Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Notes from Frisco

I was able to get out to Frisco again on Monday and saw a very good outing from Jerad Eickhoff, as well as a walkoff base hit by Drew Robinson.

- Eickhoff's fastball sat at 92-94, touching 95, with real good plane, utilizing his 6'4" frame well. He can run it or cut it, although nearly all his fastballs are of the running, or tailing, variety. His curve sat at 78-80, going all the way down to 73 and topping out at 81, with his best curves of the harder variety, where the break is later and sharper. Got three whiffs on twelve curves thrown, with all three whiffs being on 79+ mph curves. Struggled when he tried to run it through the zone for strikes, with multiple hangers up above the zone. Slider sat at 84-85, topping out at 86, and is more of a get-me-over pitch. Also tended to hang his slider when it was elevated at all. Not much movement, but a late break. Change sat 84-86. Just not a real good pitch, with multiple changes catching the middle of the plate, not a huge gap between CH and FB speed, and minimal movement. His command was overall pretty good, especially on his fastball which he consistently kept at the knees, although he struggled with pulling the ball too far glove-side (outside to RHH, inside to LHH). Very few pitches caught the middle of the plate, but strike-throwing came and went, although he only walked 2 in 7 innings of work.

I saw a potential 55 fastball, 55 curve, 45 slider, and 40 change. He has the potential to be a reliable back end starter, with the chance to develop into a legit #4 type if his FB or CV can become a plus pitch or his slider league average.

- Francisco Mendoza has some intriguing stuff, with a fastball that has a lot of tail and sits in the low-90s and a slider that could be a potential plus pitch. However, the control and command just aren't there at all.

- I continue to be impressed with Ryan Rua's approach and plate discipline this year. He has been laying off outside pitches and been able to wait on off-speed stuff much better than he has in the past. He also moves pretty well for a guy his size, and I don't see his speed being anything less than slightly below average, if that.

- I have not been as impressed with Luis Sardinas' approach at the plate. I saw him chase some bad pitches out at Spring Training, and have continued to see some questionable swings in the chances I've got to see him in the regular season. On Monday, he struck out chasing a slider well out of the strike zone, and swung at a borderline strike on the low outside corner on the first pitch of an at-bat with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out, rolling over the ball for what was almost a double play ball. That is just not a pitch that needs to or should be swung at. It's not that his approach is terrible, it's just not as good as I feel it needs to be with his tools at the plate.

- Drew Granier, the Midland starter, has an absolutely nasty, filthy, wipeout, insert positive adjective here slider. A serious plus-plus pitch. He has a very fringy fastball, but it is a good enough pitch for him to be successful with a slider of that caliber. He will be in the Oakland bullpen later this year, and he will be good. Be ready to see him later on, and be ready to dislike him a lot.

Monday, April 28, 2014

How a Player's Minor League Numbers Translate to his Future MLB Success

When scouting, it is generally better to scout based off what you see (bat speed, approach, swing path, etc.) vs. what the numbers say. But to minor league numbers hold any relevance? Is there a correlation between a player’s minor league stats and his future major league stats? I took a sample of 40 players, who have debuted since 2000, played with the Rangers at some point in their career, and have at least 200 major league at-bats. I took their statistics at the Low-A, High-A, AA, and AAA levels and ran tests to find both the average difference between the stats at each level compared to the player’s MLB stats and the strength of correlation between the numbers for AVG, OBP, and SLG.

Here are the means, or averages, the standard deviations, or average difference from the mean, and r values, or strength of correlation (0-.5 is a weak correlation, .5 to .8 is a moderate correlation, and .8 to 1 is a strong correlation) for each of the levels for batting average, on-base-percentage, and slugging percentage. If the r value is at .5 or higher, that shows that the numbers have some relevance. I have also listed the current slash lines for the players on each roster that have 200+ PAs at any minor league level, and then translated that line to their projected major league career slash line based on the averages. Remember that there are tons of players who are well better or well worse than the average, so the projected stats are more of a fun tool than something to read anything into.

