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March 24, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/24

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

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Arizona Diamondbacks

RHP Aaron Blair: Good frame, well built and athletic, with a high waist and broad shoulders; reminds me physically of John Lackey. Good delivery, repeatable, uses legs well, getting good extension and finishing on balance through the zone.

Saw for three-plus IP; sitting 92-94; threw strikes with better control than command; loose arm, with a low-¾ slot; shows some deception, more so to RHH. Fastball had some tail to both sides of the plate, but was mostly flat; Low-A Rockies lineup was squaring up fastball when up/middle. Changeup was above average, with deceptive arm speed and sink/fade; commands it well, keeping it around knees, inducing a few swings and misses. Curveball 72-80; decent 11/5 depth; looked better as a first-pitch strike to keep hitters off balance, while not getting many offerings as a chase pitch.

I lean toward him ending up as a back-end SP. Has attack mentality and is aggressive throwing strikes with an above-average FB-CH combo. The hittable, flat plain on the fastball and lack of a consistently effective breaking ball limit upside. –Austin Diamond

Chicago White Sox

SS Tim Anderson: Body beautiful; plus athlete; swing is silky smooth, loose and easy; a hands hitter who attacks the ball out front and can drive it; very impressive hand-eye at the plate; natural ability to square up the ball; hit tool is going to be plus; power could be late to arrive but could also be plus; defense at short is shaky despite quick-twitch athleticism; wasn’t quick in his reactions to the ball; actions were a little stiff; arm looked average to solid-average; not as fast as I originally thought, more 55/60 run.

Chance for average at shortstop; I would like to see him at second base; could be an above-average defender with an above-average bat; role 6 ceiling; should have been in the Baseball Prospectus 101; has natural hitting skills to develop into high-end prospect/player. –Jason Parks

RHP James Dykstra: Showed some feel for 80-83 mph changeup; displays arm-side fade and some drop, with a seamless look from his fastball; didn’t give the pitch away by slowing down his arm and body; confident to use it in any count, which speaks to strong trust in the offering; should allow 23-year-old to miss some bats and induce weak contact during sequences; solid-average potential.

Fastball was bland; 89-93 mph, inconsistent in general; can be heavy when it is located down in the zone, but flat and easy to see when up; didn’t spot east and west well, hitting a lot of white. He’s a loose thrower, so the potential is there to command better. There’s big-league potential, but without consistency in the lower tier and to corners, don’t see him sticking as a starter into the upper levels. –Chris Mellen

RHP Myles Jaye: Good size/strength; clean delivery; action was a little long in the back, but arm speed was fantastic; simple mechanics from the stretch; repeatable; from ¾ slot, pumped fastballs in 92-95 range; sharp command early that got loose in the fourth and fifth innings of work; fastball had late arm-side life; spotted fastballs on outer half against left-handed bats; plus offering that maintained 93+ velocity deep into the start; slider was money pitch all day; 81-84 on a fastball plane with late two-plane slice; showed ability to throw pitch out of the zone and buried for strikes (backdoored a beauty against LH bat); the break got a little long but he stayed ahead in the count and bats were moving against the fastball; solid-average to plus pitch; showed several splitter-like changeups in the 84-86 range; overthrown and flat when up but featured heavy vertical dive when located down in the zone; could end up being an average pitch with better command.

Highly competitive pitcher with good size and good feel for two above-average offerings; pitches with good pace and rhythm from a simple mechanical profile; good command; lots to like here. No. 3 or 4 starter; easy impact potential in a late-innings role because of fastball velocity/command/movement and slider that he can locate or bury. Should have been in the White Sox top 10 this offseason. Very good-looking prospect. –Jason Parks

Colorado Rockies

OF David Dahl: Dahl looks the part; his body is strong and he moves with athleticism. His day started in the cage, where he struggled to keep his head in his swing; he was yanking the bat to the ball and consequently yanked his head out as well. He was getting a little too mechanical and returned to his natural hitting stroke, which is beautiful when his timing is right. Dahl can flat out-hit; his hands work extremely well, as when he ripped a single up the middle on the second pitch of his only at-bat. His weight can shift to his front side too early, which can kill his natural momentum, leading to read-and-react swings. Dahl's hand-eye coordination is exceptional, and I think he will hit .300 in a couple years. The raw power was evident in the cage, but I'm not sure it will show up in game action going forward.

