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August 29, 2013

What Scouts Are Saying

August 29, 2013

by Baseball Prospectus

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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.

Major Leagues

Mets OF Matt Den Dekker: “I can't help but enjoy watching him play. He's easy to like. He plays the game hard. He plays it the right way. I know the profile isn't great, but he can do a little of everything and won't kill you in any area. He's a fourth outfielder de jour and I wouldn't write him off as a little more than that in some seasons.”



Royals LHP Danny Duffy: "There's a piece of me that wonders if the Royals should have swapped out Wade Davis for Duffy three weeks ago. His command and control are streaky at best, but he has the type of arm strength that you rarely see from a left-hander, and he gets so closed off in his delivery that the crossfire creates a very difficult angle for hitters. His six-inning gem in Detroit showed just how devastating he can be against even one of the best lineups in baseball. It's a roller-coaster ride, but his best is better than a lot of major leaguers' best. Given that he is so recently removed from TJ, I think that there is a good chance that his command of all his stuff takes a bump next season."

Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie: "His detractors will tell you that his makeup makes him a risk or prone to streakiness, but I think that line of thinking is just caddywhompus. He plays at level 10 with an extra shot of espresso at all times, but he is still under control. He has impressive forearm strength that lets him snap the bat head through the zone, but he does a good job of staying back on balls and driving them the other way, whereas he was just looking to yank everything when he first came up. I think he is among the five best defenders at his position in the game, and he is only going to improve. He is very quick and has more than enough arm strength to make the toughest plays to his right. I am comfortable saying that he is going to be a superstar third baseman, and it's more likely to happen sooner than later."

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler: “Wheeler has front-of-the-rotation potential, but I think it's a bit tall to expect him to step up and fill Matt Harvey's shoes in the event that Harvey needs Tommy John. Wheeler's got an explosive FB, but his command isn't in the same class as Harvey's. His slider is his only consistent plus secondary pitch, though both his curveball and his changeup have plus potential, but his biggest bugaboo is his inability to throw consistent strikes. Harvey is an ace not just because of his great arsenal, but his ability to pound the zone with it. But Met fans can't be faulted for dreaming of a rotation anchored by Harvey and Wheeler for the next decade.”

Minor Leagues

Nationals Triple-A IF Danny Espinosa: “There's a lot of talk about his being available, but I don't think any team could feel remotely confident about what they would be acquiring. He gutted things out through a broken wrist earlier in the season, but it's not as if he has lit the world on fire since coming off the disabled list. I think his value to a club presently lies as a quality defensive utility middle infielder; his defense doesn't appear to be limited by the wrist, but he has been so limited at the plate that I would be hard pressed to think there's a team out there that sees him as an everyday player at this point.”

Orioles Low-A RHP Hunter Harvey: “I said no. 2 this spring, but when I saw him in the GCL and the first Aberdeen game I gave him a chance to be a 1. What the hell, someone has to, right?”




Rays Triple-A OF Kevin Kiermaier: "Big-time sleeper in some scouting circles. The 23-year-old former 31st-round draft pick out of Parkland College in Illinois displays a Brett Gardner-like toolset, and is the sole reason that former first-round pick Mikie Mahtook had to play right field for most of the season in Montgomery. Promoted to Triple-A Durham for the second half of the season, Kiermaier shows top-shelf speed and instincts in tracking down balls in center field, while also using his gap-to-gap line-drive approach and sneaky power to produce an .854 OPS with an impressive 12% extra base hit rate and six triples in AAA. Kiermaier has flown under the radar for a long time due to where he was drafted, but he shouldn't much longer, as I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he lands an everyday center field job with either the Rays or another club in the near future."

Angels Double-A 2B Taylor Lindsey: "I can see how some guys would be skeptical because it's not a traditional setup. He can hit. He has good power. I'd make a bet with anyone. He's at least Kelly Johnson."




Royals Low-A OF Bubba Starling: "Bubba Starling has been on a little hot run as of late, but I don't think it's an indication he's turned the corner, so to speak. I still think the pitch recognition skills are very questionable. There's no denying the tools and athleticism, but that's a big issue for him to overcome."

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Premium Article The Call-Up: Taijuan W... (08/29)
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Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (08/30)

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