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September 9, 2014

Eyewitness Accounts

September 9, 2014

by BP Prospect Staff

Sean Manaea

Born: 02/01/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 5" Weight: 235
Mechanics
Pitcher’s body; standard ¾ arm slot; thick lower half but comfortable; good athlete; stands tall throughout delivery; calmed, more in-sync delivery; starts on third base side, off center; simple start with less movement than early in season; hands go over head as timing mechanism; slight crossfire action, foot lands on 1B side of home; more balance and consistent landing spot than early in season; hips rotate with shoulders as arm comes through clean and consistent; has good momentum to the plate; still has big deception in delivery as he hides ball a long time and gets on hitters fast; varies times to home to hold runners, will mix in high leg kick with slide step; 1.3-1.7 range.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 08/20/2014
Affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A, Royals)
Dates Seen 5 G Late July-August
OFP/Risk 65/moderate;
Realistic 60; number 3 starter
MLB ETA 2016
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 65 65 91-95 96 91-93 velo band, sink; 93-96 velo band arm-side run; downhill plane and consistent release point; will work inner half to LHH and RHH; more consistency with mechanics have allowed for command to improve; big deception in pitch; uses all four quadrants exceptionally well.
SL 55 60 81-84 85 Used to work 78-86 range, now just throwing the harder variation of the pitch; hard biting break with tilt; hard snap in upper velo band and has darting late action on hitters; generates swings and misses from LHH away, backfoot swings and misses to RHH; shows ability to throw for a strike early in count and as a chase pitch; consistent mechanical changes have allowed for improved command to all areas around the plate.
CH 55 60 82-86 87 Arm-side sinking action; feed it to RHH away to get swings and misses; can throw it coming back to outside corner to LHH; still has movement in upper velo band but not enough seperation from FB to be of full utility; tough to pick up because of delivery; consistent mechanics allow for same arm action as FB.
Overall

Being a young evaluator early in season, I jumped at the opportunity to pump Sean Manaea's double-plus stuff. Not to admit I was wrong, but I forgot to take into account the fact that the big leagues are hard and having monster grades on pitches puts unrealistic expectations on a player. While Manaea's stuff is very legit, I had to remember than commanding the pitches will ultimately allow them to play to their full potential.

Manaea has calmed his delivery down and it is much simpler now. His landing spot and arm slot have become more consistent, allowing his command to play up. Over the past five games, Manaea's walk rate has dropped tremendously and his strikeout numbers have stayed the same. He seems to have adjusted well to High-A and is becoming more of a polished arm. His FB utility is near double-plus due to the movement and velocity of the pitch. His ability to command his pitches now makes me think his secondaries will play up to their full potential. I've seen the changes Manaea has made throughout the year and showing he has the ability to adjust makes me feel comfortable in putting a high realistic ceiling on him as well as a high OFP.



Jose Urena

Born: 09/12/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 195
Mechanics
Very slender frame; thin lower half; broad shoulders; frame could hold more weight down the line; quick-paced drop-and-drive delivery; plane can suffer as a result; arm action is very quick; breaks hands at the letters and gets arm up too early, showing it to hitters for an extended period; increases visibility and decreases deception; arm action is very similar to Randall Delgado's; three-quarters arm slot; loose, whippy arm decelerates well; plus arm speed; long stride down the mound; front leg steps over an imaginary block during stride (aids in velocity); plus momentum; lands on heel; landing can be a bit loud on occasion; back leg is off the rubber at release; pitches over front side decently; falls off toward first base—slightly rotational. Urena is a quick-twitch athlete who shows plenty of fluidity and repeatability in his delivery. The delivery features some effort post-release as he falls off toward first base, but the arm itself is very clean.
Evaluator Ethan Purser
Report Date 08/21/2014
Affiliate Jacksonville Suns (AA, Marlins)
Dates Seen 8/12/2014
OFP/Risk 50/Moderate
Realistic 50; late-innings relief (7th/8th inning)
MLB ETA Late 2015
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Fastball 55 60 91-4 95 Velocity: plus. Command: average; projects to above average; shows ability to work both sides of the plate with ease; elevates his four-seam to get whiffs; works two-seam low in the zone in order to elicit weak contact; elevated pitch far too frequently in this outing, allowing hard contact up and over the plate; threw strikes and flashed ability to get ahead of hitters with the pitch, but command was merely average; command should improve with repetitions given repeatable mechanics mixed with present strike-throwing ability. Movement: average; standard two-seam life low in the zone; will also show a short cut look in the high 80s that isn't particularly effective; drop-and-drive limits downhill plane. Comments: This projects to be a plus pitch at the highest level. Urena can pump mid-90s with ease and projects to have above-average command of the pitch. He shows different looks with the offering (two-seam, four-seam, cut) and can manipulate the two-seam in particular to miss barrels down in the zone and generate whiffs with the four-seam above the belt.
Changeup 45 50 85-87 88 Command: fringe-average; projects to average; buried a few too many in the dirt; flashed ability to work the outer half versus lefties; can get in trouble by elevating the pitch over the plate. Movement: fringe-average; projects to average; shows above-average arm-side fade at times, but the movement is inconsistent overall; will cut it at times; will also flatten out and become too firm up in the zone and in the upper 80s. Comments: At its best, this pitch can elicit weak pull-side contact from hitters who are caught on their front foot. There is not enough velocity separation for this to be a consistent swing-and-miss pitch, but he projects to have enough feel to be able to get the most out of this weak-contact offering.
Slider 40 45 82-86 87 Command: fringe-average; projects to average; able to generate a few whiffs out of the zone but not a swing-and-miss pitch in the zone; struggled to accumulate quality strikes with pitch; will often choke pitch in the dirt. Movement: below average; projects to fringe-average; decent three-quarters tilt; more lateral break than vertical depth in the mid-80s; more depth in the low 80s; snap on pitch is inconsistent; will get around the pitch and cause it to merely spin and not break; will also muscle up on pitch and lose sharp break/depth. Comments: This pitch has a tendency to flatten out and doesn't consistently display sharp break, leaving it as a fringy future offering against upper-level bats. It is a playable pitch and should generate some weak contact, but it will not be a swing-and-miss weapon.
Curveball 40 40 79 Command: average; shows ability to get the pitch over the plate early in counts. Movement: below-average; 11-to-5 break; break is soft; shows more vertical action than the slider. Comments: Show-me/get-me-over offering at the highest level; will be able to steal a strike early in counts but will never be a swing-and-miss offering either in the zone or out of the zone.
Overall

