July 12, 2016
Notes from the Field
The Futures Game: US Roster
The U.S. fielded a deep team bursting with top-end talent, including five of the top 18 prospects in our mid-season update, and for most of the game it looked like they were well poised to ride solid pitching and Alex Bregman’s awesomeness to glorious victory before the wheels fell off late.
Here are notes on each player who performed for the Stars and Stripes on Sunday. For reports on the triumphant World Team roster, Chris Crawford covered them bases yesterday.
Andrew Benintendi, CF, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland) - Eyewitness Report
Compact frame, moves gracefully and athletically despite muscle on a smaller frame; mild leverage, quick into the zone with above-average bat speed, gets on plane, hard line drive contact with surprising carry, generates bat speed without a ton of effort, couple non-squared BP balls with impressive carry into the seats; Alex Reyes made him look silly in game, but he does that to a lot of people; covered outer third, hard ground ball contact; moves well in space on the grass, solid closing speed.
Alex Bregman, SS/3B, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno) – Eyewitness Report
Has no place in the minor leagues still; hard line drives in BP, worked the field; first game AB against Alex Reyes was a thing of beauty: all over a 98 and fouled it straight back, fought off a 79 hammer, barreled another 98 to the oppo gap; 4.19 dig, actions looked smooth and quick at third, started a double play with fluidity and a quick transfer, then made a stellar play charging hard but controlled, transferring and firing on the run with velocity and accuracy. He’s ready.
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa)
Easy pull power, plus to that side, fluid cut with leverage, flows into the zone; balanced stride, can get stiff onto the front side, violent barrel delivery, prone to over-swinging, some drag gets him under pitches; really aired it out in BP, looks to do damage to the pull side whenever he’s ahead in the count; not tested in the field.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading) – Eyewitness Report
Huge frame, deep load with ample loft, plus-plus power to all fields, long, towering fly balls with loads of carry; mechanical stride, some stiffness, two-part load, some extra movement, can see a loose barrel with some swing-and-miss; clunky runner in right, doesn’t look like a natural on the grass.
David Dahl, CF, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford) – Eyewitness Report
Thin, not much waist, square shoulders, balanced gait; generates easy bat speed with quick hips, turned around first-pitch 98 in game, hard ground ball contact, 4.27 on a check-up, second at-bat jammed by velo in, arms out looking to extend, beaten to the inner-third; showed 70 arm strength with one-hop accuracy on back-to-back throws home from mid-depth center, low trackers with serious velocity, surprising carry at low trajectory.
Travis Demeritte, 2B, Texas Rangers (High-A High Desert) - Eyewitness Report
Struggled to find the barrel in BP, weak pop-up contact; quick feet, showed better defensive chops than I’d seen: solid athleticism and body control fielding grounder in traffic, slapping a tag on, whirling, and firing to complete a 4-3 double play, then solid footwork around the bag and a quick transfer on the turn to finish another; worked a deep count, showed patience taking a couple borderline pitches off the black, 4.2 flat.
Hunter Dozier, 3B, Kansas City Royals (Triple-A Omaha)
Tall, physically mature, filled out with lean strength, big-league body; high hands, tucks front shoulder, pinches front hip, some rhythm in his load, front arm gets stiff, not the most fluid swing, average bat speed, maybe a tick above, notable hand strength, hips clear early, plus raw with carry to center in BP; eaten up by a hard one-hopper, very tough reaction play, just getting leather on it showed some quality reaction, gets off his mark quick, quick laterally.
Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians (Double-A Akron) – Eyewitness Report
Strong kid, well-proportioned, athletic, durable frame; didn’t have it in BP, struggled to harness barrel and drive pitches (save for one long homer off the second deck façade in left); elite wrist and hand strength, lightning-fast hips, explosive bat speed, hard line-drive contact to oppo gap in game, stayed on plane to catch high velocity; plus runner, 4.25 (turn), 4.14 dig, strong crossover and release on easy stolen base, speed looks to have utility.
