Brayan Rocchio (SS) – Special player. Short, twitchy athlete with a great chance to stick at shortstop and also contribute plus offensive value. Switch-hitter. Special hands allow for extra reaction time, aesthetically pleasing swing with plus bat speed. Lets ball travel deep, especially when hitting lefty: keeps center of mass back and reacts. Bigger load and approach in his righty swing, could produce more power but also expose him to more swing and miss. Mature takes: able to lay off breaking stuff and changeups below the zone. Advanced pitch recognition and approach for his age. More power than you would think from his frame, expect doubles to grow into home runs as he ages and adds weight. Joy stick quickness – looks like a video game player in his ability to change direction, excellent infield actions, quick first step and burst. Overall looks effortless in all facets of the game, making it look easy vs older competition.
Bo Naylor (C) – Bat-first catching prospect. Short, somewhat stocky frame. Very easy, inside-out swing with strong oppo tendency in my three looks; all contact was up the middle or oppo. Not the case of just poking balls the other way, good quality of contact on balls in play. Nice rhythm and timing, solid bat to ball skills. Swing plane conducive to loft, drives ball with little effort, launched fly ball to warning track on swing that looked near 71% effort. At least plus raw, maybe more. Hands stay high through slot; Naylor still showed ability to scoop low fastballs, a rare combination. 3.85 on a bunt -> not to be judged on the normal run time scale, but he moves ok, probably a fringe average (45) runner. Run times will likely settle around 40 as he ages. Defensively his receiving looked cromulent: not clamoring for him to move off the position, but it is also not a strength. Reasonably good/quick hands, thought he stayed light on the balls of feet.
Raynel Delgado (3B) – Adept defender with good positional flexibility coupled with a potential league-average bat. Loved his defense at the 2018 NHSI where he played shortstop for Calvary Christian: made one jumping catch, which is indelibly imprinted in my brain, fully-extending and timing his leap perfectly to catch a linedrive at the apex of his jump.
Delgado is already fairly strong with a frame that looks rife for projection; he is bigger than the listed 6’2” 185 lbs and more weight is coming. He just turned 19 on April 4. The infield actions are solid, but he may get too big for short at some point. The arm is plus and would play at third if a move is needed. Switch hitter with similar mechanics from both sides. Starts swing with sway for momentum and timing. Bat path can get too linear; hard contact but present swing may limit game power. Finish on front leg has improved since high school. Chance to play every day if the power develops and he moves to third OR if he maintains enough mobility to remain at short and the bat makes incremental gains. He’s a flush draw and with two over cards; something will need to happen to get him to the show, but there are a couple of feasible paths. VIDEO
Juan Mota (RHP) – Large, strong pitcher with electric stuff and fringe average command. XL frame, comically larger than listed 6’4” 190, very thick lower half and mid section looks a bit soft. Able to produce high 90s velo with little effort. Four-seam FB 95-97 T99 with giddy up but also pretty straight; hit hard if not well-located. e.g. Mike Siani pulled a 97-mph heater located middle/up with ease. Two-seam variant thrown at 93, bores in on right-handed hitters and resulted in weak ground balls; nice pitch to contact option. SL 87-90 with huge depth, drops off the table, flashed easily plus. CHG/SPL 88-90 with good depth/light fade – proj to 55. Secondaries were chase-only; did not throw for strikes in zone, limiting their utility. Would like to see Mota again to see if that is always the case. Worked up/down with FB/SL and expanded the zone in both directions; changed eye levels and had an idea of what he was doing; at times unable to execute the plan as command waivered. The body is a point of contention: some see an innings-eater frame others think it will get too big and hinder performance. Overall, the stuff was too loud to ignore. Chance to be a back-end starter if command can take modest steps forward. High-leverage pen role fall back if things go south.