Keep in mind that the numbers for High-A are biased and the average drop should not be so extreme. Much of the sample that I used were hitters that went through the hitter-friendly California League, back when the Rangers High-A team was out in Bakersfield, whereas now these players are playing in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League. The drop shouldn’t be so big for these hitters, so take that into consideration.

Low-A Batting Average:
Standard deviation=.037
r=.334 (weak)


Low-A OBP:
Standard deviation=.039
r=.4626 (weak)


Low-A Slugging Percentage:
Standard deviation=.077
r=.508 (moderate)


In Hickory (-.027/-.034/-.025):

C Kellin Deglan (.231/.331/.393) to (.194/.284/.340) using High-A stats

C Kevin Torres (.241/.279/.324) to (.214/.245/.299)

1B Ronald Guzman (.282/.331/.398) to (.255/.297/.373)

SS Luis Marte (.222/.248/.280) to (.195/.214/.255)

2B Nick Urbanus (.198/.268/.234) to (.171/.234/.209)

1B Nick Vickerson (.237/.377/.360) to (.210/.343/.335)

OF Lewis Brinson (.246/.325/.429) to (.219/.291/.404)

OF Nomar Mazara (.227/.304/.362) to (.200/.270/.337)


High-A Batting Average:
Standard deviation=.032
r=.4208 (weak)


High-A OBP:
Standard deviation=.035
r=.5069 (moderate)


High-A Slugging Percentage:
Standard deviation=.06
r=.771 (moderate)


In Myrtle Beach (-.037/-.047/-.053):

C Jorge Alfaro (.259/.331/.443) to (.232/.297/.418) using Low-A stats

C David Lyon (.239/.321/.416) to (.212/.287/.391) using Low-A stats

SS Hanser Alberto (.213/.253/.287) to (.179/.214/.241) using AA stats

1B/OF Preston Beck (.249/.347/.352) to (.212/.300/.299)

2B Chris Bostick (.282/.354/.452) to (.255/.320/.427) using Low-A stats

3B Joey Gallo (.245/.334/.610) to (.218/.300/.585) using Low-A stats

OF Royce Bolinger (.285/.330/.426) to (.248/.283/.373)

OF Zach Cone (.262/.326/.461) to (.235/.292/.436) using Low-A stats

OF Odubel Herrera (.257/.289/.339) to (.223/.250/.293) using AA stats

OF Nick Williams (.293/.337/.543) to (.266/.303/.518) using Low-A stats


AA Batting Average:
Stardard deviation=.03
r=.3556 (weak)


Stardard deviation=.038
r=.4054 (weak)


AA Slugging Percentage:
Stardard deviation=.07
r=.523 (moderate)


In Frisco (-.034/-.039/-.046):

C Pat Cantwell (.253/.318/.316) to (.216/.271/.263) using High-A stats

C Tomas Telis (.263/.292/.348) to (.229/.253/.302)

C Zach Zaneski (.237/.310/.364) to (.203/.271/.318)

1B Trever Adams (.257/.334/.386) to (.220/.287/.333) using High-A stats

2B Edwin Garcia (.252/.308/.315) to (.215/.261/.262) using High-A stats

2B Rougned Odor (.281/.326/.465) to (.247/.287/.419)

3B Ryan Rua (.291/.371/.480) to (.257/.332/.434)

1B/OF Jordan Brown (.302/.348/.451) to (.274/.313/.413) using AAA stats

OF Chris Grayson (.192/.299/.295) to (.155/.252/.242) using High-A stats

3B/OF Drew Robinson (.257/.367/.405) to (.220/.320/.352) using High-A stats

OF Jake Skole (.201/.319/.286) to (.164/.272/.233) using High-A stats

OF Jake Smolinski (.258/.345/.401) to (.230/.310/.363) using AAA stats


AAA Batting Average:
Standard deviation=.023
r=.4686 (weak)


Standard deviation=.027
r=.6687 (moderate)


AAA Slugging Percentage:
Standard deviation=.06
r=.631 (moderate)


