Live Looks from Reds and Indians Camp
The 2019 NHSI concluded Saturday night with Orange Lutheran winning its third consecutive championship. Much like previous years, the 2019 “crop of talent” featured a myriad of pro prospects, attracting scouts from college and professional ranks. At this type of event it is common to have several concurrent games, forcing an excruciating choice between top prospects on different fields. Having little exposure to many of these kids, it made the most sense to prioritize my schedule around pitchers. The tournament is only four days, which means each pitcher will throw once and you’ll only get one opportunity to see them. Let’s walk through ten pitchers with the most pro potential in this year’s tournament*:
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 Or even worse, are there placements on the PL Cubs top 30 that already look outdated?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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.