CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

World Series time! Enjoy Premium-level access to most features through the end of the Series!

<< Previous Article
Pebble Hunting: You Li... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/14)
Next Column >>
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Saber Sem... (08/21)

August 21, 2014

Eyewitness Accounts

August 21, 2014

by Tucker Blair


Branden Kline

Born: 09/29/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 210
Mechanics
Athletic frame; chiseled body; probably maxed; high 3/4 arm slot; nearly over the top; excellent arm speed; slight stab; generates good drive; excellent extension; keeps body tall and compact; mechanics look weird but are fluid and seem to work for him; delivery is methodical and he needs to repeat everything for his arsenal to work; delivery times 1.41 - 1.56.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/08/2014
Affiliate Frederick Keys (High A, Orioles)
Dates Seen 8/7/2014
OFP/Risk 55/Moderate
Realistic 50; Middle Reliever/7th Inning Arm
MLB ETA 2016
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 55 60 89-94 95 Explosive pitch; ability to extend and push pitch off good downward plane allows him to maximize the velocity; minimal horizontal movement; very straight at times but not flat; velocity fluctuates too much; not a stamina issue as he was pumping in the 94-95 velo band during the fifth inning; mostly sat in 92-93 velo band; lack of movement will likely hold back from being a true plus pitch; currently average command; move to bullpen would easily play up the FB and Kline can gas the pitch when necessary without losing any of the plane and explosion.
2S 50 50 87-88 89 Threw only a handful; decent arm-side run with some boring action; average pitch that is a good change-of-pace from his 4S and has enough movement to differentiate from his other offerings; likely phased out of his arsenal the further he moves up the system.
SL 45 50 81-83 83 Sweeping pitch; spin can be tight at times; not a ton of tilt; average command; ability to sweep for strike on outside corner; sometimes will grip too hard and drag arm into ground; looks odd out of high 3/4 arm slot and takes away some of the horizontal opportunity.
CH 45 50 80-83 84 CH has improved some since beginning of the season; slight parachute action; mild arm-side run; ball moves well out of hand; slightly too firm at times; pounds low and away against LHH; not afraid to throw against RHH but loses some of the deception; works well with his fastball but not a true difference maker; average command.
Overall

Kline has an explosive FB but lacks extreme movement on any of his arsenal. He has a methodical delivery that might turn off some due to the quirkiness of it. The high 3/4 to a long extension and drive looks odd, but it works for Kline and he has become much more consistent with his delivery since last season.

I like Kline's role as a reliever more than a starter, although I think he is one that you keep as a starter for as long as possible. The stuff is going to play out of the bullpen for certain, but keeping him in the rotation will allow refinement of his CH and SL. He's a low-risk bullpen option, but as a starter he has more risk simply due to the fact he will need to work on retaining velocity consistently throughout a game and refining the command and crispness of his arsenal. In the bullpen, Kline's FB/CH/SL combo will play up.



Dylan Baker

Born: 04/06/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 215
Mechanics
Thick bottom half; powerful legs; frame is mostly maxed; high effort delivery; slightly high 3/4 arm slot; terrific arm speed; rears back on delivery; very small stab; has trouble staying balanced; large amount of effort and moving parts at times; hips sometimes rotate too much; able to establish a good drive and extension; uses his bottom half well and is able to get the most out of his thick lower half; good plane; mechanics are better suited for a max-effort reliever but has the stamina and body to maintain this effort as a starter; slow to home; 1.41 - 1.61 delivery times.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/08/2014
Affiliate Carolina Mudcats (High A, Indians)
Dates Seen 8/7/2014
OFP/Risk 55/Moderate
Realistic 50; Middle Reliever/7th Inning Arm
MLB ETA 2016
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 60 60 92-95 96 Explosive pitch with good life; comes off a great plane and really sneaks up on the hitter; lacks much horizontal movement; routinely pounds both sides of the plate; loves to attack hitters inside; average command currently; changes the hitter's eye level frequently; loses some of his plane in the higher velo band; probably sees a tick in velo from a move to the bullpen.
CB 55 60 82-84 86 11-5 to 10-6 offering; more vertical in my viewing at beginning of the year; can be viewed as more of a slurve; hard tilt; can have depth at times; sometimes will snap too sharp and will spin hard without much depth; currently fringe-average command; will throw against both LHH and RHH; not afraid to throw in any count; drags arm across body at times and will snap pitch into dirt; has some release point issues but was able to fix these as game went along; plus potential and will reach that with more consistent mechanics.
CH 30 35 83-86 87 Below-average offering; lacks feel; virtually no fade or parachute action; firm and looks like a FB; velo difference is not efficient; lacks command and left up in zone way too often; I do not envision much improvement here.
Overall

This was my second time viewing Baker this season, and first time since he broke his ankle and missed nearly four months.

