March 11, 2013
Prospects Will Break Your Heart
Backfields Notes: San Diego Padres
Thanks to Randy Smith and the magic of the internet, I found out that the Padres were going to throw 10 of their youngest and brightest arms in a controlled backfield game against Indian Hills junior college at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. These are the scouting situations I dream about, and Jason Cole and I arrived eager and early to find we were the only non-team personnel on the scene, a duo of emotion soon resulted: Anxiety. Are we allowed to be here? Why are we the only ones here? Excitement: We are the only ones here!
Set-up: each prospect arm would get one inning of work. It was a controlled game, which just means the on-site team personnel could roll an inning if a pitcher exceeded his pitch count or if the bats were simply destroying the opponent, which would be the case on a few occasions during the 10-inning affair. I didn’t focus on the bats, although several promising sticks graced the field during the game, and I didn’t pay much attention to the Indian Hills team. These are the bare-bones scouting notes I took. Take them as snapshots of an early March afternoon and not the canvas that will one day hang in the majors. Normally, I would just keep these notes for personal use throughout the year, but I was so impressed with the young arms on the field that I needed to voice these thoughts at the earliest possible convenience. I’m not sure any org in baseball can brag on lower-level pitching like the Padres. Here are the notes:
1st inning: (RHP) Matthew Wisler
Herky jerky mechanics; head snaps on follow-through; offers deception with noisy delivery and low-hand setup and late break; despite some effort, stayed in a good line to the plate; release point was consistent; everything worked; fastball was lively pitch in the 93-94 range; touched 95; appeared to jump on the hitters; hard to pick up out of the hand; slider was hard at 85 mph; good tilt; curveball was 78 with tight rotation; changeup was firm at 88 but arm speed was good and it missed a barrel; showed the ability to throw four pitches for strikes; fastball had some muscle; two distinct breaking balls; worked fast and attacked the zone. Baseball Prospectus ranked Wisler no. 8 on the Padres Top 10, and he looks like a pitcher that could be in the top five in a year.
2nd Inning: (LHP) Frank Garces
Lower three-quarter slot; limited height; bit of a slinger; brings a high leg in the delivery; high balance point before drive; fastball was 91-92 and touched 93 twice; fastball command wasn’t sharp; curveball was big and showed depth at 75-77; plus potential pitch; 80 mph changeup had some action to the arm-side; ~1.5 to plate from stretch with runners on; short lefty with a good fastball, good curveball, and some feel.