Filling In The Gaps At Greenville
My trip to Asheville/Greenville was imperfect, but excellent nonetheless. On Monday afternoon, I began the hour long drive across to Greenville worried about arriving in time to interview a handful of Pirates prospects. Little did I know a sinkhole formed in center field causing batting practice to be canceled.
When following a team for a couple of days, I can’t stress enough how important seeing live BP and infield is. My view of Pirates phenom Josh Bell was incomplete because he did not bat right-handed. Additionally, he wasn’t tested in the outfield. I did have the opportunity to interview him though, and it seems an injury plagued season has taught him about the rigors of baseball and how to pace himself to stay healthy.
From watching five at bats, Bell will need to tighten his strike zone up quite a bit. I know .254/.301/.441 isn’t overly impressive, but he’s a prime buy low candidate right now in deep leagues. Bell has the frame to mature physically like Jason Heyward did. He’s not nearly as selective a hitter, but with Bell’s value so deflated, it doesn’t really matter.
Clay Holmes threw for West Virginia and mowed down Greenville hitters. The right-hander just turned 20, but has the fastball and frame of a big leaguer. His off-speed stuff wasn’t overwhelming, but once staked to a lead, Holmes pounded the bottom of the strike zone with his fastball resulting in a number of weak ground balls. I came away impressed and would be looking to grab him in deep and N.L. only leagues. He’s a borderline top-200 prospect for me right now.
For the Red Sox, keep an eye on shortstop Jose Vinicio. He’s currently 145 pounds, but has the speed and defensive profile to impact games. I’m not sure I’ve seen a shortstop with as much range as Vinicio. Half the battle of identifying a shortstop prospect in fantasy baseball is knowing whether or not the player will stay at the position. Vinicio has elite defensive upside. As for the bat, he scorched a single up the middle to lead off the game and stole second base on the following pitch if I remember correctly. IF he can find a way to add 25 more pounds between now and Boston, he’ll be a legit two-way prospect in the mold of Alcides Escobar. He has an outside shot at top-100 lists this winter given Luis Sardinas‘ 2012 rankings.
I had the chance to interview a member of the Pirates front office yesterday who gave me two tidbits of positional information you will be interested in.
1. Stetson Allie may take reps at 3B in instructs if he continues to grow and develop as a hitter. I came away quite impressed with the young first baseman and hearing this bumps his value even higher.
2. Dilson Herrera is done at SS. I know he’s listed everywhere as a shortstop, but this isn’t accurate. Herrera hasn’t played the position since he’s been in the U.S.
Also, I spoke with Jimmy Nelson for 5-minutes yesterday about his start to the 2013 season. He mentioned re-dedicating himself to the game this off-season and being healthy as major reasons for his fast start, noting a bout of dead arm last year which led to issues after being promoted to Double-A.
Additionally, he mentioned throwing the changeup very few times against Chattanooga and opting for a fastball/slider mix. A scout I ran into on the road told me Nelson was his favorite arm in the Brewers organization and that the changeup was a plus pitch at times. If this is true, then upgrade Nelson from future closer candidate to legit starting pitching prospect.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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