Ryon Healy, 1B/3B, Oakland Athletics (Triple-A Nashville)
Length to the frame, muscular top half, quiet setup, hitch, long multi-stage load, high leg kick, hands drift, bunch of trouble spots for timing, front side will bail out, really opens up off plant foot, mild leverage, flatter swing plane in game; badly overmatched by 97 on outer black, adjusted impressively to sync timing, turned around a 99 with hard pull contact on next pitch; some signs of an approach, vulnerability to changeups below the zone.
Carson Kelly, C, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield) – Eyewitness Report
Athletic frame, textbook physicality, solid strength throughout frame; fairly compact, loose hands, mild leverage to pull side, 5 raw, hard line-drive contact; solid receiver, quiet, fluid and natural to the ball, moves free and easy behind the dish, smooth laterally, above-average defensive tool set.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso)
Double-plus raw, swing has gotten quicker into the zone, less length, smoother flow in load, better timing than when he was with Lake Elsinore; still some in-zone swing-and-miss (swung through a center-cut 92, albeit one thrown with some deception), but like his chances to bring a majority of his power into game more now than I did then.
Chance Sisco, C, Baltimore Orioles (Double-A Bowie) – Eyewitness Report
Athletic frame, room for more muscle in top half. Not a ton of loft in BP, showed more leverage in game swing, smooth barrel delivery, loose hands with some nascent pop, some bat speed, 5 raw, showed ability to drive the ball to the opposite gap with carry; clunky pop, rushed with no chance against speedy runner with a slow pitcher, should’ve eaten it, threw it away instead, big tail on his throw;
Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Double-A Binghamton) – Eyewitness Report
Thick, mature frame, big ass, broad shoulders, dense strength throughout; pretty left-handed swing, some stiffness launching the barrel, lower-half rhythm, hips work well, 6+ raw, ball carries to right-center power alley; aggressive hitter, badly fooled by a 2-0 change, didn’t love the inner-third coverage against velo, beaten there; slow as molasses: two “digs” north of 4.8, poor vertical jump, some mobility to his glove side, struggled to get down and across body to corral a hard hopper that went for a double.
Christin Stewart, OF, Detroit Tigers (High-A Lakeland) – Eyewitness Report
Deep crouch, big physical strength, filled out with upper-body strength; hands drift, pinches hips, multi-stage load with some stiffness, hitch, center of gravity raises up at trigger; plus-plus to pull side, strength to take it out oppo, fly balls generate carry, gets to high pitches with ability to turn on ‘em; conservative tracking a ball into the corner, let it rattle around a bit, some lumber in his stride, doesn’t explode after the ball, below-average range.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi)
Beautiful, flowing locks, meticulously coiffed, minimal helmet-head effect, flow shows durability, holds its shape, mild cascade in the light afternoon breeze, well above-average convertible potential; excellent balance, simple swing, quiet setup, short into the zone, gets it on plane early, steady barrel, gets extension out front; 5 raw, mostly line drives in BP, separated and drove a couple balls with carry; not particularly tested in game, but shows natural instincts on the dirt, solid fundamentals, plenty of arm for short.
The Pitchers (In Order of Appearance)
Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno)
Perfect one-inning microcosm of The Musgrove Experience: dozen or so pitches, most of them strikes, outstanding east-west command of a 91-94 fastball with run and serious plane to the bottom of the zone, couple 50ish sliders with short break mixed in, three groundball outs, back in the dugout. Smooth delivery, elasticity, low-effort mechanics, clean arm action with easy deceleration, minimal effort.
Amir Garrett, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Extremely athletic, easy movements, length to the frame, long arm action with some sling and mild crossfire from a true three-quarter slot, clean foot strike with easy deceleration; fastball 92-95 (t96) with some run and late life, plays up with a late pickup from moderately closed front side, lots of late swings against the heater, works best to arm side with run to the outer-third; slider 82-83, inconsistent shape, some swept with longer break, others showed tilt with quality bite; flat changeup at 82, runs into his slider, didn’t do much; 1.25-1.38 from the stretch, arm strength to pick flat-footed.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque) – Eyewitness Report
Fluid delivery, stays tall, commands his body, efficient motion stays on line and consistent through check points, uses his height effectively, extremely easy velocity; fastball 94-96 (t97) with explosive life, gets on hitters quick, left a couple center-cut; curveball is an 81-84 hammer, tight shape, huge depth, vertical action really snaps late, elite offering, changeup 84-86 with solid tumble, confidence to double-up, solid velo separation, some swing-and-miss potential.
