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Evaluating in the public realm can often turn into a big-game hunting event, with a prominent portion of the coverage directed towards the eventual major league talent. This happens because the big names draw the largest crowd, so it's not an uncommon strategy to target those players that will garner the most buzz. Player evaluation is not so cut-and-dry, however. Over the course of the season, scouts and evaluators watch hundreds of players and are grading more than just the next mid-rotation starter or potential first-division shortstop. Most of the players we lay eyes on are simply minor league filler. This series is meant to take a more detailed look at the process of evaluating talent, and hopefully provide a greater understanding of what a minor league roster really looks like.

To that end, I took in a weekend series between the Aberdeen Ironbirds and the Williamsport Crosscutters. Below are the fruits of that labor, with notes on every player, no matter the name value or quality. Following the tables are five full writeups on particular standouts.

July 24-26, 2015.

Short-season

Aberdeen Ironbirds (Baltimore Orioles)

Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies)

Aberdeen Ironbirds

Player

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Ricardo Andujar

SS

20

20

55

50

50

30

Poor bat with quick-twitch athleticism; potential depth piece in upper minors

Jerry Mclanahan

C

20

20

20

20

20

20

2.20 pop time; poor footwork

Steve Laurino

1B

20

20

20

20

40

20

Poor all around; lacks a carrying tool

Kirvin Moesquit

3B

20

20

50

40

30

20

2B profile long term; undersized and lacks power

Austin Pfeiffer

3B

20

20

30

30

30

20

Average raw; well-below avg bat speed; rigid swing and lacks athleticism

Drew Turbin

2B

20

20

40

40

30

20

4.14 home to first

Randolph Gassaway

LF

20

20

30

40

40

20

Avg raw power; poor pitch ID skills; poor barrel control

Mike Odenwaelder

RF

20

20

50

45

50

20

Mild athleticism; minimal barrel control; below-average bat speed

Chris Shaw

C

20

20

20

40

50

20

Efficient receiver; 2.00 pop time; solid org filler

***

Aberdeen Ironbirds

FB

CB

SL

CH

Pitcher

L/R

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

OFP

Notes

Lazaro Leyva

R

60/70

50/60

20/30

50

2nd viewing this season; stuff a tick lower; less effort; threw CH mostly as second pitch; liked first viewing better when he was 96-98 velo band

40/50

40/50

20/30

93-95

74-77

84-85

Travis Seabrooke

L

30/50

30/40

30/30

30

2nd viewing this season; stuff regressed (88-91 in 1st viewing); high 3/4 from downhill plane; top and bottom half out of sync; moderate effort

40/50

30/40

30/40

84-88 T89

73-76 T77

78-80 T81

Jay Flaa

R

40/45

40/40

30

Tall build; average arm speed; generated downhill plane; SL lacks spin and is caught in between.

40/45

30/40

90-91 T92

81-82

Reid Love

L

30/30

30/30

30/30

20

Easy delivery; average arm speed; mild plane; athletic player; sinkerballer

40/40

30/30

40/40

86-88 T90

77-79 T80

78-79 T80

Andrew Elliot

R

40/40

20/20

20/20

20

Sturdy frame; max-effort delivery; falls off and opens up; FB straight and flat; poor arm speed replication on secondary

20/20

20/20

20/20

89-91 T92

79-80

75

Yi-Hsiang Lin

L

20/20

20

Wiry with skinny hips and shoulders; poor arm speed; easy delivery

30/30

85-86 T87

Zach Albin

R

30/30

30/30

20/20

20

Athletic build; groundball pitcher with fringe arm speed and moderate effort

30/30

30/30

30/30

87-89 T90

73-74

80-81

***

Williamsport Crosscutters

Player

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Jan Hernandez

3B

30

45

30

45

50

40

Above-average raw power; noisy hands; drops back shoulder; lacks approach; doesn't recognize spin; consistency issues will hinder profile

Zach Coppola

RF

30

20

60

55

40

30

4.09 home to first; opens up front side; below-avg bat speed; light bat with abv-avg glove; up-and-down player

Brandon Hayden

1B

30

40

20

50

50

30

Average raw power; average bat speed; 1B profile that lacks carrying tool.

