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April 24, 2015

Eyewitness Accounts

April 24, 2015

by CJ Wittmann

Dylan Bundy

Born: 11/15/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 200
Mechanics
Build: great physical shape; very athletic; strong build throughout core; power bottom; strong forearms/arms/chest; broad shoulders; limited room for growth; has body to withstand longevity of a complete season; physically maxed out.

Mechanics: high three-quarters arm slot; mild effort; arm stab in back to deep arm circle; deep arm action; hips and shoulders rotate in unison; strong throughout core; stays over front knee at release; consistent landing point; hides ball well; strong lower half/leg drive; first-base side of rubber start; small drop and drive type; spine tilt at foot strike; repeats delivery well/clean overall delivery; solid average command—will get to plus with reps and building arm strength for this year.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 04/20/2015
Affiliate Bowie Baysox (AA, Orioles)
Dates Seen 4/18/2015
OFP/Risk 70/Moderate
Realistic 60; no. 3 starter
MLB ETA 2015
Video No


Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 60 70 91-94 95 T95 4x; plus command; easy velocity—hit 95 with relative ease; creates extreme downhill/downward angle; small movement to arm side at lower velocity band; uses all four quadrants effectively; sitting velocity comfortable at 93-94; more juice left in arm—should see sitting velocity jump (95-96) once fully stretched out (raised stamina)/arm strength build-up causing full grade jump in pitch.
CB 55 60 77-80 81 T81 3x; solid average command; flashed plus in higher velocity band; consistent arm speed from fastball; showed ability to throw for strike in any count and chase pitch; 11-5 shape; deep depth; hard bite, snap; showed great shape; will add/subtract to vary depth/break; sitting velocity spike will show harder bite/snapping breaking pitch causing pitch to play plus; could use command improvement to upper quadrant and improvement in—consistently throwing pitch as chase offering.
CH 60 60 84-85 86 T86 3x; plus command; true swing-and-miss offering to both left- and right-handed hitters; consistent arm speed and arm slot; plays off fastball extremely well; arm-side fade with vertical downward action; effectively threw pitch to all four quadrants; used lower half of strike zone extremely well; present plus offering and will maintain with fastball velocity spike/overall command improvement.

Note: '14 version was firm/lacked comfortable separation from fastball—'15 completely different pitch; very similar to '12 version.
CT 45 50 80-82 83 T83 3x; solid average command; cutter—soft velocity and shows slider-like break; short, tight break; tight spin with late, horizontal break; flashed tilt; showed ability to throw for strike and chase pitch in any count; present fringe-average pitch with potential to play average with command improvement to the glove side and velocity spike; should see velocity spike as arm strength builds.
Overall

Dylan Bundy looked much more comfortable now than he did when I saw him in 2014. He is nearly two years post-surgery and is close to returning to the premium form he displayed in 2012. Bundy showed an easy delivery and generated easy velocity. While he did not have the arm strength and stamina needed to continue deep into the game, I think it is something Bundy will build as the year continues. This will allow him to regain true 2012 form and we should see the sitting velocity, of all his pitches, jump.

Bundy showed a present advanced arsenal and it was hard to believe this was the same guy I saw struggle last season. Along with his fastball, changeup, curveball, his once devastating cutter is now more of a slider-like pitch. With overall improvement in command and strength building, Bundy shows the future arsenal is a top-of-the-rotation quality arm once again. These are things that will come back to Bundy as he pitches this year and we should see him in Baltimore's rotation in the near future.

Drafted: 2011 1st round, 4th overall
Why: present advanced command, arsenal, athleticism; future projection of TOR arm; quick developmental curve.

Ceiling: Role 70; no. 2 starter








Derrick Bleeker

Born: 03/11/1991 (Age: 24)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 5" Weight: 220
Mechanics
Build: Big, strong build; strong throughout core; power bottom; great physical shape; strong forearms, chest.

Mechanics: High three-quarters arm slot; uses height to create extreme downhill plane; high-effort delivery; small spine tilt at foot strike; power arm; arm stab in back to deep arm action; slight crossfire; starts on first-base side of rubber/lands third-base side; strong leg drive.

