Scouts' takes on Garrett Richards, Dellin Betances, Braden Shipley, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
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Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Nationals righty Lucas Giolito and Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
Friday, May 9
Delino DeShields, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of DeShields after he got hit in the jaw with a pitch. He returned to action on Friday in tremendous fashion with a pair of home runs, something he doesn’t normally contribute.
Notes on the prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Reds right-hander Robert Stephenson and four top shortstops.
Friday, April 4
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Gausman was on a strict pitch count, leaving the game after 71 pitches, and it’s likely that the Orioles are going to build his endurance up early in the minor-league season so that he has something left in the tank for when he’s in the majors down the stretch, hopefully in meaningful games.
A look back at the teenage and college years of top prospects including Dylan Bundy, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Aaron Sanchez.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
The best fantasy assets on Buck Showalter's roster are the power bats and potentially undervalued young pitchers.
An 85-win follow-up to their 93-win playoff surprise was quite respectable for the Orioles, especially as many pundits had them falling off entirely. They stayed aggressive with small, but useful in-season, moves though the Red Sox and Rays proved too difficult. They have already made some similar moves this offseason to shore up their weak spots, and they still have the flexibility to make some larger-impact moves this winter to ensure another quality effort in 2014.
As is they remain a bountiful fantasy team, particularly on offense with star power and strong names at scarce positions. The pitching should deliver some solid value in the rotation while everyone waits to see who ends up replacing Jim Johnson as the team’s closer.
These young players will look to make a strong impression on their big-league employers next month, but they're not likely to help your fantasy squad.
September call-ups, when used correctly, can make for great late -eason additions to fantasy squads. When used incorrectly, though, such players can do more harm than good—especially to your rate stats or to teams with short benches.
So while the majority of columns you read in the coming days will extol the fantasy virtues of the September call-up, this one will instead preach caution. With that in mind, here are four likely call-ups—and one recent call-up—you should let other owners fight over in the coming weeks.
When rosters expand, American League clubs are likely to add these seven pitchers, who could also bolster your fantasy team down the stretch.
For the second straight week, the Sporer Report has an eye on September. On the one hand, I’m sad because we’re winding down the regular season. On the other hand, it’s been a tremendous season and the races to the finish in both MLB and my fantasy leagues should offer plenty of thrills, too. Speaking of those fantasy races, some of them will turn on guys who did little or nothing in the first five months of the season. I’ve got seven potential American League September call-ups—all pitchers—who could bring some solid value down the stretch.
This is some deep speculation, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take the plunge. Those of your in 10- and 12-team mixers likely don’t need to pounce just yet and in fact shouldn’t pounce yet unless you’ve got remarkably deep rosters. Instead, use this as a cheatsheet of who to keep tabs on as we get closer to September 1. Those of you in deeper leagues might find a few of these guys already rostered, but otherwise should be available and if you have the roster space then you should consider getting the jump on your league mates. These are ranked in order of potential impact which accounts for the likelihood that they even get the call.
Taking a closer look at the young Oriole starter's mechanics.
Kevin Gausman was the first pitcher chosen in the 2012 amateur draft, selected fourth overall out of LSU by the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander soared through the minor leagues, earning a 2013 assignment to Double-A following just 15 innings in the low minors and then needing fewer than 50 innings at Bowie before the Orioles deemed him ready for the Show. Gausman’s quick promotion, following that of Jose Fernandez, is another example of the philosophy that powers TINSTAAPP.
The Orioles summon one of baseball's top pitching prospects to plug a hole in their rotation.
The Situation: The Orioles have dropped six of their last seven and now find themselves four games back in the AL East. Injury and underperformance in the starting rotation have already forced the Birds’ hand, with Freddy Garcia logging four underwhelming starts over the past three weeks. Rather than turning to T.J. McFarland or Jake Arrieta for Thursday’s start north of the border, Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter will turn the ball over to the no. 2 prospect in the Orioles’ system (and no. 13 prospect in baseball), Kevin Gausman, in an attempt to inject the rotation with some life, not to mention some electric stuff.
Background: Gausman was a sixth-round selection by the Dodgers out of Grandview High School (Aurora, CO), but he turned down first-round money in favor of two years at LSU, where he immediately made an impact, finishing eighth in the SEC in strikeouts, ninth in hits allowed, and fifth in batting average against. After a strong summer as part of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, Gausman dominated the SEC as a sophomore, leading the conference in strikeouts and finishing third nationally while serving as the Tigers’ Friday night starter and earning All-American honors from multiple publications. He was the first pitcher selected in the 2012 draft, going fourth overall to the Baltimore Orioles, and he signed a $4.32 million dollar deal, $120,000 over slot allotment.
In-person evaluations of Robert Stephenson, Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer, Henry Owens, Chris Withrow, and Taijuan Walker.
When I stepped away from the second chair and into Kevin Goldstein’s vacated spot on the stage, I decided that the spine of my prospect architecture would be eyewitness scouting evaluations. The goal was not to portray myself or other members of the prospect team as industry-level scouts; being a fabulist wouldn’t benefit the product or the public paying for that product. The goal was to offer evaluations from a more personal point of view, reports that originated at the fields instead of on the phones or the search engines. I put together a team of talent evaluators I felt had the chops to sit in the stands and document the action on the field in an authentic manner. I wanted to hire the type of talent that would one day receive the bait from the private sector, joining up with the industry that I learn from on a daily basis. That team is in place.
Going forward, Baseball Prospectus will publish a weekly series featuring eyewitness evaluations from the staff, complete with scouting grades, detailed notes and (in many cases) video. These reports will attach to the player cards and offer a wealth of information throughout the season; with multiple looks from multiple sources, you will be able to track a prospect’s progression through the developmental process. As the games continue and we populate the minor-league stadiums around the country, the reports will start to pile up, and hopefully the season will conclude with a healthy reservoir of reports for you to pick through, compare, contrast, dissect and disagree with. I can’t think of a better means to study the minor-league process than with a collection of scouting reports from quality eyes, provided over the course of a season, and if everything continues as planned, for the duration of the players’ prospect journeys.
The Astros, Marlins, and Mets are all prospect hotbeds, but each team has taken a different approach with its young players, several of whom highlight this week's list.
It’s getting to be that time of year where you can start weeding out the non-contenders from the eventual non-contenders. And for those franchises, it means decisions about when to call up their prospects. Through Monday, there were five teams with a winning percentage at .400 or below—but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to throw out the Blue Jays and the Angels. Both of those teams were expected to be division contenders, and they both have too much talent to be this bad the whole year and nothing coming on the farm (at least in the near future).
But those three remaining teams (the Astros, Marlins, and Mets) are not going to be contending at any point this season, and have strong prospects in the upper minors. However, each organization has treated their top guys differently. The Marlins are apparently just throwing caution to the wind, as they have both Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna on their active roster—both of whom ended the 2012 season in High-A. The Astros, on the other hand, appear to be letting their prospects marinate until they are closer to a contention window. They have Jarred Cosart throwing well in Triple-A and George Springer absolutely killing it at Double-A, but I don’t expect to see either any time soon. Finally, the Mets have been burdened recently by financial constraints, so it was no shock to see the reports break that Zack Wheeler would be kept down in the minors until the Super Two deadline passes. The same would have been true for Travis d’Arnaud if he had stayed healthy enough for it to matter.