Good to be back and what’s on deck


Photo courtesy of

I apologize for the lack of content over the last week or so. When I’m not doing this I’m an overnight baker for a regional supermarket chain, been so for the last 9 years. My job always gets a little nuts when holidays roll in, Memorial day weekend included.  I packed in a lot of hours the last four days and it left little room for anything else.

Things are getting back to normal this week. I’m going to Greenville tomorrow the Riverdogs are in town it will be my 2nd look at them. I’ll be doing a piece on Leonardo Molina following the game.

I was hoping to have an article up last Friday about Leudys Baez, toolsy but raw OF in the Braves system that obviously didn’t happen. Expect that this week.

I got my 1st look at the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins) the other day. Tomorrow morning I should have a 1st impression piece up on 1B Josh Naylor

Also expect a piece on the Basabe twins.  Luis Alexander and Luis Alejandro, they’re identical twins and they play for the Greenville Drive.

This should all happen in the next 7-10 days, probably no game this weekend for me, Hickory is out of town and Greenville and Asheville are playing each other (maybe I’ll go once).  It’s good to be back. And I apologize in advance for the July 1-4 :-}.


Scouting Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Hickory


Jonathan Hernandez courtesy of

Hey guys I got my 2nd look at Hickory RHP, Jonathan Hernandez the other night as the Crawdads were taking on the Rome Braves.

Hernandez is 19, he’s listed 6’2″ 175 lbs, he bats and throws right. Hernandez was signed by the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic for $300,000  in January 2013.

Hernandez is this thin I guessed 6’2″ 180 lbs on the field the other night. He athletic, he works fast and has a good pick off move to 1st base.

Hernandez has an interesting delivery in that he starts by facing home plate but once he gets the sign he shifts his body 45 degrees until he’s facing 3rd base and he throws every pitch from the stretch. Looking at the video, this is a recent development.  He wasn’t doing that maneuver when the video was made in 2015.

As I said, I’ve seen Hernandez twice this season, in my 1st look he looked good early but the command wavered late and the velo dropped.  His stuff held much better the other night.

The fastball sits 93-95 touches 96, they’re mostly straight but some have a riding action in on righties.  The pitch comes in on a good plane and he generates a lot of ground balls.  He’s got very good command of the pitch both down and in and down and away.  55/60

Hernandez’s change up is mostly 84-85, the pitch shows a fair amount of sink and fade.  He does a good job selling the pitch, matching the arm speed of the fastball.  He commands the pitch very well.  It’s a good change of pace off of his fastball. 50

Hernandez throws a slider at 81-84.  This pitch doesn’t show up quite as much as the change.  It has a two plane break but not super sharp. He can bury or throw it for strikes.  Not a big swing and miss generator. 50

Sequencing in both of my looks,  Hernandez was 80% fastballs 1st time through the order with 12% change and 8% slider. In innings 3-5 he was 70% fastball 17% change and 13% slider.

Here we get many good looks at Hernandez courtesy of Eric Longenhagen (Fangraphs) (on Twitter @longenhagen)

I like Hernandez, he’s efficient, he pounds the zone and generates a lot of ground balls. He does lack a true put away pitch though.

Hernandez is a #4 or #5






Thoughts on Austin Riley, 3B, Rome


Austin Riley, courtesy of

Hey guys, I got my 2nd look at Austin Riley and the Rome Braves the other night in Hickory, as they were in town taking on the Crawdads.

Austin Riley is age 19, he’s listed 6’3″ 220 lbs, he bats and throws right.  Riley was drafted 41st overall by the Braves in the 2015 draft out of high school in Southaven, Ms (Memphis Tn area).

Riley’s a big, barrel chested dude, I guessed on the field the other night he was 6’2″ 235 lbs.  He lit up two levels of rookie ball last season, sporting a .240 ISO  and I was really looking forward to seeing him.

At the dish he’s got an upright closed stance and a long swing with lift.  I planned to do a 1st impression write up after my 1st look but he was late on every fastball.  I had to see that again before I wrote anything and it happened again.  The bat speed is not there right now and he’s consistently being beaten by by 93-95 MPH heat.

I didn’t see him after the draft but I suspect he wasn’t getting beat by good heat then. I wonder if he got too jacked up this Winter at the expense of flexibility.

Defensively I only got to see Riley at 3rd once (he DH’d the other night).  He’s got a strong arm, seemed to have good hands but with limited range.

