Prospect Pu Pu Platter

I spent Tuesday night in Lakewood at the South Atlantic League All Star Game and Wednesday night in Reading to see, among other things, Chase Utley rehab against Anthony Ranaudo. I’ve got nine pages of handwritten notes from those two days and a few more back logged from other games I’ve been to lately. I want to get this information out (not just the Phillies stuff, it’s time I dust off my own little site and write up non-Phillies stuff, too. I am scouting and taking notes on everyone so i may as well put it to use) so here’s a quick summary on the guys I’ve seen recently, excluding the guys that I think require full reports (except for Mecias). These start out as very conversational reports and gradually de-construct into shorter, more scouting report-like blurbs. We’re going to do a scouting mailbag in the near future so if there’s jargon you don’t understand, hold that question for next week sometime. 

Triple-A Lehigh Valley

Mauricio Robles (LHP) – Robles is short and thick at 5’10”, 215lbs.  His vertically oriented arm angle allows him to pitch with more downhill plane than someone of his stature normally would. His fastball will sit 92-94mph and he’s show you an above average 12-6 curveball at times. He’s on the 40 man roster. He’ll be up in September, if not sooner. I want to see more of him, look at fastball movement, control/command and see if there’s a third pitch (someone with his arm angle has a change for an effective splitter but his hands may not be big enough to grip the ball that way) there. He has a shot to stick.

Leandro Castro (OF) – Castro was playing some CF when injuries forced him to, but I haven’t seen enough of him there to have a real opinion on whether or not it is a viable option. He’s only playing it once a week or so. If he can, it would certainly improve his chances at a big league career. There’s nice raw power here but too much swing and miss to tap into it. He flies open and leaves himself vulnerable away and just in general swings with everything he has all the time and loses sight of the baseball. I really like watching him play but don’t think it’ll be effective enough for him to carve out a big league career. If he can play CF then we’re talking fourth OF-type.

Darin Ruf (1B) – He’s gotten himself in much, much better shape than he was in Reading and is not an abomination in the outfield anymore, though he still makes me nervous. For me, Ruf’s still a first-base only guy. A 20 runner, he just doesn’t get to enough balls in the outfield for my liking. He has made some spectacular catches, but they’re on balls that most outfielders corral rather comfortably. One good sign from Ruf that I saw last week was a HR he hit the opposite way. It’s only the second ball I saw him take to the right side of second base all year. My scouting report on him from last year isn’t obsolete, but I’m slightly encouraged. I think he’d be less awful against left handed pitching than Ryan Howard is right now, but I’m not sure I want to use a roster spot on someone whose role is “less sucky, 1B only bench bat platoon guy.” He turns 27 in a month.


Double-A Reading

Brody Colvin (RHP) – In some publications, Colvin is listed at 6’4”. In others, he’s listed at 6’3”. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were really 6’2” because he certainly doesn’t look very big on the mound. Combine that with shorter arms and a lower arm angle, drop and drive delivery and this is a guy who pitches like he’s barely an even 6’. His fastball has plus velo and some sink to it but he leaves it up in the zone quite often. He mixes in a two-plane curveball in the low 70s and a changeup in the low 80s, both of which show average or better at times. Poor control caused by a varying release point hurts him. He was shelled by Portland on Thursday. He’s a “no” for me until he moves to the bullpen permanently, at which point it will be time to re-evaluate.

Luis Garcia (RHP) – Garcia is a tad old for the level but the fastball is hard enough to make you pay attention. He sat 93-95mph for me on Thursday with a blunt, average-ish slider he’d throw anywhere from 83-86mph. He located slidey well to his glove side and the pitch is good enough that he could get swings and misses with it if he locates it like that all the time. He has a Joel Peralta sleeve which is meaningless, but I think it’s cool. Who does that custom tailoring?

Jay Johnson (LHP) – Sidearmer whose curveball had more RPMs on it than any other curve in last year’s Arizona Fall League, according to the Trackman guys. If he spun the curveball from a normal arm angle with that sort of spin it would be a devastating, eye level altering pitch aided by gravity. Since he drops down so low the ball is spinning more horizontally and has nice two plane movement. It’ll sit in the upper 70s and he’ll work it in the back door. I was pleasantly surprised by his fastball velocity, touching 93mph, sitting just underneath it. This is a future big league bullpen lefty.

