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Branden Kline

Born: 09/29/1991 (Age: 23)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 210
Build: Athletic build; sturdy shoulders and a chiseled body; maxed frame.

Mechanics: High three-quarters arm slot; long arm action and extension; slight stab; plus arm speed; mechanics are cleaner than last year; better balance; more upright and took bend out of knee; uses arm and upper half more than lower half; clean finish; mild exertion; delivery times 1.39 – 1.44.

Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 04/17/2015
Affiliate Bowie Baysox (AA, Orioles)
Dates Seen 4/17/15
OFP/Risk 55/Moderate
Realistic 50; Set-up Arm
MLB ETA 2016
Video No

Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 55 60 89-94 95 Four-seamer: average command; downhill plane; straight offering and can get flat when he overthrows; sits more comfortably in the 90-93 velo band; easy to see out of hand from high release and long arm path; slight tick in velo possible with a move to the pen.
Two-seamer: average command; 88-90 velo band; mild arm-side run with mild boring action; rarely throws the offering.
SL 50 55 82-86 87 Fringe command; replicates arm speed; sweeping pitch with moderate bite; effective in the 85-86 velo band; spin can become inconsistent and pitch will float in the zone; lacks the deception and bite to be a true bat-missing offering; slight refinements in command and consistency in spin can push pitch to an above-average offering
CH 45 50 82-84 85 Fringe-average command; replicates arm speed; mild fade with parachute action; comes in firm at the 84-85 velo band; throws change mostly against left-handed hitters; slight refinements with command will push pitch to an average offering.

Kline has cleaned the mechanics marginally since last season, dropping some of the unnecessary pre-windup movements. The fastball can become hittable due to the high release and ability for the hitter to track the offering the entire way, but the velocity can be premium at times. I don't envision Kline being able to consistently sit at the higher velo bands as a starter due to the amount of exertion and lack of command, but the fastball/slider combo has improved since 2014 and gives him a chance to start for now. The likely role is still a reliever profile due to the lack of an out pitch.

Round Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012
Why: Power arm with a chance to stick and develop as a starter. FB/SL combo would work out of the back end of a bullpen.

Jacob Faria

Born: 07/30/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 200
Long limbs lead to long throwing motion, over-the-top arm slot, repeats arm slot well; tall, thin frame, needs to add weight, especially in lower half which will help with repeating delivery and having more consistent mechanics; lands with front side open, causes arm to drag and miss arm side.
Evaluator Jeff Moore
Report Date 4/20/2015
Affiliate Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A, Rays)
Dates Seen 4/18/15
OFP/Risk 55/Moderate
Realistic 50, no. 4 starter or set-up man.
MLB ETA 2017
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 50 65 92-94 95 Fastball sits 92-94 mph with easy mechanics, no effort required to ramp up velocity; throws a two-seamer with good arm-side fade; tall frame and over-the-top arm slot make for strong downward plane; will induce lots of weak contact when working down in the strike zone; pitch can flatten out when up; throws strikes but in-zone command is still below average; potential plus pitch once command catches up with velocity.
CBl 40 45 77-79 80 12-6 break, little horizontal movement, straight down break due to over-the-top release; break is short and lacks depth, not a swing-and-miss pitch; throws for strikes consistently, usable pitch when down in the zone, hittable when left up.
CH 50 55 85-86 86 Thrown with identical arm action and release point to fastball, giving it good deception; little horizontal movement but strong diving action that generates swings and misses; will throw to batters of either handedness; could be a plus pitch if he develops any arm-side fade on the pitch, but pitch currently features only vertical movement.

Faria is an intriguing pitching prospect, thanks to the downward plane his length and mechanics create on his fastball. Coupled with strong velocity and some movement, the fastball alone could be enough to get Faria to the big leagues, if he can learn to command it more consistently within the strike zone. The secondary pitches trail behind the fastball at this point, but the changeup has a chance to be a good pitch, with diving action that causes hitters to swing over the top of it. The pitch plays up because of the deception caused by his delivery and mechanics, and he should be able to use it effectively against lefties and righties, giving him a good chance to remain a starter. The curveball is more of a show-me pitch, but he throws it for strikes enough to keep it in hitter's minds and when down in the zone, it can generate ground balls.

