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July 3, 2014

Eyewitness Accounts

July 3, 2014

by BP Prospect Staff


Jairo Diaz

Born: 05/27/1991 (Age: 23)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 195
Mechanics
High three-quarters arm slot; works exclusively from the stretch; compact arm action; max effort delivery; unimpeded arm creates violent recoil; 80-grade arm strength; uptempo pitcher; stays on top of the ball well; thick body; will need to be maintained; physically maxed out.
Evaluator Ron Shah
Report Date 06/24/2014
Affiliate Inland Empire 66ers (High-A, Angels)
Dates Seen 06/13/14; 06/23/14
OFP/Risk 60/High
Realistic High Leverage Reliever
MLB ETA 2014
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 80 80 97-99 99 Four-seam fastball with 80-grade velocity; lowest fastball registered in either look was 97 mph; lived between 97-99; have seen 100 in the past; fastball effectiveness is present; doesn't nibble; solid-average command; spotted 99 on the outside black in second look; fastball doesn't straighten out; shows some arm-side run at 99 mph; elite offering.
Slider 65 65 88 90 Slider comes in anywhere from 87-90 mph; consistent two-plane break; tight vertical spin; hard, diving action; late biting vertical action away from right-handed batters; essentially a 90 mph curveball; swing-and-miss offering; glove-side control; will move arm slot higher at times; can flash 70-grade.
Changeup 50 50 90 90 Changeup comes in anywhere from 88-90 mph; offering can fall of the table; legit solid-average offering; consistent arm speed; plays well off of fastball; 10 mph difference from the fastball; but still third best offering; keeps it where it won't be barreled; spots it down or down and away to lefties.
Overall

I have seen Diaz twice this season, both in the past 10 days, for a combined two innings of work. He's looked like a big league reliever in both looks, completely overwhelming his opposition with a three-pitch arsenal. In my second look, this was the sequence to one right-handed batter: 99 mph fastball with run; 87 mph slider with two-plane break; 99 mph fastball with run on the outside black for strike three.

The success is coming from his fastball, a true 80-grade offering that plays to its fullest potential, and a recently discovered ability to throw strikes. Diaz established the fastball in both outings, throwing it for called strikes. The pitch doesn't flatten out at any velocity, including 99 mph, which is rarity. Establishing the fastball allowed his two other offerings to play up. The slider became a swing-and-miss offering both in and outside the strike zone. He will throw it glove side consistently. The changeup has the velocity of most pitchers' fastballs, and the bottom will fall out at times.

I would fast track Diaz to the major leagues, because he might be the best reliever in the Angels organization right now. The stuff is major-league ready; there's no projection in the body or arsenal, so there's no need to waste bullets in his arm. Move him up one level at a time to see if he can keep throwing strikes with the fastball.






Michael Lorenzen

Born: 01/04/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 195
Mechanics
Tall, lanky frame; extremely athletic; long limbs; shoulder are fairly narrow; likely to remain lanky/slight of frame; slow-paced tall-and-fall delivery with little momentum throughout; arm action is long; plunges it deep on the backside and pauses arm swing for a split second behind hip; arm isn't exactly free and easy, but the speed of the arm once it gets going is insane; releases from a three-quarters slot; tucks glove into armpit; doesn't get much from lower half; long stride; lands on a fairly stiff front leg without much extension out front; shows a tendency to spin off to first base; 1.3 seconds to the plate from the stretch. The delivery isn't ideal, and despite a few red flags, Lorenzen looks like he's playing catch at 95 miles per hour, which is to say that his mechanics aren't of the max-effort variety. The pure arm strength is ridiculous.
Evaluator Ethan Purser
Report Date 06/28/2014
Affiliate Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A, Reds)
Dates Seen 6/26/2014
OFP/Risk 60/Moderate
Realistic 55; no. 3/4 starter
MLB ETA 2015
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 55 65 92-94 96 Velocity: plus, bordering on plus-plus; held velocity throughout start. Command: fringe-average; shows the ability to pound the lower quadrants of the zone and attack hitters with the pitch but will often overthrow and leave it high/arm side; started two-seamer on the black to get weak groundouts early in counts; went with four-seamer above hands later in counts to get whiffs; average command projection. Movement: above average; late arm-side run with the two-seamer; generates good downhill plane with pitch, making it difficult to barrel. Comments: Lorenzen throws easy gas and can touch velocities in the plus-plus range. The command was fringy in this start, struggling to get ahead of hitters and lapsing into overthrowing, but he did show the ability to generate weak contact and get out of at-bats early in addition to his bat-missing stuff. With his relatively fresh arm and athleticism, Lorenzen's command profile with this pitch could tick up to average, giving the pitch a chance to be a 65-grade offering.
Slider 50 60 82-84 85 Command: fringe-average; struggled to consistently put the pitch where he wanted; left it high/arm side and choked it in the dirt more than once; could break the pitch off in non-traditional counts in order to generate weak contact. Movement: plus; short lateral break with some tilt and bat-missing depth; at its best, pitch resembles fastball out of his hand and shows late glove-side dive. Comments: This is a plus pitch at the highest level with the ability to both miss bats out of the zone and get weak contact within the zone. At present, the pitch is inconsistent, showing plus-or-better break at times while busting off cement mixers in the zone at others. Further development will likely allow the pitch to play at plus consistently.
Changeup 50 60 83-85 86 Command: fringe-average; hung the pitch over the heart of the plate and pounded pitch in dirt on occasion; showed major confidence in the pitch against both lefties and righties, generating whiffs from both sides of the plate; got hitters out in front of the pitch in fastball counts, causing them to roll over the pitch weakly. Movement: plus arm-side fade and sink; fell under both righty and lefty bats when thrown effectively. Comments: This pitch was surprisingly effective. His confidence in the pitch was a revelation, as was its ability to make hitters look foolish. Plus future pitch at the major-league level.
Curveball 45 45 77 Threw only one curveball in this outing; show-me pitch at the major-league level, but a good pitch to change sight lines with 12/6 break.
Overall

