pop when he gets extended; swing currently geared to line drive; can work gaps and even drive oppo; low-double-digit home run and solid doubles totals seem attainable.

Grade: Present 30/Future 45

Glove

Can really go get it in center; impressive feel for tracking, showing instinctual first step; comfortable going back and coming in to both sides; enough speed to outrun bad reads, but reads were generally good; can finish – leaves his feet!; aggressive/confident first step helps speed play up; could be above-average up-the-middle defender; has made impressive progress since signing.

Grade: Present 45/Future 55

Arm

Tick above-average arm strength; shows solid carry and good accuracy; quick release helps throwing game play up – knows where he’s throwing and gets rid of it; impressive back-to-infield feel.

Grade: Present 55/Future 55

Baserunning/Speed

Plus underway, but out-of-the-box drag drops “playable” half-grade; straight line speed shines in center; candidate to drop to average playable once lower half fully matures.

Grade: Present 55/Future 50

Other

Overall feel is impressive given age (playing full 2013 at 19) and dual-sport attention prior to signing. Tools are solid across the board and generally play up. Good energy; attacks all facets of the game with equal enthusiasm.

Overall

Interesting teen talent. Overall value looks to hinge on hit tool; early signs show feel and ability to make adjustments. Still mechanical smoothing required, particularly in weight transfer. Defensive game ahead of expectations. Proximity to majors and general nature of hit tool development stand as impediments, but this is a guy I’d take in my system any day. On the cusp of first-division projection and minimal ahead-of-curve development could jump stock.

Grade: 55; fringe first-division player

Risk Factor: High

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Minnesota Twins,  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

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