Jason Parks and CJ Wittman debate the merits of two top shortstop prospects.
Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Team Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings among players in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case for why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.
Ryan Parker and CJ Wittman debates the merits of Hunter Harvey and explain their thought processes in evaluating him.
Every offseason, we publish our team top 10 lists. These don’t just drive traffic to the site; they drive debate and discussion with our readers. Concurrently, we often publish companion pieces that pull back the curtain on our own Socratic scouting, revealing our internal debates, discussion, disagreements, and often-terse tete-a-tetes. As it turns out, voyeurism can be valuable, as some of these articles eclipsed the shine and popularity of the lists they formed the skeletons of. With each subsequent team release, questions were asked about the companion pieces featuring the internal dialogue. Our audience had spoken.
RHP Hunter Harvey (Orioles)
6-foot-3 accurate; nice broad shoulders and beautiful frame to add good weight; great physical projection; very athletic; 3/4 arm slot; uses high kick to create good momentum toward the plate; stretch: 1.40 to 1.53 range; has slight crossfire; also can open early and land toward first-base side; front-side glove can get big, creating deception before throwing front side through; ball explodes out of his hand; hips and shoulders rotate in unison and arm comes through fast; easy release; low-effort delivery; stays over top of pitches well; uses tall frame to create plane; repeatable mechanics; presently more of a thrower than pitcher and needs work with pitchability; very good demeanor and killer mentality on the mound and I love it; also plus-plus hair flow.
LHP Sean Manaea
Pitcher’s body; 3/4 arm slot; thick lower half but comfortable; athletic; stands tall throughout delivery; crossfire action, foot lands on first base side of home; hips rotate with shoulders and back leg swings through post-release; has good momentum to the plate; keeps good balance throughout even though has back leg swing; longer arm action and arm got offline at times, varying his release point; big deception in delivery; hides ball a long time and gets on hitters fast; varies times to home to hold runners, will mix in high leg kick with slide step; front side and hips opened early, causing arm to drag through and command to get loose; was corrected after mound visit. 1.37-1.66 range. Fastball 89-96; sat 91-93 early on and touched 95, 96 twice; then went 89-90 later; missed bats at any velocity; ball jumps out of his hand with arm-side run; also throws some with sink; was still missing bats at 89; want to see the velocity tick up and sit but huge deception and movement pitch; did not get squared one time all night. Changeup 80-84; parachute action; arm-side fade; plays extremely well off fastball because of arm action; feed it to righties to get swing and misses; tough to pick up because of delivery. Slider 76-81; plus spin and tilt; good bite and late break; will add and subtract to vary break and depth; at lower velocity still had good shape and effectiveness.
2nd viewing: Sat 92-94 early; got comfortable in 89-92 range; touched 95 early; can reach back for more velocity when needed; showed ability to cut the ball at 89-90, effectively used to get inside to righties; broke Hawkins' bat with it (shocking); pitch rarely got squared; double-digit swing and misses with it. Future 70 grade. Changeup 81-84 all game; big deception; same pitch I saw first viewing. Future 60 pitch. Slider 79-84; velocity was up; plus spin and tilt; great shape; good bite and late break; added and subtracted well; varying depth and break; stays effective at lower velocity with bigger break; produces massive numbers of swings and misses. Future 70 pitch.
Thick and meaty reports on two high-profile minor-league teams.
Jason Knapp RHP, Texas Rangers
Got the back story on Knapp from Chi Chi Gonzalez and Cody Buckel. Knapp was originally in the Cliff Lee trade going to Cleveland, had two shoulder surgeries the next year and was cut by Cleveland. Has been out of pro ball since 2010, I believe. He met up with his old pitching coach at UPenn and started a throwing program. Paid for his own third surgery and started working hard. Since last surgery, Knapp said it took him roughly 16-18 months to feel healthy. Threw at UPenn for a full year and got noticed by a Rockies scout; explored his options and signed with Texas. He’s on a strict throwing program; every outing is 25 pitches or less, no throwing the next day after an outing, extreme running the next two days. He threw Wednesday during the day and I asked Chi Chi how he felt yesterday and everything was good. Knapp threw flat grounds from 45-60-75 feet yesterday; marked the first time throwing the day after an outing. The plan is to build arm strength until he feels 100 percent, then keep him in relief.