Baker has a lively FB and the CB has some promise. However, the CH is not effective at all currently and will likely hold him from becoming a consistent starter at higher levels. Baker has lost a ton of development time in the past year, but a team could accelerate his timeline and work him out of the bullpen. He has the arsenal to at least pitch the 7th in the bigs, with potential to pitch more impact innings down the road. The risk as a starter is high, as the CH and lost development time have really hindered his progression. As a reliever, he could move quickly through the system and could see the majors in the next year or two.




Jacob Lindgren

Born: 03/12/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 5' 11" Weight: 180
Mechanics
Small stature; sturdy lower half; maxed frame; excellent arm speed; 3/4 arm slot; quirky mechanics; methodical delivery that needs to hit on all cylinders for peak effectiveness; slight stab; mostly stiff upper half; mild drive; max effort as reliever; falls toward third base side; slight rock and pause in delivery; predominantly turns hips; causes timing issues; generates good plane on his pitches even with smaller stature; able to keep body balanced and in unison.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/17/2014
Affiliate Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees)
Dates Seen 8/15/2014
OFP/Risk 55/Low
Realistic 55; Late-innings Reliever
MLB ETA 2015
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 55 60 90-92 92 Generates good plane; lively pitch; able to cut or work arm-side run; hitters have trouble timing his FB; excellent movement overall; LHH struggle mightily to pick up out of his hand; able to still hide pitch against RHH; command is currently average; will leave FB up in zone at times and does not have elite velocity to get away with this; drags his arm occassionally which causes a few to whip too far outside the zone; FB likely plays up to plus with slight refinement in command and rest after a long season pitching in college and minors.
SL 65 70 81-84 84 Extreme tilt; tight spin and two-plane break; snaps and moves quickly; ability to pound both sides of the plate; works against both LHH and RHH; hitters have hard time identifying and recognizing pitch out of hand; many late swings and buckled knees; release points wavered; released too early a few times; still showed tilt but lacked the extreme two-plane break; average command currently; will reach plus-plus offering with slight release point refinement.
Overall

Lindgren is ready for the majors right now. His FB/SL combo would play at the highest level right at this moment, and he has the potential to become a late-innings reliever.

There is minimal growth left, but he will work efficiently as a one or two inning reliever who can work his FB on both sides of the plate and then finish off hitters with the SL. Lindgren could be a dominant reliever next season, and will be effective against both LHH and RHH.




Reynaldo Lopez

Born: 01/04/1994 (Age: 20)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 185
Mechanics
Athletic build; projectable body; looks taller than listed height; very good frame; high 3/4 arm slot; elite arm speed; does not have a stab but rears back and has long rotation in delivery; loop in arm action; mildly stiff on front leg and not a huge extension; able to keep hips from torquing too much; stands on first base side of rubber; keeps body compact, on a straight line toward home; excellent plane and able to stay tall; fluid delivery; delivery times 1.43 - 1.56; majority of the velocity comes from elite arm speed and the long rotation on arm in delivery.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/19/2014
Affiliate Hagerstown Suns (Low A, Nationals)
Dates Seen 8/19/2014
OFP/Risk 70/High
Realistic 60: No. 3 Starter
MLB ETA 2016
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 70 80 94-98 99 Elite velocity; explosive offering capable of reaching upper velo bands on a consistent basis; easy velo; heavy fastball off a terrific plane; shows arm-side run as well; FB has extreme life and hitters have difficult time barreling; command is very projectable; able to spot his pitches; keeps ball low and was attacking hitters low all night; could be plus command in future; command wavered in final two innings when he started to tire; held velocity in stretch at 94-97 velo band; touched 97 in sixth; needs to work on attacking glove side with FB; could be one of the most electric FB from a SP in the game.
CB 50 60 76-80 82 11-5 offering; inconsistent currently; flashes shape and depth at its best; tight spin with good rotation through its trajectory; arm speed is consistent with FB; cast a couple; release points are slightly inconsistent but looks to still be learning feel for the pitch; best in the 76-78 velo band; could be a plus offering when he is able to throw more consistently; command is currently fringe.
CH 40 50 84-86 87 Able to replicate FB arm speed; pitch has feel; too firm right now but displays mild fading action; able to work low in zone and only hung one in the middle of the plate out of a dozen; command is currently below average; release points seem to waver; repetition and refinement of CH are well in reach and could be an average pitch with more consistency.
Overall

Lopez signed with the Nationals for $17K and looks to be a steal. His FB is one of the best pitches in the minors. He is able to command the pitch currently, and shows pitchability at such a young age without much experience. His ability to keep the FB low and induce groundballs and weak contact is exceptional. One sequence on the night was a 98 mph FB, 86 mph CH, 98 mph FB, 82 CB for a K.

