keyboard_arrow_uptop

Inspired by a couple of Tucker Blair’s posts last year, I decided to try my hand at scouting a series in the Northwest League this summer. I am not a scout, of course, but I watch a lot of minor league baseball and figured that writing about prospects for a few years had prepared me well for the challenge.

It proved much more difficult than I anticipated, especially trying to evaluate both sides at once. There is always so much going on in baseball, but I never appreciated the speed of the game more than when I was trying to scribble the details of a player’s swing plane while recording his time down the line from home to first, while simultaneously paying as much attention as I could to a new reliever’s—a guy who would only throw once all series—mechanics and stuff. There’s just so much going on at once, and scouts have to be cognizant of everything, at all times. It’s a tremendously demanding job. My only hope is that I didn’t miss too much.

I also found myself (silently) rooting for odd things to happen in the games. It’s not just that I wanted to see Hillsboro rally in the ninth inning: it’s that I wanted them to do it specifically so that Manny Jefferson could bat again, in the hopes that maybe he would hit a grounder to the left side of the infield that would require him to book it down the line, and let me get another chance to see him sprint. Or, on a single to the outfield with a runner on second and a close play expected at the plate, I couldn’t have cared less about whether the runner was safe. Rather, all of my focus was on outfielder Austin Grabeck so I could get a good look at his arm.

Finally, focusing intently on everyone really helped demonstrate just how few potential major leaguers were on the field. The gap between, say, an average arm and a 30 arm is striking, and seeing the two next to each other really highlights how special big league tools and talent really are.

Everett Hitters

Future Grades

Name

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Nick Zammarelli

3B

40

40

50

45

50

40

Moderate load; linear bat path with some late loft; hits to all fields; sometimes struggles to cover the outside corner.

David Greer

RF

40

30

45

40

45

40

Lacks true defensive home, ultimately profiles as a bat-first utility player in the upper minors. Aggressive approach; struggles against good breaking pitches.

Bryson Brigman

SS/2B

30

20

60

45

40

30

Lack of arm strength will push him to second full time. Speed fluctuates, have had him anywhere from 4.15 to 4.40 on a dig.

Johmbeyker Morales

3B/2B

20

20

50

45

45

30

Has played SS, 3B, and 2B this season. Great makeup, high energy player.

Donnie Walton

2B, SS

20

20

50

40

40

20

Medium load and stride, efficient swing path, hits to all fields, feel for contact. Often approaches grounders and pop-ups tentatively.

Nick Thurman

C

20

20

35

40

45

20

2.08 pop time, throws consistently straight and generally accurate

Eric Filia

RF

20

20

45

40

45

20

Works deep counts, hits to all fields, excellent feel for the strike zone; very old for level; 4.26 DTL.

Austin Grebeck

OF

20

20

55

45

40

20

Above-average runner; split time between left and center; quick first step.

Kristian Brito

1B

20

20

20

20

30

20

Poor hands at first base; slow bat; poor pitch recognition.

Jose Leal

LF

20

20

20

20

45

20

Can’t recognize spin; extremely aggressive approach; slow feet.

Johan Quevedo

C

20

20

20

40

40

20

Limited feel for the barrel, will have trouble barreling good velocity. Good makeup.

Dimas Ojeda

RF

20

20

50

40

45

20

Drops back shoulder; small load; bat doesn’t stay in the hitting zone for long.

Joseph Venturino

2B

20

20

45

45

30

20

4.35 DTL; works counts; good feel for the strike zone.

Pitchers

Jake Brentz, LHP

Mechanical Notes: Good athlete, projectable frame, quick arm. Over the top slot; equal and opposite delivery; motion lacks fluidity; above-average arm speed; mild spinal tilt; head whack; hides the ball well; crossfire delivery; slow to plate.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

55/60

91-94 mph, T95 with life; predominantly throws a two-seamer w/average tail; command drifts, often misses north-south.

