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March 26, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/26

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

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Texas Rangers

RHP Cody Buckel: Half-windup; over-the-top slot; showed a lot of effort generating his velocity; fastball worked 89-91; lacked movement; very flat and visible up in the zone; plane when he worked down; found plenty of barrels; dropped several slow lollipop curveballs to steal a few strikes; loose and easy to track; not a legit pitch against better bats; fringy slider in the 82-84 range; lacked sharp break; body language was poor (slumped shoulders and sulked); didn’t record an out in his first inning of work; required several mound visits and encouragements; airmailed a few balls to the backstop; didn’t get a “yips” vibe despite some wildness; pitched with trepidation; find optimism in the fact that he was able to throw some strikes but the stuff and the body language on the mound left a lot to be desired. Didn’t look like a future major-league pitcher. –Jason Parks

OF Nomar Mazara: Lanky; a solid 6’4” at least; very lean and muscular; seemed very comfortable in the box; knew his strengths; laid off some spin down in the zone; got himself into good hitting counts; has big-time bat speed; hitchy timing mechanism; the way his hands load is reminiscent of Chris Davis; timing needs to be perfect, but when it works it’s explosive; pulled a middle-in fastball for a 420-plus-foot bomb; raw power is near elite; game power is starting to actualize; loved the way he hit—he looked for a pitch in a certain spot and demolished it when it came; in his third and last at-bat, he hit one over Terrance Gore’s head in CF for an inside-the-park homer, another fastball over the heart of the plate that he didn’t miss; showed off solid-average speed around the bases as well.

It was a three-at-bat look, but Mazara really impressed with his feel for hitting and his present game power; he has room to fill out physically, he’s only 18 years old, and he’s already big dude, so I can see more muscle added to his frame long term; down the line I can see a 6+ corner outfielder who hits for power and a decent average consistently, which is a monster player. I cannot wait to see what he can over a full season. –Chris Rodriguez

OF Nick Williams: Well above-average athlete; poor baserunner with excellent straight-line speed and second gear; makes mental errors; can make plays in center; can also make errors in center with poor reads and glovework; arm plays as a 4 at present, but raw strength is there to profile much higher on the scale; dropped an accurate throw from mid-deep center to nail advancing runner at 2B; plus throw on that play; very inconsistent player; hands at the plate are special; natural bat-to-ball ability; could end up being a 70-grade hit tool; uses all fields and can hit against both lefties and righties; balanced with higher hands in the setup; lowers hands in quiet load and explodes into the zone with lift in the bat; controls the bat; preternatural ability to square the baseball; power could play over plus at maturity; very raw in all phases of the game but natural hitter with major-league quality physicality/athleticism to sculpt into a more complete player. Wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up a first-division talent; bat will carry him. –Jason Parks

Los Angeles Dodgers

LHP Julio Urias: Three-quarters arm slot; easy delivery; loose, fluid arm action; balanced throughout motion; advanced with controlling body; soft landing—lands square to home plate with head on target; slight timing pause midway through delivery; makes it look effortless on the mound; fastball 91-95 mph, with run and late finish; sat 92-93 into fourth inning; stays on top of pitch well; can move around the plate; will grab velocity when needed; ability to miss bats and also finesse with pitch; fringe-average command, with high potential for growth; see more sitting velocity capable as he physically matures.

Slider 81-83 mph; consistent shape; snaps offering with a loose wrist from same angle as fastball; commanded for strikes; will change shape; shortens to back-door; got loose later in outing; should miss bats at each level; 6 potential; changeup 80-83 mph; shows feel and early take to pitch, but at times slowed arm/body down; hard arm-side fade off the table action; bat-missing ability; 6+ potential.

