March 20, 2014
Notes from the Field
Spring Scouting Notes, 3/20
(3/19) LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers)
Slider was weapon pitch; 82-86; fastball disguise with late vertical hook; showed mature command of and confidence in the pitch; could throw it for strikes or drop it in the dirt for chase; plus pitch at present; very strong offering; changeup was 81-82; turned over one and buried it in the dirt as an out-pitch; the others were a little flat and up/arm-side; fringe-average right now; most likely a plus outcome.
High role 6 profile; the pitchability is well above-average; the stuff is plus; the delivery and arm action are plus; needs to build innings and stamina, but looks near-ready for major league action; despite current performance and polish, I don’t see a frontline ceiling; more present than projection; most likely a no. 2 starter; extra skin over the left eye doesn’t affect him and is non-issue; market could make him a star. –Jason Parks
RHP Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays):
I have little concern about his durability because of how easy he pitches; very few guys sit 95-98 with little to no effort as he has been both times I've seen him this spring. He can throw his breaking ball to both sides of the plate for strikes, and his hard change stays down. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to repeat and command the fastball as he gets into higher innings totals this season. –Steffan Segui
Video from last week vs. Canada
RHP Joe Jimenez (Tigers)
Jimenez’ slider is sharp and two-plane, and he has a good feel for his changeup, so his floor is high. He just turned 19, and as long as he doesn't get too much bigger, it’s safe to assume that the Tigers will clean up his mechanics. The immediate comp is Ricky Nolasco; if Jimenez can be close to that, he’d be a steal, considering Detroit signed him for less than 100k. He’s definitely someone to watch in an otherwise thin system. –Steffan Segui
3B Hunter Dozier (Royals)
In the field, Dozier takes the same routine before every pitch. You can almost see him clearing his head as he smooths out the dirt in front of him with his cleats. He then pats his glove a few times before taking a Pedroia-esque bunny hop before the ball reaches the plate. In Wednesday’s game, Dozier did something that made him stand out without showing up in the proverbial box score (or the actual one). The Royals’ pitcher bounced a curveball, and before the ball had even skipped in front of the plate, Dozier was on the move to cover third. Once he reached third, he shifted his eyes to the baserunner. He doesn’t react to other players; he reacts to the game. It’s a small difference but a very meaningful one. In warmups, he booted one ground ball. Instead of wasting a chance to work on his fielding technique, he took the time to retrieve the ball, set it in front of him, and properly go through his footwork and throw.
On the batting side, Dozier’s swing is solid, and his approach is even better. Due to hit third in an inning, he came out of the dugout, essentially made his own on-deck circle, and started working on dialing in his timing. Once he was officially on deck, he used the time to perfection. Between pitches he took some practice swings and got his mechanics nailed down. Once the pitcher started to deliver, he focused on finding a timing point to get his heel down and into a strong position to launch his swing. When the ball was released, he tracked it closely to get familiar with its velocity and movement.
Once in the dugout, Dozier was constantly locked in on the game, watching the pitcher and rehearsing some small timing mechanisms even after he was removed to let another Royals hitter get an at-bat. At one point a Royals video guy came over and showed some video to someone else on the team. Dozier walked over to learn something, and when the hitter tried to mimic what the video guy was suggesting, Dozier stepped in to help his teammate.
Dozier is the definition of a baseball rat. It’s rare to see a player with his physical gifts who combines those gifts with such a fervent desire to seek improvement. –Ryan Parker
(3/18) OF Gregory Polanco (Pirates)
Polanco likes (and needs) to get his hands extended, and that trait could be exploited as he sees more advanced pitching. He has impressive barrel awareness and bat-head control for a man with such long levers, but his game should still feature some swing-and-miss. He’s a fairly patient hitter who has some understanding of the strike zone, but he did expand his zone in a fastball count.
Polanco covers ground in the outfield, but his jumps, routes, and reads are all currently subpar. He does have a strong arm, and his build should fit well in right field. Polanco’s competitive nature and loud tools make him an exciting prospect with the potential to be one of the best players in the game if he puts it together with the bat. –Al Skorupa
(3/12 & 3/13) 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays)
Simplified his approach; making more consistent loud contact; power to all fields; not as pull happy as he's been; can go deep at any time to any part of the park; power is starting to carry over into game action; pitch recognition is still a work in progress but has gotten better; took out a few windshields on cars parked behind the RF wall. –Chris King
3B Aderlin Rodriguez (Mets):
Struggles with pitch recognition to the point that it will hold him back. Failed to recognize breaking balls in bottom half of strike zone and below during simulated game. Hit tool is below average and will limit power. In the field, he is stiff and upright at third base. Does not have the hands or range to stay at the position. Has plenty of arm, but unloads from a 3/4 sling angle, causing erratic throws. Should probably already be at first base, and if he fills out any further will be there for sure. The power is for real, but unless he improves his pitch recognition, his hit tool will remain too far below average to allow the power to play, especially at first base. –Jeff Moore