Previously billed as a bullpen candidate due to the lack of a playable changeup and his funky delivery, Lorenzen has made huge strides across the board this season, and after this start, I believe in Lorenzen as a starting pitcher going forward. He showed a rounded four-pitch arsenal, three of which could be used as swing-and-miss/weak-contact offerings at the highest level. The command profile will never be above average, and despite some mechanical red flags, Lorenzen has top-of-the-charts athleticism and should be able to repeat his delivery in a manner that would be conducive to average command. The stuff is electric and he will likely tease with more, but Lorenzen should settle in as a solid mid-rotation starter, a huge developmental win for the Reds.



Ben Lively

Born: 03/05/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 190
Mechanics
Great pitcher's body; broad shoulders with plenty of present strength in frame; potential to add a few more pounds to fully maximize frame; build resembles that of an innings eater; first-base side of the rubber; quick-paced delivery after reaching balance point; slight drop-and-drive produces above-average momentum; lands on a bent front leg slightly across his body and shows good extension out front; falls off slightly toward first base; arm action is short; hides ball behind body, increasing overall deception; high three-quarters arm slot; some head jerk after release; footwork on pickoffs needs work; 1.3-1.5 seconds to the plate. Lively's mechanics are deceptive and allow his four-pitch arsenal to play up.
Evaluator Ethan Purser
Report Date 07/01/2014
Affiliate Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Double-A, Reds)
Dates Seen 6/28/2014
OFP/Risk 55/Low
Realistic 50; no. 4/5 starter
MLB ETA Late 2015
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 55 60 89-93 94 Velocity: above-average; sits comfortably in the 91-92 mph range and can reach back for a little more; ball comes out of pitcher's hand incredibly quick and jumps on hitters; hard pitch to square when located effectively. Command: average; attacks with pitch; lives down in the zone and elevates to get strikeouts; will bust RHHs in on the hands in order to elicit weak contact; command profile projects to plus, but a tendency to elevate too often makes it play down at present; control ahead of command. Movement: plus; great plane from high three-quarters; tons of downward angle; pitch displays both cutting action and arm-side run in the lower registers. Comments: With a few command refinements, this pitch will be a plus major-league offering with above-average/plus velocity and plus movement. The command is currently average and could play at the major-league level now, but a slight tendency to leave the pitch up and over the heart of the plate as this outing progressed left him vulnerable to hard contact. Continued development in Double-A should help in this regard.
Slider 50 55 80-84 86 Command: average; kept it low in the zone to induce whiffs; lost release point in the sixth inning of this outing, leaving it up/slurvy. Movement: above-average; pitcher can get around offering, causing it to get slurvy and failing to entice hitters to chase off the plate; at its best, offering shows good two-plane break, inducing off-balance swings and falling under hitters' barrels low in the zone. Comments: This is Lively's money off-speed offering, and while it will miss some bats at the highest level, it can also be used as a barrel-missing pitch that induces weak contact early in counts from hitters who are guessing otherwise.
Curveball 45 50 72-75 76 Command: fringe-average; flashed ability to locate low in the zone and generate weak contact; lost feel for pitch and left it hanging and bounced it in the dirt on occasion. Movement: average; break ranged between 11/5 and 12/6; displays some hump out of pitcher's hand; break is slightly long and isn't overly sharp; generated a few whiffs but pitch is used mostly to change sight lines. Comments: This will be an average pitch at the major-league level that can both steal a strike early in counts and generate weak contact. Though it is not projected to miss many bats, it should be an effective complementary offering to the above-average fastball/slider combination.
Changeup 45 50 80-85 86 Command: fringe-average; struggled to put the pitch where he wanted consistently; release point wavered. Movement: average; pitch showed average or slightly above arm-side sink and run on the fringes of the zone, but pitcher left it high and to the arm side too often, struggling to finish and leaving it flat. Comments: With more touch and feel, this pitch could play as an average offering at the highest level. A clear fourth pitch, the changeup flashes the ability to generate whiffs lower in the velocity range, particularly versus left-handed hitters, but will more than likely be used as a pitch to keep hitters honest paired with the above-average fastball going forward.
Overall