I’ll be back a little later in the year with a more detailed report.  Riley is 19 and there’s a lot of story left to be written, lets hope he can find that missing bat speed.

Here we get several good looks at his swing, courtesy of David Lee (Baseball Prospectus, Augusta Chronicle) (On Twitter @David11Lee)

I’ll be back soon with a look at RHP) Jonathan Hernandez, Hickory.


Scouting Max Fried, LHP, Rome


Max Fried, courtesy of

Hey guys, I took a run over to Hickory last night to see the Crawdads take on the Rome Braves.  On the mound for Rome was high profile lefty Max Fried and I was looking forward to seeing him.

Fried (Pronounced Freed) is 22, listed 6’4″ 185 lbs, he bats and throws left.  Fried was selected 7th overall in the 2012 draft by the Padres out of high school in Los Angeles, CA.

Fried missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery and he was traded to the Braves in the Justin Upton deal.

He’s long and lean I guessed on the field he was 6’5″ 215, there is projection left.  He stood on the 3rd base side of the rubber, he had a simple low effort repeatable delivery and he remained balanced throughout.  He’s a fast worker and he finishes with a slight fall toward 3rd base.  He utilizes a high 3/4 release point and gets to an excellent plane.  He displayed a decent move to 1st last night but Hickory ran a lot on him.

The fastball came in pretty straight, early on he was mostly 92-93 and he touched 94 a few times.  In the 5th and 6th inning he was 90-91 touched 92 a couple of times.  He commanded his fastball fairly well all night.  He attacked righties in under the hands a lot and he located very well in there, when he missed he missed inside.  He wasn’t as consistent down and away  but again when he missed it was outside not over the heart of the plate, he just missed more.  In the 5th and 6th inning the mistakes were more hittable. 55

The curve had an 11-5 break and very nice shape to it, 72-75. He didn’t get on top of his 1st few breakers and they were hit pretty hard,  he was much more consistent after that.  Later in the game his curve velo dipped to 68-72 (mostly 70-72).  All four of his strikeouts were on curveballs, it’s a put away and he either bounces them or throws them for strikes down and in or down and away. 60

Fried threw the change 79-83 mostly on the low end.  I didn’t see much movement,  it was more of a change of pace pitch.  He sold the pitch very well matching the arm speed of the fastball.  The 10-12 MPH separation is very good. Just like with his other pitches he was a few ticks slower at the end. 45

Sequencing, Fried was working off of his fastball all night.  The 1st time through the order he was 70% fastball, 20% curve, 10% change.  Those ratios held all night .

Overall I liked Fried, the fastball was straight but it was coming downhill and he really pounded inside on righties.  The velo drop was a little concerning as was the wavering command in his last couple of innings.  He’ll need to get stronger but he was sidelined a long time he could still be building stamina.  Fried is going to generate a ton of ground balls.  He was getting Babip’d early last night, he gave up five 1st inning singles, four were grounders,  a couple of them were really stung though and those were off of the mistake curves.  He cruised for a few innings after that before the fatigue kicked in.

He’s a potential 4 for me.

Here we get a lot of good looks at Fried’s delivery, courtesy of Chris Blessing (Baseball HQ)(On Twitter @C_Blessing)

I’ll be back soon with a write up on Austin Riley. Cheers

Max Fried in Hickory tonight


Max Fried, courtesy of

Hey guys I decided to take a run over to Hickory tonight to see the Crawdads (Rangers) take on the Rome Braves (Braves).

High profile left hander Max Fried (pronounced Freed) is the scheduled starter for the Braves tonight.   Fried is 22, he’s listed 6’4″ 185 lbs, he bats and throws left.  He was drafted 7th overall by the Padres in the 2012 draft.  He missed nearly two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Fried was one of 4 young players traded to Atlanta in the Justin Upton trade.

Right hand pitcher Jonathan Hernandez will be the Crawdads starter.  I saw Hernandez the last time I was in Hickory, good stuff low to mid 90’s heater, good bender.  He was having some command issues that day and was out after 4 innings due to a elevated pitch count.

These are two of the more talented teams in the Sally.  Some of the Rome bats I’ll be looking forward to seeing include:

3B) Austin Riley

SS) Alejandro Salazar

CF-RF) Ray Patrick Didder

The Braves have one of the most exciting young hitters in the league in Ronald Acuna but he’s out with a thumb injury.

