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Scouting the 2013 Futures Game

This is the first segment of my scouting notes from the July 14th Futures Game at Citi Field.  While it’s impossible to write a full scouting report on one inning pitched or two at-bats, I’ve combined these write-ups with previous looks at these players to provide hopefully some interesting information.

These notes are in their raw form as I simply copied them from the database I keep of all prospect and then added some short narratives to hopefully make them readable.

1. Noah Syndergaard (RHP) – Double-A:  New York Mets; Ceiling: #2 starter and possibly more

Skills

  • Fastball sat 94-96 MPH with a lot of late life
  • 84 MPH slider – average
  • 78 MPH curve – above average
  • Plus command
Scouting Notes
  • Syndergaard started the game for the US and looked the part.  Tall with very good mechanics that allow his plus fastball to play up. Secondary pitches need work but the command is already above-average if not plus.

2. Rafael Montero (RHP) – Triple-A: New York Mets; Ceiling: #3 starter or late inning reliever

Skills

  • Fastball sat 94-95 MPH
  • 84-85 MPH slider – above average; swing and miss pitch
  • Plus command
Scouting Notes
  • Small Dominican that lacks downward plane but has great command of his three-pitch mix. The book says he’ll be a bullpen guy but I believe the stuff says starter. He’ll always be a bit homer-prone but his lack of walks should limit the damage.

3. Taijuan Walker (RHP) – Triple A: Seattle Mariners; Ceiling: #1 starter

Skills

  • Fastball sat 93-95 MPH topping out at 96 MPH
  • Cutter was 92 MPH – plus potential
  • Slow curve at 74 MPH – great separation from fastball.  Future above average
  • Command – average
Scouting Notes
  • Walker looked like he was amping it up as the side view showed a second gear. Balance and posture were excellent. Command was pretty good during the game. He’s nearly ready for the show and watch out for that cutter – could be nasty.
  • During the game, Walker had a chance to hang-out with his pitching idol Doc Gooden.  I could see Gooden showing Walker grips and the kid taking it all in.  It’s easy to compare the two physically but I’m not ready to comp Walker to Gooden.  See more Walker information

4. Enny Romero (LHP) – Double-A: Tampa Rays; Ceiling: #3/#4 or MR

Skills

  • Fastball sat 93-94 MPH; topping out at 97 MPH
  • 84 slider – average
  • 81 hard curve/slurve – below average
  • Command – average
Scouting Notes
  • Threw the ball really hard with his fastball topping out at 97 MPH. Secondary pitches were below average. Poor posture as he over-arches his back ala Yovani Gallardo which is one of the reasons for his average command at best. That said, you can’t count out TB pitchers reaching their ceiling – See: Price, Moore, Archer, Cobb, and even Mike Montgomery looks better.

5. Archie Bradley (RHP) – Double-A: Arizona Diamondbacks; Ceiling: #1 starter

Skills

  • Plus-plus fastball; sitting 94-96 MPH and topping out at 98 MPH
  • Plus-plus hard hammer curve that is and will be NASTY.
  • Average command but the mechanics predict plus command
Scouting Notes
  • It was only one inning but WOW, Archie Bradley was good. The best of the day; edging out Walker and Syndergaard. The balance and posture of Bradley’s delivery was outstanding and with more experience, the command could be elite. Monster potential with a low-risk for injury given his delivery and mechanics. I’m all in!

6. Miguel Sano (3B) – Double-A: Minnesota Twins; Ceiling: Multiple all-star appearances

Skills

  • Tremendous raw power with a huge display in BP. Also, hit a 95 MPH fastball to the wall off Kyle Crick
  • Speed was 4.19 trying to beat out a hit to SS
  • Fielding skills were better than what I would have thought. Nice footwork.
Scouting Notes
  • Carrying tool is his raw power and while there will be swing and miss in his game, the swing is good; shorter to the ball than what I would have thought. Yes, he does leverage the swing but I believe the hit-tool has a future above-average ceiling. The speed was a surprise and while he will not be a speedster, there is some stolen base upside.

7. Gregory Polanco (OF) – Double-A: Pittsburgh Pirates; Ceiling: 1st Division starter

Skills

  • Swing is still longer than what I would hope but he has a very good approach and his quick hands should enable him to have above average contact.
  • Very thin and will fill out as he matures; the power will increase but the speed will diminish
  • Poor routes to the ball on a couple of occasions (Yelich fly ball).
Scouting Notes
  • Disappointing overall game performance by Polanco after an excellent batting practice display. Needs to shorten up his swing as he was overwhelmed by elite velocity. However, the physical skills are there with plus speed and the chance for plus power once he matures. He is still very young and does not turn 22 until September.  He’s still at least a year away from debuting in the Majors and 2-3 years before approaching his ceiling.

