Backfield Banter: Notes from Cubs Camp

Backfield Banter: Notes from Cubs Camp

One of the fun parts of writing prospect lists is almost immediately wanting to shred them into 1000 pieces. I felt this with the Giants list, in which I (stupidly) omitted third baseman Luis Toribio. Seeing him live in January made this patently obvious; he needed to be on there. As I watched the Cubs this spring I similarly considered whether there were rankings I would come to regret on that list. Or even worse, are there placements on the PL Cubs top 30 that already look outdated? One guy I can’t stop thinking about is Brennen Davis. 

Backfield Banter: 2019 Giants Spring Instructs

Backfield Banter: 2019 Giants Spring Instructs

Who is that guy? He is the guy who turns your head, the guy whose name you do not know, the guy you want to learn everything about, the guy you come to the field for, and the guy you get so much joy from unearthing. For the Giants instructs, Yoris Rodriguez was that guy.

Live Looks: Julian Smith and Luis Frias -Deep Fantasy Sleepers

Live Looks:  Julian Smith and Luis Frias -Deep Fantasy Sleepers

Julian Smith, LHP - Dodgers

Age: 21 (6/6/97)

Lanky, long legs. Extremely easy delivery with loose arm. Not a frame that will support a ton of weight but room for some. FB 93-95 with life, often to glove side. CB 76-79 flashed plus with 1 to 7 shape and depth. CHG 83-86 could get firm. Impressive out of nowhere guy, scouts not even knowing who he was.

Arizona Fall League 2018 Superlatives

Arizona Fall League 2018 Superlatives

Sometimes less is more. For example, the extended moment of commentator silence after a pivotal, game-changing play. That’s how I wanted to treat this post. These videos will do a much better job explaining various skills than my words ever could. Enjoy.

Live Looks: Texas Rangers Draft Picks

Live Looks: Texas Rangers Draft Picks

Owen White, RHP - 2018 2nd round pick

Athletic delivery with clean mechanics. Good balance. Short, cross-body arm action, which creates deception. For much of delivery ball hidden behind back. Delivery does not appear to put much stress on his arm. FB 90-94…

2018 AFL Fall Stars Game Reaction

2018 AFL Fall Stars Game Reaction

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B Toronto Blue Jays – In a game of stars his shone the brightest. Fucking refulgent, man. I yearn for the day we type his name into Baseball Reference, and it does not appear in the minor league players section.

Live Looks: 2018 1st Round Picks Edition

Live Looks: 2018 1st Round Picks Edition

First year player drafts are starting up soon. We at Prospects Live are here to give you every advantage possible to crush your draft. Before we release our Top 200 FYPD rankings, we want to first dive in to what we saw live.

Ranking 2018 First Rounders from Live Looks

Ranking 2018 First Rounders from Live Looks

It’s quite possible that Ralph Liftshitz (@prospectjesus) inception’d this idea into my mind last night when I was sleeping. But it’s a good idea, so fuck it, let’s roll with it! The collective pace of fall baseball in Arizona would aptly be described as frenetic. Prospects here, prospects there, prospects everywhere. From the start of instructs to date, I’ve seen 13 of the top 40 MLB Draft picks from 2018 (only counted game action). Having seen 2 previously, that makes 15 total. I love lists. You love lists. Your Gradma loves lists, so does her dog. Before this turns into the worst haiku of all time, let’s rank the top 10 draftees I have seen in person.

Nate Pearson's Electric Stuff Impressing The Fall League

Nate Pearson's Electric Stuff Impressing The Fall League

We all dig the long ball, but what do 100 mph fastballs do for you? I personally get pretty excited, however, when I see a pitcher back up the heater with a 79 sweeping curveball, now we’re cooking!

The Welsh here with a live look at one of the hardest throwers in the Arizona Fall League, Nate Pearson. I’m lucky enough to live out in Arizona, where baseball seems to never take a break.

Live Looks: Teenage Kicks

Live Looks: Teenage Kicks

Kristian Robinson, OF - Diamondbacks VIDEO

Age: 17 (12/11/00)

Strong as hell, can’t believe he’s 17. Prototype body, will only get bigger; elite athlete. Thick thighs. Slightly open base stance with hands near head. Short stride forward. Limited lower body use, relies on upper body strength which is prolific. Hit massive HR to L/CF. Below average OF arm in morning drills. Possible LF future but the bat should carry the profile even if there is a move down the defensive spectrum.

