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March 28, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/28

by Jason Parks and Jordan Gorosh

Kansas City Royals

RHP Miguel Almonte: Limby righty with a very fast arm; from 3/4 slot, slings the ball, achieving above-average movement to his pitches; delivery requires a lot of coordination and balance, and is torque-heavy with a power generating letter-high frontside and hip rotation; struggles with opening up early and missing everything to the arm-side; started to lose his delivery later in the start and couldn’t find his release point; excellent extension when he finishes and stays over the ball.

Fastball is easy plus offering in the 92-94 range; can show both hard boring action into righties and heavy dive lower in the zone; command could eventually push this pitch above the plus distinction; changeup is money offering; solid-average to plus at present; 83-85 with excellent arm speed and heavy vertical action; pitch has both deception and movement and can be deployed in any count against any stick; slider is below-average at present; could get to average with more command and a sharper break; pitch in the upper 70s with some tilt, but its more slurvy and loose than tight, and it often starts to break too early on the arm-side and sweeps across the zone; low-70s curveball is actually tighter pitch with more bite but wasn’t utilized in the start.

Because of high leg and long arm swing, struggled with his release times and wasn’t effective controlling the running game; routinely 1.5 to the plate with runners on; struggled with pace and rhythm in the start; works too fast without runners on and can lose his pitchability; slows with runners on to the point of frustration; some concerns about the physical requirements in the delivery necessary to repeat and be consistent with location; fastball is a lively plus pitch; changeup is a now pitch and a very good offering; breaking ball is still lagging behind the other offerings and lacks the type of projection to really elevate his ultimate ceiling; no. 3 starter type if the command refines and breaking ball gets to a 50 grade pitch; bullpen future as a floor because of the uptick in fastball velocity in bursts and major-league quality changeup. Good arm but wasn’t blown away today. –Jason Parks

Detroit Tigers

RHP Jake Thompson: Physically mature build for a 20-year-old. The delivery has some deception, and there were quite a few uncomfortable at-bats. The fastball has a bit of life, but he has a lot of arm-side run on the two seamer at 88-91. He also throws a four-seamer that's in the 90-92 range, but it can get a bit flat. Thompson throws two breaking balls, one I'd classify as a curve at 74/75, and a slider at 79-81. He can throw either one for a strike or as a chase pitch and has extremely good command of each. I'd grade both breakers as plus, and the slider has some plus-plus potential. He generates spin really well.

In the two outings I saw, spanning nine innings, Thompson used the changeup much more frequently and threw it with much more conviction. It has some good downward action along with velocity separation, and even generated some swings and misses. He's got an extremely high IQ on the mound, and has a really good idea of how to sequence and set up hitters. He throws plenty of off-speed pitches, even his changeup in fastball counts, and keeps hitters off balance. He's wise beyond his years and has excellent poise.

However, at around the 50-60 pitch mark in each of the two outings Thompson started to tire a bit. He's physically in good shape, but the arm slowed down a tick, and the fastball dropped to 87-89 and tended to flatten out. He can still pitch and get by at that speed, as the breaking balls each still play, but the fastballs were getting barreled, whereas in the first couple innings of each start he barely allowed balls out of the infield. This might be something to monitor going forward. I wouldn't get too concerned, as it's only his second full year of pro ball. If he can hold velocity, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the top 101 at some point. –Jordan Gorosh

Houston Astros

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BP Comment Quick Links


"he just doesn't have the requisite "shove it up your you-know-what" attitude for me to consider him a potential ace."

I don't get this at all. Did Greg Maddux or Roy Halladay or Orel Hershiser? I don't actually know, but I don't see how the absence of some ostentatious display of anger disqualifies a pitcher from acedom.

Mar 28, 2014 07:23 AM
rating: 4

Or Mike Mussina, a pitcher I watched many times when he was with the Orioles. Nothing fazed him, he was always focused on the next hitter.

Mar 28, 2014 08:00 AM
rating: 1

..and I'm not sure Mike Mussina qualifies as an ace, although I do belief he is a borderline HOF.

Mar 29, 2014 15:49 PM
rating: -2

The nicknames for those three pitchers are Mad Dog, Doc Holliday, and Bulldog. The man didn't say "anger," he said "attitude," and each of these three had a profoundly competitive one.

Mar 29, 2014 15:47 PM
rating: 0
John Geer

Hershiser's nickname is Bulldog. Maddux would cuss into the wind and his glove frequently. Halladay Game One NLCS 2010 vs. Giants and Pat Burrell. Yes, these three had 'it.' I do think there is something to Jordan's premise.

Mar 28, 2014 07:55 AM
rating: 5

He was nicknamed that by Lasorda precisely because it was perceived -- as Gorosh perceives with Appel -- that he lacked on mound fire. In other words, it was a psychological trick by Lasorda, not a description of how OH superficially appeared.

I agree with the criticism that this attempt to surmise "attitude" is pretty lame.

And, in fact, many of the conclusions in these pieces are way too conclusive based on pre-season sessions.

Mar 30, 2014 05:29 AM
rating: -1

And if they come off as more equivocal, they'll be beat up for that. We're all adults here. We get to decide how much credence we lend a given report.

Mar 31, 2014 09:08 AM
rating: 1

Hard to believe we're reading "analysis" of this sort at Baseball Prospectus. Isn't this the kind of subjective, non-quantifiable, non-verifiable scout-speak they used to mock just a few short years ago?

Mar 31, 2014 10:53 AM
rating: 0

glad to read a solid report on Appel. Seems like a lot of evaluators were down a bit on him after his showing in the minors last fall. I know its just one inning but still it makes me hopeful he will turn out as more of a number 2 than number 3.

Mar 28, 2014 12:03 PM
rating: 0

I also thought it was odd he was tabbed almost unanimously as a #3 after so much hype.

Mar 28, 2014 17:49 PM
rating: 0
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