“Baseball is my stereo, and I’m looking for you in the woods tonight, looking for you in my flashlight, I’m searching.” –Somebody who listens to way too much Massive Attack who also happens to scout minor leaguers.
Over the weekend, I caught a three game series between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Carolina League matchup featuring the two worst offenses in the circuit. True to form, the hitting was quite suspect and disappointing, which allowed the impressive pitching to shine even brighter. In the second game of the series, Myrtle Beach starter Nick Tepesch, along with reliever Jimmy Reyes, combined to throw a no-hitter, featuring 11 strikeouts and a lot of awkward contact. The standout pitching performance on Saturday night made the entire trip worthwhile, but the no-hitter was merely another game in the intense weekend, as it was sandwiched by two walk-off wins by the Blue Rocks, a dramatic conclusion for an offense that was more offensive [read: unpleasant] than anything else. With plenty of raw scouting material to choose from, I want to offer both the good and the bad from the weekend series, as there were more than enough of both to go around. Let’s start with the good, which means a healthy dose of the arms, which means Nick Tepesch, Jason Adam, and Kyle Hendricks. I’ll even mix in a hitter to keep it diverse (Jared Hoying), but for the most part, the good belongs to the mound. This is scouting in the nude. Let’s go.
Player: Nick Tepesch
Acquired: 14th round; 2010 draft
HT/WT: 6’4’’ 230 lbs.
Result: 7.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
Notes: Tall; very long legs and arms; clean delivery; torque heavy, big leg lift; slight back bend and twist; big push from rubber and long stride; good landing; eyes/head on the plate, stays in line; clean follow-through; slings arm from high-3/4 slot; creates sharp angles on all offerings; excellent extension; fastball worked in 91-94 range and touched 95; held velocity for seven+ innings; achieved max velocity after 100 pitches; located offering; natural cutting action to the glove side; plus overall grade; cut fastball was 88-91 mph; sharp, late action to the glove side; very promising pitch; used to miss bats; I thought it was better than standard fastball; showed a two-plane breaking ball at 77-81 mph; pitch had tight rotation and sharp slice down and away; average pitch, but played well in sequence; changeup was firm at 87 mph, with some late fade to the arm side; only counted four changeups in sequence; no left-handed hitters in lineup; arsenal was very sharp and hard; lacked velocity distinction at times; zone command was loose, control was good; ~1.3 to the plate with runners on; ~1.15 to the plate when bases empty; fielded position well; pitched athletically; stayed in good rhythm and worked fast; showed mature feel for sequence; didn’t allow a hit; missed bats; showed command of the mound/game; showed clean delivery, good feel for strike zone, two plus pitches (FB/CT), good breaking ball (SL), and okay changeup; big league skill-set; number three/four starter potential.
Player: Jason Adam
Acquired: 5th round; 2010 draft
HT/WT: 6’4’’ 219 lbs.
Game: 05/19/2012; previously scouted on 4/18/12
Result: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Notes: Good size; lengthy; standard 3/4 slot; clean action; high-frontside; high leg lift; good deception; fastball worked in the 90-92 range, touching 95 mph on multiple occasions; peak velocity was easy; low-90s fastball showed some sink; good command; worked down in the zone and pitched ahead; he should be able to work in 92+ velocity range at maturity; curveball was a little soft and long at 74-75 mph; commanded the offering, but the ball was breaking very early and lacked much bite; was able to fool bad hitters with pitch; wasn’t featured heavily in the outing; changeup was best pitch, with deception from the fastball and depth; offering was 81-83 mph; was effective against both LH/RH; used early in sequence and as out pitch; clearly comfortable with the pitch; arm action and speed was excellent; pitcher showed three solid pitches; changeup was above-average; delivery was clean; arm action was clean; showed pitchability and mound command; pounded the zone with low-90s fastball with some weight; threw a long curve for strikes; changeup in any situation; didn’t show frustration when defense made numerous mistakes and allowed base runners; broke bats and forced double-plays; continues to show innings-eater profile; fastball has projection; body can carry more weight/strength; projects as a number three/four type.
Player: Kyle Hendricks
Acquired: 8th round; 2011 draft
HT/WT: 6’2’’ 190 lbs.
Result: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
Notes: Athletic delivery; overhand wind-up; 3/4 slot; long arm action; it all looked fluid and easy; multiple fastball looks; two-seamer was 88-90 mph with some weight; four-seamer was 91-94 mph with some life to the arm side; located both offerings; showed above-average feel for control and good command; spotted down-and-away to righties; pitched taller than listed 6’2’’; incredible downhill plane to offerings; showed multiple breaking balls; get-me-over curve in the low-70s; used as first pitch in sequence to get ahead in counts; pitch had long, loopy break; not much bite; effectively changed sight-line/timing; upper-70s slider had two-plane curveball break; good pitch; was able to expand the zone with the pitch; missed bats; changeup was best offering; worked in the 77-79 range; didn’t have exaggerated depth or action, but featured well above-average deception from the fastball; pushed rather than heavily pronated; lacked Bugs Bunny movement but forced poor, fall-down swings just the same; easy plus pitch; intense competitor on the mound; worked fast and with purpose; ~1.1 to plate with runners on; missed bats with FB, SL, and CH; sequence was very mature; used two-seamers early and shoved four-seamers at 93-94 in final innings; major league quality arm; profiles as number four/five starter.
Player: Jared Hoying
Acquired: 10th round; 2010 draft
HT/WT: 6’3’’ 190 lbs.
Result: 10 AB, 3 H, 3R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Notes: Excellent athlete with good size and strength; mature build; at the plate, hand speed is very fast; can pull a ball thrown behind him; swing mechanics aren’t easy/fluid; hitchy; maintains plus bat speed, but limited hit window; easy plus power to the pull-side; barrels any FB that’s middle-in; hit tool is fringy; struggles against anything that’s soft and spinning; some pitch recognition issues; struggles to make swing adjustments once in the zone; wasn’t impressed with bat control; in the field, looked good in center field (one game), showing range and good routes to the ball; played left field in two games; glove was at least average; arm is high-5/low 6; good carry; accurate; speed is average, but first-step is quick; instinctual player; could be a 5 center fielder; better defensively than Jake Skole (CF; 2 games); gamer type with some tools; plus power to pull side; fringy hit tool; average speed with good second gear and quickness; solid-avg-to-plus arm; good glove; versatile defender; fourth/fifth outfield profile at major league level.
Player: Sugar Ray Marimon
Acquired: FA; 2006; Colombia
HT/WT: 6’1’’ 198 lbs.
Result: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Notes: Lively arm; fluid/athletic delivery; high-frontside; medium leg lift; lots of arm speed/arm strength; 3/4 slot; fastball was 90-93mph; sat 92-93 for several innings; some boring movement into RH; good control; okay command; when he missed, he missed arm-side and up (opened up in delivery); good angle on the pitch; was difficult to square-up; allowed one hit/one walk in outing; curveball had 11/5 shape; good bite at 76-77 mph; was getting swinging strikes with offering; could be an average pitch; changeup was solid-average at 78-81 mph; good deception/arm speed/slot-consistency; used effectively against RH as out pitch; showed good feel for sequence; intense competitor; vocal on the mound; ~1.15 to plate with runners on base; throws strikes; good three-pitch mix; average arsenal; could play up in bursts; reliever intensity; profiles as fringy major league starter; possible middle reliever.