By Kiley McDaniel
As Frankie referenced earlier with his Chris Dominguez scouting report, not only can we not see every top prospect, but we obviously won’t see only top prospects. On any given field, there’s a bunch of guys that aren’t Rick Porcello. Extend that a bit, and even being in a hotbed for baseball like Tampa, you’re going to get a lot of games without an elite talent, but usually with some notable guys involved.
The night after the Porcello game for the Florida State League/minor league opener, I went to Clearwater to partake in the finest ballpark experience in the state (no joke) to see the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies) host the Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto). Best of all, this game wasn’t the experience I talked about in the first paragraph—there was still some sweet prospectyness.
Inside: Travis Snider, Adrian Cardenas, J.P. Arencibia, and another prospect the Yankees traded with nary a thought, all after the jump…
(Bright House Field photo credit: Baseball Pilgrimages)
I’ll run down the notes quickly and either file away the hitter information for later scouting reports, never write one on some low-end guys, and put up a dual report on both starting pitchers later today.
- Travis Snider was exactly what I thought he was. I got some video of a few swings on his that I’ll take a look at later, but at first glance, he’s exactly what the scouting reports say: big dude that looks like he can only be a 1B/DH, some deceptive quickness, a general slow-motion malaise like most big, late-count sluggers, and a swing with a bunch of leverage.
- Adrian Cardenas looks also just like the scouting reports say, at best average range at 2B, and has a thick (not fat) mid-section and thighs that scream LF and a rich man’s Frank Catalanotto. I should be able to see him regularly, and the swing looks solid and compact, and he made solid contact, but in this game he did chase a good number of bad pitches.
- J.P. Arencibia was a surprise first-round pick by some prognosticators that thought his mature body, sometimes questionable plate approach, and iffy throwing mechanics made him a later pick. Those things are popping up, but he had a good approach today, flashed the plus raw power everyone knows about with a rocket homer to LCF, and while the body’s still a little bit too much Bengie Molina for my liking, mechanics be damned, he throw a guy out from his knees, Benito Santiago-style.
- Clearwater’s Quintin Berry flashed some serious speed with a 3.79 time to first on a bunt and 4.00 on a groundball. That’s plus-plus and then some. He also flashed an above-average arm in center, almost throwing a runner out at first on a medium fly ball. He should also be a toolbox to watch this season.
- Clearwater starter Carlos Monasterios is a former Yankee farmhand that I saw in the GCL right before he was sent to the Phillies in the Bobby Abreu deal (he was dealt with nary a thought for a good reason). He’s pretty much the same guy he was back then, if not regressing a bit. Granted, it’s early in the season, but he sat as 88-89 (low 90′s in past), flashed an above-average curve in warmups that he didn’t want to throw in the game (hard slurve in past), and his change was and is still his best pitch, with flashes of above-average. The command comes and goes and he appears to be the frailer type of smaller guy.
- Jays starter Robert Ray is a converted catcher that has changed his short, catcher-friendly arm action so much that it’s now long in the back. His stuff is a tick better than Monasterios, sitting 88-90 with solid sink and flashing an above-average slider and average command. His curveball is just a slower version of his slider and relatively useless and I never saw a changeup.
- The remaining Jays pitchers weren’t bad, unlike last year when half shouldn’t be professional pitchers. Jays reliever Celson Polanco grew on me; he has a funky Russ Ortiz-esque arm action and a straight, high 80s fastball, along with a super-sized body, but he kept using an above-average to plus changeup that got some goofy swings and misses. Paul Phillips was somewhat impressive as well: 90-93 with some run, low 80′s fringy slider. Connor Falkenbach has one of the weirder sidearm deliveries I’ve seen with a fastball that topped at 83.
- The Threshers (a local type of shark, by the way) closed it out with Brett Harker, who was mid 80′s and caused me to daydream during the game and closer Brian Schlitter, who got the save despite getting into a little trouble. This happened because he has a no-deception delivery and one pitch that doesn’t move (slider was uninspiring at best), but it’s a good one, a 92-93 mph fastball that he hammers the zone with some downward plane from his big frame.
- I’ll have a Snider swing breakdown and Monasterios/Ray dual scouting report coming soon.