Joey Wentz, Jacob Nix, and another update on Scott Kingery.
Joey Wentz, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome)
Velocity concerns have followed Wentz since his pre-draft days that included a dead arm, but if his fastball continues to pop like it did during a recent outing for Rome, sitting low-90s instead of mid-90s won’t be an issue. He was 88-93, touched 94, and consistently sat 90-92. There was the occasional dip to 88-89 as he labored but, again, the liveliness is the thing to pay attention to here.
Wentz’s fastball only features slight arm-side run and the overall movement is minimal, but it’s effective based on extreme plane from a high slot and 6-foot-5 frame. It jumps from the hand and rides hard to both sides of the plate. He can also work up effectively with the pitch, although his command wavered at times and he left it up and arm-side too often. Wentz’s curveball was 77-81 with tight, two-plane break when he spun it well. The break came late and featured above-average depth. It typically came in at 1/5 and was consistently hard and downward with above-average feel. His changeup didn’t match the first two pitches by lacking feel. It was constantly firm out of the hand. He threw one usable, average change with some fade.
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.
It was a bad week for prospect injuries. A really bad week for prospect injuries.
It’s been a week of heartbreaking injuries and White Sox prospects on the rise. Things are still largely quiet on the western front, but with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching some major moves are sure to be brewing in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, let’s get to this week’s news!
Mookie Betts, Travis d'Arnaud, and Jorge Soler are among those who came off the board between picks 29 and 56.
In the first episode of the BP Mock Expert Draft, we went over the backstory and parameters of this draft, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Plus I know you’re all just going to skip past the intro anyway to see who else got picked and when. Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want.
So, without any further ado, here are the next two rounds (three and four) of the Baseball Prospectus Expert Mock Prospect Draft with analysis from the participants themselves:
Notes on 24 prospects, including first-round picks Kyle Zimmer (Royals, 2012) and Francisco Lindor (Indians, 2011).
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K. Someone asked me what I thought of Zimmer tonight. My response was simple, “He needed to get it early in the season and he didn’t for a little stretch, but watch out now because he’s coming for any hitter.” Zimmer has one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen, and he also can easily touch 98. The changeup is a solid-average offering. Check back to our first official Eyewitness Accounts series to see what Jason Cole and I said about Zimmer; 12.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 19 K in tw Double-A starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Double-A Akron): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Just a baseball player who simply just gets it done time after time. That is how I would describe Franisco Lindor. I project him to be a plus hitter who will provide 10-12 home runs and plenty of doubles. Defensively, he is as smooth as they come, and has the chance to compete for Gold Gloves. I’ve always said this, and I hope in this day of fantasy baseball we still appreciate players like Francisco Lindor, because he will be a much better real-life baseball player than fantasy player; .441/.578/.647 with 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 5 SB in 34 Double-A at-bats.
Royals righty Kyle Zimmer and Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings stole the show on a night when several of the minor leagues were off.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. On this night, Zimmer looked exactly like the pitcher the Royals envisioned when he was selected fifth overall in 2012. Zimmer’s fastball was working 96-97 with more life and good control and command. The curveball was an absolutely dominant pitch at 79-83 with hard downward snap. He used the slider and changeup sparingly, but that is okay with me, and here is why: I’ve talked to many people in the industry who have been confused by Zimmer’s shortcomings earlier in the year. I can give you a multitude of excuses or responses on why he had these shortcomings, but the underlying point was always, “Well, the stuff is still really good!” The only realistic theory that made sense to me was that Zimmer was going to his slider, his worst pitch, far too often. This may be something that the Royals encouraged him to do for developmental reasons, but I believe this recent success should be attributed to the fact that he is attacking hitters with his best offerings; 20.0 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 26 K in last 3 starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 4-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI. The arrow is pointing upward for Owings, and as you’ll see with many of these players, something more in-depth is on the way in the very near future; .348/.369/.481 with 23 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, and 15 SB in 399 at-bats.
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.
Closing out the spring with scouting reports from the minor-league camps.
What started on February 22nd just ended on April 1st, as I enjoyed the comforts of my own bed for the first time in five weeks and I ordered a pizza that didn’t come with the assembly-line accoutrements of crushed peppers in a package or a clever banana pepper with insignificant aromatic function. With workouts, day games on multiple fields, and the occasional night game, finding the time while camp is in session to properly document the day’s events is a futile challenge. With the luxury of time and energy back on my side, it's time to deliver the remaining backfield notes, limited in narrative but meaty with in-person scouting meat. Jason Cole and I not only put eyes on some of the top prospects in Arizona, we were also fortunate to have front row seats to several breakout performances from under-the-radar prospects, players on the fringe of ubiquitous prospect glory who no doubt will be household names when camp starts next year. Here we go: