Audie Wise talks Riverdogs prospects

Standard
Charleston Riverdogs logo, ccourtesy of pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/763020645894656000/gUeJSHSJ.jpg

Charleston Riverdogs logo, ccourtesy of pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/763020645894656000/gUeJSHSJ.jpg

Hey guys I had an awesome interview with Audie Wise the Assistant Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting for the Charleston RiverDogs.  He’s an intern but Audie is also an aspiring baseball scout.  He and I have connected over Twitter the last 6 months he’s a good guy and he know’s his stuff.  You can find Audie on Twitter @awise1010

 

Me, Hi Audie, I appreciate you taking the time to meet

Audie, Absolutely. Glad to have the opportunity.

M  I was hoping to get to know you a little bit. How long how you been working for the Riverdogs?

A  This is my first year, and it’s just an internship. I’ve been with the club since the beginning of March.

M  Nice, Did you grow up a baseball fan? Yankee fan?

A   Baseball is my life in every sense of the word and imagination. I grew up a Braves fan and still am despite the recent activities provided from the front office.

M  Yeah not an easy team to root for right now.

A  Luckily I’m so consumed with the RiverDogs I don’t have time to worry about the Braves haha

M  Alright lets get down to it

M   Catcher Luis Torrens was high on my radar coming into the year and I was sorry to see him miss time. How has he looked in his brief time back? How would you rate his receiving skills and throwing arm?

A   Torrens coming off of his injury has been optimistic in his return. His bat hasn’t quite come back to him just yet (hitting just .174 in 31 games), but he seems to show proof of improvements with his approach. Behind the plate he’s thrown out 18 of 44 runners, a 41% throw out rate. His arm is strong, but accuracy sometimes evades him trying to rush a throw.

M   Domingo Acevedo had a very strong 1st half in Charleston. What does he throw? Being 6’7″ tall does he have a hard time repeating his delivery and release point?

A   Domingo had a good feel on the mound after his first couple of starts. He has started to become more of a pitcher rather than just a thrower. His fastball (95-99) is obviously dominant if he can locate. His slider (87-89) is effective if he can keep changing the eye level of the hitters, which is also helped from his change up (79-83). He spent a stint on the DL for a lower-body injury, but returned and looked sharp. Soon thereafter he got the call up to Tampa.

M   Nice from afar he looks like an interesting young arm

A    With more help from his managers and pitching coordinators, he can improve in some areas. He certainly has promise.

M    You guys have had some relievers with some really strong statistical seasons in the pen this yr namely Andrew Schwaab and Nestor Cortez. Who should I be keeping an eye on back there?

A     Both of these guys are really good. Nestor is a quality pitcher that hopefully has caught the eye of most. He’s a late-round guy; I call him the crafty lefty. He’s not that big, but he know how to pitch, and does so effectively. Cortes won’t power you away with a fastball, but can use his command and off speed to be deceptive. When facing right-handers, Cortes will throw from over the top to have more of a vertical look on the ball; versus righties, he will go from 3/4 to sidearm to get more run on the ball. He also knows how to add and subtract on his pitches with his location as well. Schwaab is a good closer to have. He’s a 3/4 sidearm thrower with good run on his two-seam and a nice slider. He has some control issues at times, but typically finds a way to get out of the jam. Right now he sits in second place in the SAL in saves (18) and fourth in games finished (27) even after being in Tampa for a month. Cortes was promoted to Tampa back on July 22nd and has done well for the High-A team.

M    My final two questions are: Which position player blossomed the most as a prospect from April-Aug? And which pitcher blossomed the most between April and August? Thanks

M     I really appreciate the detailed responses

A     A position player is hard to pinpoint, but I would say Alex Palma. Palma is a built guy at 6’0″-200, but it seems like he’s bigger than that. He’s a really strong guy and does well to deceive people on his speed. He plays corner outfield and has good routes to the ball, track them down and has a 70 arm (on a 20-80 scale). He does well at the plate, but away and off speed can hinder him slightly. Christian Morris I believe has set himself apart from the pack. He is also a late-round guy. Coming from Indiana University and having Tommy John in high school, Morris has learned how to pitch to his strengths. Morris has a good lively fastball (89-92) with run. His slider has good late action on it and knows when to use that as his ‘out’ pitch.

M    Thanks so much Audie I appreciate you taking the time to do this you obviously know your stuff.

A     Thank you, Sir. Keep in touch. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication you have towards the game.