The key for Faria will be fastball command. He throws strikes, but he needs to throw better ones. When down in the strike zone and on the edges, he can dominate with the fastball alone. If he learns to command the pitch effectively, the fastball/changeup combination will be enough to keep him in the rotation. If not, his velocity and changeup will work well in the bullpen in late innings.

Victor Payano

Born: 10/17/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 5" Weight: 185
Build: Big, broad, strong frame; athletic looking; strong legs; workhorse-type pitcher's body

Mechanics: Very deliberate, yet fluid and smooth mechanics throughout; high three-quarters arm slot; very good timing and rhythm with leg and hands separation; loses rhythm and timing with slide step and holding runners; directionally straight drive to plate (hips, shoulder, elbow, landing foot all aligned); Finishes tall on curveball and offspeed (lacks follow through); back foot releases early from rubber; slows body and arm down with curveball and changeup; gets good downward plane on fastball when release point is consistent; below-average command of all pitches; lacks any type of lefty pick-off move to first; starter projectability if command develops

Evaluator Colin Young
Report Date 04/20/2015
Affiliate Frisco RoughRiders (AA, Rangers)
Dates Seen 4/13/15
OFP/Risk 50/Moderate
Realistic 45; long relief
MLB ETA 2018
Video Yes
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 60 60 91-93 94 Below-average command; five walks in four innings; leaves arm-side high due to backside releasing too early; good late life and downward plane when mechanics are in sync; batters were consistently late on fastball
CB 45 50 71-73 75 Spike curveball; inconsistent command; sharp 12-6 break when follows through; left up in zone and flat mostly; doesn't finish pitch; slows arm and body down; telegraphs pitch; lacks feel for pitch
CH 40 45 79-82 82 Below-average command; lacks arm speed with pitch; flat through hitting zone; very tentative when throwing like he's unsure or uncomfortable with pitch

Payano creates quite the conundrum when observing him. He physically looks big-league ready now and has all the attributes you want in a power starter. His pre-game warm-ups looked polished, smooth, and consistent. However, the bullpen did not transfer to game speed. He looked inconsistent, unsure, and with runners on, very awkward. He failed to look at baserunners multiple times and was very predictable with his timing in the stretch. He looked uncomfortable with the slide step, leaving everything up in zone. He managed to get out of the game with with no runs in four innings and only one hit, but walked five. Still only 22, I'd like to see him develop more of a feel for the game and a plan of attack with his fastball. The lack of command of the fastball was bothersome, however it would only be minute mechanical adjustments to improve upon that aspect. With experience, he should mature and grasp the game better. I'd still keep him around to develop two to three more seasons, because there is a much higher ceiling achievable for him than where he is at now.

Nick Gordon

Born: 10/24/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 160
Primary Position: SS
Secondary Position:
Skinny frame with room for a little projection, but not much. Can add some good weight (~10 pounds). High-waisted player. Sets up at the plate with high hands and a slightly open stance.
Evaluator Mauricio Rubio Jr.
Report Date 04/12/2015
Dates Seen 04/09/2015 – 04/11/2015
Affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low A, Twins)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2018 High 70 60 – First Division Starter No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 60 Short and compact swing; direct to the ball. Can get aggressive in approach; possesses plus plate coverage; plus feel for the barrel; gets the barrel to the ball in all quadrants of the zone and shows an ability to turn around on velocity in. Goes with the pitch and stings the ball.
Power 40 Linear swing but has more power than expected given frame and swing. Compact swing, can muscle up on the ball. Power will be gap oriented but has strong wrists. Won’t get bat knocked out of hands.
Baserunning/Speed 55 11.81 home to third on a triple, has natural quickness, is a good athlete. Speed will be a factor on the base paths, will take the extra base.
Glove 60 Glove is still raw as he can speed the game up sometimes but shows plus potential. Fluid actions, fields the ball out front, good glove to hand transfer. Has first step quickness and instincts to play the position. Nose for the ball.
Arm 60 Strong arm, easy throwing motion. Can rush throws at times but shows plus accuracy potential.