Lopez is a high risk prospect due to just reaching the Low-A level and the CB and CH still need more refinement until he is able to handle higher levels. The FB is a truly great pitch and will soar him through the minors if he can improve the secondary offerings even mildly. This is one of the best arms I have seen all year.




Mason Williams

Born: 08/21/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180
Primary Position: CF
Secondary Position: RF
Physical/Health
Frame is on the skinny side but not wiry; muscular and athletic; likely a maxed frame.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/18/2014
Dates Seen 8/15/2014 - 8/17/2014
Affiliate Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2016 High 30 20; Org. Player No
Makeup

Not impressed with makeup; does not look interested; looks defeated before he steps on the field; does not hustle; looks apathetic out there; no urgency for anything.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 20 Lost at the plate; has no plan at all; approach is poor; constantly behind in counts; swinging at pitches outside the zone and getting tied up on pitches grooved in the middle of the plate; swing is all over the place; loopy swing; too much noise in back shoulder and wrists; drops his back shoulder often; getting under the ball at times and not driving the pitch; plus bat speed; feet are messy; shuffling too much and unbalanced; collapses entire backside and weight shifts to front foot; really struggles to make consistent contact even in batting practice; overwhelmed at Double-A; struggles with break; struggles with high velocity; cannot identify sufficient break.
Power 30 Minimal power; does not barrel the ball enough to have impact power; average raw power but will never see it play in game; swing is not conducive for power; quick bat but too much noise to drive the ball.
Baserunning/Speed 55 4.19 home-to-first; good agility; decent second gear but not great; he likely has plus speed but I did not see it due to lack of hustle.
Glove 60 One viewing in each from CF and RF; displayed quick bursts and agility from both positions; routes were mediocre; looked uncomfortable playing RF and botched a running play toward the corner; much better the next night in CF; good first jump; looks to struggle on balls hit directly at him; overall is plus in OF due to athleticism and good agility; covers a lot of ground; able to make up for most of his judgment mistakes.
Arm 40 Not much on his throws; fringe-average arm strength; throws can become lofted and lack burst; does not set his feet at times and struggles with accuracy.
Overall

Williams showed nothing in my viewing. His bat was extremely inconsistent and he failed to produce the same swing throughout an entire series. The defense is not going to carry him through the minors.

The most concerning part about Williams' game was the effort. I did not get the impression that he cared, and it often felt like he had already lost or failed before he stepped up to bat. The makeup issues are real, and he might be feeling the stress of a disastrous season. Williams is a project at this point, and one that will likely never be finished. There are too many gaps and inconsistencies in his game for him to provide any value at the highest level.




Tyler Austin

Born: 09/06/1991 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 220
Primary Position: RF
Secondary Position: LF
Physical/Health
Does not look listed height; thick thighs and a power bottom; muscular and in shape.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/18/2014
Dates Seen 8/15/2014 - 8/17/2014
Affiliate Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2015 Moderate 50 45; Second Division Starter No
Makeup

Hustled the entire series; otherwise, just looked like one of the guys.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Quick hands; quiet swing that is a straight path through zone; short stroke; minimal noise in swing; tick above-average bat speed; ability to pull hands in or extend and go opposite; decent bat control; uses entire field and does not overexert his swings; keeps feet balanced with mildly small load; average pitch recognition; will get tied up with plus offerings but can still fight them off; not an impact bat but the hit tool will play at any position.
Power 45 Slight lift in swing; quick hands and above-average bat speed allow for power to play; barrels a lot of pitches but does not have a true power swing; torques hips at moderate level; average raw power.
Baserunning/Speed 50 More quick than fast; average runner in all phases of game; instincts help play up speed; 8.04 to second on a double because of perfect baserunning and hustle.
Glove 50 Good instincts but lacks pure athleticism to provide plus defense; routes are fine; understands that he is not a speed demon and shifts his routes in moderation; not going to stand out but can be an average glove on the corner; footwork was impressive.
Arm 55 Solid-average arm strength; able to make hard throws on a line to 2B and cutoff man; balls fades and dies mildly on throws to home but is still able to make them with enough strength; accurate throws; gunned a guy out at the plate from moderate distance in RF.
Overall

Austin had a terrific series, making hard contact and displaying instincts all over the diamond. His swing is going to play at any level, although it is not an impact bat. As a corner outfielder, Austin is a fringe starter or second-division mold. He does not have the impact tools to become more of an asset.