Grenny Cumana

SS

20

20

50

50

45

30

Quick and agile; can stick at SS; poor power and will struggle to hit ball with authority.

Austin Bossart

C

20

20

20

50

50

30

Polished receiver with efficient footwork and an average arm; org catcher with potential to provide depth value

Jesus Posso

1B/C

20

30

20

30

50

20

Plus raw power; below-avg bat speed; poor athleticism and lack of fluidity in swing; bad body with long-term first base profile

Josh Tobias

2B

30

20

30

40

40

20

Mild barrel control; quick feet; below-average range; looks uncomfortable at 2B due to limited time there

Mark Laird

CF

20

20

70

50

30

20

4.01 and 4.09 home to first; poor power; well below-average bat speed; poor pitch recognition

Venn Biter

LF

20

20

60

40

40

20

Below-avg bat speed; long swing; no pitch ID; dropped routine fly ball.

Dylan Bosheers

INF

20

20

40

30

30

20

Utility filler; 4.38 home to first.

Andrew Amaro

INF

20

20

40

30

30

20

Utility filler; 4.37 home to first.

***

Williamsport Crosscutters

FB

CB

SL

CH

Pitcher

L/R

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

OFP

Notes

Tyler Gilbert

L

45/50

40/45

30/30

40

Athletic; 3/4 arm slot; slight stab; mild effort; out of sync and opens front shoulder; FB has life and arm-side run

45/50

30/40

40/40

88-90 T92

75-77 T78

79-81 T82

Kenny Koplove

R

50/50

40/45

20/20

40

Sidearm; exert delivery; deceptive FB; replicates arm speed for slow CB

40/45

40/45

40/40

89-92 T93

73-76 T77

80

Mitch Gueller

R

40/40

30/40

30/40

30

High 3/4 arm slot; stab with poor arm action; stiff delivery; moderate effort; arsenal lacks movement

40/45

30/30

40/45

86-88 T89

78-81 T82

78-79 T83

Robert Tasin

R

50/55

30

Low 3/4 arm slot; poor arm action; moderate effort; moderate deception

30/40

91-93 T95

Luke Leftwich

R

45/50

30/40

30/30

30/30

30

3/4 arm slot; poor arm action; unbalanced and out of sync; trouble repeating

40/45

30/40

20/20

30/30

89-92 T93

78-80 T81

83-84

77-78

Feliberto Sanchez

R

30/30

20/20

20

Tall with long limbs; max effort with hard drive; cannot repeat mechanics

20/20

20/20

89-90 T91

78-80

Anthony Sequeira

R

40/40

40/40

30/30

20

3/4 arm slot; avg arm speed; exerted delivery with hard drive

30/30

30/30

30/30

87-89 T90

79-80

82-83

Denton Keys

L

30/30

30/30

20/20

20

Sturdy body; high 3/4 arm slot; max effort with hard drive; FB flat and straight

20/20

30/30

20/20

87-89 T90

77-79

78

Andrew Godail

L

30/30

30/30

20

Short arm slot; max effort; flat and straight plane; lacks a second pitch

20/20

20/20

88-90 T91

80-82

Jacob Waguespack

R

30/40

30/30

20

Big body with long limbs; drop and drive with extreme stab; trouble repeating; pitches lack plane and deception.

20/30

20/20

89-90 T91

78-79

***

Tanner Scott

Born: 07/22/1994 (Age: 21)
Bats: Right Throws: Left
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 220
Mechanics
Build: Athletic with long arms; maxed frame.

Mechanics: 3/4 arm slot; premium arm speed; mild stab with deep arm action; front shoulder can open up; falls off with max effort; clean landing; delivery can get out of sync.

Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 07/26/2015
Affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season, Orioles)
Dates Seen 7/26/15
OFP/Risk 50/High
Realistic 40; Middle Relief
MLB ETA 2018
Video No

Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 60 70 93-96 98 Velocity: 70/80
Movement: 50/50
Command: 30/40

T98 twice; downhill plane; life; mild deception; deception plays up against LHH; command is inconsistent but mechanics can be cleaned up enough to allow more consistency.