CB

40/50

72-74 mph, 12-6 break; average movement; can throw for strikes; pitch has improved over last calendar year, flashes average.

CH

30/40

85-88 mph; tailing action; struggles to replicate arm speed.

Command

30/40

Realistic Role: 30; org arm

OFP: 40; spot starter, middle reliever

____________________________________________________________________________

Thomas Burrows, LHP

Mechanical Notes: High 3/4 arm slot; physical frame; mild head snap; front shoulder flies open; hunches on delivery; crossfire; works on first-base side of the rubber.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

45/55

89-91 mph; two-seam with sink, fringe-average command.

CH

45/50

80-84; sinking action with a touch of fade.

SL

50/55

Low-80s velocity, sharp dropping action with a bit of horizontal run, can throw for strikes and drop it out of the zone, lefties don’t see it well, righties missing it too.

Command

40/45

Realistic Role: 30; organizational arm.

OFP: 40; left-handed middle reliever.

____________________________________________________________________________

Matt Festa, RHP

Mechanical Notes: 3/4 arm slot; open stride; shoulder drifts; hip swivel; falls towards first base; still head; clean arm action.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

50/55

89-92 mph, T93; average tail on two-seam; moves the ball around the zone effectively, more comfortable working glove side.

SL

40/50

80-82 mph; predominantly vertical movement; inconsistent shape; flashes average with sharp vertical drop.

CH

30/40

Mid-80s, late sink with mild fading action; below-average drop; predominantly locates arm-side; barrel misser, not bat misser.

Command

45/55

Realistic Role: 30; org arm

OFP: 40; middle reliever

____________________________________________________________________________

Michael Koval, RHP

Mechanical Notes: Low 3/4 arm slot; loose arm; rotational mechanics; leg swivel leaves him prone to missing east-west; keeps head still; inconsistent landing spot.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

50/50

89-92 mph; plus movement; below average command.

SL

30/40

Tight shape; small break; spins out of hand occasionally.

CH

40/40

82-84 mph; late sink with a touch of fade; kept it low.

Command

30/40

Realistic Role: 30

OFP: 30

____________________________________________________________________________

Reggie McClain, RHP

Mechanical Notes: High 3/4 arm slot; rock and fire delivery; pronounced back leg collapse; swivel stride; balanced; deep, long arm action; below average arm speed; projectable frame; no deception.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

40/40

87-89 mph, T90, wiggles both ways, fringe average command, average movement.

SL

30/30

78-80 mph; two-plane with depth, break is soft but with late vertical tumble, pitch draws whiffs from righties, average command.

CH

40/50

High-70s velocity, fading action, flashes average.

Command

45/45

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Paul Covelle, RHP

Mechanical Notes: Over the top arm slot; rock and fire delivery; mild crossfire; spinal tilt; mild head whack.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

40/40

86-89 mph, T89; below-average movement and command.

CH

30/30

84-85 mph; sinking action; limited movement.

SL

30/40

82-85 mph; long horizontal break; inconsistent shape; often overthrows; flashes depth.

Command

30/30

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Jeffeson Medina, RHP

Mechanical Notes: Over the top slot; quick arm; high-effort delivery; pronounced head whack; speeds up motion mid-delivery; spinal tilt.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

40/50

90-91 mph, T93; poor command; below average movement.

CB

30/30

78-79 mph; 12-6 shape; good span; good arm speed; occasionally flashes average or a tick better; very inconsistent execution, often misses spot badly with poor movement.

Command

20/30

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Elliott Surrey, LHP

Mechanical Notes: High 3/4 slot, slow arm; good posture; still head; clean landing; waist bends at finish; good command profile.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

20/20

83-85 mph, T85; average command.

CH

30/30

73-74 mph; fading action; soft movement.

CB

30/30

71-73 mph, 1-6 break, early horizontal break with late drop, long action with depth.

