April 8, 2014
Notes from the Field
Backfield/Minor-League Game Notes
RHP Chris Stratton (Giants): Not at all what I expected coming in. Medium frame with some length; loose, light athletic build; good body but smaller than I thought he'd be. Finesse pitchability righty. Was expecting a power arm based on what I'd heard about him in the spring of 2012. Sat 86-90 most of the way, some 91s late when he needed them; looked like he had a 92 in his pocket if necessary but was cruising along. Command was sharp for stretches once he found his rhythm; some early rust but overcame it and settled in. Cuts or runs the FB with intent; commanded it well for most part. Clean simple repeatable delivery with slower well controlled pace; compact arm action from high 3/4 slot; throws easy, hides the ball well. Deep tilt to slider, goes diagonally from corner to corner; some concern with path to/through zone because of depth but mostly well spotted in this look; best used attacking back door to LHH and starting down and away as chase pitch to RHH; will need sharp command of it at higher levels; believe he can do so. Went to CH third time through order; quick short dart to arm side at 82-83 only threw a few of them but looked like an above average offering in brief look. Solid mid-rotation type from this look; not what I was hoping for but still liked it alright. –Todd Gold
SS Corey Seager (Dodgers): Didn't do much but looked good not doing it. Beared down on the arm. It’ll play on the left side and while best suited for short it'll allow him to handle 3B in a pinch as well. Made a very nice play on a ball that he should've charged with fast runner coming down line; while you can nitpick him for the mental error on it, he made a very quick exchange and fired it flat footed with 40 grade carry on near instant release time to make up for it; believable big league SS. Liked the controlled aggression in his ABs this outing. Blasted a 2-0 FB 105 off the bat, one-hopped the 2B who made a great play to start the 4-6-3 on him; 4.60 down the line was disappointing; must've thought he had a clean single because he wasn't hustling out of the box...not in Low-A anymore buddy. Need to focus on the bat a little more; swing looked like it might be a bit grooved; fast uppercut swing; patient early and takes hacks when ahead, and was frequently ahead against Stratton who tried to nibble him early; had some good takes. –Todd Gold
2B Rando Moreno (Giants): No idea who this guy was coming in; liked him. Light athletic body, D reminded me of Jean Segura in the Midwest League in that he would range all over the place and make spectacular plays...and also kick routine balls. Good reflexes and flexibility, highly coordinated athlete, hands looked good in spite of one brutally botched ball that he had no business not handling. Made several standout plays; high-level defensive ability; didn't get a feel for arm strength capacity. Slappy hitter, all upper half, sprays line drives, loose and easy with quick hands, looked like a guy that would get the bat knocked out of his hand by Tim Anderson but was not the case. Could get interesting if he learns to drive the ball. A 4.25 turn time, both quick and fast. Would like to see more. –Todd Gold
OF Mac Williamson (Giants): The raw tools are quite impressive; don’t know if they'll ever come together to be usable but there's upside on the off chance it happens. Huge hacks, very long swing, plus bat speed, big raw power; can hear the whoosh from the stands every time he swings. Had a 6.90 second fly ball, felt like several minutes. Zero idea where the barrel is going, just looking to murder the ball. Physical specimen, body of an NFL defensive end. –Todd Gold
1B Brian Ragira (Giants): Frustratingly passive approach, took a 2-0 cockshot in his first AB and didn't show me anything that made me not hate him for it the rest of the way. 6 raw power; if he felt like swinging the bat I could maybe believe the hit tool can be a 5, very good hand strength and extension through contact. Zero defensive value, stocky fame not helping the cause at 1B and body has really thickened up since last spring. Lumbering runner, had a 4.88 time down the line. Ton of pressure on the bat, and the hitting tools are good. –Todd Gold
CF Jesus Galindo (Giants): Switch-hitter, skinny athletic build, lot of similar bodies in that San Jose lineup. Left side: took 93 down and away to opposite field well and later pulled upper 80s into RF well. Hands are quick, turn times of 4.38 and 4.41. Bunt single from the right side at 3.77. Good athlete; didn't get a strong feel for but might be something there. Like the speed/athleticism; might give him a 4th OF type of ceiling; didn't see anything special about the bat but he had some good ABs. –Todd Gold
1B Chris Jacobs (Dodgers): Body like Brandon Jacobs; not sure if he can hit or not but when he connects: holy shit. Launched one 450 feet with a ton of loft to CF on one of Stratton's few mistakes and also rocked one pull-side foul against a lefty org guy relieve later. It was fun to watch. Skeptical that he's a prospect but I'll keep an open mind as the season goes on. –Todd Gold
LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers): Mature body; athletic delivery; very fast arm; 93-95, T96 in his first inning; definite nerves; came out of the pen firing and lost release point early; missed up and arm side frequently; thinking coming in the sixth inning messed up his routine; can throw over a stiff front leg at times; walked four in his first two innings; looked visibly frustrated; settled down in his third and fourth innings; sat 91-93, T94; threw more quality strikes; flashed a 7 change; 10 mph slower than his FB with big sink; good arm speed; going to be the pitch he's known for; curve also flashed plus potential; finished the day striking out the side; last sequence was a 92 mph FB on the corner, then a 82 mph change swung on and missed with heavy sink; and a 80 mph curve that froze him; picked a guy at first base in the 8th inning; despite being frustrated, he made the pitches he needed to make to get out of two jams. –Chris Rodriguez
SS Corey Seager (Dodgers): Big size; easy to say he belongs at third base but he made some major-league quality plays at SS; looked very comfortable; fluid with his actions; good footwork and arm strength; athleticism and range are not above average but he makes it work; couldn't make a play in the 5/6 hole that a big leaguer should probably make, however; not sold he sticks, but for the time being I would leave him at SS; tough night at the plate; beat by 89 mph fastballs on multiple occasions on the inside corner; plenty of bat speed but swing got loopy; seemed to try to lift the ball; going to get plenty more looks.
