Eddy Almaguer had a few looks at some high profile FSL and GCL names in August. Here are a batch of fresh notes on several of those players including Wander Franco, Luis Gil and Kevin Alcantara.
Levi Kelly- Kelly has been one of the best arms in the Midwest League in 2019. The righty is listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, but may be a little shorter than that. It’s a good frame, larger already but also one that has more physical projection. The windup is basic, but it starts off at a slower tempo before becoming violent as he moves towards home. There’s more effort here than I would prefer, and it even comes with a head whack, but he’s able to repeat it well so far. He’s throwing strikes and missing bats due to his fastball/slider combination. The fastball sits 91-93 but can touch 95, and it plays up due to sequencing and his plus slider. The slider is his put away pitch. It’s not as tight as some others but has two-plane depth and keeps hitters off balance due to his willingness to thow it in any count. He also mixed in a below-average curveball. This overall profile screams reliever, but this is Kelly’s first full season as a starting pitcher so I don’t want to throw that tag on him just yet. He needs to work on going deeper in games but that’s something that will come with time.
Shane Baz- Short, sturdy frame with an easy, upright delivery, Baz showed off the stuff in my viewing. He predomintely sat 94-96 with the fastball but hit 98 and had a few 97’s mixed in. He threw 94 pitches in this start and got ten whiffs on just the fastball alone. The command is below average right now, but power pitchers like this often struggle with consistency, and they can be absolutely dominant when on. He struggled with his release point all night, especially on the changeup. He worked the fastball up in the zone for most of his whiffs, and I don’t expect that to change as he climbs through the Rays system. I’m confident in putting a plus grade on Baz’s slider despite only seeing him once. Its a tight, late breaking pitch that will induce groundballs as well as whiffs. His changeup flashed plus as well but is wildly inconsistent. He battled with this pitch for most of the night, but showed enough fade and depth with it to earn the lofty grades. Baz has the potential for three plus offerings, and like most 20-year-olds, needs to work on his command and sequencing. If everything goes right Baz has the makings of a future number two starter. Also his name is pronounced BAHZ.
Geraldo Perdomo- Tall, slender frame with loose actions in the box and in the field. He’s a slick fielder with smooth hands and quick feet. The hands and feet are good enough to be an above-average big league shortstop. Perdomo is a threat on the basepaths, and he routinely draws multiple pick-off attempts while on first or second base. He’s aggressive and gets good jumps, but I have seen him get picked off a time or two. He’s a switch-hitter with elite feel for the strikezone and always works deep counts, making him an ideal fit for the top of the big league lineup. Despite his long limbs he’s got a short, quick stroke. There’s some power projection here, and I think he can develop plus power in the future, but it’s a 30-grade tool right now. Perdomo is an exciting young player, and is a future on-base machine. His eye is too advanced for the Midwest League and I have seen him rung up on pitches off the plate due to this. In addition to his elite eye I think he can hit 15-20 homers as he matures.
Chris Betts- Left-handed hitter with a thick frame, the 2019 Midwest League Home Run Derby champion has plus raw power to the pull-side. He had two hard hit balls in my look with exit velos over 100 MPH, and is worth a look. Betts has missed some development due to Tommy John, and before the injury the arm was regarded as plus. Betts has plus raw power and will take a walk, and I’m confident that the Rays will find a way to utilize Betts.