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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.

July 31- August 2, 2015

High-A

Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles)

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs)

Frederick Keys

Position

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Chance Sisco

C

55

40

40

30

45

50

Above-avg bat speed; swing is loose and easy; balanced; recognizes spin; moderate approach; struggles defensively with blocking; slight improvements since last viewing but the glove still lags behind; VIDEO

Josh Hart

CF

45

20

60

60

40

40

Agility and speed in OF; displayed plus range and instincts in OF; made a tough play at the warning track to rob a hit; discipline and approach at plate have regressed since last viewing; no power; swing is fluid with above-average bat speed; VIDEO

Yaisel Mederos

1B

30

40

20

30

55

30

Tall and sturdy frame; lacks athleticism; avg bat speed; plus raw power; elongated swing; stays balanced; mild recognition of spin; rusty due to lack of playing time; VIDEO

Jeff Kemp

SS/2B

30

30

40

45

45

30

Utility profile; lacks a carrying tool but is solid depth up the middle; strong makeup player

Austin Wynns

C

20

20

20

50

50

30

Average arm/defense; solid game manager; routinely impresses behind the plate; can play in the upper minors for a while

Wynston Sawyer

1B

20

20

20

30

40

20

Org filler that can play catcher in an emergency

Tad Gold

OF

20

20

40

60

40

20

Instinctual fielder; agile; swing is not conducive for contact; lacks physical strength; org filler

Anthony Caronia

2B

20

20

50

40

30

20

Utility filler

Jay Gonzalez

OF

20

20

60

50

20

20

Org filler that can play CF; moderate approach with ability to recognize spin; lacks the tools to play at higher levels

Conor Bierfeldt

RF

20

20

20

30

55

20

Above-avg raw power; swing is rigid with below-avg bat speed

Tanner Witt

3B

20

20

50

20

30

20

Poor at the plate and in the field; org filler

***

Frederick Keys

FB

CB

SL

CH

Pitcher

L/R

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

OFP

Notes

Jon Keller

R

60/70

40

Tall and sturdy frame; high 3/4 arm slot; downhill plane with long extension; opens up front side; inconsistent landing; has flashed avg SL in prior viewings

30/40

94-96

Nik Nowottnick

R

45/50

45/45

40

Tall frame with long limbs; avg arm speed; high 3/4 arm slot; extreme downhill plane; FB can get straight and flatten when left up in zone

40/45

40/40

90-92

81-82

Donnie Hart

L

50/50

50/50

40/40

40

Sidearm slot; extreme deception allows arsenal to play up; struggles to repeat mechanics, hinders command

40/45

40/40

40/40

86-88 T89

74-76

78-79

Mitch Horacek

L

45/45

30/30

30/30

30

Clean delivery; stiff landing; flat FB; lacks a secondary pitch he can rely on

45/50

30/30

30/30

86-90 T91

80-83 T84

80-83

Cody Wheeler

R

45/45

30/30

30/30

20

3/4 arm slot; stab; avg arm speed; inverted landing; hard drive; FB is flat

40/40

30/30

30/30

88-91

78-80

80-81

***

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Position

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Carlos Penalver

SS

20

20

50

55

45

30

Above-avg range, hands, footwork; utility profile that can play up the middle; bat provides no value

Chesny Young

UTIL

30

20

40

50

40

30

Utility profile; played 2B/3B and warmed up at multiple positions pre-game; instinctual; mild barrel control; moderate approach; fringe bat speed; lacks power; depth piece

Pin-Chieh Chen

OF

20

20

45

40

40

20

Unbalanced swing; front side leaks open; lacks an approach; can play all three OF positions

Jason Vosler

3B

20

20

20

30

40

20

Lacks the athleticism to play up the middle; poor bat; minor league filler

Cael Brockmeyer

C/1B

20

20

20

30

50

20

Played both C and 1B; average raw power; swing is brawny and lacks fluidity; lacks agility and footwork at C to provide anything more than value as minor league filler

Kevin Brown

OF

20

20

40

40

40

20

4.30 home to first; fringe bat speed; lacks a carrying tool

Trey Martin

CF

20

20

60

60

40

20

Poor approach; no pitch ID; noisy swing; extreme athlete that can provide depth as a CF

Jordan Hankins

C/DH

20

20

20

20

DH both games played; fringe bat speed; lacks athleticism; org filler

Daniel Lockhart

2B

20

20

45

40

40

20

Lacks a carrying tool; fringe bat speed; lacks the agility and range to play anything more than fringe at 2B

***

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

FB

CB

SL

CH

Pitcher

L/R

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

Overall
Command
Velocity

OFP

Notes

Joshua Conway

R

55/60

40/50

40

Athletic frame; high 3/4 arm slot; plus arm speed; moderate effort with downhill plane; FB with life; SL short and tight; inconsistent release point

30/40

30/40

93-95

85-87

David Berg

R

40/40

Sidearm; hops and falls off to right on landing; deception; only threw three pitches in viewing

40/40

84-85

Brad Markey

R

45/50

30/30

30/30

30

3/4 arm slot; avg arm speed; stuttered delivery; falls off; inverted land; deception; delivery gets out of sync

