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September 15, 2016 6:00 am

Notes from the Field: September 15, 2016

0

BP Prospect Staff

Notes from the California and Northwest Leagues.

Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago Cubs (short-season Eugene)
I saw Cease for the second time this year, and while the pure stuff—upper-90s fastball, hammer 12-6 curve, firm and rarely used changeup—is mostly unchanged, it's clear that he's made strides. First, he did a much better job of moving his fastball around the zone in his second outing. In the first game, he spiked his heater a lot and he looked shaken and afraid to unleash the pitch for an inning or so after hitting someone in the head with it. There was no such hesitation in his second start: his command is a work in progress, but he hit all quadrants of the zone, got several whiffs elevating, and had no qualms about pitching inside. His curve also flashed plus more consistently than it did in my first viewing. He's still struggling to get people to chase it out of the zone—it's either a strike or it breaks early into the dirt—but it's tough to hit when it's in the zone, and he froze multiple hitters who were sitting on the fastball. Cease will need to tighten both pitches as he climbs the latter, but he's made substantial progress with both in the last three months, and it's clear that he has thoroughly passed the short season test. —Brendan Gawlowski

Kyle Cody, RHP, Texas Rangers (short-season Spokane)
Tall, big frame; good plane, downhill thrower; straight stride; quick arm; clean landing; no head whack; good posture; clean arm action; 3/4 arm slot. Throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball. The four-seamer sits in the low-to-mid 90s, touching 95, two-seamer has average wiggle, and he's most comfortable locating the pitch arm-side. His primary off-speed pitch was the slider, a two-plane pitch with predominantly horizontal movement. It flashed above average, but the shape was inconsistent, and it spun badly out of the hand more than once. He also has a fading changeup, but he didn't use it much in my viewing. While he has most of the ingredients you look for in a starter, but I'd project a bullpen arm in the long run. He's 22, which isn't old, but isn't young for a pitcher with an inconsistent secondary offering. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I'd seen more of his changeup, but the fact that he didn't use it much presents its own concerns. —Brendan Gawlowski



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July 18, 2016 6:00 am

Soft Toss: Dylan Cease and The Weight of Expectation

2

Brendan Gawlowski

Tfw something doesn't live up to the hype but is also good.

Beyond the left-field fence at Everett Memorial Stadium lies a commemorative plaque marking the landing spot of Ken Griffey Jr.’s first professional home run. Walk into the stadium, and you’ll be greeted by large banners bearing the likenesses of Felix Hernandez and Ketel Marte, familiar faces wearing foreign shades of green and teal. Taken together, along with the ubiquitous “see the stars of tomorrow, today!” slogan sprinkled throughout the ballpark, and you might infer that the Northwest League is a breeding ground for future stars.

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A look at some of the high-ceiling talents who didn't show up on the BP Top 101.

Michael Clevinger, RHP, Indians
It’s hard to find a high-upside guy in the upper minors who isn’t in the Top 101; it’s just hard to stay off the radar if you’re throwing smoke and getting people out in Double-A. Cleveland’s development staff is doing pretty special stuff with their minor-league pitchers right now though, and perhaps their most impressive trick is turning Clevinger from a thrower into a pitcher with four usable offerings, three of which flash plus.

For Clevinger, his attack starts with the fastball. The right-hander comfortably sits in the 92-94 mph range, and he’s been clocked at 97. His slider is his second-best pitch, and when he’s on, it’s a late-breaking bender with sharp tumble. His 12-6 curve has good spin, and his best ones change a hitter’s eye-level. His changeup is firm and doesn’t feature the movement his other off-speed pitches have, although it isn’t a throwaway offering either, and it should at least keep lefties honest. There is risk in the profile: Clevinger has Tommy John on his resume, he’s already 25 years old, and he’s only dated the strike zone for about a year. Still, he could be a mid-rotation starter and he’s ready for big-league work right now. Not a bad return piece for a few innings of Vinnie Pestano. —Brendan Gawlowski


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The end of the prospect lists? Oh well. There's always next year.

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Continually updated video library of 2014 First-Year Player Draft prospects.

Welcome to the 2014 MLB Draft Video Library -- this space will feature periodic uploads of videos of 2014 MLB draft prospects from now through June. It will be updated every single day and the new videos for a particular week will be featured at the top of this page with the archived videos directly below. Chances are if you are looking for a draft prospect you will find some video of him on this page between now and June.

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