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.
Braves 3B Chris Johnson: "He's not a great defender and he doesn't hit for a ton of power, but Chris Johnson battles through at-bats, squares up the ball, and hits line drives to all fields. He's not an impact 3B, but he may be a more impactful player than the guy the Braves gave up as the headliner in that deal—Martin Prado—and he may win the NL batting title."
Padres RHP Ian Kennedy: “He certainly has been on a rollercoaster ride this year with glimpses of what has made him successful and command issues that make you wonder how impactful he will be. He still has good stuff across the board but will have to find his strike zone command to get back to the pitcher of the last few years.”
Yankees RHP Mariano Rivera: “He never ceases to amaze me with how he doesn’t age. Sure, the cutter has less velocity, but the hitters tell you it still is tough to hit. His poise, consistency, and dominance is a combo we don’t see very often nowadays in the ninth inning. Closers of today could learn how to navigate the ninth inning without emptying their tank on every pitch. He is the best we will ever see.”
Padres RHP Tyson Ross: “This is the best I have seen his FB/SL combo, and last start he began to use his CH. He has always struggled maintaining his delivery in the past, but I’m seeing a more complete pitcher every time I see him pitch. Time will tell if he remains a viable starter, but the progress this year has been noticeable and the velocity is still there.”
White Sox LHP Chris Sale: “He's as close to an evolutionary Randy Johnson as we're likely to get: gangly, funky, and filthy. He's rail thin, his arm slot gets damn near sidearm, he's all arms and legs in his delivery, his fastball is well above average and I think he's got the best slider in baseball. He pounds the zone and strikes everyone out. ‘Freak’ is a cliché that gets thrown out a lot, but Sale is a freak.”
Braves RHP Jordan Walden: "Walden's best pitch is his changeup, and it's one of the better off-speed pitches in baseball because of the motion in his delivery. His breaking ball is above average and his fastball is near triple-digits. He struggles in the ninth inning, but in the seventh or eighth he's about as good as it gets. Great pickup as a change-of-scenery guy for Atlanta."