Stop Sliding Archie Bradley!
Wednesday was a cluster…. I arrived in Chattanooga at around 10:50 for a 11:15 game and was immediately overwhelmed by the thousands of pre-teens in attendance for “Education Day.” As science experiments took place behind home plate, I hid in the press box waiting for teachers to usher classes to their seats.
Unfortunately, my dream match up of two, 2011 first round picks ended quickly as Archie Bradley was pulled for precautionary reasons after only two innings. Dodgers prospect Chris Reed lasted three innings and struggled with fastball command throughout. After both left the game, I assumed my day was over. In fact, it was just beginning.
But before we get to that, Archie Bradley is as filthy as advertised. With minimal effort, he popped 95 at will and scouts in attendance talked about his tendency to increase velocity throughout an outing. It was admittedly an incomplete look, but it was enough to have me scouring the Mobile schedule for another shot at him sometime this season. Was Bradley as good as the Dylan Bundy I saw last season? No, but I saw enough in his brief stint to consider the right-hander a close second.
Reed presented with solid stuff too, but just couldn’t find his release point. His fastball/slider mix were down a tick or two from last year, but Reed appears to have quieted his mechanics in the hope of trading velocity for command. If this had been my first look, I’d be thinking reliever all the way.
What about Yasiel Puig? While his line drive single was an example of his being able to hit the ball harder than any prospect I’ve seen other than Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton, he spent the rest of the game pouting and putting on a show. Puig is talented enough to draw attention to himself in a positive way through his play. There’s really no need for him to do anything else. The talent is present for him to become a superstar. At present, a lack of maturity is blocking his path to Los Angeles.
Here’s a link to the video of Puig’s bat toss I mentioned on Twitter. It’s set to private in case any subscribers want to reference it in pieces before I put it out there.
Joc Pederson might beat Puig to Los Angeles at this rate. When I first saw him in the Southern League playoffs, my first impression was fourth outfielder. As a smallish outfielder who swings out of his shoes, I questioned how the swing would work at the MLB level. His center field route running was also iffy, forcing me to mentally move Pederson to a corner. With each additional look, I’m becoming more impressed with the left-handed hitter.
In his last four games, Pederson has a jaw dropping 11 hits. Against Mobile, I witnessed him work a walk after fouling off a handful of pitches behind in the count. More importantly, he had the only impressive swing off of Archie Bradley — A line drive single up the middle off of 95 mph heat. In total, he reached base five times including three hits and two walks. Pederson’s name is beginning to gain helium and it’s well-deserved. He’s a future 15/15 outfielder for me. In NL only and deep dynasty leagues, I’d snatch him up if not already taken.
For the Diamondbacks, I came away impressed with a pair of their outfielders. Keon Broxton is a physical specimen with athleticism to spare. He has the ceiling of a 20/20 guy at the MLB level and should be owned in deeper and NL only dynasty formats — Especially if you don’t mind selling out for ceiling. I’d be happy to place him on my all tools team alongside Cubs prospect Junior Lake. In the end, I’d rather hit a home run on 1/10 prospects than singles/doubles with 9/10. Broxton fits the strategy to a tee.
Now if you want to play it safe, Ender Inciarte is a sneaky play in very deep dynasty leagues. Admittedly, I knew very little about him entering the game. By the ninth inning, I was kicking myself for not getting one more at bat on video. A couple of years ago, I felt the same way about Adam Eaton. While I was at the park to watch bigger name guys, my eyes were repeatedly drawn to what Inciarte was doing. And while hit tools don’t jump off the page in any one area, his hit tool and speed are both above average. He’s definitely a big league, and one who should play for a number of years. I’m not sure if it’s a fourth outfielder or more, but he’ll be an asset at the Major League level in some capacity.
On a side note, most of you have probably read Conor Glassey’s rant on wannabe scouts by now. For the first time in a couple of years, I felt the need to isolate myself at a baseball game and go about my business in silence. I have no idea why Glassey felt the need to attempt to put up a wall between scouts and writers like me who enjoy scouting and discussing experiences at the park, but he did.
For the record, not once have I seen any prospect writer show a lack of respect for scouts, or their sacrifice when at the park. In the past, when scouting contacts have offered suggestions about everything from dress to process, I’ve taken it to heart and made adjustments.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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