Notes on first-rounders Will Benson, Dustin May, former first-rounder Cornelius Randolph, and more.
Will Benson, RF, Cleveland Indians (Complex Level AZL)
As I overheard one scout say, “That’s a big-league body.” Benson turned 18 just two months ago, but he’s 6-foot-5 and built like a defensive end. Taken 14th-overall out of a Georgia high school this year, Benson is already a premium physical specimen for the baseball diamond. He isn’t polished defensively, but he makes up for some of it with his athleticism. He uses his body well while throwing, and looks like he could have a plus arm in the future. Out of the box, he has a little bit of “great dane puppy” to him, but once he hits his stride, he moves well for someone his size and he typically displays the head-down hustle you hope to see.
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Notes on Peter Lambert, Mitchell White, Thomas Szapucki and more.
Peter Lambert, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville)
If you frequent the lower levels, you’re watching 18-19-year-olds spotting every so often with stuff that flashes more than consistently hits a grade. Lambert is different. He stands out more for his polish as a 19-year-old prep product than his arsenal. He flashes a plus changeup that could reach 60 with time, but otherwise he’s working with a deep arsenal of average pitches that he utilizes with advanced command and control.
Notes on Cody Sedlock, Isaiah White, and... others.
Cody Sedlock, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Short-Season Aberdeen)
For the Ten Pack this week I wrote about Justin Dunn, who like Sedlock, was a first-round college pick in this past month's draft. Ideally Ten Pack entries, and certainly a Notes from the Field piece, should give some indication into what I think the player is at the highest level. That's the bare minimum you can ask for, right? At least make a call. The problem is with these recent college draftees is: what exactly are you looking at?
In his Padres debut, 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza displayed the precocious ability and projection that has driven his status as a nationally-celebrated prospect. Espinoza came out in the first inning with a toned-down fastball, working smoothly between 91 and 94. He lasted three innings, but in the latter two he worked 93-96, touching 97 twice, with natural though inconsistent running action and some sink. At higher velocities, the fastball run can be downright explosive. Espinoza works from a high 3/4 release point with a good arm action and an overall mechanical package that exudes premium fluidity and athleticism. His command and feel sometimes evaded him on this muggy night, and he impressed by remaining composed.
Notes on Yadier Alvarez, Dillon Tate, Matt Thaiss, and more.
Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Complex Level AZL)
Alvarez was arguably the highest-profile international free agent last summer, signing with the Dodgers for $16 million out of Cuba. Los Angeles has decided to take their time developing him, with the 20-year-old working through some command issues in the Arizona League. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, though his lean, athletic, frame makes him look a bit taller.
The velocity is easy—almost effortless—with reports of him touching triple-digits this spring. He works primarily at 93-97 with the fastball, rushing it up to 98 a few times the night I saw him. He seems to be experimenting a bit, working almost in phases—occasionally sitting 91-93 for an entire at bat, and then 94-96 against the next hitter. While his four-seamer is pretty straight, he generates excellent downhill plane when he gets on top of it. He also works in a sharp slider with a similarly large velocity band to the fastball, ranging from softer, slurvy offerings at 82, to power-sliders which might even be classified as cutters, as hard as 90 mph. His changeup is a work in progress; he struggles to replicate the same arm speed as his fastball, but he throws it hard enough (85-89 MPH) to get away with some mistakes at this level. The development of his off-speed pitch will likely be the difference between him throwing every fifth day and being a high-leverage reliever at the big league level.
Notes on Angel Perdomo, Colin Moran, Wes Rogers, and more.
Carlos Ramirez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
An outfielder turned pitcher, Ramirez has a big arm and has taken well to the mound thus far. With a 6-foot-5, 205-pound body, Ramirez pitches from the stretch with a compact arm action, fair arm speed, and a three-quarters slot. His fastball comes in at 93-95 with some sink. His slider was his go-to secondary with good depth and moderate tilt at 85-87. He is still raw but has an intriguing arm and hasn't pitched for that long. —Steve Givarz
I was sitting on an Appalachian League game last week. The teams and players involved don't really matter for the purposes of this story. There were runners on first and second, two out. The batter lined a ball into short left field. Even with the head start, this was clearly a station-to-station to situation. The manager, coaching third, immediately pointed to the base. The throw came in about shoulder high to the catcher who came out from behind the plate to take it. And Fin, right?