A look at the batters from the Carolina League All-Star Game, from the perspective of a single look, and the benefit of a half-season of play.
We have the good fortune of having BP Prospect Team members all over the country, taking in games and giving you eyewitness reports and notes from the field. Unfortunately, they don’t always get to travel, which is why the California/Carolina League All-Star Game is always a treat for some of our team, as they get a brief look at guys they’d never otherwise see. Wilson Karaman was the beneficiary this year, as California hosted, and he took copious notes on guys he normally doesn’t get to catch. We’re presenting you with those notes and providing the backup of Adam McInturff’s season-to-date looks at many of the same players. This gives you the benefit of seeing what we’re able to take away in one viewing, and the nuances that bear out over a longer set of looks. We’ll start with hitters and tackle pitchers in a second installment. —Craig Goldstein
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Notes on Derek Hill, Isan Diaz, P.J. Conlon, and more.
P.J. Conlon, LHP, New York Mets (Low-A Columbia)
If you want to see what a true major-league-quality out pitch looks like, sit behind home plate for Conlon’s starts and wait for the cambio. Conlon’s changeup consistently hits plus with huge depth on the arm-side fade, excellent deception and feel. It eats South Atlantic League hitters alive and will probably munch on upper-level competition. The rest of his arsenal is less certain for the upper levels. His fastball sits 87-89 and touches 90 with minimal movement and life above the thighs. It shows some sink and plane when spotted around the knees, and he’s able to command it to that spot fairly well, which is something he’ll need to do consistently at higher levels. He mixes in a cutter at 86-88 with moderate cut and slight depth. He also tosses in a slider at 76-80 with fringe-average ability when spun tight with decent tilt, and a show-me curveball in the low-70s that gets telegraphed. Conlon has a severe head whack and spine tilt in his delivery, yet he repeats his quirky motion and arm slot, and it feeds the deception on his changeup. He projects for above-average command despite the delivery. He lacks arsenal punch and depth outside his changeup that could limit him to relief in the future, but that changeup is going to play. —David Lee
Multiple notes on Florida pitcher Dane Dunning, plus thoughts on A.J. Puk, T.J. Zeuch, and more.
A.J. Puk, LHP, University of Florida
The extra-large-framed left-hander from the University of Florida has all the ingredients to go 1-1 on Thursday, with three potential plus pitches. He throws from a three-quarters slot with a soft stab on the back side, with good extension and arm speed out front. The fastball sits 93-97 and jumps out of his hand with late arm-side run. He shows the ability to locate to both sides of the plate and isn't afraid to elevate for a strikeout. The slider is a potential 7 offering with nasty, late break that hitters struggle to pick up out his hand sitting 82-85. He can manipulate the pitch to both sides of the plate and isn't afraid to back foot it on right-handed hitters. The changeup has potential plus ceiling as well, with deception out of his hand and fade as it crosses the plate. Puk is around the zone enough with all of his pitches that while command will never be his strong suit, he will throw enough strikes to be effective as a starter. There are some warts here but the combination of size and stuff will be hard to pass up on draft day. —James Fisher
Notes on Peter Alonso, Zack Burdi, Justin Dunn, and more
Peter Alonso, 1B, University of Florida
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Alonso may not look like your typical first baseman but the bat gives hope that he might be able to outhit his lack of prototypical size. From his stops in the Northwoods League to SEC play, all Alonso has done is hit balls hard. The approach is simple from the right side with a slightly open stance and his hands at his shoulder. He utilizes a short stride to get the swing started and keeps his head still. The bat speed is plus and he has good feel for the barrel. His power comes from a good combination of strength and bat speed. It is mainly pull side at present but should extend to all fields eventually. Defensively, Alonso has quick feet and soft enough hands to handle first base in the future, not a Kotchman type defender at first but will be average. —James Fisher
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
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.