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Scouting the Futures Game – Part 2

11. Eddie Butler (RHP) – High-A: Colorado Rockies; Ceiling: #2 starter or possible more…

Skills

  • Fastball sat 96-98 MPH with explosive life and arm-side run
  • 86-88 MPH Slider – Above average and a possible future plus-offering
  • 90 Change-up – Really hard and firm with wicked movement; and it sat…Uh…90 MPH

Scouting Notes

  • This was my first exposure to Eddie Butler and I’m not sure if it was my preconceived mind-set that said…hey, it’s a Rockies pitcher so don’t expect much or whether the Sun was starting to take it’s toll, but WOW was Butler impressive.  The fastball was an elite plus-plus offering, not just because of the velocity that topped out at 98 MPH, but the explosiveness that he gets due to the great momentum in his delivery.  All of his secondary pitches were hard as well with an 86-88 MPH slider and a 90 MPH change-up.  While both are behind his fastball offering, the delivery and mechanics bode well for Butler eventually having three above-average if not more pitches.  The Rockies might have something serious here…

12. Anthony Ranaudo (RHP) – Double-A: Boston Red Sox; Ceiling: #3 starter

Skills

  • Fastball sat 91-93 MPH but lacked the explosiveness of most of the other pitchers
  • 85 MPH change-up – Average pitch at best
  • 78-79 MPH curve – Above average pitch with plus potential
  • Great height at 6-foot-7 with a lot of downward plane

Scouting Notes

  • Anthony Ranaudo did not have a good outing and wound up getting pulled mid-inning.    He was greeted by 5-foot-10 Arismendy Alcantara who took a 93 MPH fastball that was up and over the inner-part of the plate to the upper deck in right-field.  Whether that rattled him or not, he then lost his control and walked Miguel Sano and later walked Gregory Polanco.
  • The stuff was clearly not sharp but the physical gifts are clearly evident.  He’s tall and except for the pitch to Alcantara, he did keep the ball down in the zone and his curve ball has a chance to be a real weapon.  However, with all the moving parts primarily caused by his height, he could struggle with his control early in his career.

13. Michael Ynoa (RHP) – High-A: Oakland A’s; Ceiling: #3 starter – maybe more

Skills

  • Fastball sat 94-95 and had a lot of late life due to great extension in his delivery
  • 82 MPH power curve – Plus pitch; if he can command it, it’ll be a real weapon based on how hard he throws it
  • 88 MPH Change-up – Average and needs work
  • Imposing frame with a clean delivery; although mechanics are not yet smooth

Scouting Notes

  • In 2008, Michael Ynoa signed what was then a record International signing bonus of $4.25M.  Injuries, including TJS have plagued the young Dominican for his entire career.  However, he just turns 22 in September and based on what I saw on Sunday, he has a very bright future.
  • It’s hard to ignore his imposing size.  The World team had their backs to me during the pre-game roster ceremony but he was a good six inches taller than the two guys standing next to him.  In fact , besides Gregory Polanco, he dominated the landscape.
  • The fastball and curve combination is going to play very well at the highest level.  They are both above average current offerings with a chance to be special.  While the command isn’t yet there given the amount of pitching he’s actually done, I think there is promise based on his pitching mechanics.

14. Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP) – Double-A: Baltimore Orioles; Ceiling: #3 starter or late inning reliever

Skills

  • Fastball sat 92-93 MPH with the ability to spot it on both sides of the plate
  • 82-84 MPH slider – plus offering that is a real swing and miss pitch

Scouting Notes

  • It was good to check-in on Eduardo Rodriguez as I’ve always been impressed by his fastball/slider combination.  They are both above-average pitches with his hard slider having a chance to be a nasty swing and miss pitch.  He also pounds the strike zone, showing a lot of pitchability; particularly surprising as he only just entered Double-A.  There’s a lot to like here.

15. Kyle Crick (RHP) – High-A: San Francisco Giants; Ceiling: #2 starter or a late inning reliever

Skills

  • Fastball sat 95-96 and topped out at 97; had no command of it at all – all over the place
  • 82 MPH slider – above average offering with a chance for more
  • Power curve – did not throw it

Scouting Notes

  • Kyle Crick has a chance to be a very special pitcher but during the Futures Game, he wasn’t very good.  He couldn’t find the strike zone on any pitch and eventually got pulled for A.J. Cole.  It was an aggressive assignment for Crick as he’s only pitched 34 innings above Low-A as he’s been slowed by injuries in 2013.  The stuff is electric but he has yet to harness it.  However, it should come and therefore I’m still maintaining my top-of-the-rotation ceiling.