Urena is a live-armed RHP prospect who projects to have above-average command/control with a plus fastball but a lack of swing-and-miss secondaries will likely limit his ability to stay in the rotation long-term. Urena's delivery is relatively free and easy with few, if any, red flags, helping with the overall command projection. His arm gets vertical very quickly in his motion, however, giving hitters a very long look at the ball and decreasing the overall deception therein. The fastball is easy gas and he can pump a lively mid-90s heater with regularity and shows an ability to spot it up on the corners or blow it by hitters up in the zone. Despite a lack of plane, this pitch should be a plus offering at the highest level. The changeup headlines the secondary arsenal and should play to average at the highest level, while the slider and curveball are fringy to below average, respectively. The current lack of big strikeout numbers should continue as he reaches the big leagues due to an underwhelming secondary arsenal.

As a player who has seen success in Double-A, Urena's risk of reaching his no. 4 starter potential is moderate and is tempered by the concern that he ends up in the bullpen with the lack of a swing-and-miss secondary pitch. If the secondaries improve slightly (new grips, etc.), Urena has a better chance of sticking in the rotation. If not, he will slot in nicely as a late-innings relief reliever due to a fastball that will likely tick up beyond the mid-90s in short stints and an average changeup that will work in his favor against lefties.




Adalberto Mondesi

Born: 07/27/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 165
Primary Position: SS
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Listed height/weight are accurate; maintained build throughout season and possible has gotten more physically mature; plus-plus athlete; room for more strength and good weight.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 08/20/2014
Dates Seen 20 G July-August
Affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A, Royals)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 High; 19 y 65 50; major-league regular No
Makeup

Rich demeanor; confident player; very heads-up player, makes the right play; always seen working with hitting coach in pre-game.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 60 Left side: small hand drift in load (has been toned down since early in season); hands starting further back toward back shoulder now; plus-plus bat speed; innate bat-to-ball skills; swing has slight natural lift through hitting zone; short path to the ball with two-handed finish; will use the opposite field and loves going to left center; often makes loud contact; can get tied up inside at times; has some swing-and-miss within the strike zone.

Note: Early in season, off-balanced swings occurred against spin down in the zone. Has made adjustments and is much more balanced throughout swing resulting in hard contact often.

Right side: overall quiet setup; plus-plus bat speed; swing is more linear with less lift; presently uses the right side more than early in season; becoming consistent in making hard contact against velocity; shows feel for the barrel.

From both sides of the plate, shows an advanced approach for age; comes up with a plan and will adjust to the situation; plate discipline and idea of strike zone is plus; identifies spin early and tracks ball deep into the hitting zone, stays balanced throughout swing; has shown the ability to barrel quality spin and velocity much better than first half of season.




Power 50 Present gap power due to dimensions of the park; shows ability to backspin the ball in BP; power comes from bat speed and lift along with ability to barrel the ball; gets great post-contact extension with balls on outer half; more HR power coming with added strength.