Note: converted to pitcher two years ago;
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 04/20/2015
Affiliate Delmarva Shorebirds (Low A, Orioles)
Dates Seen 4/11/2015
OFP/Risk 50/High
Realistic 40; Middle Relief/Long Relief
MLB ETA 2016
Video No




Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 60 70 94-96 97 T96 3x; average command; comfortably sat at 94; can reach back for 95-6 when needed; has projection for higher sitting velocity when he harnesses command; creates steep downhill angle; arm-side run at all velocities; present more control than command—showed ability to throw strikes to all four quadrants; with more experience pitching and reps, command will improve; fastball will play grade higher than present with command improvement and higher sitting velocity.
SL 40 55 82-85 86 T86 3x; present below-average command; showed ability to throw for strike and chase pitch; feel/comfortable with pitch; flashed some tilt with depth; tight spin and sharp, late break; present below average because of inconsistent command and break; potential to be solid average with command improvement and consistent sitting velocity.
Overall

Derrick Bleeker was an outfielder in the Orioles organization and only a few years ago, he was converted to pitching. He showed feel for two pitches and with more reps, I think he will be a consistent and valuable reliever. Presently, he shows more control than command but it is a work in progress and he projects well in the future. Bleeker will be the closer for Delmarva but he should not be there long as long as he continues to improve moving forward. In my opinion, Bleeker is still raw to pitching, but he has a big-league future in the bullpen.

Drafted: 2012 37th round, 1117th overall
Why: big, lean athletic projectable OF, potential to try out on the mound if did not work out in OF

Ceiling: 50; 7th inning RP.







Justin Twine

Born: 10/07/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 5' 11" Weight: 205
Primary Position: SS
Secondary Position: 3B
Physical/Health
Broad shoulders; extra weight around midsection; loses athleticism because of added weight; thick lower half; immature-looking body.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 04/18/2015
Dates Seen 4/10-12/2015
Affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers (Low A, Marlins)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
N/A High 30 30; Organizational player Yes
Makeup

Visibly frustrated with self on errors; walks back to dugout on strikeouts.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 30 Wide base setup; average bat speed; limited contact skills; linear swing through zone; leg kick timing that is inconsistent; does not recognize off-speed offerings; showed hacker approach and did not have a plan at the plate.

Inability to recognize secondaries and limited contact skills will limit hit tool.
Power 30 Average raw power; showed ability to backspin ball in BP despite linear swing path; showed ability to drive ball to both gaps; limitations to hit tool will not allow power to play.
Baserunning/Speed 40 Timed in 4.4 range from right side; swing does not allow him to get out of box quickly; reaches limited top speed in three steps; extra weight has slowed him down since amateur.
Glove 40 Limited range due to body/athleticism; not ideal reactions off the bat; hands can get hard and footwork choppy at times; usually fields what he can get too; profile better suited for third base.
Arm 50 Plus arm strength; transfer to throwing hand is smooth; has long, side-arm release; ball has some carry; accuracy is a problem.
Overall

Justin Twine did not impress in my viewing. He has added bad weight since being drafted and it has hurt his athleticism. The lack of athleticism and reactions make his chances of playing shortstop thin. At the plate, he did not show an approach nor did he show the ability to barrel or recognize spin. Even pitches that were in the hitting zone, Twine swung through. I do not think he will make the necessary adjustments to improve as a player as he moves forward, and I do not see a major-league player ceiling.

Round Drafted: 2014 2nd round, 43rd overall
Why: athletic shortstop, average raw power, plus run/arm as an amateur

Ceiling: Role 30; organizational player.








