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September 19, 2013

What Scouts Are Saying

September 19, 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

Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta: "It is still easy to change opinions quickly on whether he is a starter or reliever. He is one of many pitchers where the sum is less than the parts. He has stuff, a great body, can get swings and misses, and can put together dominant stretches. That being said, he can disappear with the best of them and look like a walk waiting to happen. He has to be frustrating for them because he has so much promise."


Red Sox OF Quintin Berry: “Don't be surprised if he ends up on the division series roster when rotations are shorter. He's just a live wire, extremely quick, and has deceptively long strides. His speed in a pinch-hit role wreaks havoc on the pitcher, the catcher, even defensive shifts. He's got the bat control to execute situationally, and he's a solid defender in the outfield if needed. He's the type of Swiss Army sparkplug that swings huge games.”


Padres RHP Andrew Cashner: "This guy is really coming fast with his ascent to the top of a rotation. His delivery is under control and he is repeating extremely well. He is one of the best athletes on the mound in the league and has really turned the corner with his pitch making. It looks like he has added a two-seam FB to his already dominant velocity and that could be a difference maker. I saw him pitch as well as he ever has this week and he is quickly becoming a legit ace."


Braves 1B Freddie Freeman: "I personally believe he is criminally underrated. His athleticism and body control set him apart from other first basemen. He's incredibly mobile for his size and an excellent defender, which I think is overlooked at first base. He chokes up on the bat but still generates power because he's got such a short simple swing with some muscle behind it. He's consistent as they come, and he's getting better. "


Brewers RHP Johnny Hellweg: "He fights his height in his delivery, but when everything is on time it is quality. He drops and drives but still gets good boring action on his fastball. His curveball can knee-buckle lefties and righties and can get misses when its in the dirt, he's just not ahead in the count enough right now. His inconsistent command stems from his delivery, and bigger pitchers can take a lot longer to gain full control of their mechanics."


Padres RHP Burch Smith: “Wow. He came into the game with an ERA near 10 and flashed three above-average pitches, including a wipeout changeup, en route to seven scoreless innings against the team with the best record in the league. He's got a great body, a live arm, and in that ballpark I don't see why he can't succeed in the middle of a starting rotation.”


Braves RHP Julio Teheran: "Teheran is tough to fall in love with unless you catch him on the right day. I’ve seen him for a few years now and one day I will see him dominate and the next time I see him have no idea where the strike zone is. He has weapons and can attack hitters but I’m still not convinced how reliable he is from start to start."

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

BP Comment Quick Links

TGisriel

As an O's fan who watched Arrieta for several years hoping that he would mature into an effective starting pitcher, I think the scout's comment is right on point.

I was not pleased by the O's trade of Arrieta and Strop for Feldman. I thought the O's were giving up too much.

Arrieta still has the potential for the light to come on and be a solid starting pitcher.

Sep 19, 2013 07:19 AM
rating: 0
 
danugglasforearm

Teheran has a 6.2 BB%, and league average is around 8. His K% is also above league-average. I'm not sure it's fair to say he has no idea where the strike zone is, at times. A 3.56 K/BB is impressive, for a rookie no less, over an entire season. To measure his impact in a way that makes it seem like he's making 4 or 5 appearances a season is unfair.

The Braves have always done a good job of harnessing control for their SP prospects, to the point that it should probably be expected by now. Their only starter this season with a BB% above league average is Alex Wood (by 0.5%), and he's still striking out enough batters to make up for it.

Sep 19, 2013 08:52 AM
rating: 3
 
Pat Folz

To be fair, he's had >= 3 BB in 4 of his last 5 starts.

To be more fair, he had 3 BB in 3 of his 23 prior starts (and never more than 3).

Sure seems like he's a bit tuckered out is all. He's been sort of amazingly consistent with the BBs this year, actually. That scout hasn't been paying attention.

Sep 19, 2013 12:53 PM
rating: 1
 
izzy2112

I don't get the Cashner "Legit Ace" thing. He's been a bit better than an average pitcher this year, but not much. Also, Freeman is probably a bit overrated.

Sep 19, 2013 09:19 AM
rating: -1
 
danugglasforearm

I think Freeman receives the typical .300 hitter overrating, but he is a legitimately good hitter. If he adds just a bit more power and can get to 30 HR, he's a top 3 MVP guy. His FB% has dropped over the years, but so has his GB%, and his LD% has been rising. Increasing BB%, decreasing K%, and all signs point to Freeman still improving, and becoming a very good hitter, even for 1B. If anything, he's underrated on defense. However, the fact that his name is even mentioned as an MVP candidate, and that he'll likely receive votes, means it's pretty tough to be underrated.

Sep 19, 2013 10:14 AM
rating: 2
 
izzy2112

He's obviously very good, but I think he's thought of as a bit better than he really is. I don't think I'd put him among the 50 best players in baseball and I think people talk like he is.

Sep 19, 2013 11:54 AM
rating: 0
 
JBleezy

hence the word, "becoming".... not there yet, so the stats don't tell all, but looks like he is getting there

Sep 19, 2013 10:55 AM
rating: 1
 
sho044

The comment on Cashner said that he was "quickly becoming a legit ace", not that he has been one since opening day. He has the prototypical size, and despite being a bit older than a normal prospect, he has thrown a limited number of innings to this point in his career. His velocity is elite for a SP, and his groundball rate is over 50% and in the top ten in the league as well. Particularly in the second half, he has added 1 k/9 versus the first half of the season. I think the scouting and the stats match up fairly well in this case.

Sep 19, 2013 11:42 AM
rating: 2
 
BelongstotheReds

Is there a date on that Teheran note? Sounds like it came from a year ago. See danugglasforearm note above.

Sep 19, 2013 09:21 AM
rating: 2
 
Brady Childs

Loving this series. It's short, simple, but very informative.

I love me some Burch Smith.

Sep 19, 2013 12:09 PM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

I don't like this feature. By it's very nature you're going to publish the quotes that are most interesting or inflammatory, whether or not they're actually true. It sure seems like every edition contains at least one statement that is demonstrably false, like the Teheran comment this time. While these are usually a cut above the silliness that gets printed in like Sports Illustrated's "scouts section" bits and such, it's still the sort of thing that gave scouts a bad name in the "stats vs. scouts" crap back in the day.

You know what would make it better? For every player featured, have at least two quotes from different sources. Maybe they'd say the same thing, maybe they'd contradict each other, but it would give a more complete and fair depiction of What Scouts Are Saying.

Sep 19, 2013 13:12 PM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

Thinking about Andrew Cashner, I am reminded in some ways of the reports on Brendan Morrow. How do they compare performance wise?

Sep 19, 2013 18:19 PM
rating: 0
 
AWBenkert

If one is described as "criminally underrated", does that mean he is underrated as a criminal or that underrating him should be a criminal offense? If it is the latter, what is the appropriate punishment?

Apr 16, 2014 11:24 AM
rating: 0
 
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<< Previous Article
Reworking WARP: The Im... (09/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying... (09/12)
Next Column >>
What Scouts Are Saying... (04/10)
Next Article >>
Overthinking It: Billy... (09/19)

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