 

Thoughts on Jose Pujols, RF, Lakewood

Standard
Jose Pujols, courtesy of philliesminorthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/9197843908_b05eb5c697_b-720x500.jpg

Jose Pujols, courtesy of philliesminorthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/9197843908_b05eb5c697_b-720×500.jpg

Recently I was able to get a look at the Lakewood Blueclaws when they visited the Kannapolis Intimidators.  The player I was most excited about seeing was Blueclaws outfielder Jose Pujols.  Pujols is a long (6’4”) lean (185 pound) homerun hitting machine.  I was in attendance on Aug. 12, when the 20 year old took Luis Martinez deep for his 22nd homerun, putting him in a three way tie for the franchise single season home run record.  Pujols has 21 games remaining on the docket to improve on his history making season.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 for $540,000 Pujols gives scouts reasons to salivate as he elicits comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton due to his prodigious power.  At the precocious age of 15 Jose won the Dominican Prospect League home run derby.  Although he received notoriety for his lightning quick bat speed and light tower power, Pujols had not shown in game power until this season.  In 2014 he notched 5 home runs in 57 games split between the New York Penn and Gulf Coast League.  In 2015 he had only 4 in 66 games while repeating in the short season NPL.  This year, his fourth season in the professional ranks, brought the young outfielder to a crossroads and he appears to be living up to his billing.  

Twenty-two round trippers is an impressive feat for a 20 year old getting his first taste of full season ball, particularly when considering the home run inhibiting environment in which the Blueclaws play their home games.  First Energy Park is traditionally one of the most pitcher friendly stadiums in the SAL.  The fact that Pujols has managed to tie the franchise single season home run record with 21 games left is quite a remarkable achievement.  Particularly when considering that his 22 long balls are more than any SAL player hit league during the entire 2015 season.

When looking at Pujols on the field, his build reminds me of former Met great Darryl Strawberry.  His large lanky frame leaves plenty of room for development, as he isn’t even close to maxed out.  His swing was said to feature an extreme uppercut, but I didn’t notice it to be nearly as profound as I had anticipated.  I can only assume he has been working with his coaches to shorten his swing and tone down the uppercut.  With his long stride he lopes through the outfield.  His movements remind me of those one would witness in a yearling colt from great progeny.  His routes are somewhat awkward but you can recognize the potential.  I would suggest his defense is a work in progress.

After seeing Pujols in two weekend games, it is my belief he is making strides as a hitter.  The strikeouts come in bunches and will likely always be an issue, but the elite power should be able to offset them.  Keep in mind Lewis Brinson struck out 191 times when trying full season ball for the first time and Joey Gallo whiffed 165 times during his first full season.  So with continued improvement I don’t see the strikeouts diminishing his status as a prospect.

On Sunday Aug. 14, Pujols went 3-3 with 2 walks.  None of his at bats featured less than four pitches, which I believe is a product an improved approach, and pitchers fearing his potential to light up the score board.  His manager even gave him the green light to swing on 3-0 which further illustrated confidence in Pujols ability to make things happen.  On Friday, I was lucky enough to be present for the record tying shot which happened to be to the opposite field. Opposite field power is not generally a trait exhibited in very young hitters.  In his last 14 games Pujols seems to have really tamed some of the swing and miss (7 K and 5 BB).   Given the small sample size, one can question whether it’s a trend of improvement or an anomaly.  In addition to the power, his outfield throwing arm was on display when he caught a fly ball and picked off a runner leaving first base on a hit and run.

Here we get several good look at Pujols’s swing courtesy of Jose Pujols

Pujols is the kind of player that makes the scouts and fans daydream.  His card carrying plus plus power makes one yearn for the improved hit tool he will need to bring it to the big leagues.  At this point in his development he is a boom or bust prospect.  I will be watching him with the hope that we see the boom.  The 2016 season has definitely been a step in the right direction.  

Note:  Since this was written Pujols has homered to break the franchise homerun record, and the strikeouts have returned (8 K and 1 BB) in five games.  Written by Dan Victor. 

Dan Victor is a guest writer for Notes From the Sally.  You can find Dan on Twitter @slydanno70.  He attends many Kannapolis Intimidators games.  He’s a good guy and he knows his stuff and I’m fortunate to be able to display his work.

Top performing Outfielders and Pitchers in the 2016 SAL

Standard
Victor Robles, courtesy of img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/files/2015/09/246.jpg&w=480

Victor Robles, courtesy of img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/files/2015/09/246.jpg&w=480

Hey guys, very soon I’m going to be getting into the top prospect lists by position and by skill.  But I wanted to highlight some top Sally performers 1st.