Lively has good stuff across the board and, perhaps more importantly, shows good pitchability with realistic room for growth in this department. He goes into at-bats with a plan, executes, and pitches with major confidence, wanting to shove the fastball down hitters' throats. The fastball, while not a crazy weapon in terms of pure velocity, plays up due to its sneakiness and gives the pitcher a weapon going forward. The secondary arsenal is highlighted by the potential above-average slider, and while the curveball and changeup only project to average at the highest level, Lively should be able to deploy these pitches with confidence and keep hitters guessing with a few minor refinements. Overall, Lively looks like a good bet to blossom into a mid-rotation workhorse, a great outcome from a fourth-round selection. He should be ready sometime in 2015.


Hunter Renfroe

Born: 01/28/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 200
Primary Position: RF
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Big man strength; imposing size; heavier than listed weight; thick legs and rear; plenty of muscle up top as well; very good athlete; major league body; he's what a RF should look like.
Evaluator Chris Rodriguez
Report Date 06/30/2014
Dates Seen Spring training 2014, 4/10, 4/12, 4/15, 5/10, 5/12
Affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A, Padres)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 High 60 50; League-Average Right Fielder No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Slightly open stance; rocks at the plate; looks very comfortable; extremely strong hands/wrists; clears his hips well; unleashes the bat with authority; uppercut stroke with leverage; swing is short and compact for a power bat; bat speed is plus; loves fastballs; approach was questionable early; hyper-aggressive; in early looks, he sat fastball all game and was fooled by change of speed and spin; out on his front foot; made some adjustments; better swings/takes vs. quality off-speed; swing-and-miss will always be a part of his game; I like the outlook because of his improved approach, bat speed, and strength.
Power 65 Raw power is plus-plus; overall strength flows through the bat well; his BP was a home run show; shows power to the opposite field; uppercut swing creates leverage and balls have a ton of carry; game power is present; hit two home runs in my looks, one on a spinning slider and one on a fastball on the inner half; hits a ton of fly balls which bears well for his power output; hit tool needs to reach close to an average level for power to flow.
Baserunning/Speed 35 Clocked 4.46; shut it down the last step; moves well in the outfield; corner profile; better runner when he gets a head of steam; present below average; will settle slightly lower as he gets older.
Glove 55 Athleticism allows him to get some good breaks in RF; routes are solid; range is about average but once he gets going he can move well; makes all the routine plays; above-average coordination should allow him to become an plus defender down the line.
Arm 60 Arm is a weapon; gets behind the throw; threw a guy out at the plate from medium-deep RF, but the catcher couldn't handle the ball; will play in either corner.
Overall

Renfroe has the chance to become a big-time power bat on a team that is itching for offense. It's important that they let him marinate in Double-A until he refines his approach and finds some consistent success. It was very simple to beat him early on. Fastball outer half; then slider/curve outer half and then off the plate to get him to chase. The hit tool did not grade out well in the first couple of looks, but the bat speed was evident, and as the season went on he started knocking balls out of the park with more regularity. Adjustments were made; he showed the ability to spit on pitches that he was chasing early and attack pitches in the zone more often. His power is tied to the hit tool, of course, and in order for him to become a game-changing bat he needs to continue to adjust to the pitcher's tendencies.

Hitters hit, and Renfroe did enough mashing to get to Double-A at the All-Star break. He's struggling a little now, which could be just adjusting to the level and getting a feel (which he seemed to do well in High-A), so I'd keep him there the rest of this season and the majority of next before seeing what he can do at the major-league level.