Tyler Knigge (RHP) – Plus fastball velo, routinely 92-94mph from a ¾ arm slot. Generates torque with hips. Slider in the low 80s. Not sharp. Fastball has some natural cut when thrown to glove side. Has a changeup but doesn’t show it much in game action. Body is a bit dumpy. Secondary stuff needs to come along a bit for me to be intrigued.

Hector Neris (RHP) – Short strider. Delivery isn’t very athletic. Slider is short in the low 80s. Has plus fastball velo but it’s very straight. Changeup is a little firm but has nice action, an average offering. Up and down bullpen arm ceiling for me.

Anthony Hewitt (RF) – Hand-eye coordination just isn’t good enough for him to make contact with baseballs on a regular basis. When he does barrel balls, it’s easy to see why a scout could fall in love. NP.


Low-A Lakewood

Yoel Mecias (LHP) – 6’2” and just 160lbs leaves a good amount of room for projection. Fastball at present has average velocity but projects better thanks to the physical development he has left. Changeup is a present plus pitch with insane screwball action. It sits in the upper 70s. Slurvy breaking ball in the low 80s. Has two plane movement but it lacks definition and sharp movement. Work too fast for his own good and the delivery needs a ton of work to smooth it out. Could see future 60 fastball, 65 changeup and 45 slider. Control/command and physicality to handle a starter’s work load will depend on development of his mechanics and his body. It’s certainly possible. He’s just 19 years old.


I’ll be in Reading on Saturday (probably) too see Austin Wright, Maikel Franco, Andrew Susac, etc.

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  1. bubba0101

    June 21, 2013 12:05 PM

    None of this makes me feel good about our farm

  2. nik

    June 21, 2013 12:14 PM

    bubba: good thing our farm has a lot more than just these guys then.

  3. lorecore

    June 21, 2013 01:15 PM

    Good stuff, much appreciated.

    Probably the most interesting thing you mentioned was that Johnson has a shot at being a lefty reliever. Never knew that was the case. I also agree with you on Castro – he’s fun to watch play, but there’s basically no way he’ll ever put it together, especially in time for the Phillies to get any value out of it.

  4. Eric Longenhagen

    June 21, 2013 01:44 PM

    On Jay Johnson:

    Yeah, the arm angle he throws from is tough for lefties to pick up. He’s only given up one run since May 8th. He might see Triple-A this year.

  5. Dan K.

    June 21, 2013 01:51 PM

    Good read. Any thoughts on Numata? I’ve heard surprisingly little about him.

  6. Eric Longenhagen

    June 21, 2013 01:54 PM

    Numata has interesting defensive skills. Really fast transfer, arm is just ok. I need to see BP (No BP before the AS due to rain) and more of him to write anything serious.

  7. nik

    June 21, 2013 02:23 PM

    Can Castro do what Mayberry does at the ML level? I could see him being a bench/platoon guy that can play CF in a pinch.

  8. MattWinks

    June 21, 2013 02:56 PM

    Good to see the reports. Nice to here good things on Numata’s defensive skills, surprised the arm is just ok considering he was a SS when drafted.

    On scouting nerdery level it would nice to see those non-Phillies scouting reports

  9. hoot

    June 22, 2013 12:44 AM

    Good to see Franco getting a well deserved promotion to Reading. Is Dugan soon to follow? Are scouts more optimistic about him after his hot start in CLR?

  10. Fish Fry

    June 22, 2013 09:17 AM

    So, if we had to take a flyer on one outfielder in the system to replace the indispensable Delmon Young, who would be better than an outfield of Galvis/Mayberry/ Revere/Brown as that is out best 4 outfielders on the team now combining Defense and offense and it is pretty offensive. Someone from LHV or Reading? It certainly seems very thin (AAA – Ruf/Castro/Jermaine and Derrick Mitchell)(AA – Gillies/Hewitt/Collier). Wow, that was depressing to write!

  11. Fish Fry

    June 22, 2013 09:30 AM

    With as bad as the Phils drafts on position players have been over the past 7 years, maybe they should consider stealing someone from the Atlanta or St Louis org and having them explain what the hell you are looking for when you pick players. They want to claim it is all about their success that has undermined their drafts but St Louis has won two World Series, lost the best player in baseball, lost Chris Carpenter and they keep marching on. Atlanta retooled with young players they drafted in the 2nd round (simmons/freeman),3rd(Schafer),23rd(Gatis) and good complementary signings/trades. It is frustrating to watch and listen on our hopes to bat .300.