This is part 2 of the 2 part piece I began yesterday highlighting some outstanding statistical performers in the Sally with a look at the infielders Top performers in the 2016 SAL infield edition.  Today I want to talk about the top performing outfielders and pitchers.

 

 

Eduard Pinto, courtesy of crawdadsbeat.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/eduard-pinto.jpg?w=555

Eduard Pinto, courtesy of crawdadsbeat.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/eduard-pinto.jpg?w=555

LF  1st team: Eduard Pinto – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers). Pinto battled injuries in the 1st half missing time in April, May and June but he got healthy in July and raked.  Hitting .359/.394/.467 for the month.  Overall in 51 Hickory games Pinto hit .337/.392/.478. I made about a 1/2 dozen trips to Hickory this year but never really took notice of Pinto.  I’m sure he missed some of the games I attended.

 

Alex Call, courtesy of mlbtopprospects.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/VLTUXVTMNLMQOKC.20140217003253.jpg

Alex Call, courtesy of mlbtopprospects.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/VLTUXVTMNLMQOKC.20140217003253.jpg

2nd team: Alex Call – Kannapolis Intimidators  (White Sox). Call is the only 2016 draftee to make this or the infield list.  Since getting to Kannapolis he’s hit .317/.379/.453 over 35 games.  I haven’t had a chance to see Call yet my friend and colleague Dan Victor wrote a guest piece on him that’s well worth the read Thoughts on Alex Call, OF, White Sox.

A few other left field mentions: Cornelius Randolph struggled in April got hot and then got hurt and missed 2 mos but I love his swing and bat to ball skills.  Kyri Washington in Greenville has a nice power and speed combination. An aggressive hitter with contact issues.

 

Victor Robles, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/01/28/images/mlbf_540374483_th_45.jpg

Victor Robles, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/01/28/images/mlbf_540374483_th_45.jpg

CF  1st team: Victor Robles – Hagerstown Suns (Nationals). Robles had an outstanding 1st half in Hagerstown hitting .305/.405/.459 earning a promotion to Potomac.  He came to the Sally with a lot of advanced billing.  He’d been rocketing up prospect lists all Winter.  I got a couple of looks and I love his game.  He’s aggressive at the dish but he hits everything he swings at.  Add in 70 speed, excellent CF defense and a rocket launcher for a throwing arm. The only thing I wouldn’t put + on is his power which I think can play average.  He placed 2nd on my mid season SAL top 20 prospect list.  Narrowly behind Brendan Rodgers  1st annual mid season top 20 Sal league prospects list.

 

Tito Polo, courtesy of 12075-presscdn-0-91.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Tito-Polo-TW-62316-2-1000x600.jpg

Tito Polo, courtesy of 12075-presscdn-0-91.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Tito-Polo-TW-62316-2-1000×600.jpg

2nd team: Tito Polo – West Virginia Power (Pirates). Polo had a very strong 1st half for West Virginia.  Hitting .302/.368/.551 and earning a promotion to Bradenton.  I got one look at Polo this year, he turned around an Anderson Espinoza 96 MPH heater for a 2B into the left field corner.  Quick bat, good pop and he can run too.  Nice player.

As great as Robles and Polo were it made it tough for any other CF to even get considered but there were others certainly worthy of mention.  I have to start with Ronald Acuna who injured his thumb the day before I was due to get my 1st look at him.  He never did make it back from the thumb injury so he really only played the month of April but the reports I’ve read have all been glowing. Others worthy of mention:  Luis Alexander Basabe has a nice combination of power, speed and CF defense. The hit tool will need to progress though.  Mylz Jones offers a nice combination of hit and speed with average power potential. Erik Jenkins can fly but needs to tighten the contact.

 

Dylan Davis, courtesy of bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/gazettetimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/77/077be0f4-d589-11e2-bf96-001a4bcf887a/51bc10dbe642d.image.jpg?resize=540%2C362

Dylan Davis, courtesy of bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/gazettetimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/77/077be0f4-d589-11e2-bf96-001a4bcf887a/51bc10dbe642d.image.jpg?resize=540%2C362

RF  1st team: Dylan Davis – Augusta Greenjackets (Giants).  Davis had a very good 1st half in Augusta hitting .288/.368/.496 over 63 games earning a promotion to San Jose. I got a couple of looks, while not super toolsy he can hit and he showed good pop.

