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September 5, 2013

What Scouts Are Saying

September 5, 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

Reds OF Billy Hamilton: "One thing that always shows up is his speed... and it can make a difference in every game that he plays. But I’m still not sold on the baseball player. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense when he is in the box, but there isn’t great bat-to-ball skills right now. My biggest concern for him at the major-league level is whether defenses will bunch him so much that it takes away his offensive upside. But when he gets on base, it is electrifying to see him run."


Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez: “The best I have seen him in nearly three years. The delivery has a lot of flaws, but he did a better job of repeating and held velocity up to 97 late in the game. He has a really good changeup and the breaking stuff is workable. May have some of the best stuff on the free agent market if and when he opts out of his 2014 mutual option.”


Indians 2B Jason Kipnis: "The best power-speed combination of any 2B in the game right now, and he just continues to improve. If he can cut down on his strikeouts he might become the best 2B in the game. He does all the little things and plays the game the right way. If he played in New York or Los Angeles, he would be a superstar."


Cubs OF Junior Lake: "He is starting to figure it out. He has always had the physical tools but never really looked like a natural baseball player. To see him slow the game down makes him a viable player. Of all the defensive questions I had in the past, his athleticism is starting to answer them at multiple positions. He has the physical attributes to impact major-league games… and it is starting to show up more regularly than expected."


Diamondbacks SS Chris Owings: "One of the more underrated prospects I have seen this summer. He is a true baseball player who does everything well. I’ve seen him hit… he defends well… has the look of instincts. He is probably a better bet to impact a team than he gets credit for. I see no reason why he wouldn’t be an above-average everyday player soon."


Minor Leagues

Yankees Low-A 1B Gregory Bird: “He recognizes pitches early as well as anyone I saw in the minor leagues this year. His swing is fluid, he's got bat speed, he can drive pitches on the outer half to left-center field already and he looks like he is going to get a lot bigger. If you want to pick nits, he's an average defender, but he looks like what major leaguers look like.”



Nationals Short-Season RHP Lucas Giolito: “Big, strong kid with surprising coordination for his size. Power arm has returned to form with velocity hitting 94-98 but not with a ton of movement. Seems to be on his way to a full recovery from Tommy John surgery but needs to regain his ability to pitch. Right now he’s just a thrower. That’s not very surprising, though. Curve and change have big-league potential, but he needs to regain his feel for those pitches. Still, he’s extremely athletic and only 19, so there’s plenty of time.”


Yankees Rookie-Level 2B Gosuke Katoh: "He's got a pencil-thin build, and he looks like he could have been a Little League World Series ringer two or three years ago, but he stands right on top of the plate, doesn't mind the ball close to him, and can rip the head of the bat through the zone. There's good violence in his swing and he has deceptive power. He's at least a plus runner and his speed and quickness play well on the defensive end, where he has strong range and great reactions. He makes things look very easy for such a young player."

Rays Low-A CF Andrew Toles: "He's a throwback leadoff hitter. No batting gloves, likes to hit, and plus-plus speed with willingness to swipe a bag at any time. The stroke is not ideal but he does have good hands and a nose for the fat part of the bat. There's surprising juice too. The game just comes natural to him on both sides of the ball. If he handles upper-level pitching with the hickeys in his bat path, he could become an impact middle-of-the-diamond player."

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