Notes on Logan Allen, Albert Almora, Austin Allen and other people with A's in their names.
Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford)
Senzatela was making his first start in five weeks after an outing in April where he had “trouble getting loose.” Rustiness could explain some of his struggles with fastball command early, but Senzatela has high-effort mechanics and doesn't get much out of his lower half, limiting the overall future command profile. The fastball does show some east-west life at times, and the deception in his delivery makes the 90-94 velocity appear “sneaky-fast,” but he struggled to get the pitch down in the zone and Bowie hitters seemed very comfortable taking cuts at his fastball. Even at his sharpest he will struggle to get plane on it out of his 6-foot-1 frame.
Senzatela featured a full four-pitch mix, but only his slider looked like it had a chance to get to average. The best ones sat in the low 80s, and had sharp, late tilt, but at the top end of his 79-85 velocity band the offering would flatten out. He still throws his slow curve on occasion to sneak a strike, but it is mostly a show-me or chase pitch. Senzatela started to work his changeup in more third time through the order, but the pitch is well-below-average at present. It's a major-league-quality arm, but while you can handwave some of Senzatela's struggles due to the long layoff, the mechanical quirks and lack of a clear third pitch likely point towards a future home in the bullpen. —Jeffrey Paternostro
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Chance Sisco, C, Baltimore Orioles (Double-A Bowie) Sisco hits from a relaxed upright stance with a slightly-open base. There’s minimal movement in his hands and load before the swing, and his stroke has a “hitterish” appearance with fluid bat-speed and a compact, downward path with a two-handed finish. He’ll show close to average raw power on his best loft contact, though his overall hitting mechanics and swing path lend themselves better to a hit over power type of output; Sisco’s .325 and .109 career batting average and ISO would only further that assertion. I liked the maturity of his overall approach and demeanor in the batter’s box—he continually worked late into counts and carried a seasoned, big-league attitude with him at the plate, never getting too high or low.
Bo Bichette, SS, Lakewood HS
The son of former Major Leaguer Dante Bichette and younger brother of Yankees first-round selection Dante Bichette Jr., Bo has an athletic frame and a muscular lower half. While physically fit now, he can still add muscle to his upper half. He also features 70 raw power, among the best in the draft, and can take a ball out of any ballpark. He hits from an open stance with his hands above his head and a bat wiggle, but he also tends to get antsy at the plate as he was awaiting the pitch. He has a significant hitch as he loads his hands deep behind his backside. This, coupled with a high leg kick, will cause timing issues in the future as he faces more advanced secondary offerings and better velocity. While he has plus bat speed to help make up for some mistakes, it’s tough to see him getting to anything higher than a 40 hit tool without some major adjustments.
Notes on Magneuris Sierra, Jake Bauers, Yusniel Diaz, Boog Powell, and more.
Magneuris Sierra, CF, St. Louis Cardinals (Low-A Peoria)
Sierra is small-framed with broad shoulders compared to his body. There is plenty of room for strength projection and a bit for growth. He hits from an even stance, with even balance and his hands at his ear. There is a small hitch, leading to some length in the swing but he compensates for that with average bat speed and a simple stride. The plane of the swing is mainly flat but he does feature some uppercut when he tries to pull the ball. Most of his hits came to the opposite side but he did show ability to pull the ball.
Joe Rizzo, SS/3B, Oakton (VA) High School
Rizzo enters the spring as the top prep bat in the state of Virginia following a summer on the showcase circuit. The South Carolina commit and Perfect Game All-American’s calling card is a polished offensive game for a non-hotbed high-school bat, though questions linger about his future defensive home and remaining projection.
Rizzo’s frame is fairly mature. Listed at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, there’s not much room for additional physical development. Rizzo holds his listing in a “hitterish” manner, with compact features and short arms that will make it easier for his swing to stay inside the ball. His lower half is thick—though he’s currently the shortstop on his high school team, he’ll immediately move off the position at a more competitive level. His swing gets the most out of his strength, utilizing a wide, slightly open hitting base with a crouch at the knees from the left-hand side. He closes off his front side with a fairly tall leg kick trigger, with minimal movement in his hand-load before the pitch.
Notes on Nick Lodolo and B...well, you read the article title.
Nick Lodolo, LHP, Damien High School (La Verne, CA)
When you read that a prep arm has a “projectable frame” there’s approximately a 98.4 percent chance you’re talking about Lodolo. The TCU commit stands 6-foot-6, 180 pounds at present, with long limbs and proportions that suggest the ability to eventually wear another 20-30 pounds comfortably and without compromising his physicality. His movements have their share of youthful awkwardness, but there’s enough grace and fluidity to expect him to mature into a well above-average athlete.
His mechanics are raw, though it’s already an extremely easy delivery with little violence and average arm speed. His front leg will drift during the drive right now, and he doesn’t generate consistent momentum or hip rotation as he pushes off. There’s a lot of length in the motion that leads to a late arrival to his three-quarters slot and subsequently, he struggles with arm-side command. And while his posture is consistent through the takeaway, he also showed significant spine tilt through his release that further complicates his ability to repeat; he delivered just seven first-pitch strikes to the 18 hitters he faced on this night. Corralling his length into a more repeatable delivery will be a significant hurdle for him in developing his command, but that’s not exactly an uncommon thing to say about a young, long lefty. He worked 1.6 to 1.75 out of the stretch, and his cadence was very easy for high school base runners to time off his set.
Notes on Blake Rutherford, Carter Kieboom, and more.
Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade (CA) Prep
Rutherford was the headliner position player at the NHSI, drawing the amount of scouting directors, national-level crosscheckers, and front-office decision-makers you’d expect from a consensus top-10 selection. He had a solid, if unspectacular, NHSI—doing little to hurt his stock, but probably also keeping it right where it was entering the tournament as well.
The maturity in his pre-game preparation was impressive, consistently working on the things he needed to do to prepare for a game, as opposed to trying to launch balls with sold-out swings for the scouts on hand. With an easy and balanced left-handed stroke, Rutherford showed MLB-caliber liners off the barrel in BP—adeptly using both fields and working on different aspects of his swing in each round. Accordingly, he didn’t show monster raw power in batting practice, but from my looks at him this past summer and with Team USA, I’m confident that at-least average raw is in the tank, if not a tick more. It was more impressive to see him stay within himself and know his game; he’ll have every opportunity to impress scouts down the stretch this spring.