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March 17, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/17

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff


Rangers (Jason Parks, Mark Anderson)

IF Travis Demeritte: Incredibly fast hands at the plate; quick trigger; uses hands to hit but has good hip rotation and generates torque; attacks the ball; shows plus bat speed; contact is all hard/loud; can backspin the ball and leave the yard; pitchers won’t beat him with velocity; willing to wait for his pitch; fast-twitch athlete; not a straight-line plus runner to first but has second gear; lacks ideal range for shortstop but excellent actions and plus arm at third/weapon arm at 2B; coordinated around the bag; will make plays; most likely a role 5 player with offensive ceiling for a little more. –Jason Parks

RHP Akeem Bostick: When you hear people talk about projection, Bostick is the prototype; 6-foot-4 with long limbs and a frame to hold good weight; athletic and lean but not frail; high ¾ slot; mechanics are deliberate, with some noise in the front side; struggled with consistency in the delivery; arm action was good but wasn’t finishing out in front; fastball was 88-92 and touched 93; tendency to work up and get flat; sharp pitch when he worked lower in the zone, creating steep plane and late arm-side run; perhaps a result of his release (and not deliberate), pitch would show some cut at 90-91; flashed a promising slider at 81 mph; some tilt but more sweep; pitch ran away from right-handed bats; good feel for a 82-83 mph changeup; below-average overall command at present but has some control and pitchability; raw arm with potential; loved the physical promise and athleticism; delivery needs work; could take a few years but profile could offer impact. –Jason Parks

LHP Yohander Mendez: Handed $1.5 million coming out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old, Mendez remains an underappreciated prospect who could burst onto the national scene in 2014. A solid athlete who stands 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Mendez's arm action is clean and he repeats his entire delivery and high-3/4 arm slot well. Across three innings on Saturday Mendez demonstrated an ability to move the fastball around the zone while sitting 89-91. Even when he ramped up to 92-93, Mendez still worked low and to the edges. He used his height to his advantage and worked with good leverage on the fastball, slicing through the strike zone with good angle. The changeup is well ahead of the curveball, and could be a legitimate plus big-league offering with excellent arm-speed deception and some wiggle. Mendez's curveball improved throughout the outing but still lags as a distant third pitch that has average potential and should be able to induce weak contact, if not miss bats consistently. On top of quality raw stuff that has projection remaining, Mendez showed a surprising feel for sequence at a young age, setting up his changeup well and keeping hitters off balance. The entire package, including the projectable frame that could allow the fastball to bump into the 92-94 range consistently, is enticing and should allow Mendez to become more of a household name over the next six to 12 months. –Mark Anderson

OF Jairo Beras: One day of batting practice and a handful of back-field at-bats are hardly enough to draw any significant conclusions about a player, but Beras did make an impression. As a player, Beras remains extremely raw, a lottery ticket that is highly unlikely to manifest between the lines. That said, he demonstrated better athleticism and coordination than I expected given prior conversations with scouts. The swing is long and the feel for the barrel certainly looked questionable in an abbreviated viewing, but he did show occasional ability to shorten up and get the bat into the zone quicker when he was behind in the count. He has the natural bat speed to handle velocity and wait out secondary pitches, but the maturity required to take this approach rather than selling out to show off the raw power has yet to arrive. These are small things that aren't suddenly going to put a shine on Beras' prospect stock, but they are worth noting in the context of a player who was surprisingly crude for the hype and money he received. –Mark Anderson

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