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March 25, 2014

Notes from the Field

Backfield Scouting Notes, 3/25

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff


Chicago Cubs

OF Albert Almora: Mixed production at the plate; squared a 95 fastball up in the zone for an opposite-field RBI single late in the game; fast hands and aggressive; loved the way he attacked the ball; earlier in the game, was sawed off by a fastball inside and hit an infield squib; clocked a 4.4 time to 1B. I like the setup and swing, with an open stance and very good balance through his load and stroke. Swing is more linear without a lot of lift at present, but he can make hard contact with the ball, especially against quality fastballs; in the field, looks the part of a plus center fielder; glides naturally to the ball; effortless ability to make quality reads.

Example: On a high sky, sun field, tracked a high fly ball that was tailing toward the right field side. It would be common to see young center fielders make a poor opening read and struggle to adjust to the ball because of the sky and tail on the ball. My eyes focused on Almora upon contact, and he glided to the spot on his initial read and made a catch at his left hip, which looked as effortless (and cool) as his route to the ball. For most outfielders, the appropriate response to the flair of this particular catch on a backfield would be, “Nice catch Hayes, don’t ever do it again.” But for Almora, its just natural baseball. –Jason Parks

SS Javier Baez: Thick, muscular body; well-filled-out lower half, with tree trunk legs; stands out physically on the field; elite raw power; generates excellent bat speed via an explosive swing; lot of pre-pitch movement and timing to get hands into hitting position; cocks elbow as timing mechanism; swing is designed to get the head of the bat out quickly; looks to lift every offering; ball explodes off bat to both fields with force and distinct sound; prone to being out front; head can jerk, with hips clearing early; aggressive mentality—geared up for fastballs; concerned about willingness to shorten swing or change approach based on sequences; will swing and miss; must mature with approach to be more than mistake hitter against high-quality arms.

Will be tested by off-speed stuff; presently exploitable against changeups; will swing over the top of stuff buried away; ability to hit better than average in the majors is there with adjustments; 5+ hit tool; not overly fluid in the field; plus arm, but inconsistent setting feet; can stick at short for the short term; third base likely destination; high energy to his game—everything is 100 percent; lot of effort and wildness in overall game; at times looks like a bull in a china shop. –Chris Mellen

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Moonshot: Attrition Ov... (03/25)
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