Phil Bickford, RHP, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose) – Eyewitness Report
Solid frame with mild additional projection, some stiffness and effort into his leg kick, doesn’t flow, drops low into drive, doesn’t utilize height well, limited plane, effort through his finish, mild head whack, loses balance and spins out; fastball 89-91 (t92), tough pickup, has some deception, lacks plane, plays true with limited movement, late life to get on top of barrels, command wandered; slider 79-80, backed up into the zone, didn’t show a ton of depth; changeup 83-86 with some tumble; no standout pitch, fastball doesn’t have a ton of margin for error, neither secondary looked like an average offering.
Nate Smith, LHP, Anaheim Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)
Closed delivery, very simple, mild stab, uphill to high three-quarter slot; fastball at 90 with plane, couple flattened out up in the zone, command inconsistent; outstanding changeup at 75-76, huge velo separation, tumble, tracks well off fastball plane, swing-and-miss pitch with feel, showed plus; slider 81-83 flat, left a couple up, lacks tilt; 1.34 home, varied tempo, will slide step, ability to control running game.
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Arms and legs delivery, extends plant leg out to full mast after kick, hips drive open, generates extension and explosion downhill, well above-average arm speed to three-quarter slot, high-octane delivery, head whack, some violence in recoil; fastball 93 with explosive life, worked it to the hands; cutter 89-91, late life, generated swing-and-miss, commanded it to both sides; changeup 85-86 firm, mild tumble, turned one over with sharp horizontal run and drop, split-like action; curveball 79-81, backed one up, doubled-up through the front door, confidence in pitch; pitched with the same moxie he showed at Vanderbilt, high-intensity guy with confidence in his stuff.
Anthony Banda, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno)
Solid frame, some additional good weight since I saw him at Visalia, looks more athletic, stronger; full wind, clean arm action, very fluid up top, stride has some drift, will get inconsistent and mildy off-balance at strike, control ahead of command; one-inning grain of salt, but fastball 93-95 (t96), up from 88-91 at Visalia last spring, better life now, solid run, can play up in the zone; curveball 80-84, quality depth, couple spinners, inconsistent snap, good ones can play as chasers; changeup 85-86 still lags, not a ton of feel, left a couple hangers (including one that Moncada rocked), limited swing-and-miss.
Josh Hader, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Triple-A Colorado Springs) – Eyewitness Report
Has filled out some since I last saw him two years ago, some wiry strength up top, mild physical projection remaining, frame won’t carry a ton of weight; tall through take-away, closed up, very deep arm action, slings all the way across his body from a low three-quarter; the hips don’t always get all the way open, but elite elasticity, repeats surprisingly well given length and slot; only five fastballs, 93-95 (t96), run, very difficult pickup gives it excellent life into the zone.
J.T. Chargois, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester)
Strong frame, mild athleticism, some stiffness, deceleration with late drop into drive, not the most fluid delivery, timing issues, hard drive with firm strike, effort through finish; fastball 96-97, explosive with tail and some weight, 70+ pitch; slider 85-86, tilt, good bite, potential to miss bats, poor command, struggled with feel to snap it off, missed badly with several; one changeup at 86, change-of-pace, didn’t do much; high-leverage potential with potent two-pitch mix.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Narrow frame, mature body, strong legs and backside, short leg kick, generates powerful drive downhill, effort in his gather and arm swing to build velo, inconsistent timing with below-average command profile; fastball came out 98-99, backed up to 95-96 around 20 pitch mark; lacked feel for slider, 89 out of the gate similarly down to 85-87, some tilt, lacked a ton of bite, rolled some that set an early trajectory, average bat-missing capability; last man in the ‘pen was left twisting in the wind for 30-plus pitches.
Wilson Karaman is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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