 

Ray-Patrick Didder courtesy of c2.staticflickr.com/4/3912/14468417615_639e6e0c9d_b.jpg

Ray-Patrick Didder courtesy of c2.staticflickr.com/4/3912/14468417615_639e6e0c9d_b.jpg

2nd team: Ray-Patrick Didder – Rome Braves. Didder started in RF but switched to CF when Acuna went down.  He put together a solid year hitting .272/.385/.379.  Didder is very good defensive OF with excellent speed.  He’s a patient hitter with a swing that’s a little on the long side and gap power.

Some other RF I considered:  Anderson Miller had a strong 1st half for Lexington. Tate Matheny had a solid year in Greenville.  Jose Pujols leads the league with 24 HR;  he’s long and lanky and can really drive a baseball when he gets the arms extended.  There are holes in his swing however.

 

PJ Conlon, courtesy of cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/mDPobtRcQh0slayOKh9PRAFs1pI=/144x132:2286x1560/1310x873/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/49809371/pj-conlon-donovan-2015.0.0.JPG

PJ Conlon, courtesy of cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/mDPobtRcQh0slayOKh9PRAFs1pI=/144×132:2286×1560/1310×873/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/49809371/pj-conlon-donovan-2015.0.0.JPG

LHSP   1st team: PJ Conlon – Columbia Fireflies (Mets).  Conlon pitched excellent in 12 starts with Columbia totaling 78.1 innings. He put up an ERA of 1.84 and a 3.05 FIP.  And he struck out 19% of the batters he faced and walked just 4%.

 

Kolby Allard, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CpyvPrjUIAIoyl2.jpg

Kolby Allard, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CpyvPrjUIAIoyl2.jpg

2nd team:  Kolby Allard – Rome Braves. Allard had a strong 1st full season with the Braves.  In 9 starts with Rome totaling 49 Innings he’s put up a 3.83 ERA and 3.5 FIP.   He’s struck out 24.5% of the batters he’s face and walked 7.5%.  He’s finishing very strong and in the middle he dominated the Appy.

Other lefties in consideration:  Brian Gonzalez had a very good year for Delmarva.  Foster Griffin got off to a good start for Lexington but was promoted quickly.  Max Fried had a pretty strong showing in his first year back from TJ.

 

Luke Leftwich, courtesy of img.scout.com/sites/default/files/2016/06/18/Leftwich%252C-Luke-5118.jpg?w=620&h=413&fit=max

Luke Leftwich, courtesy of img.scout.com/sites/default/files/2016/06/18/Leftwich%252C-Luke-5118.jpg?w=620&h=413&fit=max

RHSP  1st team:  Luke Leftwich – Lakewood Blueclaws.  Leftwich dominated the Sal competition this yr.  In 12 starts totaling 67.2 Inn, his ERA was 2. but his FIP was 1.78 and he struck out 32% of the batters he faced while walking just 6%.  I didn’t get a chance to see Leftwich.

 

Mitch Keller, courtesy of 12075-presscdn-0-91.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mitch-Keller-TW-42716-1000x600.jpg

Mitch Keller, courtesy of 12075-presscdn-0-91.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mitch-Keller-TW-42716-1000×600.jpg

2nd team: Mitch Keller – West Virginia Power.  Keller dominated Sal league hitters all season.  In 119 innings his ERA was 2.56 and FIP was 2.44.  His strikeout rate was 26.5% and his walk rate was a minuscule 3.4%.  Despite my best efforts I never got to see Keller pitch this year (one of my more frustrating misses).

Other’s in consideration:  Anderson Espinoza of Greenville has front line stuff, he’s been doing a lot of work with fastball command this year.  He was traded mid season to San Diego.  Dillon Tate I saw in April.  The fastball, slider combo was overwhelming hitters.  He got dinged up and his stuff backed up and his command eluded him. I hope he rediscovers it.  He was traded to the Yanks at the deadline. Mike Soroka, nice combination of stuff and current command.  Peter Lambert, ditto. I thought the top 2 would be Keller and Soroka.  I didn’t realize Leftwich had been that dominant.  Keller vs Soroka vs Weigel for the #2 spot was interesting. Keller was a little more dominant. Domingo Acevedo had a strong 1st half for Charleston. Roniel Raudes has had a great year for Greenville.

 

Andrew Schwaab, courtesy of bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/columbiatribune.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/fb/9fb66b2c-72e1-5358-a848-eacbd3358cf4/5557db4890101.image.jpg?resize=800%2C532

Andrew Schwaab, courtesy of bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/columbiatribune.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/fb/9fb66b2c-72e1-5358-a848-eacbd3358cf4/5557db4890101.image.jpg?resize=800%2C532

Closer 1st team:  Andrew Schwaab – Charleston Riverdogs. Schwaab had a very good 1st half closing games for Charleston.  He saved 18 games while striking out 26.5% of the batters he faced, and walking 5.4%. His ERA was 2.06 and FIP was 2.66.

