Notes on first-rounders Hudson Potts, Taylor Ward, and others.
Hudson Potts, 3B, San Diego Padres (Complex Level AZL)
Selected 24th-overall in June out of a Texas high school, the artist formerly known as Hudson Sanchez has already earned his first professional promotion after a solid debut, especially for a kid won’t be 18 until October. A tall third baseman with very soft hands and fluid motions on the field, Potts swings right-handed, gets the barrel to the ball quickly, and shows the ability (and willingness) to use the whole field. He has good balance at the plate and a swing tailored to hit line drives, but he has the frame to develop power as he progresses. I expect his defensive ability to carry him early on, and there’s a reasonable chance the power eventually comes around to league average. —Matt Pullman
Winston Lavendier, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (High-A Inland Empire)
Lavendier's "windup," if you can call it that, basically consists of him lifting his leg into a tucked coil, tensing every muscle in his body, and hurtling every part of it towards the plate as hard and fast as he can. It is among the highest of high-energy delivery you'll see, and it creates some good (moderate deception and quality extension) along with some bad (I just can't see a reliable command profile coming out of that delivery). He controlled the stuff pretty well, though, generating quality plane and driving the ball into the zone. He was all fastball in this look, piling up three outs on just nine pitches with some electricity and finish at 91-94. He apparently has a relatively deep complimentary arsenal, as well, showing a slider and what appeared to be a splitter in warmups, with both moving at a similar vertical trajectory. —Wilson Karaman
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Notes on the standout performers at the plate from the East Coast Pro showcase.
2016 ECP Hitters
1B Alex Toral, West Orange HS (FL) - One of the strongest players in the 2017 class, Toral put on a show during the week at the plate. The University of Miami commit has at least plus raw power with plus bat speed, plus physicality, and an uphill stroke with loft. There is a chance for more raw power given how young he is, if he maintains his body well. As a hitter he recognizes pitches well and has an idea of what he can and can’t hit. He got a healthy dose of off-speed offerings during the week, but opted to wait for his pitch rather than chase. Toral taking D.L. Hall deep was one of the highlights of the event and showed how much playable power he could have down the road. Unfortunately, his hit and power are the only average to better tools he brings to the table: he is a 30 runner, with a 40 arm, and a chance for a fringe-average glove at first base. Given the nature of his body now, there is a chance that he could be a DH if his body goes the wrong direction.
D.L. Hall leads the list of pitchers who impressed at the event.
LHP D.L. Hall, Valdosta HS (GA)
Easily the most impressive arm of the event, Hall excited everybody in attendance with his combination of stuff as well as feel for pitching. Hall, who is officially listed at 6-feet, 179 pounds, still has some physical projection remaining given his age and a slender upper half. Pitching from a half windup, Hall combines a smooth, compact arm action with above-average arm speed and a three-quarters slot. His pitches played up thanks to an athletic, easy delivery that allowed the ball to really jump on batters. His fastball sat 93-94 and had some mild run down in the zone. His curve is a true weapon, coming in at 77-79, the pitch featured 1/7 shape with power and sharpness. It had consistent shape and he was able to locate it for strikes, as well as out of the zone when finishing hitters. It is a potential plus offering and given how well he located it, could play higher. Hall also flashed a potential above-average change at 80-81 which featured late, fading action and present arm speed. He located it to right-handers down in the zone and is comfortable throwing it in most counts. Hall has the potential to go early in the first round of the upcoming draft.
RHP Blayne Enlow, St. Amant HS (LA)
Hall might have been the most impressive arm of the event, but Enlow was certainly an intriguing arm. Officially listed at 6-foot-2, 179 pounds, Blayne is a LSU commit with a wiry, projectable body.
Notes on Austin Bain, Nick Dunn, A.J. Graffanino, and more.
Austin Bain, RHP, Louisiana State University – Square shoulders, compact, some room to fill out; semi-wind, quick shuffle into high leg kick, stiffness in takeaway; mild stab, steep arm angle to high three-quarter; drop-and-drive, deceleration and drift into stride, inconsistent balance, significant spine tilt, struggles to get downhill consistently with force; fastball 86-89 relatively straight, lacks a ton of plane, below-average command, ball wanders up in the zone; changeup 79-81, solid tumble, late diving action, consistent arm speed, flashes above-average potential; slider 76-78, lacks depth, will roll it, not a ton of bite; struggled with balance and rhythm in the stretch, lots of misses up in the zone; deliberate pace with runners on, holds the ball to try and counter slow stretch delivery, 1.38-1.5.
A look at ten of the top players from the two-game showcase.
Every year the Northwoods League gathers 80 of its best players in Madison during one of its few off days. The game is a little different in that the players are selected by scouts that cover the league instead of coaches and managers. The result is two games of the best prospects (that haven’t headed home, ahem Keenan Bartlett) the Northwoods League has to offer. Instead of working my way through every player, I’ll highlight ten of the best in a follow list format.
Evaluating in the public realm can often turn into a big-game hunting event, with a prominent portion of the coverage directed towards the eventual major-league talent. This happens because the big names draw the largest crowd, so it's not an uncommon strategy to target those players that will garner the most buzz. Player evaluation is not so cut-and-dry, however. Over the course of the season, scouts and evaluators watch hundreds of players and are grading more than just the next mid-rotation starter or potential first-division shortstop. Most of the players we lay eyes on are simply minor league filler. This article is meant to highlight some of the talent in the extreme lower levels, while also providing brief notes on players of all stripes.
RHP Miguel Hernandez- Signed for $65,000 as part of the 2014 IFA class, Hernandez is an intriguing player down here. He's got a young, wiry frame, with plenty of remaining projection. Featuring a drop and drive delivery, Hernandez tends to flies open and lacks balance in his delivery, which can lower his slot. He will need to add strength to his frame to help prevent this down the road. With a quick arm swing and above-average arm speed, his heater was between 92-94 and touched 95 with some life in the lower half. Given the inconsistencies with his arm slot, it is tough for him to spot the pitch, but he was able to locate in general regions if not precise ones. His slider came at two different speeds, one with more depth and tilt at 84-87, and an almost cutter-like pitch at 88-90 that lacked depth. The pitch is effective now and with some further refinement could get to be an average or better pitch. He has a changeup, but it was firm at 85-86 and he did not feel comfortable with the arm speed. An extremely projectable young arm, Hernandez has a long road ahead of him, but he already has a lot of building blocks in place. I see a potential reliever here with potential to pitch high-leverage innings.
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?
It's the East of the East. Like that Jean-Claude Van Damme movie except about baseball. Sort of.
Last week the Eastern League held its all-star game, and Adam McInturff and Grant Jones were there to take in the festivities. Below are their notes on some of the most prominent stars from the Eastern Division. In case you missed it, they wrote about the best of the West yesterday, and you can find that piece here.
Notes on those who made an impression from the West representatives in the latest minor league all-star game.
Last week the Eastern League held its all-star game, and Adam McInturff and Grant Jones were there to take in the festivities. Today we’ll examine the standouts from the league’s Western Division, with notes on the best of the East coming forth tomorrow.