Command

50/50

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Tim Viehoff, LHP

Mechanical Notes: Over the top slot; deep, stabbing arm action; below-average athlete; stiff delivery; open stride; slow to the plate; does not hide the ball effectively.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

30/30

84-86 mph, T88; throws a two-seam and a four-seam; nibbles; well below-average command; likes to run two-seamer back over outside corner against lefties.

CH

30/30

73-74 mph; fading action with mild depth; soft movement.

CB

20/30

Low-70s velocity; soft, short break; can throw for strikes.

Command

30/30

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Robert Dugger, RHP

Mechanical Notes: Low 3/4 arm slot; quick arm; short, not a physical frame; late hip collapse; stiff arm action.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

40/50

87-91, T91; adds and subtracts; above-average tail; can sink it; fringe-average command.

CB

30/30

70-71 mph; slurvey shape; hitters didn’t chase it out of the zone.

SL

30/30

77-80 mph; movement resembles curve; soft break.

Command

45/45

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Lane Ratliff, LHP

Mechanical Notes: High 3/4 arm slot; spinal tilt; rushed arm action, doesn’t line up with lower half; head whack.

Pitch

Present/Future:

Notes

FB

40/45

87-90 mph, natural cut; poor command; lacks ability to hit target in any quadrant consistently.

CH

30/30

Fading action with some depth; poor command; slows arm.

CB

20/20

Slurvy shape; struggles to hit strike zone.

Command

20/20

Realistic Role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Hillsboro Hitters

Future Grades

Player

Pos.

Hit

Power

Speed

Glove

Arm

OFP

Notes

Ramon Hernandez

1B

45

50

40

40

50

45

High leg kick, hitch, head yank, incorporates lower half, above-average bat speed; aggressive approach; lays off high fastball; recognizes spin out of the hand and can adjust swing make hard contact on breaking balls.

Hands are poor, often bobbles GBs and pop ups; first step is slow. Frame conducive to additional strength. High energy player in the field.

Alexis Olmeda

C

20

30

40

50

60

40

Moderate load; long swing; average bat speed; leveraged swing; swing-and-miss problems.

Plus arm; quick transfer; likes to throw from his knees, but more accurate and still sub-two second pop times when he comes out of the crouch; some feel for framing; blocking needs improvement; good athlete.

Mark Karaviotis

SS

30

20

50

45

50

30

Smooth swing; efficient bat path; late loft in swing; average bat speed; strength and frame limits power. Solid understanding of the strike zone, likes to work counts.

Clean actions, accurate throwing arm. Range should play in a utility role.

Adam Walton

MI

20

20

50

55

50

30

Played short and second; range to handle a utility role at major-league level.

Toe tap; no load; small weight transfer; flat, short swing; quick to the ball; 20 raw.

Ben DeLuzio

CF

20

20

55

50

45

30

Best athlete on the field; above-average runner; gets good jumps and reads in center; average arm sometimes plays down due to slow transfer and double clutch.

Swing is stiff: small load; foot down early, no momentum or rhythm in swing.

Luke Lowery

C

20

20

20

40

50

20

Poor pitch recognition; expands zone; swing and bat speed not conducive to hitting above-average velocity.

Below-average receiver and blocker. 2.03 pop.

Jose Queliz

C

20

20

20

20

40

20

Below-average arm strength and receiving skills; org catcher.

Justin Chigbogu

1B

20

30

20

20

40

20

Above-average raw; slow bat; aggressive approach; extremely thick and heavy frame.

Poor range and actions in the field.

Manny Jefferson

2B

20

20

55

45

50

20

High-energy player; tall, stringy athlete; patient hitter, works counts; foot drifts towards third base during stride; bat path doesn’t stay in the zone for long.

Strong arm for position; quick transfer on double plays; ranges well on pop ups.

Josh Anderson

3B

20

20

20

30

40

20

Short stride; fringy bat speed; power predominantly pull.

Well below-average range and arm at third. Organizational corner infielder.

