May 11, 2015
Monday Morning Ten Pack
May 11, 2015
Berrios is the most impressive arm I've seen through the season's first month. In Friday's start against Jackson, his fastball was 92-95 and touched 96 with late riding life. He paired it with two present above-average secondaries that flashed plus potential.
The reports that followed Berrios last season continued in this outing. The fastball is present above average with plus potential. He held his velo through eight innings with good life, but command keeps it from being present plus. It flattens up in the zone and he struggles getting consistent downward plane, and he also fights the ability to spot it glove side. He missed a few glove-side spots, and he showed some frustration with that. But the velo and life are excellent, and he can kill a batter's hands inside on the pitch.
Berrios' curveball was 76-80, flashed downward break with big depth, but was usually a hard three-quarters breaker. The depth and command wavered at times, mainly from getting on the side and sweeping it, but he kept it down and tight and maintained two-plane break. His changeup has the chance to be a 65 pitch at 82-84, touched 85 with sink and fade. The arm speed is outstanding and makes it a devastating pitch along with good present command.
Berrios has to keep the fastball down or on the corners, but I think he shows the athletic ability to improve the pitch's command enough. The mechanics aren't exactly easy, but they don't hinder him, and the arm is very fast and loose. I like Berrios' chances of remaining a starting pitcher, and if he puts it together at the big-league level, he can be a solid no. 3. –David Lee
Brett Phillips, OF, Houston Astros (Lancaster Jethawks)
As impressive as he is with the bat, Phillips might be better with the glove. That plus speed gives him a chance to play centerfield—though several I’ve spoken with believe right is his more natural position—and he possesses a cannon for an arm, one that is easily plus-plus thanks to its accuracy and carry. His ceiling is an .800 OPS leadoff hitter who adds more value with the glove; and with no real weakness his floor should a be solid fourth outfielder who can play three outfield positions. –Christopher Crawford
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson Generals)
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins (High-A Fort Myers)
Coming into the season, there was much anticipation as to how things would progress for Stewart, especially when it comes to being able to stay healthy and on the mound. After three starts in April, the righty once again finds himself on the disabled list, though this time due to inflammation in his throwing elbow. Given the nature of the position, it isn’t surprising to see an arm deal with issues of this nature, but this one comes at a time when Stewart needs a string of clean health to get the developmental momentum rolling and also prove that his durability isn’t going to hold him back. We’re in wait-and-see mode right now, but the trends are starting to at least show it’s going to be a bit of a slower ramp than initially expected –Chris Mellen
Akeel Morris, RHP, New York Mets (High-A St. Lucie Mets)
Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State
“[Harris was] sensational,” an NL front-office member. “He isn’t overpowering, but it’s a plus fastball that will touch 95 and there’s loads of sink on the pitch, as seen in the groundballs. The slider and curve both flash plus, and I saw the signs of an above-average change as well. My only concern is the effort in the delivery, but I think he’s athletic enough to get away with it. I’ve seen two potential aces if everything goes right, and Harris is one of them.”
Harris has as much heat on him as any arm in the class, and it would be an upset at this point if he wasn’t taken in the first dozen selections of the draft. –Christopher Crawford
Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
“I would say it’s the worst [Tate’s} thrown this year,” an NL East scout said. “He still had the plus-plus fastballs and I saw a couple of sliders that would be 60s, maybe 65s, but it certainly wasn’t the 70 pitch I’ve seen so consistently most of the season. Because the command is below-average and there’s so many working parts in the delivery that likely make it impossible for it to be any more than [solid-average], that pitch needs to be plus-plus if he’s going to start. The overall body of work is impressive, but it’s starts like this that sort of give you some pause.”
Even with the poor outing, Tate is a lock for the top eight picks, and it would be a surprise if he got out of the top six with teams like Minnesota, Texas, and Houston still interested in his services. –Christopher Crawford
Tyler Naquin, CF, Cleveland Indians (Double-A Akron)
I've seen Naquin a few times throughout his minor-league career, and the first thing that always strikes me is his ability to barrel mistakes. I was able to catch him once again when Akron traveled to face Bowie and Dylan Bundy. As we have noted in an Eyewitness Report and a Ten Pack this season, Dylan Bundy is back to form. From my two viewings of Bundy this season, Naquin is the only player I have seen barrel him hard. He has a fluid stroke with minimal noise and quickness through the zone. While the bat speed is only a tick above average and the swing is mostly linear, there is a chance for the hit tool to at least play average. I've seen the defensive capabilities in past viewings of Naquin, where he has flashed above-average defense and a double-plus arm from center field. When we spread out the tools on paper, some may be underwhelmed. However, Naquin is more about the package as a whole, and the skills are certainly enough to work in the majors. –Tucker Blair
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (Low-A Quad Cities)
Luis Cruz, LHP, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies)
Cruz has the well-rounded arsenal you’d expect from a pitcher of his stature. He works with a two-seam fastball that I saw touch 89, but usually sits a tick or two lower than that. The pitch features good tailing action, and he puts pretty good fade on his 80-81 mph changeup as well.
He also throws a slider and a curve, and while I wasn’t real excited by the former, he snapped off a few knee-buckling 12-6 benders that graded as above-average pitches. He’s not consistent with it yet—a few deuces spun feebly—but when it’s working, Cruz has two off-speed pitches he can turn to in a pinch.
The southpaw has been used as a starter for most of his career, but he’ll fit best as a middle reliever in the majors. I don’t believe he has the raw stuff to chew through a big-league lineup multiple times and I’m concerned about his durability—he hasn’t thrown more than five innings in a start this season and he tired noticeably over the course of the game in my viewing. The curve and change give him enough weapons to get righties out, so he’s got a chance to be more than a LOOGY, but it’s a seventh-inning ceiling for me. –Brendan Gawlowski