Quentin Holmes (OF) – Lightning-fast center fielder with a rigid swing. Listed at 6’3” 175 but looks strong for his size, having added good weight since he was drafted. Elite speed, a true 80; it is the centerpiece of the profile -> sub 4.00 run times from the right side. Reaches top speed by second step. Good range in center field. At the plate, simple swing: small load and short approach forward, not much lower half use. Swing has a stiffness/rigidity to it that is hard to articulate, looks uneasy. Most weight on front foot before hands come forward; it gets handsy. 55 bat speed and fairly short to the ball; timing seems to be more the issue. Missed a Holmes home run on 3/21 when I was taking a glance at the HiA field. Not devoid of raw power but found very few barrels in my looks; principal concerns are his hand-eye coordination and timing. Was hoping for more from a second round pick. A watch list type of guy until the bat shows signs of life. VIDEO
Manuel Alvarez (RHP) – Relief prospect with electric stuff and iffy control. Thick frame: listed 6”3’ 200 but looks closer to 220. Big torque in delivery, draws front leg back and engages lower half. Pretty easy velo from strength and lower half utilization. FB 95-97 with life. SL 85-87 flashes plus with devastating late break, diving down and away from righties. Had several bad misses to both glove side and arm side; control was all over the place. Hand getting around the ball on glove side misses, arm angle looked off/lower when that happened. Flashed a high 80s changeup, feel for pitch needs work but it had good depth. The stuff is notable here and when you are sifting for sleepers give me the guy with the stuff and the control issues over the guy with the control guy with the inferior stuff. VIDEO
Mike Siani (OF) – Athletic and well-rounded center fielder with plus defense. Great jumps, reads and reactions in center. 55 runner with great closing speed and direct paths to the ball; made several standout catches in my looks. Ranged well to all directions. Arm grades to 55, hosed Valera going first to third on 3/19. Decent approach at the plate, goes up with plan of attack, at times attacking early and at other times showing patience. Uppercut bat path with hands slotting high, keeps weight back and looks to elevate. Has shown good plate coverage and bat control in my looks; able to scoop it low or turn around on high heat, sending to pull side. Expecting some swing and miss due to the length of his swing, however. Aggressive base runner, more crafty than a straight burner. Legitimate five-tool player who could provide value in all aspects of the game. Skill set provides high-floor with chance to produce average offense and plus defense.
Lyon Richardson (RHP) – Reds 2018 second-round pick out of Jansen Beach, FL. Simple, clean delivery with short arm action and live arm, repeats well with good balance/stability. Showed feel for four pitches. Sat low 90s, touched 94. CHG 83-85 with moderate fade/depth. Slider 86-87. Change and slider both flashed 55, Richardson sequenced them well off one another, working full plate. CB 73-74 loopy shape with early break, lags behind other secondaries. The stuff was not overpowering, but his four-pitch mix and feel give him a reasonable chance to stick as a starter; he might just be a guy who is better than the sum of his parts. I think he has good feel to pitch and his stuff might play up half a grade as a result.
Mariel Bautista (OF) – Toolsy but unrefined centerfield prospect. Plus runner: had 4.18 down the line from the right side. Bat speed is plus, but swing mechanics are worrisome. Toe tap looks disruptive to timing, makes decision point earlier, swing more difficult to time. Overall swing mechanics look segmented and choppy, the opposite of a fluid swing. Made several bad swings on spin low in the zone, lunging over breaking stuff. At times will lay off spin but also seemed unable to make any good contact on it. Hard to tell if it was a pitch recognition issue and/or timing issue; either way breaking stuff was a clear weakness. Having said all this, he does not get cheated on swings and fastballs near plate were crushed; has the look of a fastball masher. Not as good of a defender as Siani but capable in center. Interesting tools but still raw; can see why he spent four years in rookie ball.
Ryan Hendrix (RHP) – This is kinda cheating because I saw him at Peoria, but let’s throw him with the rest of the Reds notes. Intriguing relief prospect with plus curveball. More head movement than I would hope for considering the ease of his delivery. Worked primarily FB/CB but flashed a changeup (89-90). FB 92-95. High spin curve ball, and that is not speculation. The Reds trackman guys were gushing about its spin rate. Hard CB 81-84 with tight shape. Tragically, did get the RPM on it. Threw strikes but got more plate than you would like to see in this outing. Could see him as a middle reliever. VIDEO
Miguel Hernandez (SS) – Defense-first shortstop with an outside chance to hit enough to play every day. More likely outcome – utility middle infielder. Hernandez is among the best defenders in the Reds low minors. He fields short gracefully, has the arm requisite for the position and good instincts. He has good body control and footwork around the bag. More quick than fast, he clocks average run times. At the plate there is little lower half use and the swing is very flat. There is little raw power and even though he is just 20, the body does not look like it will support much more weight. Lack of power projection limits the profile. Bat speed is good but the swing looks geared for low line drives and the approach lacks nuance; hasn’t shown much ability to hit spin. Quality of contact good when he connects. To realistically contribute offensively, would need to alter his attack angle and improve his overall approach. While the bat speed inspires hope this is possible, he would need to clear the aforementioned hurdles. VIDEO
Follow me on Twitter @jasonpennini