SL 40 50 85-86 87 Movement: 50/50
Command: 30/40

Replicates arm speed; short and tight with bite; inconsistent release point; pitch can flatten; improvements in release points and command can allow pitch to play average.

Overall

Scott is a power arm that has the potential to work in the late innings. The FB/SL combo is efficient and both pitches have deception against LHH. His command and mechanics are inconsistent, but there has been slight improvement in all three of my viewings this season. The risk remains high due to limited innings and command.

Round Drafted: sixth round, 2014.
Why: Power arm that profiles as a back-end reliever.


Jose Pujols

Born: 09/29/1995 (Age: 19)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 175
Primary Position: RF
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Athletic and skinny; tall with long limbs; room for 10-15 lbs of muscle.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 07/26/2015
Dates Seen 7/24/15 – 7/26/15
Affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season, Phillies)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2018 High 55 50; Major League Regular No
Makeup

Coached 1B on Sunday and kept his head in the game; teammates get along with him.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Plus bat speed; hitch; hands can get overly noisy; loose wrists; moderate barrel control; bat is quick through zone; drops shoulder on occasion; can get unbalanced; mild leg lift; recognizes spin; ultra-aggressive approach; pull-heavy swing; can reach high-end velocity.
Power 55 Plus raw power; pull-heavy power; leveraged swing; plus raw will play slightly down due to aggression and pull-heavy approach.
Baserunning/Speed 40 Out of the box slow; 4.51 and 4.58; displays better agility and speed in the field.
Glove 50 Inconsistent reads; will improve with repetition; first step is efficient; footwork is inconsistent.
Arm 70 Premium arm strength; extreme carry; accurate throws.
Overall

Signed as an international free agent in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic for $540,000. Pujols displays a plethora of enticing raw tools, and the in-game skill set is inching closer to actualizing. He's more than capable of playing RF and the bat has impact ability. There is risk involved due to his limited professional experience along with the aggressive and pull-happy approach.


Cedric Mullins

Born: 10/01/1994 (Age: 20)
Bats: Switch Throws: Left
Height: 5' 8" Weight: 175
Primary Position: CF
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Small frame; muscular; maxed.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 07/26/2015
Dates Seen 7/24/15 – 7/26/15
Affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season, Orioles)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2019 High 50 40; fourth OF/Below-average Regular No
Makeup

Hustles every play; minimizes frustration.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 50 Average bat speed; loose wrists; smooth and easy swing; moderate barrel control; front side can leak as RHH; mild load with toe tap; stays balanced; sprays the entire field; mild recognition of spin; solid approach; can beat upstairs with velocity; swing is more consistent as a LHH.
Power 30 Fringe raw power; linear swing; swing is more conducive for gap-to-gap power.
Baserunning/Speed 60 4.06, 4.07, 4.09 home to first; quick bursts; agility, speed, and a second gear; athleticism shows up in OF and on bases.
Glove 60 Efficient reads and routes; speed and athleticism; instinctual fielder with correct first step; plus range; covers the gaps.
Arm 40 Fringe arm strength; lacks carry; accurate throws.
Overall

Mullins is a plus CF with moderate barrel control, profiling as a potential regular up the middle. His instincts and athleticism help his game play up. There is high risk due to his limited experience against advanced competition and reliance on the hit tool actualizing. At the worst, Mullins provides value as a depth option or fourth OF.

Round Drafted: 13th round, 2015
Why: Athletic CF with plus speed and barrel control.