In Round Rock (-.028/-.035/-.038):

C/1B Brett Nicholas (.289/.357/.474) to (.255/.318/.428) using AA stats

3B Alex Buchholz (.267/.328/.398) to (.239/.293/.360)

2B Kensuke Tanaka (.323/.403/.404) to (.295/.368/.366)

INF Guilder Rodriguez (.272/.360/.291) to (.244/.325/.253)

OF Jared Hoying (.249/.284/.479) to (.221/.249/.441)

OF Brad Snyder (.288/.352/.504) to (.260/.317/.466)

OF Ryan Strausborger (.232/.297/.360) to (.198/.258/.314) using AA stats


What I was expecting to see was a very low strength or correlation for the lower levels, and higher ones at the upper levels. Low-A went as expected, with the lowest strength of correlation for both batting average and slugging percentage. However, Double-A had very weak correlations, with the weakest in OBP and second weakest in average and slugging. Triple-A unsurprisingly had fairly strong correlations, and High-A very surprisingly, at least to me, had pretty strong correlations, including the strongest correlation of any stat at any level with an r value of .771 in slugging percentage.

What these numbers showed is that there definitely is a correlation between a player’s minor league stats and his future major league stats, but not enough of one to overlook a player’s raw tools, or to overvalue a player’s minor league numbers. In other words, high-performing minor league players such as Nate Gold (who never made the majors) don’t even come close to consistently translating that success to the major league level, but they do have a higher tendency to do so than a lesser performer at the minor league levels, which makes sense.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Notes from Frisco

I was able to get out to Frisco last night and saw a gem from Luke Jackson, who was perfect through 5 2/3 innings, and threw 7 scoreless with 8 Ks and no walks. Here are some notes from the game:

- Jackson sat at 93-96, touching 97 in the later innings. He had excellent control of his fastball all night, able to keep the ball on the outside edge and consistently at the knees all night, especially from the 3rd inning on. Jackson likes to run his curveball through the zone early to get a strike called and get ahead in the count, and likes to bury it in the dirt late with a sharper break looking for a chase from the batter. His curve ranged from 72-85 mph, normally sitting in the 78-81 range. He also pitched backwards often, starting off 5 batters with curveballs from the 4th inning on. Jackson didn't even need to use his change until the 3rd time through the order due to the effectiveness of his fastball and curve. When he did use his changeup, it routinely sat 12-15 mph below his fastball, an incredible change of speed. To show the change of speeds, here are some at-bats pitch-by-pitch:

93 mph FB
97 mph FB
79 mph Curve

72 mph Curve
94 mph FB
95 mph FB

94 mph FB
79 mph Curve
95 mph FB

What I saw was a potential 60 fastball, 55 curveball, and 50 changeup. To me, he projects as a starter long-term if his command can be anywhere near what it was last night on a consistent basis.

- Edwar Cabrera is a guy who could contribute in the bullpen later on. His fastball sits at 87-89, but has some good two-seam action on it. His command can be spotty at times. But he has a legit plus pitch in a hard-biting 79-82 mph change. Cabrera has been in the majors before, and had some success, but missed all of last year after Tommy John surgery and was signed to a minor league deal by the Rangers over the offseason.

- Rougned Odor is truly one-of-a-kind. The amount of rituals he does prior to each at-bat is rivaled only by Pedro Cerrano. Before leaving the on-deck circle, Odor will slam the weight off his bat, tap a cross into the dirt, and tap his helmet twice with his bat. On his way to the plate, Odor unstraps and redoes both batting gloves. When he gets to the plate, he draws two lines with the knob of his bat, and taps both feet with his bat as he steps into the box.

- Ryan Rua showed a much better approach at the plate than he has previously, which is a very big development. A pull hitter, Rua laid off outside pitches for the most part, waiting for a pitch on the inner half, and even took an outside pitch the opposite way for a base hit.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Round Rock Express Opening Day Roster (from Scott Lucas)

Here is the Opening Day roster for the Round Rock Express, with added insights from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas), who writes the minor league reports for the Newberg Report. Make sure to add Michael Kirkman to this roster and take Daniel McCutchen off, as those moves were made after this writing. If C Chris Gimenez clears waivers, he will also be on this roster.