Live Looks: First Year Player Draft

Live Looks: First Year Player Draft

Brice Turang, SS Brewers - 1st Round VIDEO

Smooth at short, solid hands, IF actions, and reactions. Quick first step and nice range to get to ball off Sugilio’s bat. Plus arm. Patient hitter; took 11 pitches:zero swings in first two ABs. Wide base stance, kept weight back and bat path was linear, maybe a slight uppercut in his one swing in his third AB.

Forrest Whitley's AFL Debut

Forrest Whitley's AFL Debut

The body is phenomenal and Whitley had me reconsidering “what is the ideal frame for a pitcher?” As I jotted my notes, per usual, I found myself writing prototype pitcher frame. Is it though? Conventional wisdom says a prototype body for a pitcher is something like 6’3” 220 lbs.  Whitley stands at 6’7”, warranting the LOL shorthand in my notes (lots of legs).

Shaping Perspective: A Tale of Two Tylers

Shaping Perspective: A Tale of Two Tylers

Independent League Baseball – If you haven’t seen an indy ball game, do yourself a favor and get on that. You won’t truly have an appreciation for the professional baseball landscape as a whole until you do. Off the top of my head there are EIGHT LEAGUES OF GUYS just trying to get an opportunity in the minors, and that is mind-boggling.

Emptying the Notebook: FL Instructs

Emptying the Notebook: FL Instructs

Baltimore Orioles

2B/SS Adam Hall- Solid defender with good first-step quickness, but looks like more of a 2B than a SS. Made nice play to his right with Jeter-esq jump throw to second for a force out. Upright stance and stays upright through swing. Mostly hands and little lower half. Linear bat path. Will take outside pitches to opposite field. VIDEO

Blind Looks: Ranking Young Yankees Pitching

Blind Looks: Ranking Young Yankees Pitching

Having spent much of the year scouting indy ball, my baseball focus was torn away from MiLB. This fall was my first exposure to the majority of the Yankees low minors. I had no knowledge of stat lines, what players looked like on video, or even what level they played at.

Backfield Banter: Red Sox Instructs

Backfield Banter: Red Sox Instructs

Thunk. Thump. Splat. A 2017 Nissan Versa sped southbound down I75 cresting at around 95 mph. Bugs spattered across the car’s windshield forming a Pollock bereft of color. Stewing, I silently cursed my own stupidity. F****** idiot! Having originally planned to see Blue Jays camp in Dunedin, a last minute audible had me headed from Tampa to Fort Myers. Most instructs games start at 1 PM, but this was scheduled for noon, something I had not realized until 9:30 AM. I pulled into the parking lot at 11:54 and hastily checked the backfields before realizing the game was to be played at JetBlue Stadium. Scouts had already assembled behind home. I sat quietly, slightly askew down the first base line, futilely hoping to not attract attention.

Backfield Banter: Yankees/Pirates Instructs

Backfield Banter: Yankees/Pirates Instructs

I’ve been to the Yankees backfields a lot in 2018. Often times, there are a few fans, few scouts, and lots of players and coaches in the stands. Most of the time, crowds are light and there are plenty of spots to post up and get video and scout. However, I was not prepared for the circus of the Instructional League. Maybe it was news that Albert Abreu would be starting. Maybe it was the 3 weeks of no local baseball. Whatever it was, the crowd was reminiscent of a Minors Spring Training game. The bleachers were packed and there was a buzz in the air.

Live Looks - Baltimore Orioles Instructs 9/22/18

Live Looks - Baltimore Orioles Instructs 9/22/18

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, 18 years old

2018 1st round pick. Prototypical pitcher’s body. Listed 6’5” 230 pounds. Max. body projection. Looks bigger than listed size. Brings a physicallity to the mound. Easy delivery with smooth actions.

Live Looks - Pittsburgh Pirates Instructs 9/22/18

Live Looks - Pittsburgh Pirates Instructs 9/22/18

Steven Jennings, RHP, 19 years old Video

2017 2nd round pick. Thin frame w/ projection. FB 86-88 T90, mostly straight. Changes speed on Curveball(CV), ranging 76-80 mph. Flashed a true hammer with tight spin. Also throws a SL 82-83. Inconsistent shape.