Athletic; not a ton of projection in body; lost focus with men on base in fourth inning, leading to less control of delivery and lack of finish with stuff; fastball can be lifted when up; pitcher shows an advanced feel and polish with craft at an early age; looks three to four years older on the mound; legit major-league stuff potential; no. 2 starter potential. –Chris Mellen

San Francisco Giants

SS Christian Arroyo: One of my favorites in the AZL last year, despite average raw tools; plays with confidence and energy; advanced pitch recognition skills, excellent feel to hit and natural ability to whip the barrel through contact. I saw for only one at-bat this week, a five-pitch walk; had some good takes, addressing the ball with control of his hands on close pitches; showed the same major league type baseball actions and timing while running the bases that I saw last year; more concerning, looked pudgy in the face and thicker than he did in 2013; borderline SS candidate last year, in the mold of a Michael Young; more concerns now based on the present body. –Austin Diamond

3B Ryder Jones: Body looks leaner and less soft than last summer; showing better body control and quickness as a result; actually played shortstop in the game, and while he likely has less than a slim chance to stay there long term, he made the routine plays; smooth actions, and above-average arm; moved with the swing well; ultimately, his feet are too heavy to play up the middle.

Can hit the ball hard when it’s in his zone, but enough present issues in his swing to question whether he will hit at the upper levels; wide set-up with a strong base; holds his hands by his back shoulder; loads hands back and high away from body, with inconsistent rhythm from load to fire. Stays inside the ball well; handles fastballs on the outer half well; but bars his front arm through the zone, limiting his ability to drive velo on the inner half. Swing does not maximize his power potential, lacking consistent loft and leverage to pull. –Austin Diamond

OF Christian Paulino: Has the tools to profile as fourth OF, but never a good sign to spend three years in the AZL; on the older side at 22; a plus-plus runner in a smaller, compact build, with home run power to pull; however, sells out to attack middle in; looked lost, flailing at off-speed out of the zone in all counts; can really cover ground in center field, but struggled to get accurate reads off the bat; tended to drift once he got to his spot to catch the fly. –Austin Diamond

C Fernando Pujadas: Has some strength in a mature, slightly pear-shaped body. I saw him take three at-bats at DH, but he showed a patient approach and feel for the zone; drew a walk after taking three close pitches after 1-2 count. Shows rhythm with a solid swing; lacking ideal bat speed, but showed the strength to crush an 84 mph fastball down the middle from LHP; pimped it; don’t see him developing into a power hitter, but if he can do enough with the bat, stands out as one of the best defensive catchers in the AZL last year; takes command of the game; receives with soft hands; good range with lower-half flexibility in his set-up; profiles as having at least backup role at highest level. –Austin Diamond

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

BERSMR

Probably more a subject for an article than a response here, are there any prospects, especially ones you ranked in the top 100, that have moved up or down to any significant extent in your opinion based on what you have seen of them in spring training?D

Mar 26, 2014 07:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Some would move up/down a bit, but nothing of extreme significance. Spring training is a great experience because it allows you to put eyes on players you might have missed the previous season or players that spent the off-season working on their weaknesses and arrive looking better than expected, but its still a very limited sample presented in an often schizophrenic context, so making bold moves to a list based on that sample is probably more reactionary than anything else.

Mar 26, 2014 08:02 AM
 
philly

Hmm, I have perhaps a semi-related question. You published the Cards list on Feb 7 and had Piscotty as a high 6. In the free excerpt from the Prospect Guide he is now up to a 70.

That seems extremely aggressive for someone who does not get a lot of tools hype. Is that grade bump based on his spring performance, reconsideration of his tools in the short time from the Feb 7 team list? Something else?

And how many players do have different grades in the book in comparison to the published lists? My impression is that the book was a collection of the web published lists with essentially no change of the content.

Mar 26, 2014 08:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

It was just rounded up for the book because we wanted continuity of scale, so we put everything on the 20/80 instead of the 2/8. Some of the High 6 types were just pushed to 7 if it was close.

Mar 26, 2014 08:37 AM
 
oldbopper

When I went to Cody Buckel's stats from 2013, The Thing was just screaming from every line. This is Daniel Bard revisited.

Mar 26, 2014 09:46 AM
rating: 0
 
melotticus

Chris - Any truth to the rumors that Urias is hitting 97 with the cheese?

Mar 26, 2014 11:34 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Chris Mellen
BP staff

He topped out at 95 on my gun in the outing I saw, but was told Urias was better in previous ones and yesterday was not his best.

Mar 26, 2014 12:55 PM
 
bloodface

This series is probably my favorite new deal around here. Yeah, it's been about a year since first publication, but you've really expanded it this year, and I hope that continues. It is much appreciated. Love it! Thanks a ton!

Mar 28, 2014 02:49 AM
rating: 0
 
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