Round Rock PitchersLisalverto Bonilla
Cory Burns
Neftali Feliz
Randy Henry
Doug MathisRoman Mendez
Rafael Perez

Aaron Poreda
Jimmy Reyes
Scott RichmondRyan Rodebaugh
Armando Rodriguez
Nick Tepesch
Johan Yan

The Express didn't announce roles.  Mathis, Richmond and Tepesch should be in the rotation.  Henry, Mendez and Reyes will be making their AAA debuts.

Round Rock Catchers
Jose Felix
Brett Nicholas

Nicholas is the newcomer.  Drafted as a catcher in 2010, he worked behind the plate only 40 games in the last three seasons.

Round Rock Infielders
Mike Bianucci
Alex Buchholz
Brent Lillibridge
Andy Parrino

Round Rock Outfielders
Jared Hoying
Bryan Peterson
Brad Snyder

Round Rock has spots for two more position players.


Frisco Roughriders Opening Day Roster (from Scott Lucas)

Here is the Opening Day roster for the Frisco RoughRiders, with added insights from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas), who writes the minor league reports for the Newberg Report.

Frisco Starting Pitchers Alec Asher
Edwar Cabrera
Jerad Eickhoff
Luke Jackson
Nick Martinez (until needed by Texas)

Even without 2013 first-rounder Chi Chi Gonzalez, who I thought might make AA out of the gate, the Frisco rotation is formidable and entertaining.  Asher, Jackson and Martinez rank among Texas's top 15 prospects.  Asher is the only newcomer, having led the Carolina League in strikeouts last season.  Jackson has the most upside, albeit possible as a reliever. 

Frisco Relievers
Alex Claudio
Jon Edwards
Wilmer Font
Martire Garcia
Phil Klein
Kyle Lotzkar
Francisco Mendoza
Matt West

Matt West jumps to Frisco despite being optioned to high-A Myrtle Beach a while back.  Wilmer Font is back, a disheartening but understandable assignment.  He just isn't progressing, and Texas has an absurd number of relievers to try to squeeze into Round Rock.  Garcia and Lotzkar are offseason signings.  I saw neither but heard good reports about Lotzkar, an often wild, high-strikeout righty drafted 53rd overall in 2007 and ranked in Cincinnati's top 30 by Baseball America in six consecutive seasons.  He's endured numerous injuries over the years.

Frisco Catchers
Pat Cantwell
Tomas Telis
Zach Zaneski

Cantwell, Texas's third-rounder from 2012, jumps from Myrtle Beach.  Kellin Deglan, drafted 22nd overall in 2010, presumably stays behind in Myrtle.  Deglan will be Rule 5-eligible this winter.

Frisco Infielders
1B Trever Adams
2B Rougned Odor
3B Drew Robinson
IF Guilder Rodriguez
2B/3B Ryan Rua
SS Luis Sardinas

This sextet was essentially ordained from the day Spring Training started.  Odor and Sardinas resume duties in the middle infield, while newcomers Adams and Robinson will man the corners.  Texas will have to be creative to fit Robinson and Rua into the same lineup.  Both could play multiple positions during the season, including the outfield.

Frisco Outfielders
Chris Grayson
Jake Skole
Jake Smolinski
Ryan Strausborger

As I wrote last week, Texas had too many outfielders seemingly bound for Myrtle Beach and not enough for Frisco.  The Rangers resolved this situation by promoting 2010 first-rounder Jake Skole, who batted .211/.338/.302 last year, and Chris Grayson (.196/.296/.291).  Smolinki, an offseason signing, spent most of 2013 in AAA New Orleans (.258/.345/.401). 

Myrtle Beach Pelicans Opening Day Roster (from Scott Lucas)

Here is the Opening Day roster for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, with added insights from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas), who writes the minor league reports for the Newberg Report.