Gordon is still early in the development curve, but the tools are there for a special player. He teases an advanced feel for the barrel and an ability to use the whole field. Gordon has a high baseball IQ, more power than you’d think by looking at him, and the glove will stick at shortstop.

Harold Castro

Born: 11/30/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 165
Primary Position: 2B
Secondary Position:
Small frame; skinny torso with wiry body; frame is maxed and muscle gains would not be conducive for his style of play.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 04/19/2015
Dates Seen 4/1615 – 4/18/15
Affiliate Erie SeaWolves (AA, Tigers)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
N/A Moderate 30 30; Org Player No

Looks like he would rather be somewhere else; lacks the hustle.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 30 Average bat speed; hands are held high and cause bat lag through the zone; moderate barrel control; able to maneuver hands inside when he gets them around in time; off-balance set up; hips leak and load is inconsistent; hits off his front foot sometimes; struggles to hit the ball opposite field during batting practice and was routinely challenged outside during the series; mild pitch recognition skills; will flail at average or higher secondary offerings.
Power 20 No strength; lacks the bat speed and leverage; swing not conducive for power in any capacity.
Baserunning/Speed 50 4.11 on a jailbreak bunt; lacks a second gear and is more agility than pure speed.
Glove 50 Average range; lacks range up the middle; smooth hands; footwork is efficient around bases; agility plays better defensively than on the bases.
Arm 45 Lacks physical strength; arm should be enough for second base, but lacks the arm strength to make throws from up the middle or on a difficult pivot at second.

Signed out of Venezuela in 2010, Castro displays average or lower tools across the board. The lack of a carry tool limits him to an organizational role, and he lacks the speed, strength, or defensive prowess to play as a utility infielder. There is moderate risk due to the progression of the hit tool, but Castro is likely to stall at the higher levels of the minors rather than see time in the majors in any starting capacity.

Carson Kelly

Born: 07/14/1994 (Age: 20)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 200
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position: 3B
Strong, well-developed for 20 years old; thick lower half, strong base; enough physicality to handle the rigors of catching
Evaluator Jeff Moore
Report Date 4/20/2015
Dates Seen 4/10-11/15, 4/18/15
Affiliate Palm Beach Cardinals (High A, Cardinals)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2017 Moderate 40 30, organizational/role player, bench piece No
Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 30 Starts in a slight crouch with his hands slightly low, limiting his size; has trouble getting swing started, below-average bat speed, rotational swing, struggles with plate coverage, susceptible to outer half; at best when staying up the middle, giving him a chance to reach outer half.
Power 40 Power is derived from size and strength rather than bat speed; can drive the ball when he gets his arms extended; over-the-fence power is limited to pull side, gap power to right-center field.
Baserunning/Speed 40 Below-average runner, moves adequately under way; not a quick-twitch athlete.
Glove 50 Quiet setup, soft hands, has the potential to be a good receiver; moves well laterally; conversion project to the catching position, but making quick progress; gets out from behind the plate well on bunt plays; good leadership behind the plate, takes control of pitchers.
Arm 60 Plus arm strength with quick release; 2.2 pop time to second base, can be improved upon with better footwork and more repetitions; enough arm strength to eventually display 2.0-2.1 times to second base.

The Cardinals converted Kelly to a catcher a year ago and he's taking nicely to the position. He's a natural receiver, looks comfortable behind the plate and throws well. He won't require more time than usual to develop at the position and should be able to handle it at the major-league level. He won't be an elite defender, but he'll be good enough defensively to handle a pitching staff on a daily basis.

At the plate, his bat lags behind his glove, and behind fastballs with any velocity. Below-average bat speed really hinders Kelly as a hitter and leads to a lot of bad contact. His natural size and strength will lead to a little bit of power, but he'll be a mistake hitter at the higher levels.

The offensive bar is low for catchers, but Kelly projects to end up in more of a backup role. His background playing the infield could lead to a utility/bench role with the versatility to play a few different positions, including catcher, making him a potentially valuable bench piece.

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Soooooooooo....DON'T draft Harold Castro in dynasty leagues?