 

Ryan Meisinger, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/4/0/0/143914400/cuts/meis960_rqzmgzf0_su9wsx0b.jpg

Ryan Meisinger, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/4/0/0/143914400/cuts/meis960_rqzmgzf0_su9wsx0b.jpg

2nd team:  Ryan Meisinger – Delmarva Shorebirds. Meisinger is not the primary closer in Delmarva.  He has collected a few saves but he’s been very dominant.   He’s struck out 28.9% of the batters he’s faced while walking 7.4%.  His ERA is 2.05 and his FIP is 2.98.

 

This puts a bow on the 2016 top performers.  I hope you got as much out of this as I did.  For those in deep dynasties, this is where you can find the hidden gems.

Top performers in the 2016 SAL infield edition

Standard
Brendan Rodgers, courtesy of i.ytimg.com/vi/D2CKTSBXi00/maxresdefault.jpg

Brendan Rodgers, courtesy of i.ytimg.com/vi/D2CKTSBXi00/maxresdefault.jpg

Hey guys, we’re nearing the end of the 2016 regular season in the SAL, it’s been a fun ride.  A lot of talent came through the league this year and I had a blast trying to chase everybody down that I wanted to see (that pesky job really does get in the way some times).

It’s time to start transitioning into Fall here at Notes which means lots of end of season prospect lists.  But first, I thought I would get things rolling today by recognizing some outstanding statistical performances in the 2016 SAL.  This started as a 1st and 2nd team all SAL but it’s getting really long so I’m going to release the top performing infielders today, and outfield and pitching tomorrow.   So instead of 1st and 2nd team all SAL the new name will be top performers in the 2016 SAL infield edition.

Some positions are deeper than others, there are some names I wanted to include on this list that just got squeezed out. I’ll list a few of them at the bottom of some of the deeper positions.

 

Catcher-

Yermin Mercedes, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/0/9/0/191320090/cuts/yermin_an1eyhn7_xezd2saz.jpg

Yermin Mercedes, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/0/9/0/191320090/cuts/yermin_an1eyhn7_xezd2saz.jpg

1st team: Yermin Mercedes – Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles) Mercedes had a very productive year for the Shorebirds hitting .353/.411/.579 in 340 at bats and he will likely be on a short list for MVP consideration.  I got one look at Mercedes this year and he looked very good in the batters box.  I do have concerns defensively though.

 

Xavier Fernandez, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/8/2/145249582/cuts/Fernandez_5tnfvph6_y95ermct.png

Xavier Fernandez, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/8/2/145249582/cuts/Fernandez_5tnfvph6_y95ermct.png

2nd team: Xavier Fernandez – Lexington Legends (Royals) There was a big drop off offensively at catcher after Mercedes. Fernandez had a solid year offensively .264/.329/.414 in 280 at bats.  He narrowly edged Jonathan Morales of Rome for this spot mostly because of his .150 ISO. I don’t recall seeing Fernandez this year.

 

1st Base-

Brian Mundell, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/3/6/6/194647366/cuts/Mundell_Brian_174_640x360_Tony_Farlow_8moqeqr5_92zk18y5.jpg

Brian Mundell, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/3/6/6/194647366/cuts/Mundell_Brian_174_640x360_Tony_Farlow_8moqeqr5_92zk18y5.jpg

1st team: Brian Mundell – Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Mundell has had an excellent 2016 in Asheville leading the circuit with 52 doubles and putting up a line of .320/.388/.519.  I think the league MVP will either be Mundell or Yermin Mercedes. I saw a lot of Mundell and the Tourists this year I like him but being 1B only and right handed that’s a lot of pressure on the bat.  Well see.

 

 

Chris Gittens, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/9/8/4/184509984/cuts/27054570091_d69a46679c_k_6920wm8p_zprhcw43.jpg

Chris Gittens, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/9/8/4/184509984/cuts/27054570091_d69a46679c_k_6920wm8p_zprhcw43.jpg

2nd team: Chris Gittens –  Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Gittens has had a solid year offensively in Charleston at .255/.363/.474 and his .219 ISO is really impressive.  Gittens is a strong young man and as of 1 month ago he had the record for the hardest hit ball in Greenville this year at 117 MPH exit velocity.  There are questions about whether or not he will hit enough but the power is real.

