Scouting the Top 50: 24-20

Yesterday’s post, in all honesty, was an embarrassment. I hope today’s makes up for it some, with four lengthier scouting reports for your perusal…

24. Tommy Hanson, RHP, Braves
tommy_hanson.jpgSeen: June (Southern League) and October (AFL)

Fastball: 90-95 mph
Curveball: 70-77 mph
Slider: 82-88 mph
Changeup:  82-86 mph

(Hanson’s two reports were both interesting, so I’m including both here instead of combining)

Double-A: Seen at no-hitter… started slow, threw better as game went on. Deception with fastball, picked up velocity late. Plus location on fastball. Slider can be untouchable with plus location. Curve approaches average. Needs to improve changeup. All business on the mound. Future at top of rotation.

AFL: Throws fastball to both sides of plate with plus command. Right-handed hitters helpless when he locates away. Plus, plus hard 3/4 curve, commands well, knee-buckler, unfair at times to hitters. Slider is tighter version of curve, plus as well. Changeup still needs work. Top of rotation future, could be ready in 2009.

23. Mat Gamel, 3B, Brewers
mat_gamel.jpgSeen: May

Outstanding hitting approach, gets bat through strike zone well. Can hit to all fields and can drive ball with power. Gets foold at times with off-speed stuff, will chase pitches down in zone. Glove work is spotty, but has soft hands and good arm strength. Bat will carry him and give him chance to be Major League contributor.

21. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
elvis_andrus.jpgSeen: May (Texas League) and November

Great tools and instincts at premium position. Defensive tools to play now. Makes all plays in field. Soft hands and ability to wow you in feild. Will save runs. Sometimes stays back on balls a little. Arm very true. Singles hitter now, but hands work and swing will play. Very young, needs more innings, particularly at plate.


20. Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles

brian_matusz.jpgSeen: November (AFL)

Fastball: 89-94 mph
Curveball: 72-76 mph
Slider: 81-85 mph
Changeup:  80-81 mph

Lefty with excellent future. Throws strikes with four competitive pitches. Fastball a little straight, without too much deception, though angle helps some. Fastball was hit until he started mixing pitches better. Curve and slider are two distinct pitches. Will challenge hitters with both, slider a touch better. Middle of rotation type at least.

3 Comments

Jonathan,
Two quick comments/questions…

1.) There were some opinions expressed that it was possible that part of the reason Hanson dominated in the AFL was that he wasn’t going full games and didn’t have to worry about his pitch counts, something that could initially hurt him when he debuts with the Braves and adjusts to major league pitching. I would love to get your opinion on this thinking and if you agree/disagree. 2.) I’ve seen some other reports on Matusz that indicate he may have some small inconsistant mechanics issues to work on. Could you comment on his mechanics?

Thanks. Dennis from West Springfield, MA

About Matusz’ mechanics, Keith Law said that the Orioles have “cleaned him up” though that’s the first I’ve heard of that.

Dennis — To answer your questions. 1.) I think that’s absurd. Will Hanson struggle with pitch counts at times, not allowing him to pitch deep into games at first? Probably. He does sometimes get a little jacked up at the beginning of games before settling down, but that will be a short-term issue. I went and checked his pitch counts in the AFL and in his final four starts (not including the championship game, he had the following):

5 IP, 66 pitches
5 IP, 75 pitches
5 IP, 73 pitches
5 IP, 79 pitches

We’re not exactly talking about a guy racking up a ton of pitches here. 15 pitchers per inning? I’d take that, wouldn’t you? Not saying he’ll do that against big-league hitting every time out, but you get the point. Those of you not so good at math, that means he could go 7 innings every time and only throw 105 pitches each start. Sounds good to me. I saw him throw a few times and he was just absolutely dominant. The big reason why was he was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes at any point in the count. Pitch count had nothing to do with it.

2.) I only saw Matusz once in the AFL and, honestly, I didn’t really get the chance to hone in on his delivery and mechanics. That being said, anyone I’ve talked to about him, it’s not something that’s come up as a major concern. Whatever issues there were/are, they are minor and extremely correctable. This is a guy who’s got 4 pitches he can throw for strikes and shouldn’t take very long at all to get to the bigs. That’s all you have to worry about.

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