I’ve been inconsistent posting lately in part due to all the games I’ve been to. So, the good news for you is that a new site re-design is on the way shortly (the other reason I haven’t posted much) and that a bunch of piping-hot new reports, video, and draft content is on the way.
First up is a recap of my weekend of baseball action that took me to see Jays rehabbing relievers, Travis Snider, Deolis Guerra, Rick Porcello, Adrian Cardenas, Joe Savery, Michael Dunn, and a late-rising 2008 draft prospect, among others. Catch the full rundown after the jump…
(Pictured: Ft. Myers Miracle (Twins) RHP Deolis Guerra)
The first stop on our recap is last Wednesday’s tilt between the Dunedin Blue Jays and Tampa Yankees. Starting on the hill for Dunedin was Robert Ray, who was the same guy he was the last time I saw him (covered here) and for Tampa was live-armed lefty Michael Dunn.
Dunn is a athletic, thick-bodied, converted outfielder that was pitching at 88-90 from the left side with some decent arm-side run. He featured a solid-average slider with depth at 79-82 as his out-pitch that flashed 55 potential. He also showed feel for a change that flashed average. The command came and went like any conversion guy in A-ball but Dunn certainly has value as a lefty with three average pitches this early in the process; the development of a true out-pitch will decide his fate. I’ll definitely be back for a second look.
Also on the hill for Dunedin were rehabbing relievers LH B.J. Ryan and RH Armando Benitez. Ryan is already back in the bigs, so I missed my chance for a breaking story, but his inning was a ho-hum effort with his fastball at 89-92. Benitez also sat a 89-92 and showed an 82-84 changeup. Pretty anticlimactic stuff, but an interesting sight to see a legit top-end closer of now and one of 5 years ago popping up in a game that also featured Chad Blackwell and Wilkins Arias on the mound.
I got some more Travis Snider video at this game and should have a swing breakdown and full scouting report on him shortly. But, the real takeaway from this game is that Benitez’s personal assistant is a really interesting guy with great stories.
Thursday night I was in Clearwater to get a look at Twins’ ballyhooed prospect, RHP Deolis Guerra. Guerra was one of the high-ceiling prospects involved in the Johan Santana deal and he certainly looked the part of high ceiling, and also the part of prospect. Here’s some video I took at the game:
It’s obvious even at full-speed that Guerra has a very short stride, his arm lags in the back at a complete stop, and he barely bends down to follow-through with his body. These problems and his general lack of feel made him look like a raw high school project on this day.
That being said, he still flashed above-average stuff and immense potential. Also, these problems can all be easily fixed by a good pitching coach, and the arm is still clean. This motion was probably the result of Guerra not taking to some changes the Twins were making to his motion. So, all is not lost Twins fans, today was the risk you take on with a high-upside prospect and I’ll bet the reward is coming.
I also got another good look at Clearwater prospect 2B Adrian Cardenas, and the full scouting reports on Cardenas and Guerra will be coming soon.
Friday and Saturday night I was in Orlando and saw some of UCF’s weekend series versus Memphis. The top prospects in those games were UCF’s sophomores RHP Austin Hudson, LHP Mitch Houck, and 3B Chris Duffy.
Duffy was a 9th round pick by the White Sox out of Orlando’s Cypress Creek HS because of his big power from the left side. He’s still showing that power, but the contact and plate approach have been inconsistent, the same things along with bonus demands that kept him out of the top 5 rounds in 2006.
Hudson was taken in the 37th round by the Nationals in 2006 and has one of the heaviest sinkers I’ve seen. He sits at 87-90 with plus sink and an average two-plane slider at 76-78, but lacks feel for a changeup. As he fills out his lanky frame and gains consistency with his mechanics and command, he could get into the top 3 rounds in the 2009 draft as a Justin Masterson type sinker/slider reliever.
As for Mitch Houck, he’s a draft-eligible sophomore (medical redshirt in ’07) that has gotten a lot of buzz in the scouting community lately. His latest outing versus Memphis drew 15-20 scouts, with a few crosscheckers and scouting directors in attendance. In short, Houck didn’t have his best stuff, walking 3 in the first inning and throwing over 50% changeups throughout the game. Houck’s profile is that of a savvy maxed-out college lefty with a fringy fastball with above-average breaking stuff and command and a 2nd to 4th round value. He’ll also have a good deal of leverage come draft time given his sophomore standing. I’ll be seeing him versus Rice in two weeks and will have a full report after that outing as it would be unfair to put an OFP on him after this outing.
Sunday I was back out in Clearwater to see the premier pitching matchup thus far in the FSL, Joe Savery versus Rick Porcello. I’ll be posting a follow-up to my last report on Rick Porcello in a post right after this one and will be covering Joe Savery’s dominant outing in a full scouting report shortly.