Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Spring Training Prospect Report: Red Sox, Pirates and more

I was at Jet Blue Park yesterday to watch the Pirates-Red Sox — it was a little light on Top 20 prospects, but a pair from the Red Sox’ list did see action. Again, rankings in parentheses.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (2) went 0-for-1 with two walks. Our own Ian Browne did an outstanding job in his feature on JBJR.

Jose Iglesias (6) went 0-for-2 with a walk. But the guy can play a little shortstop.

The Pirates didn’t have any Top 20 guys in action, though I did get to glimpse Gregory Polanco (4), who made the trip. He didn’t play, but he did take BP. The young man is big. When he fills out, watch out. I’ll be talking to Polanco and fellow Pirates prospect Alen Hanson in the next couple of days. I also was impressed by Phillip Irwin (even wrote a note about him). He’s an under-the-radar type who’s been impressive this spring.

You can see all of MLB.com’s coverage of prospects (and there’s plenty this time of year) on MLBPipeline.com.

Recently, I talked to several scouts about who has stood out in big league camp in the early going. Some quick notes, keeping in mind that this is just a smattering and not comprehensive (so don’t get made there isn’t a note about how good Oscar Taveras is):

  • Twins’ prospects Eddie Rosario and Aaron Hicks were playing extremely well. Hicks “looked like a big leaguer” and Rosario was swinging a very good bat for Team Puerto Rico.
  • Phillies lefty Adam Morgan didn’t have good results in his first outing, but did in his second. In both, his stuff was good across the board.
  • The Royals’ Yordano Ventura was creating a lot of early buzz in Arizona.
  • Addison Russell of the A’s looked like he belonged in big league camp
  • The D-backs’ Adam Eaton had his tools on display as he continues to exceed expectations.
  • Javier Baez of the Cubs may have learned a thing or two over the offeason in terms of staying in control. He appears to have calmed down his game a bit, for hte better.
  • Michael Wacha of the Cardinals is impressing with his secondary stuff and his command.
  • The Angels’ Kaleb Cowart has played well in his first big league camp, showing nice poise at the plate and strong defensive skills at third.
  • The Tigers’ Avisail Garcia is a big kid that can run and has man strength.
  • The Pirates’ Gerritt Cole (and this was before his six K’s against Spain) has a gig power arm with life through the zone.
  • The Rays’ Wil Myers keeps you  on the edge of your seat.  Exudes confidence in the box with 80 batspeed.
  • Chris Archer of the Rays has always had dominant frontline type stuff, and continues to show it. He also has good poise on the mound.  Even stronger physically than last year.

Spring Training Prospect Report

Or STPR for short. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

I’m in Florida now for a two-week stretch and it’s like a gold mine for us prospect fans. Especially this early and especially with the World Baseball Classic, prospects are and will get a lot of playing time in Grapefruit League action.

My goal is to give updates regularly here on B3 about the players I get to see. When I can, I’ll also wrinkle in some opinions from scouts about prospects in big league camps in general. so lets get this thing started, shall we?

Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first game and I took in the Rays-Twins game. There were prospects-aplenty, with both the Rays‘ and the Twins‘ Top 20s well-represented (rank in team top 20 in parentheses):

Rays

Will Myers (1): Started in RF, went 1-for-2 with a walk. He told me he’s really working on turning on the ball so he can tap into his power to the pull side more consistently.

Hak-Ju Lee (5): Came into the game and played shortstop, went 1-for-2 with a run scored. Drove in the tying run with an infield single, stole second and third and scored during the five-run Rays’ 8th.

Mike Montgomery (8): The lefty who came in the James Shields trade tossed a scoreless eighth inning, allowing one hit and one walk (Keep an eye out today for a story I wrote about him).

Twins

Joe Benson (13): Benson started in center and hit lead off as he competes with others for the spot. He went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Much, much more to come. Today, I’m at the Pirates-Red Sox. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s starting in center for the Red Sox and I see that Gregory Polanco is on the travel roster for the Pirates.

 

 

Getting back into the swing of things

By now, I’m hoping most of you realize that when I say “I’ll be back tomorrow with draft-related stuff,” I’m speaking figuratively.