16. Christian Yelich (OF) – Double-A: Miami Marlins; Ceiling: All-star

Skills

  • Swing is short to the ball with strong hands
  • Nice torque in his swing that give hope for future above-average power
  • Doesn’t have blazing speed but has enough to steal 20 bases at the highest level

Scouting Notes

  • Christian Yelich was the number sixth ranked prospect on my mid-season Top 50 rankings.  He has a beautiful left-handed swing that is perfectly balanced with strong hands to get to high velocity on the inner-half of the plate.  He is an aggressive hitter that will strikeout some but given his hit-tool and speed, he should be able to maintain a high BABIP and allow him to challenge .300 consistently.
  • During BP, Yelich simply did what he does best – roped balls all over the field.  Some of them went out and some of them went to the wall.  He never dipped his shoulder to show-off his power.  That said, there is power in his swing and as he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame, he could easily hit 20-25 home runs at the highest level.  I’m all-in and so are the Marlins; so expect Yelich, provided he can stay healthy, to be manning center or left field in Miami sometime over the summer

17. Xander Bogaerts (SS) – Triple-A: Boston Red Sox; Ceiling: All-star performer and competing for MVP’s

Skills

  • Big, strong, and athletic
  • Plus hit-tool and plus-power potential
  • Athletic enough to play short-stop even though his size would suggest otherwise

Scouting Notes

  • While Byron Buxton had the most tools on the field on Sunday, Xander Bogaerts was the best baseball player – and it wasn’t close.  He fought off a nasty 96 MPH inside fastball from Syndergaard in the first and then a 93 MPH fastball from Ranaudo in the fourth for base hits.  He was on both pitches and then hit them hard.  Batting Practice was equally as impressive as he launched several bombs showing raw power without having to dip his shoulder.
  • I’m not sure what the Red Sox are going to do, but Bogaerts is getting very close to being ready for the next level.  While Jose Iglesias is a tremendous defensive shortstop and is hitting better than I had ever imagined, Bogaerts is the far superior overall player.

18. Austin Hedges (C) – Single-A: San Diego Padres; Ceiling: First Division starter

Skills

  • Elite current defensive skills; ability to provide an excellent target as well as frame pitches
  • Plus arm
  • Very good bat-to-ball skills with the ability to hit at the highest level

Scouting Notes

  • I’ve seen Hedges play numerous times this year; both at the Futures Game and in multiple series in the Cali-League.  His defensive chops are for real with the ability to provide a great target for his pitchers, frame pitches like a 30-year-old veteran; and has excellent foot-work and a plus-arm to limit the running game.  It’s good…really good.  He did get a chance to show-off his arm in the first inning by throwing out Bogaerts trying to steal second with a pop-time of approximately 1.81 seconds.
  • The question will always be…can Hedges hit?  The answer for me is, YES.  He’s very athletic, has a short compact swing and some bat-speed.  I put his ceiling at a .280 batting average with 10-12 home runs; possibly more as he fills out.  In fact, and I hate to do this comp, but what the heck…he reminds me of Yadier Molina.  Molina entered the league as an elite defender who grew into a very good hitter.  I could see Hedges following a similar path.

19. Henry Urrutia (OF/DH) – Triple-A: Baltimore Orioles; Ceiling: Second division starter

Skills

  • Good swing with nice bat-to-ball skills
  • Tall and thin frame; unsure about power potential
  • Reports on outfield play have been spotty

Scouting Notes

  • I was really anxious to see Cuban defector Heny Urrutia and I left with mixed feelings.  The swing looked ok with the ability to make contact, but I’m not sure how much power he will have.  The BP didn’t reveal much and was a little under whelming.  I expect him to be up shortly after the second half begins so that the Orioles can see if he is the answer to the their DH woes.  If not, look for the Orioles to hit the trade market.

20. Addison Russell (SS) – Single-A: Oakland A’s; Ceiling – First division starter

Skills

  • Athletic and strong
  • Excellent bat speed with a short-compact swing

Scouting Notes

  • Like Byron Buxton, Addison Russell did not have a very good game and was overwhelmed by premium velocity.  However, I’ve seen Russell play and he’s got excellent bat-to-ball skills and with his bat speed and size, there’s a chance for above-average power at a premium position.  That power was demonstrated during batting practice as Russell showed some impressive raw power.  As with Buxton, don’t let one game against older competition sour your enthusiasm for the talented 19-year-old
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2 comments on “Scouting the Futures Game – Part 2

  1. Urrutia is getting the call today I question the power too. His .100 ISO in 64 PA at AAA is disappointing…but SSS of course. Good stuff as always Rich.

    Regarding Eduardo Rodriguez, did you like his delivery? Years ago I read that it was a work in progress. But I haven’t seen him at all this year…

  2. Your thoughts of Butler largely mirrored mine. That change of his tailed so far arm-side, I thought it was a screwball until I read people call it a change. The only thing I worry about is that low 3/4 delivery making repetition difficult and him ending up a reliever.

    I assume you meant 85MPH change for Ranaudo?

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