Myrtle Beach Pitchers
Cody Buckel
Ryan Bores
Cody Ege
Andrew Faulkner
Chi Chi Gonzalez
Ryan Harvey
Keone Kela
Jason Knapp
Jose Leclerc
Luis Parra
Victor Payano
Sam Stafford
Sam Wolff

Cody Buckel has overcome the yips and pitched well enough to merit an Opening Day assignment, although one level below where he began 2013.  I'm certainly not complaining.  Flamethrower Keone Kela jumps from Hickory after strong outings in the Arizona Fall League and winter ball.  Gonzalez had a shot at Frisco and should spent part of the season there.

Myrtle Beach Catchers
Jorge Alfaro
David Lyon

Alfaro stays in Myrtle Beach as expected. He ought to finish the season in Frisco.

Myrtle Beach Infielders
SS Hanser Alberto
1B Preston Beck
2B Chris Bostick
3B Joey Gallo
SS Edwin Garcia

Gallo was a lock for Myrtle Beach.  The 21-year-old Bostick is making his high-A debut after hitting .282/.354/.452 with Oakland's low-A squad.  Beck can also play outfield and has the arm for right field, but Myrtle needs someone at first. 

Myrtle Beach Outfielders
Royce Bolinger
Zach Cone
Chris Garia
Odubel Herrera
Nick Williams

Williams and Cone should be the two most frequently appearing names in the outfield lineup.  Williams has the best pure contact ability among last year's Hickory squad, while Cone is returning from an Achilles tear.  Herrera is sliding into a utility role after playing second base most of his career.  Garia sports two of the best wheels in the system but hit .156/.198/.193 in a brief spell at Hickory last August. 

Hickory Crawdads Opening Day Roster (from Scott Lucas)

Here is the Opening Day roster for the Hickory Crawdads, with added insights from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas), who writes the minor league reports for the Newberg Report.

Hickory Pitchers Akeem Bostick
Felix Carvallo
Abel de los Santos
Cody Kendall
David Ledbetter
Ryan Ledbetter
Frank Lopez
Yohander Mendez
David Perez
Ricardo Rodriguez
Ryne Slack
Tyler Smith
Kelvin Vasquez
Collin Wiles
Cole Wiper

2013 picks Bostick, Ryan Ledbetter and Wiper are bypassing short-season Spokane, and the 20-year Carvallo joins straight from the Dominican Summer League.  Making a belated full-season debut is 6'5" lefty David Perez.  Once among Texas's brightest prospects, Perez underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has only 11.2 innings to his credit during the past two years. 

Hickory Catchers
Kellin Deglan
Kevin Torres

Deglan's demotion to Hickory is easily the most disappointing assignment.  The 22nd-overall pick from four summers ago is commencing 2014 where he began 2011.

Hickory Infielders
2B Travis Demeritte
1B Ronald Guzman
SS Luis Marte
IF Nick Urbanus
IF Nick Vickerson

2013 first-rounder Demeritte joins Hickory as a 19-year-old.  The others are repeating the level.  Guzman has earned raves in camp and ought to finish in Myrtle Beach.
Hickory Outfielders
Jairo Beras
Lewis Brinson
Nomar Mazara
Eduard Pinto

I wasn't sure whether Texas might let Beras skip Spokane.  Still 18 according to the accepted birthdate, he's talented but raw.  Brinson and Mazara are repeating the level but have an excellent shot at significant time in Myrtle Beach.  Brinson is the only Crawdad with significant CF experience.  Beras manned the position some this spring.  The 19-year-old Pinto has a contact-oriented bat and ought to receive ample playing time despite 4th OF status.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Joey Gallo Scouting Report

I was able to watch 3B prospect Joey Gallo take some batting practice when I was in Surprise and here is what I saw:

He has slightly above average bat speed, definitely not anything special or anything to set him apart. Gallo's power comes more from raw strength than it does a quick bat. With his huge K-rates to this point in his career, I was expecting a very long swing, but I was surprised. His swing is too long, but I don't see it as being long enough to where it would cause more than I minor problem for him at the plate. It definitely attributes some to his K-rate, but I think the root of that problem lies somewhere else. Gallo also struggled to hit to the opposite field when the hitters were working on going oppo, as he lengthened his swing and slowed down his bat to try and take it the other way.

