The Future Is Unwritten: Albert Cartwright Scouting Report

Every piece of an organization is important, especially when your roster is shallow and old enough that injuries and poor play mean Michael Martinez spends nearly a fifth of the season on your big league roster. Marginal improvements, even deep in the annals of the organizational depth chart, can impact your big league club in some way if things break right. Roster expansion in September means teams can utilize players who were wholly insignificant during the season in ways that their most prominent skills can impact the game. Francisco Rodriguez for the Angels in 2002, Franklin Morales for the Rockies in 2007, Dan Johnson for Tampa in 2011, Billy Hamilton for the Reds this year, there’s a long list of guys dripping with anonymity that were called up late in the year or forced up due to injury that have contributed to the cause. Or at least were good enough that they didn’t irreparably damage the cause. That’s why today I’d like to take a look at an unglamorous but interesting player named Albert Cartwright. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Malquin Canelo Scouting Report

Not every name you’ll see me bring up this offseason will be one you’re immediately familiar with. There are plenty of players whose names you don’t know at all (and who I’ve overlooked) who will make noise as prospects at some point soon, potentially next year. Hell, Kelly Dugan didn’t even make Baseball America’s Phillies top 30 this year where was listed on their organizational depth chart as a first baseman (he’s a plus defender in the OF) and he’s one of the more interesting guys in the entire system now. That word, “interesting,” is an important one to keep in mind this offseason as we plow through as many scouting reports as we can here at Crashburn. Not every prospect we’ll talk about is special, there aren’t enough special prospects in any system to sustain an entire offseason’s worth of content if that’s a requisite criterion. But everyone is interesting, especially the fatally flawed ones who are walking reminders of how sacred we should hold the ones that are truly special. One of these paper tigers is shortstop Malquin Canelo who spent most of this year at Short Season Williamsport. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: JP Crawford (Part Two)

Last we saw JP Crawford on this site was post-draft, where the appetizer was a discussion of his skillset and the main course was a deep dive into how to project young bodies as they grow into men. I hadn’t seen Crawford in person at that point, the only scouting info and opinion we had on him at that time was what I’d gotten from sources. Most thought he’d be a slow comer, at least initially, as his wispy frame  would need thickening and his many mechanical issues needed greasing. We were wrong. Crawford’s quick signing (thank you for that, new CBA) and subsequent dominance in GCL ball (this is where most writers would post his triple slash line but I couldn’t care less about a GCL slash line) led to his aggressive promotion to the Sally League where I was able to get several fantastic looks at him. Continue reading…

Solving the Maize: Reflections on Ruf, Asche and Player Makeup

Twelve-hundred miles due west of Citizens Bank Park, where a golden sun beats down on the heart of America, armies of corn sway in uncanny unison from horizon to horizon and Eric Crouch jerseys are acceptable bridal party garb, David Seifert’s odometer turns over.

The Phillies Mid-Western Area Scout is responsible for signing two of the primary reasons any of us are still watching the big league club this year, Darin Ruf and Cody Asche. For the die-hards, Ruf and Asche have been the warmth emanating from the dumpster fire that is the 2013 Phillies. Their arrival in the big leagues has been the subject of much discourse in the Media Market of Brotherly Love because of some of the over-arching issues Ruf and Asche represent as it pertains to talent evaluation and because….well, there’s really nothing else to talk about. We here at Crashburn have been no different. Since Ruf’s outer-body experience in Reading last August, nobody in the system has been discussed more on this site because of the insane juxtaposition between his numbers (this site’s traditional modus operandi) and the opinion of the entire scouting industry (except for one guy I know of). It’s time we take another look at both players from the scouting perspective and discuss how and why opinions have changed, if they have at all as well as reflect on the scouting process itself. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Cameron Rupp

The catching situation at the upper levels of the Phillies’ farm system looks drastically different than it did at the start of 2013. If you reflect back to the Spring, Tommy Joseph (who I projected to be an average everyday catcher with the caveat that he’d probably need at least a season and a half of work at Triple-A before he became a big leaguer) started the year in Allentown at the tender age of 21. Concussions have since clouded his future at the position and could force a move to first base where his bat won’t profile every day. Behind Joseph was Sebastian Valle, who had the look of a cost-controlled backup whose stock was down but still had an interesting swing path, some bat speed and average defensive skills. Valle was tasked with repeating Double-A, and somehow saw his tools regress even more than they did in 2012. Finally there was Cameron Rupp who began this year in a timeshare with Valle before grabbing the starting job by the balls and then ascending two levels to make his Major League debut last night. His development is a small but welcome feather in the cap of the organization’s front office that drafted Rupp just over three years ago. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Perci Garner

With my minor league season officially over (except for the Triple-A National Title game in Allentown on the 17th) I’m left with a car that’s been driven far too much these last two weeks, a body weary from all that driving and a mountain of notes that I now get to spend the next six months writing up here at Crashburn in all sorts of fun ways. I’d like to start that by telling you about Perci Garner, a player in the system that isn’t often mentioned but was really interesting to watch and could play a 2014 role on a big league club in desperate need of bullpen help. Continue reading…

Please Don’t Get Sexy: Trevor May

Last October I published a report here on former Phillies prospect, Trevor May (which you should probably take 5 minutes to read before you take in this piece. It’s very relevant later on). Once the top prospect in the system, May’s 2012 season was a rocky, frustrating campaign which saw his prospect status suffer a precipitous decline. May was traded during the offseason to the Minnesota Twins as part of the Ben Revere trade. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to see a new incarnation of Trevor May, a pitcher who is covered in the developmental fingerprints of the Minnesota system. Continue reading…

Ethan Martin Scouting Report

Ed. Note: This was originally scheduled to run prior to the start of last night’s Braves-Phillies game, but Eric had trouble getting WiFi at the airport.

Tonight marks the debut of Ethan Martin, a 6’2” righty who was the primary return in the Shane Victorino trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. Martin has one of the better arms in the system but also has a few issues that could prevent him from pitching as a starter long term. I’m writing this post in the Philly airport, waiting to board for a flight to Florida, so bear with its length, which is considerably shorter than you’re used to seeing from me.

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Longenhagen Scouts Williamsport, Gonzalez updates, bites from Reading

Scouting lower level talent is my favorite endeavor because the dream of youth and projection is alive everywhere you look. The Williamsport Crosscutters roster has it in spades. I ventured out there (and will go back again before the season is over) during a weekend series against the Lowell Spinners. Here are most of my notes.. Continue reading…