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happy president's day!

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.

Dodgers LHP Alex Wood: It's an ugly delivery. I don't care, he can pitch and changes speed. How many guys take comfortable swings off him? I'll be honest, the durability worries me.

Rockies RHP Jonathan Gray: It’s really stunning what’s happened to him since he was drafted. I can’t really explain it. The entire arsenal, as well as the command, has backed up. The only thing I can figure is he just couldn’t adjust to pitching every five days from what he was doing at OU.

Astros RHP Mark Appel: We passed on him because he doesn’t compete out there and he never has.

Mariners OF Alex Jackson: He looked fine when I saw him. The tools are all there and the power is impressive.

Cubs MI Javier Baez: I don’t want to make too much of the early return to action, but everything looks better. He looks more relaxed, more in control, and the results have been what you normally expect. He has a chance to earn back a lot of the high praise that he had garnered prior to this season.

Tigers LHP Luis Cessa: I like the arm. They [Mets] tinkered with his mechanics and he took off some the past year. I've had him touch 96 before. I would guess he ends up comfortably in a middle relief role.

Phillies OF Nick Williams: A team interested in Nick Williams shouldn't shock anyone. He can [redacted] hit the [redacted] out of the ball. The Phillies will be happy with their pickup.

Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo: After the first month of the season, it would have been easy to turn a blind eye to Alex. Well, look at his numbers now. He's getting it.

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tearecrules
8/05
Why would you redact "tickle" and "rainbow"?
mgolovcsenko
8/05
Re Appel, wow. Rather blunt with a critique you don't hear much.
huztlers
8/05
A lot of people used to say that prior to the draft. It was always a common theme before he became Astros property.
Muboshgu
8/05
I wonder if that team passed on him in the 2012 draft, or at the 2015 trade deadline...
ProBeauNO
8/05
Right, it would seem the scout probably works for the Twins, Mariners, Orioles, Royals, Cubs or Padres -- the only teams to pass on Appel since 2012. Hopefully it's not the Mariners guy bragging about taking Zunino instead.
NightmareRec0n
8/05
I was trying to figure this out too. It wasn't the Astros. Buxton was obvious at #2. I imagine it was a team that took a college arm. I'll guess it was either KC or Baltimore. Because the team is using words like "competitor"....I'm guessing KC?
Schere
8/05
could be Baltimore, too. Old school scouting & development organization.
mattcommins
8/05
I literally said, "Wow" about the Appel quote too. That's a pretty stark statement.
mblthd
8/05
Sounds like Appel doesn't have "The Will To Win"
JoshC77
8/05
So he is saying that Appel lacks #want?
GBSimons
8/05
Appel was picked 1-1, so "We passed on him" doesn't make sense. Nobody passed on him.
gweedoh565
8/05
I took that as coming from a scout for a team that was a potential trade partner with the Astros.
morro089
8/05
Also confused. Assuming trade discussions.
TuckerBlair
8/05
He was also selected 8th overall by the Pirates before that. And the 15th round out of HS
delatopia
8/05
It did take me a few seconds to remember that. There were the endless discussions about whether Appel made more money by sitting out a year, since he would short himself an earning year in the end, but I don't recall the resolution of those. But if he ever thought he didn't like the game that much or didn't figure on a long career, then the money from waiting to be taken 1.1 would be more in the long run.
TGT969
8/05
Best thing that happened to Pirates was being unable to sign him. Got Meadows and McGuire instead...much better prospects
jsdspud
8/05
Meadows was the comp pick for not signing Appel. The Pirates supposedly would have taken David Dahl with the Appel pick. It will be interesting to see how Dahl vs. Meadows plays out.
apaterson
8/05
Straight up, that Nick Williams quote is from Jason Parks. Don't deny it.
Muboshgu
8/05
I missed see Gray's start yesterday. The line looks not great but not terrible for a debut. He induced 10 swinging strikes in his 77 pitches. How did he look beyond that?
proteinwisdom
8/05
He sat at between 92-95, with a few up in the 96-97 range. Showed a lot of arm side run. Tried to pitch in all quadrants of the zone but too often fell behind in counts, leading to a high pitch total. Also grooved a fastball with 2 outs to the opposing pitcher, accounting for the final run surrendered. From my perspective, his slider, while good, is too far off the plate to fool such advanced hitters consistently; changeup was decent and he seemed to go to it or a backup slider when he needed a strike. He was clearly nervous. I didn't see overpowering, 3rd overall stuff, but then, I don't know how he's had his mechanics tinkered with or whether or not he's still adjusting to pro ball. Having said that, this was his first start, when he missed he wasn't missing wildly (he seemed to be just off the plate a lot), and the movement on his fastball and slider was good. He's still a real work in progress, IMO.
Muboshgu
8/05
Thanks for the report! Sounds like the potential is still there to put it together, especially if he can improve the slider from what it was last night. It might have been the nerves, or maybe he just didn't have great feel for it yesterday.
ProBeauNO
8/05
I also heard that sometimes Appel plays catch in Houston, despite not being on the MLB active roster. No respect, that guy.
TheRedsMan
8/05
Could somebody explain to me what "doesn't compete" looks like in practice? Does he make worse pitches in tough situations? Does he not hustle? Does he wear his socks the wrong way? That kind of statement just reeks of scouts trying too hard, but I've heard it often enough that assume it means something practical.
jsdspud
8/05
I'm not a scout, but I will give it a try. Watch Gerrit Cole pitch a few times. It seems that after an error or poor fielding play he get a crazy look in his eye. He will then retire the next 9 guys in order.
tearecrules
8/05
I think it's more an ex post facto rationalization than anything that means something substantive. "(D)oesn't compete..." is something no one was saying prior to him being drafted. And "...never has" really doesn't jive with his performance at Stanford. His professional results don't match with what was expected based on his college time, and his status as the 1:1 pick is what's kept him on prospect lists, but if he'd been drafted later with his actual stuff he'd be someone scouts and baseball reporters would talk about how he'd be dominant if he could ever get it together, instead of wondering why it's taken him so long.
mblthd
8/05
Maybe he just stands there on the mound and holds the ball and refuses to throw it?
Schere
8/05
It's just like the guys who try to do too much, except the complete opposite, but with the exact same results.
lichtman
8/05
That's the funniest and smartest quote I've heard in a long time.
st08stinard
8/05
Love this scout articles!
st08stinard
8/05
these scout articles
chris0501
8/06
Who gave you the scouting report on Javier Baez … his girlfriend? In his last ten games, the guy has a K% around 33% and a Contact% around 65%. Nothing has changed. Otherwise, the Cubs would have recalled him by now.
paulfrancke
8/06
Putting aside small samples for just a second, his K% was 26% when you wrote that. - His Girlfriend
collins
8/07
These comments are a hoot!