Eddie Rosario

Born: 09/28/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180
Primary Position: 2B
Secondary Position: LF
Physical/Health
Athletic build; loose, agile body; little bit more room to add weight; body to handle the rigors of playing everyday.
Evaluator Chris Mellen
Report Date 07/02/2014
Dates Seen 6/27/2014 (Doubleheader)
Affiliate New Britain Rock Cats (AA, Twins)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2015 Moderate 55 45/50; second-division player No
Makeup

Plays the game with confidence - almost too confident at times; can drift; would like to see more energy and consistent engagement.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 55 Quick bat; pretty swing; has life in his hands; above-average bat speed; fluid through the strike zone; aggressive with pitch selection; wide strike zone--will chase fastballs up; lets swing loose; creates leverage in stroke; questions on approach; looks to consistently pull; neglects outer third with eyes--leads to opening early and yanking head of the bat; carved ball lazily to opposite field; must develop gap-to-gap mindset to reach hitting potential; hitting ability is there.
Power 50 Puts the ball in play with backspin; creates lift with swing; primarily pull-side power; can put a charge into offerings middle-in; ability to drive ball to all fields with proper mindset; 12-15 home run peak projection; high doubles potential.
Baserunning/Speed 45 Slow out of box; timed 4.45-4.57 down the line; not digging or running overly hard; may swipe a base or two if engaged in this aspect of the game.
Glove 45 Choppy footwork around second base bag; okay hands; comes in on ball well; seems unsure of himself at times; average reactions/reads in the infield; needs work with pre-pitch anticipation; handled every chance his way in left field; was not tested by any plays; saw the ball off the bat quickly and was moving on contact.
Arm 50 Enough arm for right side of the diamond; flashes strength when needs it; will play in either center or left field; won't be a weapon, but he won't consistently taken advantage of.
Overall

Bat-first player; value to a roster tied into level of offensive production; natural hitting ability; has potential to play up as a high average hitter with some pop if improvements in secondary skills take; will surprise with pop, but seems to fall in love with it; must learn that is not the type of hitter he is; not big on the way he plays the game; concerned that ability to adjust quickly and willingness to do so is not there; not likely to stick as long-term regular for me.


Raimel Tapia

Born: 02/04/1994 (Age: 20)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 160
Primary Position: LF
Secondary Position: CF
Physical/Health
Extremely thin frame. High waisted. Will add weight but hard to imagine breaking 200 lbs.
Evaluator Ryan Parker
Report Date 07/02/2014
Dates Seen ST, 5/28-31, 6/27
Affiliate Asheville Tourists (Low A, Rockies)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 Moderate 65 First-division regular/all-star Yes
Makeup

Very energetic and focused player. Never appears to be stressed. Very competitive on everything from BP to not giving away at-bats to taking the extra base.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 70 It takes time to appreciate the hitting ability Tapia has. You can get thrown off by the body, the stance, or what he is working on in BP that day. Some days in BP you will see him do nothing but hit line drives up the middle or to the left side. Other days he will put on a show and let it fly. No matter what he is doing his swing is very easy, well timed, and balanced. In games he sprays the ball to all fields. His swing is fluid and the ball is coming off his bat hot. His goal is simple at the plate, get the barrel on the ball. He accomplishes this more often than not thanks to an innate ability to manipulate himself and/or his bat to make sure he's squaring up the baseball.
Power 50 The power could actually play higher as Tapia fills out and adds strength. That being said, Tapia will never be known for power and that's almost a compliment. He can put on a show in BP but in games he saves those type of swings for when he is sitting 2-0 or 3-1. He won't give away an at-bat seeking to hit a home run and end up flying out. You make a mistake and he will punish it. Tapia is going to hit .300 but if he goes a month without seeing a pitch he can put over the fence then so be it.
Baserunning/Speed 70 From a pure footspeed view Tapia is a 6; four seconds down to first base with a solid first step out of the box. His grade gets raised thanks to his baserunning skills. He is a pest when he's on base. He stealing percentage isn't great currently as he is very hit and miss on his ability to get good jumps. He's at his best when the ball is in play and he's running. He picks up the third base coach early, doesn't waste motion trying to jerk his head around to spot fielders, he can slide around tags. Instincts are incredible.
Glove 60 On any other club he would be a CF but will work in LF for Rockies. He is coming through the minors with David Dahl, who is better in CF. Tapia gets good jumps but sometimes you will see him take slow small steps before breaking out into a full run. This could be him just getting used to reading the ball at a corner spot. Doesn't have great top-end speed. Everything is good defensively and Tapia's natural athleticism carries him to a 6 grade but nothing is elite.
Arm 50 Quick arm but can get on the side of the ball at times and throw sinkers from the outfield. Arm is just fringe right now but I like the mechanics and I like the arm speed. Gets rid of the ball quick for an outfielder. Will never be strong enough for RF but plays well in left and center.
Overall

Tapia can straight up hit. First 7 I've ever put down on a hitter and I did so with confidence. He makes adjustments during at bats and during his own swings that are usually unseen at this level of minor league ball. Great instincts all around. Hopefully he can add some weight and strength to his frame. Could handle center easily. Top-of-the-order hitter who could either be a table setter or clear the table himself. Special bat.









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