Second viewing: looked much better at the plate than yesterday; battled with Gregorio in multiple ABs; ripped a single off the second baseman's glove off a slurve; lofted a 3-2 slurve to the track in LF; later
RHP Kendry Flores (Giants): Lean body (a little skinny); repeated; pin-point control and command; Rancho couldn't do anything with him; FB had natural cut; 88-91, T92; regardless of the velocity, several Quakes batters were late, presumably because he has some deception to his delivery; curve from 72-76 mph didn't really impress but he used it effectively and got hitters off balance; impressive command but stuff didn't jump out. –Chris Rodriguez
OF Mac Williamson (Giants): Huge guy, loud tools. He's still got the arm and the raw power but the bat-to-ball skills haven't improved enough for me to be anything more than a 4th outfielder. Wasn't impressed with his at-bats vs. fringy stuff from Lindsey Caughel, got beat by fastballs and was fooled by off-speed stuff. –Chris Rodriguez
Inconsistent release points with slider and change; slider demonstrated solid tilt against left-hand hitters, dipping onto the outside corner; solid pitch against lefties; easily his best out pitch on this specific night; not a strikeout pitch necessarily, and I think it works best when he actually forces weak contact instead of going after the big out; tends to overthrow it at times, and did so again tonight; becomes real hittable when he throws it faster than the typical 81-83 mph; against right-handed hitters, he tends to stick more with the change, which is fringe-average with some fade; was able to really pull the string on Michael Taylor, getting him to flail out of his shoes.
Has cleaned up the mechanics since last year, with less effort in the bottom half and less falling off to the third base side. Showed ability to work low in the zone; dominated left-handed hitters; I would like to see him throw inside against right-handed hitters more, as he is seemingly skittish at this point. There was not much hard contact against the southpaw, but I do wonder whether the lack of a true out pitch is going to lessen his value in the majors. Overall, mid-rotation starter with a potential plus fastball, plus slider and solid-average change.—Tucker Blair
1B Matt Skole (Nats): An intriguing prospect, with some tools that will translate at the major-league level; solid eye at the plate and takes pitches. The raw power is plus. I’m hesistant on practically every other aspect of his game.
Bat speed is solid, but it does not remedy the main issue of an elongated swing; even in BP, it has too much of a process; noticeable hand-wrap; elbow moves too much for my liking; trouble catching up with mid to high end velocity the entire series against Bowie; saw a lot of pitches but largely did nothing with them; able to pound inside then sweeping sliders away; I have always questioned the bat against left-handed pitchers, and this series did not change that thought.
Overall, I question the ability to make enough contact at higher levels; will show on-base skills, but that will mainly come from taking a ton of pitches. He is also going to strike out a ton, which has been a common theme throughout his career. Important to remember he missed all of 2013 with an ugly injury; wrist/elbow injury could still be lingering.
Defensively, a first basemen all the way; I saw him play games at both third and first, and range is below average and the arm is average. –Tucker Blair
LHP Felipe Rivero (Nats): A piece in the deal that sent Jose Lobaton to the Nationals; wiry, 6-foot-2 frame with mild growth left; quick arm with a short release; fastball sat 91-93 with some arm-side run, although not much; was waiting for higher velocity, but it simply did not show; mechanics were a mess on this particular night; consistently dropped his arm angles; multiple release points.
Curveball is fringe-average with a slurvy, 11-5 spin with mild depth; popped off a few in the 77-81 mph range; shows some promise, but he failed to locate it the entire night; saw something resembling a change, but the pitch was battered and bruised by a veteran-heavy Bowie lineup. The change was fringe at best, with mild fade.
Had a rough night, giving up three runs in the first inning along with some very hard hit balls. Not a good first impression. –Tucker Blair