8. C.J. Cron (1B) – Double-A: Los Angeles Dodgers; Ceiling: 1st Division starter

Skills

  • Large human at 6-4 and 240+
  • Prodigious strength as was demonstrated in BP
  • Bat speed isn’t great but surprisingly good bat-to-ball skills
Scouting Notes
  • Cron really stood out as not only being the largest player on the field but his BP bombs were impressive. He looked terrible against Enny Romero as he struck out on three pitches with the last being a 95 MPH up in the zone in which he had no chance. Much better at-bat against Ynoa as he fought off a 94 MPH fastball to left for a single.
  • In looking at his stat line, eight home runs in 334 at-bats with an 87% contact rate and a 4% walk rate.  Totally bizarre.  Does not match what I saw.  But his Cali-league induced 27 home runs with an 86% contact rate is crazy.  Clearly a very aggressive hitter which jives with what I saw, but if he make that type of contact and with the raw power I saw, he could a special DH-type talent.

9. George Springer (OF) – Triple-A: Houston Astros; Ceiling: 1st Division starter with some all-star appearances

Skills

  • Plus raw power as demonstrated in BP
  • Good bat speed but with some length – will have swing and miss in his game
  • Above average speed – 4.15 to first
  • Above average defender
Scouting Notes
  • Athletic and chiseled. BP was impressive as he dipped his shoulder to put on the show. Plus raw power but the length in his swing will cause him to struggle with strikeouts. Ball jumps off his bat, so line drive rate should be high and with his speed, an above average BABIP will help support an average of .240-.260. However BA will be dependent on some luck factors; otherwise an awesome skill-set.

10. Byron Buxton (OF) – High-A: Minnesota Twins; Ceiling: Superstar

Skills

  • Plus bat speed
  • Plus-plus speed
  • Future plus power due to projectable body and bat speed
  • Bat-to-ball skills still needs work; particularly against advanced pitchers
Scouting Notes
  • I only got a glimpse of Buxton last year in the fall instructs, so I was very much looking forward to seeing him in the Futures game. While the tools are clearly there, he was overmatched and didn’t have a great showing. BP was very ordinary – was he trying to hard? He struck out on a 94 MPH heater from De Paula that was out of the strike zone and again went down on a strikeout against Miguel Almonte.
  • With the exception of Addison Russell, Buxton was the youngest player on the US side, so I’ll give him a pass on this game. However, for those who think he’s Mike Trout – I don’t see it. Physically, much different players but I will say that physically, Buxton reminds me of Andrew McCutchen. Will he have the bat-to-ball skills of Cutch? Time will tell.
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9 comments on “Scouting the 2013 Futures Game

  1. Sano’s currently batting .198 in AA and striking out one-third of the time, after striking out in about 30% of his at-bats in single A… Cause for concern?

    • Will have some swing and miss but believe he’ll make enough contact to have plus-plus power at the highest level. Floor will be Pedro Alvarez but I’m guessing with a .260 average.

  2. Rich, great stuff as always. Missed you on Sunday, but there will be other opportunities. Of the players you mentioned so far, Syndergaard surprised me as being more ready than I thought at this point. He didn’t shy from the moment at all which to me was a great sign. Second, Polanco really disappointed me – most notably on defense. I saw kids shagging balls in the Home Run Derby that not only got better reads, but were way more aggressive. I was hoping his bat would show better since reports are he is getting close to a promotion. One thing on Buxton: his arm looked great during infield, both strong and accurate. Looking forward to reading the rest of your notes, and I invite all to add me on twitter @PeoplezPen

  3. really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm .
    it’s reflected in your writing and in your pod-casts .

  4. I’ll be very interested to hear your opinions on Biddle and Butler. Crick seemed to have a rough outing, but playing against that level of competition when you’re still in A ball is quite a stretch.

  5. Good stuff Rich. CJ Crons plays in a stadium that isn’t very friendly for hitters. Because the OF is so big, this is why he is tied for 2nd in the TL with 25 2Bs. Although why he has 4 HRs on the road is strange to me? Also note his Cal league splits last season. .264/.301/.384 w/5 HR at home. .314/.346/.625 w/ 22 HR on road. Is the Angels minor league park, Inland Empire favorable for pitchers?

    • Thanks. That’s exactly what I was saying as I’m writing my notes. I’ve been to Inland Empire in San Bernandino and it looked like the wind blows in. As an aside, I was in Lancaster last night and the wind blows out at like 25 MPH every night. So, yes, the Cali is stacked with hitters park but based on your fact, Inland Empire looks like it doesn’t. more to follow…thanks for the comment…good stuff

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