Dahl has a lot of ease in his game. With a great body, natural hitting ability, and a clean bill of health, he looks primed to explode this season. –Chris Rodriguez

IF Rosell Herrera: Took grounders at SS during batting practice but played third base during the afternoon game; because of his long, lanky body that could add some weight, third base or the outfield could become his home eventually; glove looked strong, turning a double play on a tough chopper—and then he promptly sprinted off the field, beating the second baseman; showed off a solid-average arm that could play anywhere on the left side of the diamond.

The bat is the big question; has a ton of pre-swing movement with his hands and wrists, which can put him in poor hitting positions to fire his bat to the ball; not sure if he has much feel for the barrel either; aggressiveness at the plate made him a quick out in his first two at-bats. His third and final at-bat was his best of the day; started 0-2 and battled for a walk.

Herrera plays baseball hard, and it's enjoyable to watch. If he can slow the game down a bit, I can see a solid-average regular at either third base or left field. It was a good day for him regardless. –Chris Rodriguez

3B Ryan McMahon: Saw him for about nine innings over two days. Tall, well-proportioned frame. Has some present strength but has room to fill out. Seemed to have a good feel for the game with plus instincts and natural baseball actions. Vocal in the field. Shows soft hands at third, and despite below-average foot speed has a solid first step and some quickness. Moves feet well to play hops with a good inner clock. His natural arm action is not ideal, as he swings it in back, and his arm strength looks fringy coming out of his hand. Showed accuracy on the move and when throwing from different angles.

At the plate looked to have an advanced approach, with feel for the zone and ability to read spin. Loose swing; looked to drive the ball up the middle to left-center field. Roped a belt-high fastball to center for a single, and the next day lined out to LCF on a fastball down the middle. In the brief viewing, he looked like a potential impact player who could hit for both average and power while providing defensive value. –Austin Diamond

SS Trevor Story: I saw a handful of ABs from Story and five innings in the field. He has a muscular, fit build with a medium frame. Didn’t see him have to make a tough play at short, but he showed the release, arm strength, and actions to play the left side of the infield. I like aspects of his swing. Shows patience and ability to foul off pitches, with a good feel for the zone. Bat speed and strength are apparent, and he generally stays inside the ball, with some whip to his follow-through. Has timing and rhythm issues; gets to trigger point early but lacks any consistency getting his foot down on time and gets beaten by fastballs; swing path uphill at times. –Austin Diamond

OF Raimel Tapia: Immature build; long, skinny legs; narrow; plenty of room for physical growth but not physically imposing at present; obvious hand-eye coordination at the plate; starts with a wide base (wider than shoulders) in his setup; pinches in feet with slight knee bend; has very good balance; Thome-esque bat point before bringing back his hands in the load; starts with hands above the shoulder before pitch, lowers hands and starts in lower (chest-level) position with an easy/quick path into the hitting zone; bat speed is easy plus; very fluid movements; needs to add strength but can put a pop into the ball at present; natural bat-to-ball type despite unusual setup; hit tool projects to plus; power projects solid-average to plus.

Plus speed on bases; reads the pitcher well and is a basestealing threat; used all fields in game action, including an opposite field double on a ball most young hitters would attempt to pull; limited look but has center-field skills; good on routine plays; arm wasn’t tested; electric talent that really stands out on a field; natural hitter; fluid athlete; has room to develop into something special. Role 7 ceiling. –Jason Parks

San Diego Padres

OF Rymer Liriano: Ability to drive a baseball jumps out right away. The outfielder unleashes his swing in full attack mode, with excellent bat speed generated through the zone. Power to all fields showed during game action; swing isn’t easy, though, and the “let it fly” nature creates concerns about how he’ll hit against quality arms. The weight can get out in front, which makes it difficult to sit back on the ball and adjust to good stuff with break. He’ll punish mistake fastballs, but the swing mechanics and aggressive nature will keep hit tool from playing up against breaking stuff. Likely to be a streaky hitter. Power will make him dangerous. A shot to be a long-term regular, but output can be uneven. –Chris Mellen

Seattle Mariners

LHP Luiz Gohara: Large man; hard to believe he's only 17; body could become a problem going forward; threw a 20-pitch live batting practice to some minor leaguers on Saturday, all fastballs and changeups; spotted his fastball at the knees with good arm-side run; slowed his body down with the changeup and seemed tentative to turn it over. Struck out a righty batter with a plus late-running changeup; short burst, but his ball has a ton of natural movement, will miss some bats. Has past shoulder issues; looks like Seattle will monitor him closely to make sure he's healthy. –Chris Rodriguez

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

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