I’m down in Ft. Myers currently and will spend the next 10 days covering Spring Training, giving our hard-working beat writers a chance to catch their breaths. But while I’m technically on big-league duty, rest assured that we’ll be on full-fledged prospect watch. I’m sure I’ll mix in some stories on Minor Leaguers along the way. I’m going to do my best to link to ‘em on here and also throw up a “prospect of the day” based on players I’ll see.

But back to that earlier promise about Draft-related stuff. In case you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve started up our coverage of the 2010 Draft. We’ve posted 21 Draft Reports (thanks to UnderArmour for their support) to date, all with information gathered from talking to scouts, complete with video. You can check them out here. Check back weekly as we’ll be updating it weekly.

This year, I’m doing weekly features to accompany them. There’ve been two so far: SoCal HS outfielder Austin Wilson and Virginia Tech RHP Jesse Hahn. So be sure to check them out.

I did promise some Bryce Harper info last time. Well, to be honest, there’s not a whole lot to report. His College of Southern Nevada team has just started conference play and last I checked, it was the top-rated junior college squad in the nation (OK, I just checked now). He started off slow, but has settled in a bit. He’s leading his team in homers, RBIs and slugging. To be fair, he’s feasted some off some of the lesser lights pitching-wise on the junior college scene. And I’ve had scouts tell me he’s still having some issues with his approach at the plate, getting out front too quickly. Still, keep in mind how young he is and how much pressure there is (yes, I know, he put much of it on himself, but that doesn’t make it easier). I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to see how he continues to make adjustments and show improvement. As always, I’ll update on him and other top Draft prospects right here as the spring unfolds.

For now, if you’ve got questions for prospects I might be seeing, leave them in comments and I’ll try to get answers. Tomorrow, I’ve got the Yankees @ Twins, so ask away.

Has it been that long?

Day 1 of my three-week journey through the West Coast of Florida today. I was looking at my blog and I gasped audibly (seriously, the folks in the press box thought I was having a stroke). Has it really been that long since I’ve posted???

Don’t think I’ve been slacking or been lazy. Quite the contrary, it’s been busier than all get out inP1000002.JPG B3 land. Just to give you an idea, I’m providing a visual aid to give you an idea of what life has been like.

In case you haven’t noticed, we started up the Draft Reports a couple of weeks ago. Sixteen reports in total to date. They get posted every Thursday, so keep checking it out as we let everyone know about the best the 2009 draft class has to offer. In case you were curious, Stephen Strasburg is pretty good. Another 14 K’s on Friday — gives him 59 K’s in 27 1/3 IP for the year.

We’ve also been busy helping others with their blogs. We here at B3 are nothing if not selfless. We’re shooting for 30 Minor League blogs — one for each organization — by the time the season gets started. We’ve been off and running, with many set up to date. As I try to gtet my blogging act together and get on here more frequently, I’ll try to update you all when someone new enters the fold.

As for my duties here in Florida, they will be largely big-league related. Of course, one of the benefits of Spring Training is that you still get to see some of the young kids get playing time. I’m going to try to throw out a daily Prospect Impression (sorry, I don’t do impressions. My training is in pyschology… hope you get that movie reference) if I can.

Today, I’ve gotten to see some good names, including Phillies’ infielder Jason Donald and Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus. Also seeing time were Tyler Greene and Brad Harman for each team. No one did anything special particularly in this game, but we’ll give the nod to Rasmus, who laid down a nearly perfect bunt down the third-base line that just rolled foul before getting to the base. Nice little wrinkle in his game if he can throw that out there from tie to time just to keep the infield honest.

Wrote a feature on Brendan Ryan (look for it over on Cardinals.com later today). Always love it when the guy you write about hits an RBI single to tie the game! Way to make me look, smart Brendan.

The most buzz — literally and figuratively — came from a swarm of bees that sat overhead at Bright House Field. It hovered right around the press box for a long time (and you thought reporters swarmed) before moving down and around and eventually out. Rather than provide my own commentary of it, here are a few people who have weighed in on the killer bees. First, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki talked about it in his blog, The Zo Zone. Then, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Derick Goold blogged on it here.

Look closely at the photo caption there. That’s right. The insect photo came from the iphone of none other than MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. You never know who you’ll see at a Spring Training game.

 

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