May 20, 2014
Notes from the Field
May 20, 2014
California League, by Chris Rodriguez
Ben Lively, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield)
Curveball 71-76; lacked bite early; loopy and hangs over the plate; tightened it up and it flashed late; much better around 74-76 mph, and had some two-plane break; dropped it in for some first-pitch strikes; scout said he had a hammer his last appearance, but didn’t see an above-average CB on this night ; SL 82-84 mph; sweepy break; not much bite; lengthened it with two strikes; used it vs. lefties and righties; commanded it well; better against righties; pounded the outside corner and just off the plate; CH around 85; some dive and tumble; thrown only a handful of times; used it right after his FB to keep the hitters off balance.
Impressive pitchability; around 1.2 to the plate from the stretch; the fastball is a weapon, regardless of his average velocity on this night; he didn’t have his best stuff and still got through six innings while striking out seven and walking two, with no help from the umpire; liked the fire and competitiveness, just not sure how his stuff will play at the higher levels; the fastball is good but he lacked command; major-league hitters can time anything if you keep it on the same plane; his command needs tightening but he has a good profile with an repeatable delivery and good present control; will be interesting to see if he can sustain his success when he inevitably gets called up to Double-A.
Ryan Wright, 2B, Reds (High-A Bakersfield)
Matt Anderson, RHP, Mariners (High-A High Desert)
Extended Spring Training, by Austin Diamond
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs
Shows the tools to be an average outfielder in time, but seems to have no idea what he has to do to be good; slow out of his breaks and reading the ball of the bat; stands still when the ball is not hit to him; struggles with footwork; off balance when pressured to field and throw quickly; runs with heavy feet that don’t leave the ground; below-average runner who shows some aggressiveness on the bases;
The upside is immense, but so is the risk. Jimenez looks a little awkward at times, and I think he will struggle to hit in the AZL this year. I am still an optimist, however, because he does show some looseness and flexibility to his actions at the plate and in the field. Furthermore, has strengths you can’t teach, while his obvious weaknesses seem correctable with coaching, experience, and natural maturity.
Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs
Played SS in the games I saw. Raw speed is closer to average, so will have to do the little things well to stay at shortstop. Showed soft hands; fluid in his actions, but still lacks experience and needs coaching on things like where to be on cutoffs and pre-pitch set-up; arm strength looked solid-average across the diamond; isn’t gifted with plus raw, athletic tools, but the hit tool looks natural enough for me to think he will have a major-league future in the middle of the diamond.
Jose Mendoza, RHP, Angels
FB: 87-88 mph; some tail, but more often straight; I would project to be consistently low 90s, with room to touch higher; SL: 78-79; three-quarters tilt with decent shape; was more effective inducing chases, but could throw for strikes; presently below average, but would also project to be at least an average pitch; CH: 83; some arm-side fade; shows some feel and can throw for strikes; also below average, but looks like a future average pitch as well.
This is all from a brief viewing, but in the tiring setting of extended spring training, Mendoza seemed to show a strong work ethic, going about his post-pitching exercises without assistance from a trainer, then watching the game with a coach. I would have to see more to say for sure, but the total package to me points to a potential no. 3 or 4 starter in the majors.
Nataniel Delgado, OF, Angels
Very simple and balanced at the plate; simple and repeatable short hand load and stride, keeping his weight back; seems to have a feel for the K-zone, but is very aggressive in the zone; only seems to take a pitch over the plate when he decides he is going to beforehand; natural feel for the barrel; good leverage and solid base on contact; uses whole field; line-drive approach, but has home run power from RCF-pull; stayed back well on 0-1 changeup on the outside corner, hitting a hard groundball out to SS; moves okay, but a below-average runner; better body control than speed; stayed in well vs LHP; lined a double off the base of the left field wall on a 90 mph FB from a low-slot, slinging lefty; kept front shoulder in and drove the ball with low-effort swing; I think he is going to hit.
In the field, I have seen Delgado play both LF and RF; probably best suited for left; average arm, but a very quick release from a low three-quarters slot; moves fluidly; natural actions; smooth, but plays a little too casually; got caught in between on a hard liner that short-hopped his feet, and allowed it to get by; overall though, I didn’t see any issues.
To me, he looks like a player who is emotionally mature enough and physically ready to play in the Midwest League. He might struggle some, but he has nothing to prove in the AZL. I do, however, think he has the potential to be a quality major-league bat who will provide average major-league defense in an outfield corner.
Sergio Alcantara, SS, Diamondbacks
Seems to enjoy showing off a plus arm from the hole at shortstop between innings, but he gears up to get there; I haven’t seen him tested, but shows good instincts; should be able to stay there until proven otherwise; as an athlete, moves well, but has a fringy top gear; might improve as he ages and get stronger; runs the bases well; I am a fan overall; despite lacking flashy power and speed, Alcantara plays with confidence; for someone who likely only played a handful of real games before signing in 2012, he displays the baseball instincts of a prodigy.