Notes on Raimel Tapia, Matt Purke, Duane Underwood, some new draftees, and more.
Raimel Tapia (Rockies) still shows raw center-field defense. He took an inefficient route on a high fly ball to the gap and came up two steps short, leading to a double. Two plays later he botched a routine groundball single and amplified the mistake with a sloppy, hurried recovery and wide throw to allow an extra base. These were the same kinds of issues he had in April (and May), and the lack of discernible defensive growth over the course of the season is concerning. —Wilson Karaman
Matt Purke (Nationals) displayed a three-quarters arm slot with average arm speed; delivery is much more rigid and stiff than I remembered from last season; still falling off the mound on delivery; FB sat 89-92 mph with mild arm-side run; pitch flattens out at the higher velocity band; SL hangs in the zone at 78-80 mph; well-below-average offering; 83-85 mph CH lacks any feel or fade and was telegraphed out of hand; I see an org arm at this point. —Tucker Blair
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Thoughts on Nick Gordon, Alex Jackson, Mark Zagunis, and more.
Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids)
Nick Gordon is still raw, but flashes the tools to be an above-average big-league shortstop. He’s a skinny, high-waisted player who has the body to fill out and add some lean muscle and strength as he matures.
Gordon is raw offensively, but shows a plus feel for the barrel and ability to hit to all fields. The linear, line-drive swing shows potential for a plus hit tool. He has excellent control of the barrel with the ability to hit to all fields. The power will likely be minimal and more gap-to-gap, but he can turn on the fastball for more power than you would expect from his frame, and that skill should increase as his body matures.
This week's ten pack has reports on Lewis Brinson, Willy Adames, Braxton Davidson, and more.
Lewis Brinson, CF, Texas Rangers (High-A High Desert)
The former first-rounder has had an inconsistent career to date, and the full gamut was on display last week at Rancho Cucamonga. Brinson’s athleticism is top shelf, and he’s the type of player who jumps out immediately as The Guy to watch on the field at all times. The frame is long and lean, built around an extremely high waist and wiry muscle in the lower half. He runs like a gazelle, with long, efficient strides and a supremely coordinated, graceful glide. The raw foot speed is a 65, and he presented as an outstanding track and close defender in center. That alone puts him on a path to the big leagues.
The shape of that path will depend an awful lot on his offense, and that projection remains very much a work in progress. The stance is tall with high, quiet hands, and the raw strength and bat speed both present as plus. His angle into the zone is steep and his lower half showed some inconsistency, however. His BP session was unremarkable, and he struggled to maintain his center of gravity in-game, collapsing on his back side and losing his shoulder-hip alignment on several swings. He repeatedly expanded the zone down against velocity and off-speed stuff alike in this look. On the flipside, he also showed some notable discipline along the black, and when his rhythm was right he delivered the barrel smoothly and directly to the point of contact.
This week's ten pack includes thoughts on Nick Williams, Carlos Tocci, Brian Johnson, and more.
Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach)
The 2013 first-round pick has moved fairly quickly, and is now competing as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League, but despite his rapidity, there's not a ton of development left in his game. His small frame—he’s listed at 5-foot-11—doesn't allow for a significant amount of filling out, likely limiting his fastball to the high 80s/low 90s rendition he's currently offering. He has good control, but his command within the zone wavers, thanks to some jerkiness in his delivery. His curveball is supposed to be his calling card, but the pitch lacks depth. His three-quarters release point coupled with his lack of height eliminates the downward plane on both pitches. He offers a changeup that has potential and replicates his fastball arm speed on it effectively, but it doesn't currently have enough movement to miss bats consistently.
Updates on Derek Fisher, Chance Sisco, Jake Thompson, and more.
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster)
To say that Derek Fisher has taken the California League by storm since his debut last week would be a bit of an understatement; for those who missed it, he broke the league record with a 12 RBI game in his debut. The better news is that he actually looks the part of a potential impact-offensive prospect on the field.
He sports an impressively athletic frame with a strong base, high waist, and the shoulders to support a modest amount of additional muscle should the current experiment with him in centerfield eventually come to an end. In the box, he works from a quiet, upright stance, hands to his back ear and bat resting perpendicular just off his shoulder. His load is almost directly vertical at present, with a bob of his hands and modest leg kick launching his attack. The tight hands keep his swing path short into the zone, but it’s a steeper path and the bounce at the trigger point can lead to poor barrel delivery and the potential for ample swing-and-miss.