 

2nd Base-

Andy Ibanez, courtesy of http://i2.wp.com/crawdadsbeat.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/andy-ibanez-batting.jpg?resize=555%2C444&ssl=1

Andy Ibanez, courtesy of https://crawdadsbeat.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/andy-ibanez-batting.jpg?w=555

1st team: Andy Ibanez – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers) The high profile Cuban import destroyed the level for 49 games before being promoted.  He hit .324/.413/.546.  I got a couple of looks at Ibanez he’s a good young hitter but I don’t think the .222 ISO is sustainable.

 

Max Schrock, courtesy of cdn.sportstalksc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/max-schrock.jpg

Max Schrock, courtesy of cdn.sportstalksc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/max-schrock.jpg

2nd team: Max Schrock – Hagerstown Suns (Nationals)  Shrock had a very good year in Hagerstown hitting .326/.381/.459. I got a couple of looks he makes a lot of contact and handles the bat very well.  Not a super toolsy player, average power and good speed.

 

2nd base was deep.  I was hoping to include Luis Alejandro Basabe of Greenville here.  He had an excellent 1st half hitting for average and showing decent pop.  He was traded at the deadline to Arizona. Vinny Siena (Columbia) deserves a mention he was lighting up the SAL in the 1st half before being promoted to St Lucie. Also Josh Tobias of Lakewood was having a strong year with the bat and earned a promotion to Clearwater.

 

3rd Base-

David Thompson, courtesy of metsmerizedonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/david_thompson_960_onypk0ya_xh6arueb.jpg?6c20df

David Thompson, courtesy of metsmerizedonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/david_thompson_960_onypk0ya_xh6arueb.jpg?6c20df

1st team: David Thompson – Columbia Fireflies (Mets) Thompson had a strong 1st half with Columbia hitting .294/.344/.474 over 61 games earning a promotion to St Lucie. Thompson got dinged up right before I was due to get my 2nd and 3rd look at him. So I don’t have a lot to work with but he put on a pretty good show in BP.  Bat speed was more average/above average than plus though.

 

Miguel Gomez, courtesy of cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000jRKg2cLG2hM/s/860/860/INST-101714-0091-MJ.jpg

Miguel Gomez, courtesy of cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000jRKg2cLG2hM/s/860/860/INST-101714-0091-MJ.jpg

2nd team: Miguel Gomez – Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Gomez is listed as a catcher but he converted to utility infield played everything but SS.  3rd is where he saw the most time so I figured I’d add him here.  He had a really strong 1st half with Augusta hitting .371/.401/.532 over 66 games.  I only got one early look at Augusta and I didn’t make a note of Gomez.

 

I would have liked to gotten Austin Riley on here now that he’s catching up to fastballs, but the others are more deserving.  Kelvin Gutierrez from Hagerstown and Ke’Bryan Hayes from West Virginia are also worthy of shoutout

Shortstop-

Brendan Rodgers, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/5/0/196388550/cuts/Rodgers960_3no9bq1a_i75t6vz6.jpg

Brendan Rodgers, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/5/0/196388550/cuts/Rodgers960_3no9bq1a_i75t6vz6.jpg

1st team: Brendan Rodgers – Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Rodgers has had a bit of an up down year in 2016.  He got off to a torrid start hitting .328/.392/.513 over the 1st 32 games.  With 12 doubles and 7 HR.  Injuries and inconsistencies followed but he seems to have rediscovered it lately and is closing strong.  He was #1 on my SAL mid season prospect list 1st annual mid season top 20 Sal league prospects list.  I think he has the potential to be an above average regular or better at a premium defensive position

.

Ryan Mountcastle, courtesy of snagfilms-a.akamaihd.net/d4/9f/f4b2928b48619dbfa33af90767c3/aberdeen-ironbirds-2015-ryan-mountcastle-at-batjpg

Ryan Mountcastle, courtesy of snagfilms-a.akamaihd.net/d4/9f/f4b2928b48619dbfa33af90767c3/aberdeen-ironbirds-2015-ryan-mountcastle-at-batjpg

2nd team: Ryan Mountcastle – Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles) Mountcastle had a pretty good season offensively hitting .284/.324/.424 which is pretty solid as a 19 year old in his 1st full season. I only got one look at Mountcastle but he flashed some really quick wrists, he should develop as least medium power. Unfortunately the game I saw he DH’d but I have heard from a source that  he doesn’t have a SS arm which clouds the picture a bit and applies more pressure on the bat.