The Crawdads are loaded, here’s a few of the many hitters I look forward to seeing each time I visit.

SS) Yeyson Yrizzari

3B) Ti’Quan Forbes

CF) Eric Jenkins

It should be a fun game I’ll be live Tweeting throughout the night @AshevilleSoxFan and I’ll have a full report on Max Fried on the site tomorrow.  Cheers


My 1st look at Corey Zangari, 1B/DH, Kannapolis


Corey Zangari, courtesy of

Hey guys, I’ve actually gotten a couple of looks at Zangari and the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) this season.  I took a run over to Hickory for the Dillon Tate start last month and Kannapolis was the opponent.  But I don’t have a series called my 2nd look so this is my 1st look at the young slugger.

Zangari just turned 19, he’s listed 6’4″ 240 lbs, he bats and throws right.  He was drafted by the White Sox in the 6th rd of the 2015 draft out of high school in Midwest City, OK (Oklahoma City area).

Zangari is a big dude I guessed 6’5″ 250 lbs last night.

At the dish he has a long swing as you might expect  there is lift there and I suspect he could drive a ball a long way, I missed his BP both times but I bet he puts on a show.  He’s very raw right now, the pitch recognition skills are not where they need to be for this level and he’s being chewed up by sequencing from the college arms.

I don’t understand the rush with Zangari, he’s 19 and raw, not 23. He should be in extended waiting for the Great Falls season to start instead of striking out 40% of the time in the SAL.  He did hit his 8th home run yesterday but I’m concerned about the young man’s psyche?

Defensively he’s a work in progress at 1st base, he’s young he’ll get the foot work down.  He’s got stiff hands though.

Not a runner Zangari’s slow.

Here we get a few good looks at his swing from Instructs of courtesy Kim Contreras (Future Sox).


Long term there’s a chance Zangari could be an impact power bat at the major league level but that’s likely 5-7 years away.  Pitching is a fall back option as he was a 2 way player in high school for a short while.

For a Kannapolis sleeper I’d say catcher, Seby Zavalia.  At 22 he’s a little old for the level but I’ve seen him twice and he can play.  He receives the ball well, he’s got a strong throwing arm and he handles the bat well.  He’s not going to be a fast mover, catchers never are, but he’s got skills.

Landon Lassiter and Tyler Sullivan can also handle the bat pretty well,

My 1st look at SS, Johan Cruz, Kannapolis


Johan Cruz, courtesy of

Hey guys, I got my 2nd look at the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox)  last night and my 1st at shortstop Johan Cruz.

Cruz, age 20, listed 6’2″ 188 lbs (I’d guess he’s 5-10 lbs heavier than that) he bats and throws right.  Cruz was signed by the White Sox out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 for $450,000.

Cruz was pretty high on my list of players I wanted to see coming into the season.  He’s taller and thicker than I imagined he would be (I always expect to see 6′ 160 lbs from a shortstop at this level).

Cruz’s calling card is his defense, it was only one look but despite having just average foot speed he’s a very good defensive shortstop, He showed a good 1st step and very good hands.  He came in on a ball very well last night.  His release seemed a little on the slow side but he made up for that with a very strong arm.  The only question is how much will he fill out.

At the dish Cruz has an upright closed stance, a long level swing and above average bat speed.  It was just one look but I’m a little concerned about the bat as he was getting beat by some pretty mediocre heat last night.  He was late at 88 and 90 he’ll have to find a way to get quicker to the ball.  It was one look at maybe he had a hard time picking up this particular pitcher not sure, I’ll be seeing more of Cruz this season and I’ll be updating as the season goes along.

The glove does give him a utility option


Luis Martinez, courtesy of

RHP) Luis Martinez Age 21, 6’4″ 190 lbs (I guessed 200)

I liked what I saw from Martinez

He’s long and lean, there’s projection left.  He was pounding the zone with all of his pitches.  3B side of the rubber, high 3/4 release point.  He worked up in the zone a lot, generating a lot of pop ups and lazy fly balls.  Third time through they squared him a little bit.

90-93 a few at 94. Fairly straight but he commanded it well.

I saw one pitch at 89 that behaved like a cutter

84-85 Change he disguised it well, modest sink and fade

80-84 slider, most were average  he flashed plus.

Sequencing,  Martinez was 80% fastball the 1st time through, 15% change and just a couple of sliders.  By the 5th he was 65%, 20% Change, 15% slider. He was still 92-93 in the 5th inning.