Butler And The Bucs
For those of you who’ve never been to Asheville, North Carolina, it’s an adult playground. Known for great microbreweries and a lively music scene, it’s the trip I most look forward to each year. Yesterday was no exception as scouting Pirates and Rockies prospects was followed by a pint or two and The Lone Bellow in concert. If you haven’t checked them out, and you probably haven’t considering only 150 people or so showed up at last night’s small venue, you should. Better yet, I’ll do the work for you. Here’s a 15-minute mini-set they did for NPR.
Last week, I received an email from a reader thanking me for introducing them to The Lumineers through my weekly FanGraphs chat. But by the time I caught onto the band, it was too late. They were already opening in front of thousands, not tens. Seeing The Lone Bellow pull up in a rented Ford Van with a U-Haul trailer, parking in front of the venue before walking past myself, and six other people was surreal. By the end of the night, a conversation with the lead singer revealed he grew up about 10-minutes away from where I call home and graduated from the high school my son will attend. In the end, it’s a remarkably small world.
Seeing musicians passionate about their craft is inspiring. Watching them pull off in their van on their way to the next stop is a reminder of just how hard it is to build an audience.
As for baseball, Eddie Butler started for the Rockies and flashed electric stuff. He features a four-pitch mix with definite starter possibilities. I suspect his pre-draft profile questioning whether or not he’s a reliever is suppressing current value. With his being left off BP’s top-10, a buy low opportunity may exist in dynasty formats. I’ll be writing about him soon for FanGraphs. Once the piece goes live, the chance to grab him on the cheap may disappear. This winter, he’ll be top-5 in the organization with helium and should crack the top-100 overall. Scouts in attendance were universally impressed.
For the Pirates, Dilson Herrera is an undersized second baseman who’s still listed as a shortstop everywhere. In deep dynasty formats, the 19-year old may be owned in part because of the added positional value having “SS” by the name carries. Don’t be fooled. If anything, he’s closer to a Jose Altuve profile. Listed at 5-foot-10, he’s probably three inches shorter in person. Herrera is muscular and hit the ball hard whenever he swung. However, he didn’t take the bat off of his shoulder in three plate appearances resulting in two walks and a strikeout looking. Nice player, but Herrera is the type of prospect who will receive too much praise.
If looking for a long shot power bat a first base, Stetson Allie is worth a flyer. He’s off to a fine start and barreled everything yesterday. A strong, physical player, Allie handles the bat like it’s a twig. He’s also surprisingly athletic for a player his size. Before the game, A couple of scouts and I wondered why the Pirates were so quick to move him off the mound. After watching Allie swing the bat, we understood.
At this point, Pirates second round pick Wyatt Mathisen should be sent back to extended spring training. The instincts for catching aren’t there. He has the frame and athleticism to handle the position, just not now. I suspect his difficulties behind the plate are affecting his trips to the plate as a hitter. He had two hits yesterday and I’d be hard pressed to remember either one. Should he have to move off the position — A distinct possibility in time — I’m not sure the bat profiles well elsewhere.
Today, it’s off to Greenville for another day following the West Virginia Pirates. Josh Bell will play today and Clay Holmes takes the hill. Then, a three-plus hour drive back to Georgia and a few hours of rest.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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