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June 26, 2014

What Scouts Are Saying

June 26, 2014

by Baseball Prospectus

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Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.

Major Leagues

Yankees RHP Dellin Betances: “It's surprising he doesn't get more attention because he could close for about half the teams in baseball right now. He's found a home in the bullpen with the Yankees and really grown up this year in terms of not letting the situation overwhelm him. It's clear Robertson has helped him, but the ironic thing is that he may replace him if Robertson leaves as a free agent. It's also ironic that he and Robertson and Mark Melancon and about six other impact pitchers were taken in the same 2006 draft.”

Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman: "It would be nice to see him over six, seven, eight starts in a row against big-league lineups; let him get into a rhythm and see how the league reacts to him with a larger sample to work off of. I don't know that I'm sold on him as an impact guy yet, but that fastball-changeup combo alone gets him pretty [darn] close. He and [Dylan] Bundy are clearly the most talented arms that organization has had in a long time."

Nationals RHP Doug Fister: “Pitched a huge game for Washington on Saturday, having lost the previous two nights to the Braves with Zimmermann and Strasburg, the national game on FOX, facing Teheran, and he absolutely stepped it up. He doesn't put up gaudy strikeout numbers, but he's got tremendous life to the fastball and a really good changeup. He's survived the wars in the American League and he's a big-game pitcher who stepped up in that game and has performed in the playoffs. He's a year-and-a-half away from free agency and should be a big name on the market.”

Angels RHP Garrett Richards: "Why doesn't anybody talk about Garrett Richards? He's Anaheim's ace and the stuff is top-shelf. Richards doesn't get the hype Stephen Strasburg does, but their weapons and outcomes are actually quite similar. He keeps getting better and better, and as he learns to manage pitch counts he will emerge as a household name."

Minor Leagues

Red Sox Triple-A 2B Mookie Betts: "Mookie Betts is one of, if not the best, minor leaguers I have seen this year. I'm telling you this kid can play. I saw him clean out a 97-mph fastball with absolute ease. Talk about bat speed and hands. They (Boston) need to find a way to start getting him going up there."

Mets Double-A OF Brandon Nimmo: "He may not hit for power, but he's going to hit .270-.280 with a high on-base. He may not be a true center fielder, but he'll be able to play out there when needed on certain teams and will be a good defender when he's on the corners. The total package looks and sounds a lot like Shin-Soo Choo to me."

Diamondbacks High-A RHP Braden Shipley: "I saw Shipley in college, but he's throwing harder now than he had for me then. And the best part is he doesn't need to create any additional effort to do so. The changeup is still his out pitch and he can throw it whenever he wants, but that was never a question. The curveball was, but it is coming along much better than I anticipated. Looks like Arizona got a steal, which I didn't think was the case at the time."

2014 Draftees

RHP Jack Flaherty (Cardinals 1st-Round Pick—Harvard-Westlake HS, California)
"Drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals, Jack Flaherty was a guy who didn't get a ton of ink this spring nationally because he puts up average numbers on the radar gun in a class loaded with power arms. But he has the best command in the high school class, and given the Cardinals' track record with developing arms, we may very well look back in a few years and wonder how he wasn't a [clear-cut] first-rounder."

SS Cole Tucker (Pirates 1st-Round Pick—Mountain Pointe HS, Arizona)
"Cole Tucker was the reach of the draft. When it came in it looked like a big money saver, but they came far closer to slot on a guy with third-round tools than they should have, and they're left with a weak crop by going with a portfolio approach. "

2B Forrest Wall (Rockies Competitive Balance Round A Pick—Orangewood Christian HS, Florida)
"Forest Wall was a strong value at 35th overall. The Rockies have had good fortune the past two years with high-quality high school bats falling into their lap in their second pick."

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Premium Article BP Top 50 (06/26)
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