  12. BPS

    June 22, 2013 01:32 PM

    Reading this line, “I think he’d be less awful against left handed pitching than Ryan Howard is right now” and genuinely curious, how many quad-A type RH hitters would be less awful than Howard against major league LHP? Let alone Kevin Frandsen…

  13. Larry

    June 22, 2013 05:06 PM

    Enough with the insults to Ryan Howard, he is on a tear in June knocking in RBIS and now starting to hit hrs again. Cole Hamels is the problem, they would be fighting for 1st place if not for him sucking so bad.

    Where’s Phillie697??? Eating crow about Howard yet???

  14. MattWinks

    June 22, 2013 06:09 PM

    Yes Howard is doing better in June, though I am really hoping you are trolling with that comment. RBI is not a stat that has anything to do with Howard’s abilities, it is largely a product of Revere and Young being on base more.

    The comments have to do with Howard against LHP.

    In 2013 he is hitting .194/.247/.328 against LHP

  15. hoot

    June 23, 2013 12:02 AM

    “Though I am really hoping you are trolling with that comment.”

    Do you know how much of a douche you sound like with that comment?

  16. Larry

    June 23, 2013 12:33 AM

    “Yes Howard is doing better in June, though I am really hoping you are trolling with that comment. RBI is not a stat that has anything to do with Howard’s abilities, it is largely a product of Revere and Young being on base more.”

    Ummmmm Ryan Howard’s job is to drive in runs, he’s batting over 300 with RISP for the season. Revere and Young doing their job to get on base and Ryan drives them home. That’s what we need right????????????????? Are you mad that Ryan is producing runs with guys on base????? Do you wish he wasn’t so you can insult him??? SMH

  17. Larry

    June 23, 2013 12:46 AM

    BTW, you want to talk crap about Howard’s avg against lefties, do you even realize that he’s batting 282 right now, which is 2nd best on the team??? He’s not the problem, look somewhere else.

  18. Dan K.

    June 23, 2013 07:37 AM

    What’s driving the WIP crowd to Crashburn this time around?

    On topic: Severino Gonzalez. Monster stats at the moment. Do you know if he’s working with a 70+ pitch in his repertoire?

  19. Fish Fry

    June 23, 2013 08:57 AM

    Looking forward to seeing the Phils against Harvey. A RH Stud against a LH heavy lineup. Today will be interesting to see if RH can catch up to the fastball. Against hard throwers he has looked lost, simply overpowered, so if the Phils can help educate Harvey on life in the MLB and take 2 or 3 from the Muts, Monday will be a good day.

  20. MattWinks

    June 23, 2013 11:11 AM

    @Dan K.
    Last I heard is the curveball has really good movement and that is what he is dominating with. He does through the changeup much and the fastball is right around 90mph.

    But those were amateur reports, nothing official

  21. Steve

    June 23, 2013 05:34 PM

    Ah, good ole Ben Revere. Who is our CF’er of the future? Maybe we drafted someone who will be good in a few years but, god, we at least know we’ll have a different team then what is being run out there now on August 1st. A Cf’er who is clueless to Dead Feet Delmon who Charlie keeps running out there in RF. DY isn’t worth more today than he was yesterday and he won’t be worth much at the trade deadline. I can’t watch anymore games while he is in RF and if I was a SP on this team, I’d get the 5 guys together and walk into CM’s office and say, if DY is in RF, I am not pitching, the guy costs us a run a game (easily a run a game). Once that works, they can go see him about Ben. Mutiny on the Phillies.

  22. Eric Longenhagen

    June 24, 2013 08:10 AM

    Trying to catch up here…

    On Larry: Chill. I love Ryan Howard and he’s had one hell of a career. But he hasn’t hit lefties in a long while. And one thing to keep in mind with Howard’s AVG with RISP is the shift. Teams shift him because he hits the ball over there. When there are runners on, teams don’t shift as much. Which means there’s more room for him to hit the ball. I’m not discounting the idea that “clutch” or whatever doesn’t exist, I’m just giving you something to consider.

    On Sevy Gonzalez: I’m going down to Florida in August and will hopefully get a look. If not I’ll have to rely solely on scouts I know who have coverage down there.

    On Matt Harvey:
    I saw Harvey last year in a day (I mean DAY game) at Lehigh Valley andhis stuff was not as good as it is now. It was never this good. For some reason when he got to the big leagues it ticked up across the board. No explaination.

  23. Dan K.

    June 24, 2013 10:37 PM

    Sounds good. Gonzalez and Mecias are the two most intriguing prospects to me at the moment because of their combination of results and lack of solid information about them, so anything you hear or observe about them is appreciated.

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