Jonah Heim

Born: 06/27/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 190
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Tall and wiry frame; projectable frame with potential to add good strength; very good athleticism and showed ability get low enough while catching.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 04/18/2015
Dates Seen 4/10-12/2015
Affiliate Delmarva Shorebirds (Low A, Orioles)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2018 High 50 40; back-up catcher Yes
Makeup

Gets raves about makeup; works at craft hard; works with pitching coaches and pitchers very well; calls an ideal game behind the plate.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 40 Switch-hitter with same setup from both sides; plus bat speed; good swing path through zone; gets good post-contact extension on pitches on the outer half; hands can drift at times; small hand movement in load; incorporates lower half well; showed advanced approach; showed ability to recognize secondary offerings but has present trouble barreling.
Power 40 Above-average raw power; slight loft in swing; gets extended well; present power more visible from left side; inconsistency with hit tool will play power grade down in-game.
Baserunning/Speed 30 Timed in 4.4-4.5 range from both sides; heavy-footed runner; clogger on the base paths; runs like a catcher.
Glove 60 Moves well laterally; shows strong wrist when framing; soft hands when receiving; footwork is strong, allowing him a smooth transfer to throw; showed present ability to get low and provide the low target; can still improve his blocking skills overall.
Arm 55 Plus arm strength; pop times consistently in 1.90 - 1.95 range; accuracy is present strength but can get loose; footwork is clean and arm could grow stronger with potentially muscle; fast-twitch athlete.
Overall

Jonah Heim showed an advanced approach at the plate as well as plus catching tools. Heim will be a defensive asset as he continues through the minors. He is a very projectable player and I think he will vastly improve at the plate. Heim received raves review from Buck Showalter about his catching abilities in spring training and they were well deserved. Heim will be a plus defender and just below-average hitter allowing him to be a regular at the big-league level.

Drafted: 2013 4th round, 129th overall
Why: advanced catcher as amateur; projectable frame; projectable hitter and power potential

Ceiling: Role 50; Major League Regular








Wilmer Difo

Born: 04/02/1992 (Age: 23)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 195
Primary Position: SS
Secondary Position: 2B
Physical/Health
Build: extreme athlete; sturdy base; filled out equally throughout frame; strong lower half, legs, arms/forearms; no durability concerns.
Evaluator CJ Wittmann
Report Date 04/22/2015
Dates Seen 4/20-22/2015
Affiliate Potomac Nationals (High A, Nationals)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 High 60 50; Major-League Regular No
Makeup

Leader on field; saw nothing but hustle at all times; controlled game in field to set up defense by calling timeout in certain situations; had no concerns of immaturity on field.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 55 Above-average bat speed; slight lift in swing; short swing path through zone; gets extended on pitches on outer half; showed present contact skills/feel for contact; advanced plate discipline and approach at plate; recognizes secondaries offerings well; lets ball travel deep into hitting zone; small stride timing; replicates swing plane/bat speed from both sides; showed present ability to use whole field.
Power 40 Average raw; slight lift in swing; present ability to backspin ball to gaps; above-average bat speed with contact skills—ability to barrel pitches in all quadrants; will turn on pitches elevated—punish mistakes; legit threat with legs will allow him to stretch hits into extra bases; present strength throughout core; will play down slightly due to solid-average hit tool.
Baserunning/Speed 70 Left side: 4.03-08 range; Right side: 4.11-18 range from home to first; swing allows to get out of box clean; 3.0-1 range from first to second when stealing; hits top speed within first three strides; extreme second gear; game-changing speed; will be stolen-base threat.
Glove 50 Solid reads and reactions off the bat; quick first step; range plays up; soft hands and smooth transfer when throwing; footwork can get rushed; fluid actions at shortstop; best suited for middle of diamond.
Arm 60 Quick release; strong throwing mechanics; plus arm strength; accuracy is a strength; enough arm strength to make throw in shortstop hole; plenty for left side of infield.
Overall

Wilmer Difo put on a show during my viewing. He showed present raw power and strength with premium bat speed and an advanced approach. I trust his actions at shortstop and he has plenty of arm for the position. Difo is a legit threat on the base paths and his speed is a game changer. His tools are loud and he put it all together last year and has continued his success this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Double-A by mid-year this year and is expected to be in the MLB by mid-to-late 2016.

Ceiling: Role 60; first-division shortstop.




































CJ Wittmann is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/24)
<< Previous Column
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (04/23)
Next Column >>
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (04/30)
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Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Of Signal... (04/24)

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