Connor Owings

OF

20

20

20

20

45

20

Leveraged swing; extreme contact problems.

slow feet; organizational player.

Stephen Smith

OF

20

20

30

30

50

20

Small frame for corner outfield. Slow bat, struggled with good velocity inside, swing built to hit the ball to opposite field.

Poor reads and routes in the outfield.

Luis Veras

RF

20

20

20

30

45

20

Expands zone; susceptible to spin.

Routes and first step need work; organizational outfielder.

Jason Morozowski

LF

20

20

45

45

60

20

Starts swing w/ hands high; big leg kick; limited weight transfer; arm bar; struggled with off-speed.

Strong arm, quick first step, speed limits him to a corner. Org outfielder.

Luis Silverio

OF

Only saw batting practice: Off-balance at the plate; narrow base; short stride; upright stance; weight drifts forward.

Pitchers

Curtis Taylor, RHP

Mechanical notes: Tall, slender frame, could add bulk and velocity; low 3/4 arm slot; drop and drive; balanced; quick arm; repeats delivery well.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

55/60

90-93 mph, T94; plus tail; late movement; commands well arm-side, some feel for hitting opposite side of plate.

SL

45/55

80-81 mph; sharp break; tight spin; good depth; predominantly vertical drop with run on it.

CH

40/50

80-81 mph; above-average tail with tumble; movement resembles fastball action at lower velocity band.

Command

45/55

Realistic role: 40; middle reliever

OFP: 50; setup role.

____________________________________________________________________________

Mack Lemiux, LHP

Mechanical Notes: 3/4 arm slot, rock and fire delivery; average extension; still head; falls towards first base; clean arm action; lands off-balance; slows delivery on off-speed pitches.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

Fastball

40/50

87-90 mph, T91. Average movement; fringe-average command; misses up; some feel for moving around the zone. Pitch can flatten when left up.

Curve

40/45

76-78 mph. 1-7 shape; slurvy, early break; flashes more depth on occasion; can throw for strikes; fringe-average command.

Change

40/50

81-84 mph. Predominantly fading action; mild tumble; used sporadically.

Command

45/55

Realistic Role: 30; organizational arm

OFP: 40; spot starter, long reliever

____________________________________________________________________________

Anfernee Benitez, LHP

Mechanical notes: High 3/4 arm slot; limited plane; slight crossfire; moderate effort in delivery; can lose center of gravity; mild spinal tilt; stabbing arm action.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

40/50

88-90 mph; above-average arm-side sink; also throws a four-seamer; held velocity well over the course of six outings; below-average present command, though he can pitch to all quadrants of the zone.

CH

45/55

79-80 mph; fading action with depth; fringe-average command; keeps it down; slows arm slightly.

SL

30/40

78-81 mph; slurvy shape; movement flattens at higher velocity; movement looks similar to curveball movement.

CB

30/40

Low-mid 70s velocity; 12-6 shape, though pitch can tilt and resemble slider at lower velo band; soft break; can throw for strikes.

Command

40/50

Realistic role: 30; organizational arm.

OFP: 40; middle relief, spot starter.

____________________________________________________________________________

Bo Takahashi, RHP

Mechanical Notes: 3/4 arm slot; straight stride; leg swivel; loose arm; mild stabbing arm action; mild head snap; clean posture; overthrows and loses slot occasionally. Command drifted over course of outing.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

40/45

86-90 mph, T91. Throws a two-seam and a four-seam; also cut it occasionally; fringe-average command; average movement.

CH

40/45

Low-80s velocity; tumbling action; poor command, often leaves pitch up in zone.

SL

30/40

82-83 mph; short break; average sharpness; predominantly horizontal shape; occasionally flashes depth when thrown lower in zone.

CB

40/40

72-75 mph; 12-6 shape; inconsistent coming out of the hand; inconsistent shape; poor command.

Command

45/50

Realistic Role: 30; organizational arm.

