June 25, 2014
Notes from the Field
International League Notes
Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Large-framed right-hander with high waist and strong trunk and legs; body a little soft but strong and durable. High-3/4 delivery; stays closed and has some natural deception; hides ball; stabs behind back but recovers well; repeats delivery fairly well. Creates velocity more with muscle than arm speed. Pitches with good plane; commanding mound presence.
Sinker/Cutter mold. FB 87-90 heavy with sink; topped out at 90 (five times). Average fastball in general; fringe-average velo and command. Reluctant to pitch inside; better FB command to glove side. Cutter 83-85; above-average pitch; 10-4 movement with some depth; commands well and can throw for strikes but doesn’t miss many bats; suffers from “cutteritis”—was overly reliant on cutter to detriment of his other pitches. CB 72-73; shallow and soft 11-5 breaker; doesn’t miss bats and doesn’t invite batters to chase; soft “show me” pitch thrown as a surprise for strikes in FB counts. CH 78-80; rarely used and showed very little confidence in; flashed some drop in warmups but was firm and up in the game. Fairly quick to the plate (typically 1.30–1.40 range). Big, strong, durable kid who keeps the ball down but gets by on soft contact and groundballs; doesn’t miss enough bats. No. 5 starter.
Micah Johnson, 2B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Undersized athlete with a stocky, compact build. Excellent runner; may lose a half a step in his mid-20’s; runs with some effort and body could go the wrong way; 3.87 best time to 1B. Creates plus bat speed with a simple swing that he repeats well; quick hands; controls bat head well and barrels up pitches consistently; strong plate coverage skills. Has a mature approach at the plate; goes up there with a plan of attack; looks for pitches he can do something with; likes to slash and run, which plays to his strengths; happy to foul off and waste pitches he can’t handle.
Limited power potential; potential 40 future power; may come relatively late; best power is gap to gap rather than over the fence; often out on front foot and contact oriented but strong enough to drive balls when he squares them; jumps on fastball out over the plate and mistakes. Range, hands, and actions all subpar at second base; does not move all that well in the infield; bat-first 2B mold and lacks the power expected from that type of player. Can stick at 2B, but I’ve seen him play in the outfield as an amateur and center field may end up best fit; would let his speed play up. Second-division starter.
Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket)
Big, strong guy with easy plus raw power: ball explodes off his bat and can do it easy; hits moonshots in batting practice. Best power RCF to RF pole but can drive ball out any field; looks to pull often; can get pull happy and start lunging at outside pitches. Fringe-average bat speed; susceptible to good velo; can be eaten up by velo under his hands; good amount of swing-and-miss; unrefined approach at the plate. Moves okay at 1B, but his hands are on the hard side. Not sure he'll hit enough to hold down a starting 1B job but has a potentially useful big league bat.
Brett Marshall, RHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
3/4 right-handed pitcher with an undersized, build; strong lower half. Reliever mechanics; pitches with some effort; raises hands and kicks; stabs behind back; jerks head as he releases; recovers well; command profile better than expected. Sinker/slider mold. FB 89-91 (max 92) with sink; pitch shows more life down and straightens out when thrown up; throws fastball both sides and will pitch inside. SL 80-82 slurvy; inconsistent depth. CH 80-84; circle action. CB; soft 11-5. Some risk of injury—elbow in a less than ideal spot when plant foot hits. Potential no. 5 starter for stretches, but best fit in middle relief.
Curtis Partch, RHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
XL right-hander throws from high-3/4 angle; stabs behind back; picks up ball low; good arm speed but slightly stiff. FB 94-96 heavy, bowling balls. FB command lacking; left pitches up in bad spots, FB often rides up arm side and guys square him up. CB 85-87 slurve 11-5 to 10-4; not much feel for pitch.
Jose “Jumbo” Diaz, RHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville, subsequently promoted to majors)
Huge/XXL frame; big and strong, although he looks like he lost a massive amount of weight since viewing last season; reportedly shed 70-100 lbs. Low-3/4 to sidearm right-handed pitcher; quick, whippy arm; flashes ball late; size and arm action add a lot of natural deception; even LHHs still don’t get a great look despite low slot and set up on 3B side of rubber. FB 96-97 (max 98) with late sink and tail; very heavy; Split CH 88-90; thrown with good arm speed. SL 83-86 cutting 10-4.
Shane Green, RHP, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton)
Tall and long build; athletic and strong. Low-3/4 right-hander; quick arm, back stab, reliever mechanics with effort and some problems repeating; release point drifts up. Sinker/slider mold, but everything moves to glove side/away from RHHs; uses FB and CH mix to LHHs and not very effective; platoon problem. FB 90-93 (max 94), turns it over consistently and sinks it; more control than command; doesn’t hit spots with fastball. SL/cut 82-88; varying depth and tightness. CB 76-78; slurvy; CH 78-83.
Al Skorupa is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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