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March 25, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/25

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff


Chicago Cubs

OF Albert Almora: Mixed production at the plate; squared a 95 fastball up in the zone for an opposite-field RBI single late in the game; fast hands and aggressive; loved the way he attacked the ball; earlier in the game, was sawed off by a fastball inside and hit an infield squib; clocked a 4.4 time to 1B. I like the setup and swing, with an open stance and very good balance through his load and stroke. Swing is more linear without a lot of lift at present, but he can make hard contact with the ball, especially against quality fastballs; in the field, looks the part of a plus center fielder; glides naturally to the ball; effortless ability to make quality reads.

Example: On a high sky, sun field, tracked a high fly ball that was tailing toward the right field side. It would be common to see young center fielders make a poor opening read and struggle to adjust to the ball because of the sky and tail on the ball. My eyes focused on Almora upon contact, and he glided to the spot on his initial read and made a catch at his left hip, which looked as effortless (and cool) as his route to the ball. For most outfielders, the appropriate response to the flair of this particular catch on a backfield would be, “Nice catch Hayes, don’t ever do it again.” But for Almora, its just natural baseball. –Jason Parks

SS Javier Baez: Thick, muscular body; well-filled-out lower half, with tree trunk legs; stands out physically on the field; elite raw power; generates excellent bat speed via an explosive swing; lot of pre-pitch movement and timing to get hands into hitting position; cocks elbow as timing mechanism; swing is designed to get the head of the bat out quickly; looks to lift every offering; ball explodes off bat to both fields with force and distinct sound; prone to being out front; head can jerk, with hips clearing early; aggressive mentality—geared up for fastballs; concerned about willingness to shorten swing or change approach based on sequences; will swing and miss; must mature with approach to be more than mistake hitter against high-quality arms.

Will be tested by off-speed stuff; presently exploitable against changeups; will swing over the top of stuff buried away; ability to hit better than average in the majors is there with adjustments; 5+ hit tool; not overly fluid in the field; plus arm, but inconsistent setting feet; can stick at short for the short term; third base likely destination; high energy to his game—everything is 100 percent; lot of effort and wildness in overall game; at times looks like a bull in a china shop. –Chris Mellen

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

BP Comment Quick Links

kolbotn

Any real concerns about Baez' hit tool? Are we looking at a .240/.320/.550 line in 2017?

Mar 25, 2014 04:11 AM
rating: 0
 
Kyle Matte

Wish you could've seen some more action directed at Lugo. Feels like the presumption has long been that he'll move of short sooner rather than later, would love to know if trained eyes saw any improvements.

Mar 25, 2014 06:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Silverback38

With this updated word on Guzman, how does he rank compared to the other Tex OF prospects of Williams, Mazara, and Brinson? Also, how does he compare overall?

Mar 25, 2014 07:04 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ryan Parker
BP staff

Guzman is not an outfielder. Williams and Brinson have louder tools in the power and speed category. They are both at least 2 grades up in speed and maybe half a grade hair in the raw power category. Williams's hit tool may grade out very similar to Guzman but it is done in a different fashion. Williams hits anything ,ball or strike, hard and has better batspeed. Guzman will work the count and then not miss his pitch when the pitcher lays it over.

Guzman and Mazara are the most alike but give me Guzman any day of the week.

Mar 25, 2014 21:40 PM
 
Silverback38

Ryan, I'm aware Guzman is not an outfielder; I miswrote my thoughts. My main query was that everyone is raving about the Hickory team and the power. Guzman gets lumped in with the power bats so I was curious where he stands now. I appreciate your good words.

Mar 26, 2014 05:25 AM
rating: 0
 
MaineSkin

I know this may be mocked, but doesn't say something about Guzman barreling balls in camp? He just seems like a monster in the making as a straight hitter kind of how Abreu is detailed. He lost a year in '13 and still shows the hit tool I keep reading about due to a simple swing. I'm not sure how a guy like that doesn't mature into game power while in a home park that will only exaggerate the power.

Mar 25, 2014 09:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Spkbaseball17

I have seen a lot of Guzman this spring, he is impressive. I read a Tony Clark comp somewhere, and it made a ton of sense. He is a real presence, he could easily be in the Rangers top 10 list next year

Mar 25, 2014 10:15 AM
rating: 1
 
pobothecat

Agreed on Guzman. Saw a handful of Guzman at bats on TV, came away similarly impressed. There's a maturity vibe there. Early mastery.

Mar 25, 2014 11:51 AM
rating: 0
 
jfranco77

Guzman does have a really pretty swing. I have to say, so does Beras, even though it isn't really directed at the ball. But man does he fill out a uniform.

Mar 25, 2014 13:54 PM
rating: 0
 
kcheaden

Guzman looks a lot like Adrian.Gonzalez at the plate.

Mar 25, 2014 15:02 PM
rating: 1
 
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