Joined: 28 Aug 2017
|Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:58 am Post subject: Standout Prospects from the AFL Title Ga
|The Arizona Fall League championship game (domestic profe sional baseballs de facto funeral for the year) featured superlative performances from a number of prospects that may have piqued your curiosity. Heres a look at how, after nearly two months of evaluating these players, I feel things will have out continuing to move forward.
Miguel Almonte,RHP, Kansas City Royals (Arizona Fall League)
The 21 year-old Dominican righty indicates terrific stuff but also several mechanical problems that may cause that stuff to play down a bit. Almontes fastball sat 93-96 and touched 97, an appropriate 65 on the 20-80 scale if youre grading on velocity alone. But Almontes low arm angle sucks out many of the downhill plane scouts like to see and the fastball often is available in flat with some horizontal movement but little to no vertical descent. Hell mi s his share of bats based on velo alone but looks like hell be flyball prone and have some platoon i sues for that reason arm angle.
One thing that may help quell some of that platoon split is Almontes excellent changeup which projects to plus. Its much harder than your typical changeup, coming in anywhere between 86-89 mph with terrific arm-side run. Almontes arm speed will vary Nike Hyperdunk once in a while around the change but is generally fine. The tertiary offering is really a curveball, 79-81, with two plane tilt. Its a solid average pitch that may mature another half grade. Almontes arm slot is higher when he throws the curveball to ensure that hes able to better get on top of the baseball and create the downward spin e sential to generate downward movement. That may change up the ultimate utility of the pitch if Major League hitters be more effective able to identify curveball out of the hand because of this variation in arm slot.
Almontes control/command were not great this fall though he was far better on Saturday (and when I saw him in Wilmington early this year) than these two AFL looks. The control is fringe average right now and I feel comfortable projecting it to average despite some of Almontes i sues with repeating his delivery and some length and violence towards the arm action. The all encompa sing package is a solid one, a probable #4 starter with a opportunity to be considered a shade better than that.
Longenhagens Grades: Fastball: 60/60,Curveball: 50/55, Changeup: 55/60,Command: 45/50, FV: 50
Kileys Grades: Fastball: 55/60, Curveball: 45/50+, Changeup: 55/60, Command: 40/50, FV: 55
Justin OConner, C,Tampa Bay Rays (Arizona Fall League)
Rays catcher Justin OConner hooked out two home runs in Saturdays title game but whats likely to carry OConner toward a useful Major League role is his defense, not his bat. Probably the most prominent tool in OConners set of skills is his 70 grade Women Nike Kobe 9 Elite arm, which produces pop times within the low 1.80s and below. It had been on display Saturday when a ball in the dirt got away from OConner who rose from his crouch, bent to get the ball in the lefty batters box and, in one motion, uncorked a rocket to second base to hosed Eddie Rosario who was running on the pitch, this is not on the bounce. Other aspects of OConners defense are praise-worthy. His footwork and mobility behind home plate will also be exceptional, blocking balls Nike Tanjun Men in the dirt with technically sound slides to both his left and right.
Maybe the most interesting facet of OConners defense moving forward is going to be his receiving. Hes generally quiet and smooth and has sufficiently strong wrists to steal strike calls towards the bottom of the zone, but its not unusual to determine him simply drop as much as a half-dozen pitches inside a game; this problem may bemagnified in AFL,where teams use so many pitchers per game. I dont know how significant that could be when it comes to getting strike calls. I can tell you that most catchers who are regarded as good receivers dont drop many pitches. Wieters (didnt catch enough pitches to entitled to the below list), Lucroy, Perez and Posey all only drop one inch every 800 pitches they catch. Among catchers with good catching metrics/reputations, onlyYan Gomes and Jose Molina display in the middle or bottom of the pack as it pertains to Pitches per drop. Heres the bottom and top 10catcher pitches per drop (min. 5000 pitches) from this past season, as charted by Baseball Info Solutions.
Bottom 10PitchesDropsP per DThole, Josh58399263.5Rivera, Rene1177198120.1Baker, John750644170.6Nieto, Adrian504628180.2Pierzynski, A.J.1172664183.2Cruz, Tony529826203.8Molina, Jose1047451205.4Ro s, David683232213.5Pena, Brayan585427216.8Sanchez, Hector505123219.6Top 10PitchesDropsP per DConger, Hank1027820513.9Joseph, Caleb1085720542.9Mathis, Jeff756913582.2McCann, Brian1466725586.7Chirinos, Robinson1311021624.3Suzuki, Kurt1602725641.1Hanigan, Ryan1008214720.1Lucroy, Jonathan1895126728.9Perez, Salvador2032625813.0Posey, Buster1425616891.0Offensively, OConner has excellent raw power, pull-side only, but likely wont make use of to all of it because of i sues with swing and mi s and swing plane. OConners bat path only really allows him to create authoritative contact on pitches hes well in front of as his swing only really begins to have any loft at all once it pa ses his body. He looks in my experience just like a future 40 hitter. The package in general is solid though, and even if OConners offensive warts are magnified at the Major League level the defensive package is good enough to give him a high-end backup/low end starters floor. If he can Nike Lebron 10 hook 10-15 bombs annually striking a bit then hes an average everyday player.
Longenhagens Grades: Hit: 30/40, Raw Power: 55/55, Game Power:30/45, Run:30/20, Defense: 50/65,Arm: 70/70,FV:50
Kileys Grades: Hit:20/40, Raw Power:55/55, Game Power:20/45+, Run:35/35,Defense: 45/50+,Arm:70/70,FV: 45
Eddie Rosario, LF, Minnesota Twins (Arizona Fall League)
Twins prospect Eddie Rosario has elite hand-eye coordination and bat control, but theres little else here and its challenging for me to get looking forward to a prospect whose primary defensive position is an outfield corner and that has little more to hold his hat on than impre sive bat-to-ball skills. If Rosario can be a po sible option in center field, then we can talk, but hes just an average runner, maybe slightly above, and can have to show a preternatural sense of the center of diamonds if hes going to stick there. In left field this fall he was average having a fringe average arm. I believe the defensive profile here is what 2B/LF utility type who might play some center in a pinch.
Im skeptical about Rosarios future offensive output. Hes got below average power and any impactful offensive contribution hes going to make will need to range from hit tool (he doesnt walk much). While he comes with some aforementioned attributes working in his favor in connection with this (the impre sive hand-eye coordination and ability to maneuver the bat round the zone) Rosarios hands are exce sively noisy as he loads and the feet is constantly bailing toward first base when he swings.
While its quite normal for any hitter to create unorthodox hitting actions work for him, its certainly worth noting that Rosario has some funk in the load, as Carson Cistulli reminded Kiley and I dozens of times throughout his stay here in the desert. Rosarios footwork i sues get him to pull just about everything he hits on the floor right side of the infield. A lot of the base hits we saw Rosario accrue this fall on grounders to that side of the infield are likely to find leather in the Majors when teams adjust take one take a look at his batted ball data and start shifting him. He most likely will make enough contact to grade the bat Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit out in a 55, but I anticipate it to be a rather empty .275, in the event that.
Longenhagens Grades: Hit: 45/50, Game Power:30/45, Raw Power: 45/45,Run: 50/50, Defense:50/55, Arm: 45/45, FV:40
KileysGrades: Hit:20/50, Game Power:20/45, Raw Power: 50/50, Run:50/50, Defense: 45/50,Arm:45/45+, FV:40