Gallo is very strong, and thus has plus power, but I have some major worries with him. His swing, although not long to an extreme, is too long, his bat speed is nothing special and just a bit above average, and I would like to see him have a more consistent swing when trying to hit to all fields. He has the potential to be a monster, but I see too many questions to put a very good chance on him reaching his potential.

Travis Demeritte Scouting Report

I was able to watch 2013 1st round pick (30th overall) 3B prospect Travis Demeritte take some batting practice when I was in Surprise and here is what I saw:

Demeritte definitely has some plus bat speed. His bat really gets through the zone quick and he should have no problem turning on inside pitches. His swing is just a bit long, but with his bat speed it should not make much of a difference. Demeritte also has a plus plus appreciation of the song Paranoid by Ty Dolla $ign, which is a very important quality in a hitter in today's baseball. My main worry with Demeritte is his wrists, which look a little bit stiff to me.

Demeritte showed me why he was a first round pick, flashing very good bat speed. He definitely has the potential to develop a plus hit tool.

Hanser Alberto Scouting Report

I was able to watch Hanser Alberto take some batting practice a couple weeks ago in Surprise, and here is what I saw:

Alberto is more known for his defense than his hitting ability, and there is definitely a reason for that. While his swing is good and overall pretty short and compact, his bat speed is below average, which will make him very vulnerable to inside fastballs. He also has very average wrist quickness, so he doesn't make up for his lack of bat speed with his wrists.

I have a hard time seeing him develop much of a hit tool or much pop. He will need to develop an very advanced approach at the plate for him to be able to provide much offensively. I plan to go to a couple games in Myrtle Beach this year, and if he gets moved up to Frisco, where he was last year, I will definitely get a look at him there so I can see him defensively, but it will take some serious plus plus defense for me to believe in him developing into a ML-caliber player.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Deep Sleeper Prospects

There are two players who are completely off the radar and have yet to produce in games, that I believe have a chance, albeit a small one, of developing into ML caliber players.

Fernando Vivili: entering his 20-year-old season, Vivili has yet to put up an average above the Mendoza line in three rookie league seasons, putting up averages of .189, .194, and .180. To this point, he has six home runs in 342 career plate appearances.

However, despite his struggles, I believe he has the potential of being a ML caliber hitter. He has good bat speed and a good frame (6'3", 210). His swing is not too long, either.

Clearly, with his lack of production to this point, the chances of him reaching his ceiling are low, but I believe he has the ability to turn into a very good player.

Smerling Lantigua: also entering his 20-year-old season, Lantigua, like Vivili, is yet to produce in-season in three rookie league seasons, with OPS of .669, .524, and .642 to this point. He has struggled defensively as well.

Despite that, Lantigua has above average bat speed to go along with fairly quick wrists, a swing that is not overly long, and he also has a good frame to add strength to.

With his struggles to this point, he also does not have a high chance of reaching his potential, but he does have the ability to turn himself into a major league caliber hitter if he can cut down on his near 30% K-rate, which I can only assume is due to a lack of plate discipline and pitch recognition as I have not seen any reason for it from BP.

In all likelihood, these two will not pan out, but Vivili and Lantigua are a couple of deep sleeper prospects to keep an eye on, as the potential is there for them to develop into good players.

Jairo Beras Scouting Report

I was able to watch Jairo Beras take batting practice over the last couple days at the morning workouts, and here is what I saw:

His swing is a tad long but not long enough to where it should create a major problem for him, very good bat speed, good size (6'5") and should be able to add some good strength as he ages. Fairly quick wrists. Probably a year or two away from breaking out production-wise.