Note: early in season, off-balance swings led to weak contact and power numbers were down; new setup and balance along with advanced approach, allow Mondesi to get into more hitter's counts. Power surge has come of late as a result.

Baserunning/Speed 70 Added strength has helped; maintained speed throughout the year; still learning to use the speed as a weapon on the basepaths; needs refinement in reading pickoff moves and timing pitchers.

Swing allows him to get out of the box clean and accelerate; long, graceful strides; second gear is near elite; 3.8-3.9 on jailbreak bunts from both sides; 4.0 range on groundball from right side; has made great strides on making good reads on balls in play; will stay athletic as he grows.

Glove 65 Smooth actions, shows all shortstop traits; extremely soft hands; great reactions off the bat with quick first step; great quick twitch athlete; range is plus-plus; can make backhand pick in the hole; plus instincts on the field; lightning-quick transfer from glove to hand; collects himself well when throwing on the run; presently a 60 but with reps could even get better.
Arm 55 Strong throws from all places; ball has carry and is delivered on a line; made deep throw in the hole to 1B; fast arm with clean arm action; added strength has helped; shows plus arm strength but accuracy can vary; knows when to use all of "it" and when to be accurate; 55 game utility.
Overall

I have watched Mondesi throughout the season and he has shown flashes of all different types of a player. There were spells where he looked lost and could end up being a below-average regular, but there were also times when he showed he could be a perennial all-star. I'm not worried about Mondesi's stat line for this season; he played most of the year as the youngest player in the Carolina League and all of High-A. I was concerned early in season when Mondesi was struggling, and his entire game was being affected by it. A strikeout would lead to an error which would lead to something else. Over my 20-game sample from Mid-July until now, Mondesi has shown great improvement. His swing has taken strides forward along with his approach, which was already advanced for his age. Off-speed down in the strike zone gave Mondesi headaches early in the season and he would take ugly, off-balance cuts and look foolish at times. Over the past month, it is obvious he has been working with hitting coach Milt Thompson and the adjustments have shown. While there still is a bit of swing-and-miss in Mondesi's game, he has shown consistent feel for the barrel and the balance in his swing lets the ball travel deep into the hitting zone. As of late, Mondesi has been letting the ball get deep knowing he has the bat speed and hand-eye coordination to crush mistakes and hit good pitchers' pitches. These adjustments are something I look forward to seeing in Mondesi's game for the foreseeable future and are what will make him a special player.












Dominic Smith

Born: 06/15/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 185
Primary Position: 1B
Secondary Position: DH
Physical/Health
Fully maxed six-foot frame; has added weight through his mid-section since high school; no longer chiseled; broad shoulders/upper half; high-maintenance body going forward; will need to monitor any further weight gain.
Evaluator Ethan Purser
Report Date 08/27/2014
Dates Seen 4/10/14-4/12/14; 8/19/14; 8/21/14
Affiliate Savannah Sand Gnats (Low A, Mets)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2017 High 55 50; second-division regular No
Makeup

Doesn't outwardly display a ton of effort; demeanor and body language come off as low energy, but player is confident in his abilities and laid back by nature; didn't respond well to failure — slammed helmet on the field and showed up the umpire on multiple occasions; seems to have confidence in his knowledge of the strike zone and struggles to adjust his approach when an umpire's zone is slightly different; hesitant to throw a bad makeup label on the player due to amateur sources citing his strong character and his reputation both off the field and as a good teammate; only 19, Smith has plenty of time to further develop his on-the-field professionalism.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 60 Mechanics: Very handsy, loose stroke with a quick trigger into the zone; begins slightly open with hands at letters with a small loading mechanism; keeps swing short/compact; moderate leg lift; front leg will occasionally get down too early and hips will occasionally slide, leading to weak contact due to being out in front; will need to learn how to keep his weight back/loaded in order to fully utilize his powerful lower half in his swing; lower-half actions have changed since the beginning of the season when he utilized a toe-tap timing mechanism; has cleaned up his direction of energy and is more up the middle instead of pulling off as a result; linear swing plane through the zone with a one-handed finish; bat control and ability to get barrel to ball consistently in all quadrants of the zone bodes well for future hitting ability.

Approach: Great knowledge of the zone; all-fields approach; will offer at fastballs around the zone early in at-bats; aggressive approach early in counts often leads to weak contact; needs to learn to wait for his pitch and drive it rather than merely settle for weak opposite-field contact on non-optimal pitches; solid eye at the plate and knowledge of the zone should lead to plenty of walks at the highest level; more stringent approach on pitches in the zone should lead to more hard contact; potential to hit .280-.300 at the highest level.