Last year was the year of the shortstop in the Sally. You had Ozzie Albies, Jorge Mateo, Javier Guerra, Cole Tucker, Michael De Leon, Malquin Canelo and Luis Guillorme etc…..

This year we had some talent too Yeyson Yrizarri, Lucius Fox, Marten Gasparini, Johan Cruz, Milton Ramos, Anfernee Seymour, Kyle Holder and Hoy Yun Park.  But none of them really stepped forward with the bat.

This concludes part one of the top performers. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the top outfield and pitching performers. Cheers

 

 

A closer look at Josh Ockimey’s 2nd half struggles

Standard
Josh Ockimey courtesy of photos.smugmug.com/Spring-Training/Red-Sox-ST

Josh Ockimey courtesy of photos.smugmug.com/Spring-Training/Red-Sox-ST

Hey guys, Josh Ockimey, 1B, Greenville Drive (Red Sox) was enjoying a breakout season in 2016.   The 2014 5th round pick was hitting .308/.450/.566 on June 1st.

I did a piece on him at the end of April and in it I dug into the numbers courtesy of MLB Farm to see what he was doing differently this year compared to 2015 when he struggled in the NY/Penn league.  Here’s a link to the piece. http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/04/25/thoughts-josh-ockimey-1b-greenville/

After a decent June, Ockimey has slid into a massive 2nd half swoon. Since July 1st he’s got just 19 hits in 135 at bats or .141/.284/.304.

His hot start and current cold streak could easily be explained away with Babip (.437 in April and May) and (.204 since July 1st).  Fatigue could be playing a roll too as this is his 1st attempt at a 140 game season.

Still he was definitely doing some things differently this Spring in contrast to last year. He was making significantly better contact, taking what the pitcher was giving him, going the other way more (putting more balls in the air, rolling over on the outside pitch less often).  So I thought I would do a quick look at the batted ball and see if he’s reverting back to his old habits.

This is what Ockimey was doing in Lowell last season. All data courtesy of MLB Farm.

 

Strikeout 33.6%

Balls put in play to his pull side 47.5%

Ground Ball Rate 38.3%

 

When things were going well

Opening day – May 31

Strikeout 22%

Ball’s put in play to pull side 42.5%

Ground Ball Rate 36.6%

 

Since July 1st

Strikeout 24.4%

Ball’s put in play to pull side 48.4%

Ground Ball Rate 38.7%

Ockimey is still making significantly better contact then he did last year, but he’s pulling the ball quite a bit more now then he did in the Spring, and his ground balls are up.

While these trends are definitely factoring in, it’s difficult to quantify how much in relation to fatigue and potential other factors like injury. But it is interesting.

 

Delmarva Shorebirds Twitter Chat Transcript

Standard

Delmarva Shorebirds logo courtesy of 4vector.com/i/free-vector-delmarva-shorebirds

Hey guys in case you missed it I hosted my 1st ever Twitter Group chat this afternoon.  Delmarva Shorebirds beat writer Mitch Northam was my guest and he did a terrific job fielding both my questions and the ones tossed out by others in the room.  Overall I had a good time and I hope the others in attendance did as well.

Here’s today’s Twitter chat group transcript

I’m skipping over all of the greetings and going straight to the content

Hello. Giants fan but follows prospects from all orgs. Thoughts on Mountcastle Mitch?

Ryan has grown tremendously over the season. struggled early, but has become a solid hitter.

– here’s a story I wrote on him earlier this season :http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/sports/baseball/2016/06/15/mountcastle-becoming-solid-hitter-shorebirds/85938370/

One more question about him. Do you think he can handle SS in the long run?

I think so, but that position is a bit loaded in the O’s organization. So, we’ll see.

Wrenzie kind of stole my thunder a little bit while was doing the greeting but it’s all good, I went ahead and asked my ? anyway

Q #1 Thoughts on Ryan Mountcastle? What’s his power ceiling? Does he have a future at the SS position?

not sure what his ceiling is, but he can definitely hit it out of the park. third on the team in HR’s this year.

Looks like the O’s got a very interesting prospect to follow. Thanks a lot Mitch!

 

for sure, and Ryan is a great guy too. thanks for joining in.

I loved his quick wrists I think he projects average game power at least maybe above

agreed. I think he can be a double-digit homer guy.

Q #2 Yermin Mercedes has had a monster season offensively. Does he C long term? If not is OF or 1B an option?

I think he’s a catcher, straight-up. He’s played one game of 1B since 2013. Don’t see him switching over.

a quick follow up   does Mercedes win MVP?

– I think he’s in the running, for sure. Leads in AVG still. Mundell and Pujols are up there too.