OFP: 30

____________________________________________________________________________

Kevin Ginkel, RHP

Mechanical notes: Tall, sturdy frame; mild crossfire; accelerates pace of delivery late; headsnap; spinal tilt; often overthrows.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

45/50

90-93, T94; below-average command; straight; reportedly has touched and sat much higher in the past.

SL

30/40

79-82 mph; limited feel; prone to spiking pitch in the dirt.

Command

40/45

Realistic role: 20; org arm.

OFP: 30

____________________________________________________________________________

Riley Smith, RHP

Mechanical notes: High 3/4 slot; stiff; deep arm action; rock and fire delivery; mild crossfire; limited plane; maxed out frame.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

45/45

89-90, T92; two-seam tail, no sink; throws strikes; fringe average command.

SL

40/50

80-82 mph; two-plane break; long horizontal run; slows arm slightly; throws strikes.

CB

30/30

Mid-70s velocity; 12-6 shape; soft break; limited spin; pitch tilts off axis occasionally; can throw strikes with it; won’t miss bats.

Command

45/45

Realistic role: 20; org arm.

OFP: 30; upper minors relief depth.

____________________________________________________________________________

Jake Winston, RHP

Mechanical notes: 3/4 arm slot; spinal tilt; clean arm action; weight drifts forwards; loses arm slot; moderate plane.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

40/45

88-90 mph, T91; poor command; spiked a few fastballs in the dirt; average tail.

SL

40/45

84-86 mph; below average command; sharp vertical drop with a bit of run; keeps pitch low; lost feel for ball out of the hand a couple times.

CB

74 mph; 12-6 break; only threw twice over my two viewings.

Command

40/45

Realistic role: 20

OFP: 30

____________________________________________________________________________

Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP

Mechanical notes: over the top slot; slight crossfire; balanced; good posture; clean landing; no head whack; no spinal tilt; slows arm on off-speed.

Additional notes: Huang threw less than one inning and barely used his curve. His fastball velocity also dropped from 88-90 mph to 82-83 mph over the course of his outing.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

20/45

83-88 mph, T90; sat 83-84 after three hitters; missed his spot to the arm-side routinely; average movement.

CH

40/50

77-80 mph; fading action; slows arm; fringe average command.

CB

Barely used it; 12-6 shape; slows arm.

Command

40/50

Realistic role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Tyler Mark, RHP

Mechanical notes: over the top arm slot; spinal tilt; often releases ball too early; mild head snap; deep arm action, long arm path; moderate effort in delivery;

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

35/45

87-88 mph two-seamer, 89-90 mph 4-seamer; poor command, lost feel for fastball as game progressed; prone to missing up.

SL

30/30

79-80 mph; below-average movement; mild vertical drop; soft; early break; occasionally lost feel for pitch altogether.

CH

Barely used; didn’t see shape.

Command

30/30

Realistic role: 20; org arm.

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Colin Poche, LHP

Mechanical notes: over-the-top slot; works from extreme first base side of the rubber; crossfire; moderate stabbing arm action; wrist wrap; slow arm; hides the ball effectively.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

40/40

86-88 mph, touched 91 once; missed in all quadrants; well below-average command; below-average movement.

SL

30/30

80-85 mph; variable depth and movement; slows arm down on pitch; below-average command.

CH

30/30

Low-80s velocity; tumbling action; limited feel for pitch; employed less often than FB or SL.

Command

40/40

Realistic role: 20

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________

Trevor Simms, RHP

Mechanical notes: Tall and skinny; low 3/4 arm slot; curls leg tight to chest; crossfire delivery; deep arm action; release point drifts pitch-to-pitch.

Pitch

Present/Future

Notes

FB

40/40

88-91 mph, T93; tailing action; average tailing action with a touch of sink; poor command.

SL

30/40

84-85 mph; replicates arm speed; predominantly vertical movement; poor command; often spikes it in the dirt.

Command

20/20

Realistic role: 20; org arm.

OFP: 20

____________________________________________________________________________