Power 50 Flashes above-average raw power in BP; linear swing path lacks much lift at present, leading to abundant topspin in games; whip-like bat speed through the zone; player shows ability to get the barrel to the baseball on a consistent basis, but a lack of leverage, an out-of-sync lower half, and a contact-heavy approach limits the over-the-fence pop at present; thick/strong lower half bodes well for potential power output in theory; needs plenty of mechanical adjustments and approach alterations, but player flashes the necessary ingredients to accumulate average power production in the form of doubles and mid-teens home run output.
Baserunning/Speed 30 Well below-average runner at present; 4.4 seconds on a dig to first base; short, choppy strides; poor acceleration; speed will continue to diminish as the body thickens; typically a station-to-station runner on the basepaths; will take a free base when a pitcher ignores him; instincts on the bases will help his speed play up some but player will never be a threat to opposing pitchers/fielders on the bases.
Glove 60 Plus defense at first base; overall footwork is still developing but shows skills around the bag with good flexibility; soft hands when receiving throws and fielding ground balls; lateral actions are quick-twitch relative to other first basemen, leading to impressive range; instills confidence in his infielders to make the necessary throws.
Arm 60 Plus arm strength from a slightly lower slot; throws stay on a line across the diamond on throws to third with a slight bit of tail; weapon on the double play turn or across the infield; utility of tool will be limited at first base.
Overall

Dominic Smith is a hit-first first baseman who projects to add some power down the line while playing plus defense at first base, leading to a ceiling of an average everyday first baseman at the highest level. The natural hitting chops are impressive, sporting a short, compact swing with an innate ability to get the barrel to the ball. The lower half is out of sync at present, causing him to be out in front of pitches far too often and sapping any sort of power in the swing. The first-base profile requires Smith to hit for power at the highest level, and in order to do this, Smith will need to clean up his lower half and learn how to keep his weight back and properly leverage balls. The 19-year-old should be able to do this in time with plenty of work, and mixed with the preternatural barrel skills, Smith should accumulate average power production and post slugging averages in the .420-.440 range despite mid-teens home run power, with plenty of doubles to all fields. Smith also shows the ability to be an asset in the field, displaying plus defense with a plus arm at first base. He will need to monitor his body as he climbs the ladder to make sure his range and flexibility aren't diminished, as he's already a well-below-average runner.




Smith's raw OFP averages to 52, but a slight upward adjustment to 55 is awarded due to a projected plus hit tool, which will be an equalizer at the highest level and will play even if the projected power never materializes. The ceiling is that of an average everyday first baseman, and if the power never comes along, Smith will become more of a second-division regular at the highest level. One must dream on the power in order to envisage a 50 on the tool, so the risk level remains high.









Casey Gillaspie

Born: 01/25/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Switch Throws: Left
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 240
Primary Position: 1B
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Body likely maxed; similar frame to his brother Connor; thicker frame; likely needs to stay in shape; thicker legs and power lower half.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 09/01/2014
Dates Seen 6/27/2014 - 6/29/2014, 8/31/2014 - 9/1/2014
Affiliate Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season, Rays)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 Moderate 50 45; Second Division/Bench Player Yes
Makeup

Good makeup; team-oriented player who handles himself professionally.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 LHH: Slight loft; better power side; more swing-and-miss; hands and feet move slightly more from this side; more pull than spray; load is bigger from this side; less contact but more impact.

RHH: Linear swing; bat is quick through zone; minimal movement in hands; very soft load that lacks drive; more contact oriented; sprays the ball all over field from this side.

Plus bat speed; does not use hips enough; lacks true torque; great approach; ability to lay off close pitches and work counts into his favor; terrific batting eye; moderate ability to recognize spin.
Power 50 Most power derives from left side; lofted swing with bigger load; plus raw power; plays down in-game and especially from right side; power could display more down the road once he begins to establish himself within pro ball.
Baserunning/Speed 40 4.47 home to first; below-average speed; lacks a good first or second gear; slow-paced speed; not a weapon; looks like a 1B.
Glove 50 First-base profile; soft hands; able to get good extension off the base; good pick; works well around the base; lacks large range; not highly athletic but can handle 1B with ease.
Arm 50 Average arm; did not display it much playing 1B; looks to have enough strength for the arm to work in corner OF spots.
Overall

Gillaspie is the younger brother of Connor Gillaspie.

He lacks true impact at first base, but can handle the bat efficiently enough to play as a second division mold. The bat is consistent from the right side, showing a linear swing that is able to produce more efficiently. However, the left side is where all his power impact will likely come.

The overall package is not impact, but Gillaspie should be a fast-moving prospect who displays a great approach and excellent maturity. This is a floor prospect rather than ceiling.





















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