Gregori Rivero

Born: 05/27/1996 (Age: 19)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 5' 11" Weight: 194
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Smaller frame; athletic build with strong frame; mild room for growth.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 07/26/2015
Dates Seen 7/24/15 – 7/26/15
Affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season, Phillies)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2019 High 40 30; Org Player No
Makeup

Active behind the plate; wears emotions on sleeve; talkative player that routinely interacts with teammates.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 30 Average bat speed; swing shows more fluidity as LHH; mild barrel control; hands can drift; drops back shoulder often from both sides of the plate; mild toe tap and load; swing is unbalanced; mild recognition of spin; poor approach.
Power 30 Fringe raw power; swing has slight leverage; will play down a grade in-game due to hit tool.
Baserunning/Speed 30 4.45 home to first; lacks a second gear; more agility than speed.
Glove 50 Inconsistent currently; athletic movements behind the plate; blocking is currently below-average; footwork needs refinement; strong wrists allow for efficient framing.
Arm 55 Plus arm strength; 1.94 and 1.96 pop times; footwork inconsistent; accuracy inconsistent.
Overall

Signed as an international free agent in 2012 out of Venezuela for $110,000. I see value as a backup catcher, as the defense has a chance to play average if he refines a few mechanical aspects with the footwork and decision making. The risk remains high due to the lack of a hit tool and limited time against stronger competition.


D.J. Stewart

Born: 11/30/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 230
Primary Position: LF
Secondary Position:
Physical/Health
Thick and short frame; potential bad body; will need to keep in shape throughout career.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 07/26/2015
Dates Seen 7/24/15 – 7/26/15
Affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds (, Orioles)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2018 Moderate 40 40; Below-average Regular/ Bench Bat No
Makeup

Displays confidence and pride on field; expects to do well, has shown frustration at the plate.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 40 Average bat speed; swing is muscled and lacks looseness in the wrists; moderate barrel control; quiet upper half; extreme crouching stance; does not use bottom half efficiently; mild toe tap with moderate load; lacks balance throughout swing; solid approach, can get overly passive; mild recognition of spin; trouble with velocity on inner half and up in the zone; can pound inside with fastball routinely.
Power 40 Above-average raw power; swing is linear and muscled; batting stance saps power; hit tool will limit in-game power from manifesting.
Baserunning/Speed 30 4.44 home to first; displays more agility and speed in OF; likely to lose a step as he ages.
Glove 40 Solid first step; efficient reads and routes; range is slightly below-average; body concerns could limit athleticism in future; potential move to 1B with added weight and loss of athleticism.
Arm 45 Average arm strength; short arm action; throws have carry and accuracy.
Overall

Stewart has raw physical tools but the overall profile is hindered by his rigid swing and the extreme crouch in his batting stance. Slight adjustments could help his raw power play up, but the swing still lacks fluidity and will be tested at higher levels. There is moderate risk due to the adjustments needed at the plate and the potential to eventually move out of LF and to 1B.

Round Drafted: first round, 2015 (signed for $2,064,500)
Why: Advanced college bat with potential for above-average hit tool and power.


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ErikBFlom
7/31
They really don't give Cal Ripken much to work with there, do they. They must hate him.
davescottofakron
7/31
Do the players ever see evaluations of themselves along with an explanation of what it means? For example, a player might not understand how "maximum effort" is not necessarily a good thing. Reading such candid and blunt appraisals might get varying reactions, depending on the player's maturity.
TuckerBlair
7/31
I am sure players are well aware of their evaluations at times, although that typically comes from the coaching staff and not from scouts. I do think from a scouts perspective, it's a different lingo than what a coach or front office member might attempt to pass down to a player.

And with some terms, it can be easy to misconstrue the meaning. Max effort isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for a reliever. But a player needs to know when there is too much effort in their delivery.
kmacwade
7/31
this is great. really puts it into perspective how rare plus tools are.
PastorStephen
7/31
Thanks for this article! Would love to see more like this :)
bleaklewis
8/03
Nice article.

I've always wondered is there a hierarchy to scouts as well? For example would a new scout get assigned to Fall League or low A ball for their first assignment? And how often are scouts themselves reviewed for advancement?
TuckerBlair
8/04
Absolutely, there is a hierarchy. But it's not in the manner you portrayed. It would take me an hour to discuss this topic, but long-story-short...I know new scouts that are covering Double-A squads, and I know veterans in Low-A and Amateur ball. I don't think the level of ball really affects the assignment of scouts.

Scouts are reviewed/evaluated by their clubs all the time, I can assure you that.