Eyes on Jorge Alfaro, Joey Gallo, Blake Swihart, and other prospects of repute.
I spent nine hours at the fields yesterday; morning workouts and then backfield games on the Rangers side (Extended, Low-A, High-A). Dropping notes on several prospects, some more detailed than others depending on the duration and significance of the look. –Jason Parks
C Jorge Alfaro: Noticeably stronger; way more athletic than people realize; easy plus runner when underway; arm is 80-grade; popped a 1.73 (on my watch) on a caught stealing early in the game; footwork was quick and coordinated; ball was waiting on the runner; controls the running game; intimidator behind the plate; not afraid to attempt back-pick at second or first; highly confident in throwing ability; best I’ve seen him as a receiver; was letting the ball get to him; wasn’t stabbing or drifting; previously, more balanced at the plate; swing is still torque-heavy but not as all-or-nothing or uncontrollable; bat speed is still well above average; right-center is still power core; can still beat him with spin but he is keeping his hands back better and not selling out for extension on everything thrown near the plate.
Reports on Julio Urias, Aaron Sanchez, Gregory Polanco, Hunter Dozier and other prospects it would be irresponsible to ignore.
(3/19) LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers) Okay size; probably closer to 6’1’’ than listed height (5’11’’); strong build; definitely more body than listed weight (160 lbs.); could end up being high maintenance but not a problem at present; in delivery, lifts leg high before brief (straight) extension; soft landing; stays very balanced; everything looks very easy and repeatable; stays over the ball from ¾ slot; creates angle; fastball ranged from 91-95 in three-inning pop; mostly worked 93; command was solid-average to plus; line to the plate veered a little into the LH box; tendency to miss arm-side/up; showed excellent feel for altering movement; was cutting the ball and making it run; fastball is easy plus at present; could play even better with sharper command.
Looks at Ricardo Sanchez, Christian Binford, Samir Duenez and Zach Eflin.
(3/17) LHP Ricardo Sanchez (Angels)
Short but strong build; noticeably athletic on the mound; arm speed is very good; it can look very smooth and easy; from ¾ slot, can create some angle by staying over the ball and working down; delivery features a high/tucked leg; wasn’t loud on the frontside; has good balance and explosion to the plate; it's compact and efficient, but had a tendency to finish across his body; fastball was 89-92; popped a few 93s and 94s on the gun; some cutting action because of the cross-fire; struggled with command in his inning of work; inning was banged before three outs were achieved; hit a batter and had multiple walks; showed a slow, loopy curve in the low 70s; can spin the ball and achieve some two-plane shape, but the pitch wasn’t effective; was slow to the plate with runners on (1.5); struggled to stay in his delivery and establish mechanical rhythm. Outing wasn’t sharp but I love the arm and I’m glad we [Baseball Prospectus] ranked him in the Angels' top 10 despite no professional record. We should have ranked him higher. Will pitch the entire season as a 17-year-old; athletic lefty with stuff and swagger; lacks size but body could be strong and hold stuff. Mid-rotation type if everything clicks; extreme risk but I was impressed despite the results. –Jason Parks
Notes on prospects who stood out in Cactus and Grapefruit League play, where they're competing for or securing big-league jobs.
We’re at the point in spring training when most of the prospects left in camp are either in a legitimate battle for a roster spot or are close enough to the majors that the team wants to see what it has. That, coupled with rain throughout parts of Florida on Monday, didn’t leave us with as much prospect action as usual, but most of the guys who had big days will be major leaguers at some point in 2014.
IF Travis Demeritte: Incredibly fast hands at the plate; quick trigger; uses hands to hit but has good hip rotation and generates torque; attacks the ball; shows plus bat speed; contact is all hard/loud; can backspin the ball and leave the yard; pitchers won’t beat him with velocity; willing to wait for his pitch; fast-twitch athlete; not a straight-line plus runner to first but has second gear; lacks ideal range for shortstop but excellent actions and plus arm at third/weapon arm at 2B; coordinated around the bag; will make plays; most likely a role 5 player with offensive ceiling for a little more. –Jason Parks