Agreed I think it’ll come down to Mundell or Mercedes close contest I think

Q #3 How has Ofelky Peralta performed this year? What does he throw and what are his strengths and weaknesses?

as any 19 y/o, Ofelky has had his ups and downs. He was great in July, not so great lately.

as any 19 y/o, Ofelky has had his ups and downs. He was great in July, not so great lately.

I think the biggest thing he needs to work on is accuracy. Throws a lot of balls.

great thanks Follow up what’s the typical velocity on his fastball?

folks say they’ve seen it hit 101. He’s inconsistent with the speeds right now, in my opinion.

I missed him when they came through Asheville but I know he’s an exciting young arm

I love watching him. Exciting pitcher. I think he’ll at least start next season with Delmarva too.

thanks Mitch yeah he was one of the guys I was hoping to see this yr but never did. sadly there’s a lot of them

Q #4 Who’s the 1 position players that blossomed the most as a prospect from April-Aug

– there’s a few, for me. Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins… I’ve really liked Randolph Gassaway too.

Tell me about Gassaway please not real familiar with him

Thoughts on Alex Call, OF, White Sox

Standard

Alex Call courtesy of mlbtopprospects.com/wp-content/uploads

Selected out of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in the third round of the 2016 draft, Kannapolis outfielder Alex Call has been nothing short of spectacular during his introduction to professional baseball. At Ball State, Call led the Cardinals in hitting during his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. He capped off his collegiate career by being chosen as the MAC conference Baseball Player of the year this past season. Additionally, he was an Academic All-American, earning his bachelor’s degree in three years while registering a 3.83 grade point average.

During his indoctrination to the professional ranks he has continued to hit at an amazing clip. In his first 250 plate appearances, he has raked his way to a .338 AVG and .436 OBP at two levels (Rookie League and Low-A). Although this is a small sample size, he has actually improved since his promotion and while the effects of the college season, the Carolina heat, and the pro schedule should be wearing him down, he has shown no signs of letting up. Having had the opportunity to observe Call on three separate occasions I have come away marveled by a different aspect of his game each time.

Listed at 6’0” 188 lbs Call is built like he came off of a baseball player assembly line. If you saw him in a crowd of 21 year olds wearing street clothes, you would be able to guess he was the ball player. The skill that has really stood out during the games I have witnessed is the hit tool. Batting from the right hand side he exhibits a quick swing through the zone with very little extraneous movement. During college, and so far as a pro, he has been a doubles machine displaying gap power. I suspect with maturity and a couple extra pounds of muscle he will reach a ceiling of around 15 homeruns a year. His eye and ability to work the count are exceptional for a player in Low-A ball. Last night against Lakewood he put together some very impressive at bats. Even though he hammered a 3-1 offering into the left field power alley for an RBI single in his second at bat, I was actually more impressed by his first trip to the box. During this at bat, Call managed to take a very tempting 2-2 curveball to work the count full, then he battled by hitting five straight foul balls before striking out on a foul tip on the tenth pitch. Call displayed a very keen eye all night, averaging 5.1 pitches per plate appearance. To put things in perspective, the major league average in this stat last season was 3.82 with Mike Trout tying for the lead with 4.37. His strike zone management has been very impressive thus far as he has walked nearly as many times (29) as he has struck out (34).

Defensively he can play all three outfield positions. With 55 grade speed, he can cover the ground necessary to man centerfield. With a 60 grade arm, he has the throwing ability to cover right field. When I observed him against Greensboro on July 20th, he made arguably the best catch I have ever witnessed. That night Call was playing left field when a ball was mashed down the line with hook spin. While running full speed toward the line and toward the wall he fully extended and laid out to make a diving, over the shoulder grab.

The White Sox scouts were said to be in love with Call due to his plus tools across the board, mental makeup, and strong work ethic. Many of the experts thought he was over drafted at #86 overall, but I find myself in lock-step agreement with the White Sox on this one. Call appears to be a very athletic, high floor, low risk prospect. He reminds me of Jacoby Ellsbury without the elite speed. His future is very bright and I see him as a starting outfielder and top of the order hitter for the ChiSox for years to come. He is currently listed as the #20 prospect in the organization but I can see him rising like a bullet, and I look forward to watching him progress through the ranks.

Here we get a Ball interview and some looks at the swing courtesy of Ball St All Access

Written by Guest writer Dan Victor.  Victor is a gifted writer who knows his craft.  Also an all around good guy.  You can find Dan on Twitter @Slydanno70