40/45

40/40

40/40

90-92 T93

80-82 T83

81-83 T84

Jasvir Rakkar

R

45/45

30/30

20/20

20

3/4 arm slot; + arm speed; deep arm action with stab; max effort; hard land; FB flat

30/30

20/20

20/20

90-92

82-83

85-86

Fernando Cruz

R

40/40

30/30

20

Short and thick frame; 3/4 arm slot; deep arm action with stab; falls off; FB flat and straight

30/30

20/20

89-91 T92

79-84

James Farris

R

40/40

30/30

30/30

20

3/4 arm slot; avg arm speed; moderate drive; cuts off delivery at hips; FB flat with cut; delivery has mild deception

30/30

30/30

30/30

86-88 T89

82-83

82

Tyler Ihrig

L

30/30

30/30

30/30

20

Short and athletic; 3/4 arm slot; well below-avg stuff with deception

40/40

30/30

30/30

83-85 T86

69-72 T73

66-69 T70

David Garner

R

45/45

30/30

20

short and skinny; above-avg arm speed; deep arm action with stab; mild effort; inverted land; inconsistent mechanics and well below-avg command hinder profile

30/30

30/30

91-94

79-81

Paul Blackburn

Born: 12/04/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 195
Mechanics
Build: Athletic with broad shoulders; maxed.

Mechanics: High 3/4 arm slot; clean arm action; average arm speed; hips/upper half stay in unison; minimal effort; slightly inverted landing; delivery times ~1.31

Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/05/2015
Affiliate Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A, Cubs)
Dates Seen 7/31/2015
OFP/Risk 45/Moderate
Realistic 40; Middle Relief
MLB ETA 2017
Video No

Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 45 50 87-91 92 Velocity: 50/50
Movement: 50/50
Command: 45/50

T92 once; mild downhill plane; mild arm-side run; pounds all four quadrants; command is inconsistent to gloveside; velocity dipped to 87-89 in latter innings.

CB 40 50 73-75 76 Movement: 50/50
Command: 40/50

Replicates arm speed; 12-6 offering; moderate depth; release points are inconsistent; works as a get-me-over and as a strike-to-ball offering; hittable when he casts; refinements in release point will improve pitch a grade.

CH 45 50 82-84 84 Movement: 50/50
Command: 45/50

Replicates arm speed; moderate fade; consistent velocity separation; sequences well with FB and will double up on offering; slight refinements in release point will improve offering a tick.

Overall

Blackburn has average stuff across the board, but displays pitchability. He sequenced the entire outing, keeping Frederick off-balance and incapable of piecing together efficient swings. The ceiling is not high without a pitch better than average, limiting his ceiling to a back-end starter. There is moderate risk because he has yet to reach Double-A.

Round Drafted: First round (56th), 2012 (signed for $911,700)
Why: Pitchability with the chance for three average or better pitches.


Christopher Lee

Born: 08/17/1992 (Age: 22)
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 175
Mechanics
Build: Tall; athletic build; high waist; long legs; maxed frame.

Mechanics: 3/4 arm slot; plus arm speed; stab; mild head whack; clean land with hard drive; front side can get stiff; repeats delivery.

Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/05/2015
Affiliate Frederick Keys (High A, Orioles)
Dates Seen 8/1/2015
OFP/Risk 50/Moderate
Realistic 45; No. 5 Starter / Swingman
MLB ETA 2017
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 55 60 91-94 95 Velocity: 60/60
Movement: 50/50
Command: 40/50

T95 three times; downhill plane; deception; armside run; life; spotted in lower quadrants entire outing; inconsistent command to glove side; touched 95 mph twice for a K on the final out of seventh inning.

SL 40 45 Movement: 40/40
Command: 40/40

Replicates arm speed; throws two variants; short SL 86-88 velo band; acts as a cutter; well below-average offering that lacks movement and deception; SL at 83-85 velo band displays mild sweeping action; strike-to-ball offering.

CH 40 45 84-86 86 Movement: 40/45
Command: 40/45

Replicates arm speed; mild fade; only threw three in seven innings; flashed one effective offering; release point inconsistent.

Overall

Lee mowed down the Myrtle Beach lineup, and was promoted immediately after the game. His FB moves in multiple ways, and will be a weapon in the rotation or out of the pen. The SL/CH are lagging behind, but the slower SL plays better and the CH flashed fringe-average. The Orioles have tinkered with his mechanics since acquiring Lee earlier this season, and he repeated his delivery the entire outing. There is risk involved due to the lack of an average secondary offering.

Round Drafted: Fourth round, 2011
Why: Athletic pitcher with chance for three average or better pitches out of the rotation.


David Hess

Born: 07/10/1993 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 180
Mechanics
Build: Athletic frame; chiseled body with strong core; maxed frame.

Mechanics: 3/4 arm slot; plus arm speed; slight stab; less head whack and spine tilt than earlier in season; moderate effort; slightly inverted foot landing; delivery times ~1.40

Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/05/2015
Affiliate Frederick Keys (High A, Orioles)
Dates Seen 8/2/2015
OFP/Risk 50/Moderate
Realistic 50; Set-up Arm
MLB ETA 2017
Video No
Pitch Type Present Grade Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
FB 55 65 90-94 95 Velocity: 60/65
Movement: 50/50
Command: 40/50

T95 twice; downhill plane; heavy offering at lower velo band; flattens at higher velo band; straight; works inside on hitters; move to bullpen could tick FB velo up a grade.