At just 18 with good bat speed, good size/frame, and quick wrists, Beras has a lot of potential to be a very good major league player. Should be able to develop above average power as he adds muscle. Don't see star potential, but definitely has the tools to develop into an above average ML player.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lewis Brinson Scouting Report

I was able to watch Lewis Brinson take some batting practice over the last couple days, and this is what I saw:

Very good bat speed, one of the top 5 I have seen out here so far, to go along with very quick wrists. The combination of those two should give him plus power as he develops. He also has very good size, with the ability to add some muscle and gain some strength to his tall, skinny frame. However, his swing is definitely too long, and is something that will lead to him struggling to make contact throughout his career without some changes, as shown by his unheard of 38% K-rate last year.

At just 20 years old, Brinson has plenty of time to develop, and definitely has tools to succeed, with very good bat speed, quick wrists, and good size at 6'3-4", but he has a long swing that will lead to a tendency to strike out too often. His ability to reach his very high ceiling will likely come down to whether or not he can make enough contact.

Kellin Deglan Scouting Report

I was able to watch Kellin Deglan take some batting practice during the morning workouts today, and here is what I saw:

I saw very average bat speed, which will really hurt his ability to hit better, and especially harder-throwing, pitching. He has a good frame to add strength, which is something he is really going to need to do if he is going to be able to overcome his lack of bat speed.

At his best, he may be able to be a three true outcomes guy that can hang around in the majors as a backup catcher for a bit, with a ceiling of about 15 home runs if he can add a good amount of strength, as he has already shown a tendency to strike out a lot (struck out in 26.2% of plate appearances last year), and draw a good amount of walks (9.2% of plate appearances last year). That is his ceiling, but I don't see him ever being a ML caliber hitter.

Yeyson Yrizarri Scouting Report

I was able to watch Yeyson Yrizarri take some batting practice during this mornings workouts, and here is what I saw:

Many of you may not know this name. He is a 16-year-old shortstop prospect the Rangers signed out of the Dominican last year for $1.35 million.

While Yrizarri is known for having a quick bat, I saw his bat speed as just slightly above average. What I saw as his biggest asset is his very quick wrists. He has a good swing that doesn't have much wasted motion. He is also known for having a good arm although I have not been able to see him throw to this point. At 16 years old, it is too early to start making career projections, but he definitely has the ability to be a ML player down the line, and his quick wrists can make him a quality hitter as he adds strength.

EDIT: I was able to see him take some grounders a couple days after I wrote this report, and here is what I saw defensively:

Yrizzari definitely has a very strong arm, and that should really develop into a plus tool for him as he ages. However, he showed poor hands, fumbling multiple softly hit balls, and really struggling to field groundballs backhanded. I question his ability to stay at short, but he definitely has the arm to stay on the left side of the infield.

Ryan Rua Scouting Report

I was able to watch Ryan Rua take some batting practice during this morning's workouts and here is what I saw:

Rua has good strength, good wrist quickness, good bat speed, good short and compact swing. Just all-around solid tools at the plate, with no one special quality but also without one big flaw. An overall solid hitter.

Nothing about him stood out, but Rua showed good, above average abilities in wrist quickness and bat speed, to go along with good strength and a good short swing. I see his ceiling as a league average third baseman, which is a very valuable player, with a good chance to at least be a quality ML bench bat.

Jorge Alfaro Scouting Report

I was able to watch Jorge Alfaro take some batting practice today and play in an intrasquad game yesterday, and here is what I saw:

Plus plus, elite bat speed, really gets through the zone at a great rate, bat speed rivals Odor for best I have seen this week. Smooth swing with little wasted motion. Does have a plus arm which he is probably most known for, should be able to develop plus power due to his great bat speed. Great size and frame.

With fantastic bat speed, a good, short, smooth, mechanically-sound swing, a plus arm, good frame, good athleticism, Alfaro has the potential to be a perennial All-Star at the Major League level. Not at all overrated. Has all the tools to be a star, but needs to work on his plate discipline, with just a 6.7BB% last year. If he can become a more patient hitter, watch out.