Austin will be in the majors soon, but he will need to consistently hit to provide any impact as a second-division starter.




Gary Sanchez

Born: 12/02/1992 (Age: 21)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 235
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position: 1B
Physical/Health
Stocky build; thicker body that looks like a catcher mold; slight room left to grow into frame; does not need that growth and could actually slim down some to provide more athleticism.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/18/2014
Dates Seen 8/15/2014 - 8/17/2014
Affiliate Trenton Thunder (AA, Yankees)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2015 High 50 40; C/1B/Bench Role No
Makeup

Looks lazy out there; no hustle; knows he is slow and almost plays the game this way; does not look like a high-energy player.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 40 Inconsistent swing; plus bat speed; quick wrists; able to control the bat head efficiently but will not always put the ball in play; swing can become too handsy; sometimes fails to use his bottom half; generates efficient hip torque but swings can become lazy at times; very slight hitch at times; great extension and able to cover a lot of the zone; loves to push the ball to the right-center gap; ability to drive ball to all parts of the field; will get under the ball at times and backspin a popup; average pitch recognition; can handle high-end velocity but will cheat sometimes.
Power 60 Easy plus raw power; power is a big part of his game; hits the ball hard when he makes contact; slight lift in swing; plus bat speed and quick wrists; body is built for power and has the hip torque to hit balls hard.
Baserunning/Speed 20 Lacks any form of speed; home to first times are consistently over 4.6 seconds; poor second gear.
Glove 40 Defense has improved since my viewing last season; feet are still slow and he lacks the necessary movement to block pitches; really struggles to block pitches in the dirt; footwork is still largest issue; does show ability to bounce out in front of home plate and set himself for a throw to first or second; no feel for pitch framing; lacks the fluidity in his wrists and hands to catch; he can hold his own behind the dish but will not be an asset; sluggish movement added to below-average receiving skills hinder his defensive value.
Arm 70 Did not record a pop time in game; 1.97 on a warmup; displays an excellent arm in game; terrific arm strength; laser throws; able to throw with force and made two bullet throws to first on bunts; plus-plus tool that will help him behind the plate and might play up the defense.
Overall

Sanchez is an intriguing player with a hit-first style. His bat will likely work at C, but the defense is not at the level needed to stick defensively at the highest level. He is not reliable behind the plate currently, although there have been slight improvements in his horizontal movement since my last viewing in 2013.

The bat may play at 1B, but it takes away his best value as a prospect - the arm. Sanchez is still a high-risk player even with significant time at the Double-A level. His defensive game is not ready for the majors and could significantly alter his value as a prospect. With fringe defense at C, he is a bat-first prospect who will need to crush the ball to stick as a consistent starter as a 1B/DH hybrid who can play C in a pinch. I think he is closer to the realistic role than the OFP.














Tucker Blair is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Tucker's other articles. You can contact Tucker by clicking here

11 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Pebble Hunting: You Li... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/14)
Next Column >>
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Saber Sem... (08/21)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
The View from the Loge Level: Managing to Wi...
Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Alcide...
Minor League Update: Games of Monday, Octobe...
Playoff Prospectus: World Series Preview: Gi...
Pebble Hunting: An Illustrated Guide to the ...
Baseball Therapy: The Truth About Butterflie...
Pitching Backward: How To Get A Hit Off Madi...

MORE FROM AUGUST 21, 2014
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Information, Humans, and ...
Premium Article Skewed Left: Saber Seminar One Year From Now
Pebble Hunting: You Lie!
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 21, 2014
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Week 21
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, Aug...
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Episode 32

MORE BY TUCKER BLAIR
2014-09-05 - Premium Article Prospect Debate: Steven Moya's Feast or Fami...
2014-09-04 - Premium Article The Call-Up: The Others
2014-09-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bo Gone
2014-08-21 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 21, 2014
2014-08-11 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Michael Taylor
2014-08-07 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 7, 2014
2014-07-31 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Andrew Miller Goes to ...
More...

MORE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS
2014-09-17 - Eyewitness Accounts: September 17, 2014
2014-09-09 - Eyewitness Accounts: September 9, 2014
2014-08-28 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 28, 2014
2014-08-21 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 21, 2014
2014-08-14 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 14, 2014
2014-08-07 - Eyewitness Accounts: August 7, 2014
2014-07-30 - Eyewitness Accounts: July 30, 2014
More...