SL 50 50 78-81 82 Movement: 55/55
Command: 40/40

Replicates arm speed; hard tilt with sweeping action; strike-to-ball offering; works as his out pitch.

CB 40 40 73-75 75 Movement: 40/40
Command: 40/40

Replicates arm speed; get-me-over pitch; mild depth and spin; loses effectiveness after he has flashed it a few times.

CH 30 40 81-85 86 Movement: 30/30
Command: 40/40

Replicates arm speed; firm; lacks feel; 81 mph pitch was in the dirt; lacks deception and separation to be an effective offering.

Overall

Hess has cleaned up his mechanics since the beginning of the season, working more efficiently towards home and cutting out the excess movement in his head/front shoulder. The delivery still has some effort and he lacks an effective third pitch, limiting his overall role.

Round Drafted: Fifth round, 2014
Why: Advanced college arm with a four pitch arsenal; potential to stick as a starter; potential plus FB/SL work as a relief option.


Mark Zagunis

Born: 02/05/1993 (Age: 22)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 205
Primary Position: RF
Secondary Position: LF
Physical/Health
Sturdy frame; athletic with broad shoulders; maxed.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/05/2015
Dates Seen 7/31/15 – 8/2/15
Affiliate Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A, Cubs)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
2017 Moderate 40 30; Org. Player No
Makeup

Hustles; professional attitude with respect from teammates.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 40 Average bat speed; muscled and rigid swing; minor hitch; moderate load with toe tap; stays balanced; advanced approach; recognizes spin; can beat with velocity inside and up; does not always barrel when making contact.
Power 30 Average raw power; slight leverage; mostly gap power; plays down in-game due to hit tool.
Baserunning/Speed 45 4.40 home to first; out of box slow; displays more athleticism in field.
Glove 50 Clean routes; first step needs refinement, especially moving backwards; enough athleticism to play corner OF with ease.
Arm 50 Average arm strength with carry; accurate throws.
Overall

Zagunis displays an advanced approach at the plate, but lacks the looseness and fluidity I like to see in a swing. The swing is compact but he struggles to reach power velocity. Zagunis was athletic and clean in the OF for the most part, with continued repetition allowing for an average profile in the corners. There is moderate risk due to his shift out of C and lack of time in the upper minors.

Round Drafted: Third round, 2014
Why: Athletic C with advanced approach and the potential to stick behind the plate.


Victor Caratini

Born: 08/17/1993 (Age: 21)
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 215
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position: 1B
Physical/Health
Stocky; thick bottom half; will need to stay conditioned; frame has slight room for growth.
Evaluator Tucker Blair
Report Date 08/05/2015
Dates Seen 7/31/15 – 8/2/15
Affiliate Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A, Cubs)
MLB ETA Risk Factor OFP Realistic Role Video
N/A High 30 30; Org. Player No
Makeup

Looked defeated at the plate on multiple occasions.

Tool Future Grade Report
Hit 20 Average bat speed; slight hitch; hands drift; swing can become elongated from right side; front side leaks open; unbalanced; mild load and leg lift; passive approach; mild recognition of spin; failed to show the same swing throughout the entire series.
Power 20 Fringe raw power; gap-style hitter with slight leverage; hit tool will not allow power to actualize.
Baserunning/Speed 20 4.50 home to first; lacks athleticism and agility.
Glove 40 Rigid behind the plate; inconsistent footwork leads to poor blocking; struggles to move horizontally; stabs often on framing.
Arm 45 Above-average arm strength; 2.14 pop time; inconsistent footwork; long transfer; arm plays down a grade in-game.
Overall

Caratini struggled the entire series, failing to show any consistency. The swing was highly inconsistent, even in batting practice. The defense can improve slightly, but the footwork was highly inconsistent and I question his ability to maintain an athletic frame for sticking behind the plate. There is high risk involved due to questions surrounding his positional value and the poor hit tool.

Round Drafted: Second round, 2013
Why: C/3B with ability to grow into an average defender and the makings of an average hit tool.


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bobbygrace
8/07
Wow, this is cool. It's a lot to take in -- makes me appreciate what scouts do.
huztlers
8/10
Come on man. It is not like they are out feeding the hungry. Chances are that if you are reading this column, you would do the job for free if someone would red your notes. In reality, slapping 20s on most players is an easy job. They are only there to see a few guys.
newsense
8/07
With all the raves about the Cubs farm system, Myrtle Beach seems an uninspiring bunch.
TuckerBlair
8/07
I didn't see Jen-Ho Tseng (scratched due to sickness) or Duane Underwood (DL). Those are the two best prospects on the team.
ackbar
8/08
This was really well done.
ofMontreal
8/10
I'm late to this, but what an eye opener! I suddenly see how a 60 grade anything is impressive. I too am shocked by the relative plain-ness of both teams. Great work.