Cody Sedlock, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Short-Season Aberdeen)
For the Ten Pack this week I wrote about Justin Dunn, who like Sedlock, was a first-round college pick in this past month's draft. Ideally Ten Pack entries, and certainly a Notes from the Field piece, should give some indication into what I think the player is at the highest level. That's the bare minimum you can ask for, right? At least make a call. The problem is with these recent college draftees is: what exactly are you looking at?
Sedlock has a delivery at present that screams reliever. He almost comes to a full stop before foot strike, then accelerates his arm action to catch up. There's effort generally, but the arm action is especially difficult to repeat and it makes his plus fastball, which touches 96, wild in the zone. The fastball also bled velocity. He went from sitting 93-95 in his first inning of work, to 90-93 in his third. His breaking ball was slurvy at times, but at its best was a downer 11-5 curve in the low 80s. He threw one changeup.
Make a call. Effort in the mechanics and a dodgy command projection, no clear third pitch, relieved his first two years in college. Okay, you drafted an eighth-inning guy!
That's what I saw, and you should always write what you see, but this class of prospect tends towards ledgermain. Some context: Sedlock already threw a full college season. He made his first start on Feburary 19th, when most minor league pitchers are primarily concerned with getting a good tee time after some light stretching and PFP. After he was drafted, he likely reported to the complex for a week, threw a couple bullpens for the roving guys, and then was shipped off to Maryland to pitch a few innings, every few days.
And it's the Penn League, guys aren't going to square his stuff even when he is gassed and the command wavers. Short-season bats don't see a quality two-pitch combo much anyway, and the Orioles are only allowing them one look at it. Sedlock will go home for the winter, get a professional instruction in the spring (with plenty of off days on the links) and likely look like a very different pitcher in Delmarva or Fredrick come April. Over the years, I've learned to give the benefit of the doubt, draft pedigree matters, and what Sedlock did in the Spring may matter more than what I saw on Coney Island in July. For now. —Jeffrey Paternostro
Isaiah White, OF, Miami Marlins (Short-Season Batavia Muckdogs)
White is the kind of hitter that has to deal with seeing a pitcher like Sedlock for the first time. A third-round prep pick for the Marlins in 2015 out of North Carolina, White has struggled a bit so far this Summer. He looks the part though. There's some projection left, looking at his broad shoulders, but skinny legs, and a stronger base would help him at the plate. But even now, White shows surprising strength for his size. The swing has a line-drive plane, but he'll send one out pull side every now and again. It all looks good at five o'clock, but in games he struggles with spin and really anything down in the zone. White's a plus runner, but is raw in the outfield. He struggled to track balls in left field, getting turned around multiple times over a long-weekend look. His arm is accurate, and his throwing mechanics sound, but below-average arm strength and instincts will likely limit him to left field. The “good” outcome here is likely a bench outfielder with some speed and a bit of sneaky pop, but the risk here is significant, and the swing might prevent White from even getting out of A-ball. —Jeffrey Paternostro
Austin Robichaux, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Low-A Burlington)
Drafted in the 18th round of the 2014 draft by the Angels out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Robichaux brings an intriguing frame with moderate pitchability to the pro game. Standing 6-foot-6, 170 pounds, Robichaux has an incredibly lean frame that doesn't appear to be able to handle any more muscle. Throwing from a high-three-quarters slot and a semi-windup, Robichaux's delivery includes a high elbow and a pause in the back with shoulder tilt. He lands out front on a stiff front leg with light hip block and the landing foot wanders.
The fastball sits 86-90 with marginal arm-side run that he struggled to command in the zone. The inconsistencies in the delivery and landing limit the command profile at this point. He did string together a three-batter stretch where he repeated the delivery and flashed the ability to move the fastball side-to-side. The breaking ball is a slurvy offering sitting 76-77 that he tends to get around on producing a longer, sweepier break. Did flash two with mild-average depth although it’s a well below-average offering at this point. The changeup is inconsistent at this point with well below-average fade and it is more of a BP fastball at this point. Robichaux really struggled in this outing but there was a glimmer of hope that the might be able to command the three-pitch mix in the future. At this point he is an organizational type guy who needs to refine his delivery. —James Fisher
Zack Littell, RHP, Seattle Mariners (High-A Bakersfield)
Drafted out of high school in 2013 by the Mariners, the 11th-round pick has made a name for himself as a durable, innings eater. Standing 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Littell has a solid build with strength throughout especially the legs. Throwing from a high-three-quarters slot, Littell has a soft stab in the back end with a short arm swing but gets through it. Out front he cuts himself off and strides a bit short. The fastball sits 87-90, and touches 92 with light arm-side run and sink. The pitch grades out as average to a tick below on velo alone but his command of the pitch is what makes it truly average, he can locate it to both sides of the plate and is capable of keeping the ball down in the zone. The shorter stride helps with the creation of sink but still below average movement at present.
Littell has two breaking balls, curveball and slider, with the curveball being the better of the two pitches. A soft, 11/5 curve sitting 65-71 that lacks bite. He locates the pitch to both sides of the plate but hitters get a solid look at it out of his hand. The slider is thrown around 84-85 and features more of cutter movement than true slider break. Neither of the pitches grade out as average but they feature enough variation to keep hitters off of his fastball. He shows a passion for the game that you don't often see in the low minors by creating his own scouting reports by hand in the stands and at this point it's what separates him from his colleagues. He attacks hitters with a plan and executes that plan well. Realistically Littell is just an organizational guy who at best would see major-league time as a spot starter. —James Fisher
Ronnie Jebavy, OF, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose)
Jebavy boasts a solid, mostly maxed frame, with agility and fluidity in his movements. He's a plus runner with quick steps and bursting speed driven. It helps the tool play in full on the bases, and coupled with strong reads and a natural feel for contact and trajectory, it allows for an above-average or better defensive projection up the middle. The load in his swing is quiet, the weight transfer minimal; he takes a jabbing half step with the front foot, setting an early, firm plant while the hands drift north. It creates a steep path into the zone, and while the bat is quick it is not on plane for very long. The result is some vulnerability to weak contact and more swing-and-miss than you'd like from a guy with his profile. He can turn on pitches with something approaching average power to the pull side, and he showed an ability to jerk one over the left field wall in my first look. I'm not sure how much of that power eventually plays, however, as he's an aggressive hitter who was rarely in counts to exploit pitchers in the rest of the weekend series. —Wilson Karaman
Kyle Jensen, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno)
Right-handed power is always intriguing, even when the bopper in question is much older than your typical prospect. Jensen is 28 years old, and he's having his best professional season, hitting .307/.354/.563 with 14 homers and 21 doubles for Triple-A Reno. Unfortunately for Diamondbacks fans hoping to add a little pop to the roster, Jensen's big numbers won't translate if he moves up the chain. He's not a great athlete, and his slow bat and leveraged swing will leave him vulnerable against premium velocity and elite breaking balls. He's also prone to expanding the zone, and in my looks, he feasted on mistakes and high-80s fastballs, neither of which he'd see all that often at the highest level. He's a role 30 player, but I hope he gets a look: he could hit one out of the stadium and I love when long time minor league vets get a shot. —Brendan Gawlowski
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