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.

Major Leagues

Cubs 2B Arismendy Alcantara: “You hear all about the guys like Bryant, Almora, Baez, and now Russell, and rightfully so, but Alcantara might be the most complete player in their system. He brings advanced hitability, plus-plus speed, and impact defense. He's an exciting guy to watch and reminds me a little of Jose Reyes. I saw they said they aren't going to send Alcantara down just yet, and I would be surprised if he ever made it back to Iowa.”

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom: "Where did they get this guy? He sits 93-96 with really good offspeed stuff, especially his curveball, but what impressed me the most is his ability to locate his fastball up in the zone with two strikes as a putaway pitch. He's exciting, and you could make a case he's more advanced right now than Zack Wheeler."

Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez: “Ubaldo can cup his hand and curl a little too much. Batters won’t swing on any-side spin because they can time his fastball. Left-handed hitters can just sit on his fastball and splitter.”

Angels OF Mike Trout: "We all know his skill set is off the charts. He does everything spectacularly and just seems to keep getting better. Scary to think he can actually get better, isn’t it? The one thing I never get used to though is the sound of the ball off his bat. No matter where you are in the ballpark, you KNOW when Mike Trout makes contact. That’s something to behold and something I look forward to hearing time and time again."

Minor Leagues

Astros High-A RHP Mark Appel: "I put Mark Appel in as a no. 4 starter, and that's no slam dunk—moderate risk. The stuff is fine. Slider looked good and he had command of it in my look. But the fastball is flat and he can't spot it with his drop-and-drive delivery— forfeiting his 6-foot-5 height, really—with the backside collapse. I don't see it."

Rangers Double-A 3B Joey Gallo: "You want to see what 80 power is? That there is 80 power. But it’s not the power that impresses me so much anymore. We all know he has that. It’s his progress in pitch recognition. Gallo is not just going to be a home run hitter. He’s going to be an all-around force."

Astros High-A LHP Josh Hader: "That is not what a top prospect looks like… however, that looks like a surefire big leaguer to me. It's easy to get caught up in who has the highest ceiling and firmest stuff, but that guy goes out there and throws quality strikes with three different pitches, and he doesn't look like a fun guy to hit against."

Yankees Double-A RHP Jaron Long: "Could see big league time for the Yankees this year. He's a 6-foot right-handed pitcher that throws from a traditional arm slot and might sniff 90 on his best days. But all things considered, it's a win, since he was an undrafted free agent and began the year in Low-A Charleston."

Rays Short-Season-A RHP Gerardo Reyes: "He has very long fingers, and that is why there is crazy movement with his arsenal."

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I wonder: Would the prospect staff rather have Hader or Appel? Which of the two do they think will have a better career with the Astros? Might not be fair, but they're on the same page, and we've heard so much bad news about Appel's trajectory lately.
I'd rather have Appel because of the upside. He's a mess right now; no doubt. The report from his last start was low-90s, crap slider that he couldn't locate (except for one accidental backdoor for a strike), a good looking changeup, and total crap command. Is this a shoulder issue that isn't being addressed? Is it a dead arm? Is it lack of true focus and effort? One scout source suggested that Appel looks like a pitcher that expects to get hit when he's on the mound. Product of his environment? Lack of faith in his stuff? Way too many questions with Appel right now. But the upside is still impact and this is only his first full season in the minors. In my opinion, the majority of his questions will have answers, and I would take him any day over Hader because of that.
How can you expect a guy to have good control, let alone command, when his center of gravity changes three times in his delivery? He has the drop-and-drive delivery that's more of a drop-and-bounce. Maybe there is something going on outside of the game that's effecting him. Maybe his parents should be flown in or something that could raise his morale. He is definitely more talented than this.
Deliveries change/approaches change. As I mentioned, his questions have answers. The talent is there.
Gallo's strikeout rate is huge, despite better pitch recognition (possibly small sample size issue?). How much does his strikeout rate limit his potential?
I think it has to limit it some, but his walk rate also remains very high, which means he's laying off bad pitches. I haven't checked his swing and miss data, but he could be recognizing pitches as strikes but just missing them. I think contact is what you're really talking about as opposed to pitch recognition. The more balls he puts in play with that power, the better he will most certainly be.
My question is where was all this information about Appel while he was being touted as the top pitching prospect for at least a couple of years? If it isn't an arm injury then all the scouts who were all over him must be blind.
Pro scouts don't always see amateur players.