Saturday, June 20, 2015

Scouting Reports for 2015 Giants Part 2: Mella, Okert, Santos + Something Extra

    Welcome to part 2 of my scouting reports for the Giants top prospects! This part will cover Keury Mella, Steven Okert, and Michael Santos. I'll not add additional introduction and get this thing started. Player profiles courtesy of FanGraphs.

Keury Mella  RHP  (A+)
6'2" 200 lbs.  R/R  Video: Credits to ieProSports, Giant Potential and 

     He signed at the age of 18 and quickly gain a lot of attention and rose as a top prospect for the Giants. Mella's body is just the right size for the pitcher. He got full of muscle in his body and there's little need for him to bulk up even more. He stands on the first base side of the rubber, standing like throwing from the stretch, similar to Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee and he got good mound presence. He takes a simple step back and raises his left leg close to his chest, creating a good balance. His glove moves quietly in his leg kick and he lowers his head down slightly, a difference shown in the newer video of ieProSports, which I don't think affects his effectiveness positively or negatively so far. I'll say that he's gathering his focus to throw the pitch. You can also see the Mariners ace Felix Hernandez do that. After his leg kick, here's now the most tricky part of his delivery. He crossfires extremely when driving to the plate, very similar to Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, causing him to land on the third base side of the rubber, creating a lot of deception for the hitters, righty or lefty. He also clearly exhibits the inverted W that doomed a lot of pitchers with injury problems especially the UCL. His inverted W is even more extreme than Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals, one of the poster boys. But the positive thing that I noticed is that at the moment his left foot hits the ground, the location of the ball is right around shoulder height and not around his chest where the inverted W hurts a lot of pitchers because it causes the throwing arm to be late, generating a lot of stress in the elbow. Mella has done a good job also on not showing the ball directly toward CF anymore and more to the SS side. His extremely elevated left elbow might look disgusting but it works for him. He releases the ball in a high 3/4 arm slot and finishes his pitches with a consistent follow through. His crossfiring motion will not place him on a good fielding position although that could help him when he's going to field 1st base. I compare his mechanics to Yusmeiro Petit but their stuff is completely different. 

     Mella throws a plus fastball that regularly sits around at 92-95 MPH and can touch as high as 97 that often overpowers hitters. It got extreme downhill plane so it will still be effective even when thrown high in the zone and it also got the really good sink and arm side run when thrown down in the zone and really tough to hit home runs from the hitter's point of view. He can run it inside the strike zone towards a lefty like Greg Maddux as well. His curveball is a power curveball, registering at around 79 MPH. It is overall an above-average pitch that shows glimpses of being a plus pitch with really sharp 11-5 break but there's some curves that lack the sharp break and will get slurvy. His changeup is a circle-change grip that shows potential of being an above-average pitch with the same arm speed as his fastball and it got really good sink as well like his fastball. His delivery makes his pitches tough to pick up and an addition of another pitch, possibly a cutter, will give him 2 pitches that goes in and out of hitters. He repeats his delivery well that's generally difficult to repeat and he got plus pitchability. I still have concerns about his inverted W but Petit has been healthy so far and so does Mella though he got some shoulder injuries before. But his UCL is still intact and maybe genetics is in play right now. Barring any injury, he'll move up to the minors pretty fast and he got a really good chance to be a mid-rotation starter for the Giants.

My Grades:  FB 65 | CB 60 | CH 50+ | CMD 55

Ceiling: #3 Starter     Floor: #5 Starter/long reliever     ETA: Mid-2016/2017

Steven Okert  LHP  (AAA)
6'3" 210 lbs.  L/L  Video: Full credits to Giant Potential 1 and 2

     Okert is the first reliever to be in my top 10 due to his value right now as a young, good, lefty bullpen arm that the Giants need desparately. His numbers in the minor leagues as a reliever are really good. This year though, his ERA looks bad and his BB/9 ratio has gone up. The good news is that his K/9 stayed above 10, his BABIP will go down sooner or later and he still got the stuff to get quality hitters out. His body is a protoypical body of a pitcher and he looks like he's lighter than the 210 lbs. that he's listed. He starts from the stretch like most relievers, giving him the simplest and easiest delivery to repeat and he's closed at the start of his delivery. He got a simple delivery where his glove almost didn't move at neck height in his leg kick. The leg kick is a simple one as well, a lift of the leg up to his waist, creating great balance, possibly one of the most balanced that I have ever seen. He does a good job of staying closed in his drive to the plate and his arm action is also pretty clean. I say that because even though his elbow is on the same height as his shoulder, he throws from a low 3/4 release point and as proven by Sergio Romo, Chris Sale and other sidewinders and submariners, it is fine to have a close to inverted W as long as the arm slot and also the body stays low and closed to reduce the stress in the arm especially the elbow and throw efficiently. That's just my hypothesis why Chris Sale is still healthy right now even though his body is rail thin and his mechanics are so concerning to some. He kind of leaks out in his right shoulder but his right arm stays relaxed and keeps his glove closed. When his foot lands, his glove arm completely relaxes as his left arm throws the ball at a low 3/4 release point, creating mismatches for hitters especially lefties. He finishes his pitches well and he finishes in an average fielding position if he doesn't overthrow. 

     He got 2 main pitches. A really good fastball that registers low to mid-90s with some movement to it that overmatches hitters and a plus slider in the low-80s with a late and really sharp break that he can throw to righties and lefties though he's not been effective against righties this season. His walk numbers has been worse this season, a testament to how good the hitters are in the PCL though he needs to command his pitches better. He needs to harness a good changeup to give righties another look but his numbers against lefties are great this season, a testament to how nasty his fastball-slider combo plus his low arm slot can be. 

My Grades: FB 60 | SL 60 | CH 40+ | CMD 45+

Ceiling: Set-up man     Floor: LOOGY     ETA: Sept. 2015

Michael Santos  RHP  (A)
6'4" 170 lbs.  R/R  Video: Credits to Eric Longenhagen and FanGraphs

    Santos is someone that I am really excited about at the start of the season as a 19 year old pitching with tons of projection in A ball. Unfortunately, he got injured in his first start because of a shoulder injury if I am not mistaken and I have never heard anything about his recovery ever since. Before he got injured, he pitched in the game where the prospects battle against the Major League regulars. He is thin. I mean really thin. He could put 40 pounds more if he wants to and that will add some more ticks to his velocity in the future. He still got the mound presence due to his height. He stands at the first base side of the rubber and he starts his delivery in a small step back. His glove raises from his waist to his chest as his leg kick pushes his energy back but moving forward to the plate. He then breaks his glove and the ball, forming a Power T, similar to Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom, in his leg drive that helped Harvey create more velocity. Unlike Harvey and DeGrom that stayed level, Santos tilts his body to create a higher release point and extreme downhill plane on his pitches. He does a good job staying closed in his drive to the plate. His arm path is sound and I have found no inverted W in his delivery, though his wide arm swing can really cause shoulder problems. He got the similar inverted V in his glove arm like Mella that's not really an issue for Santos. He throws his pitches in a high 3/4 release point and his left foot lands closed. He got good finish in his delivery and rocks back a bit on the mound due to the amount of energy generated by his body. His mechanics can still be toned down but I love the fluidity of his mechanics. 

     I don't really know much about his stuff or his repertoire but based on videos from Longenhagen, I saw that he throws his fastball at low-90s with some arm-side run to it. Once he truly fills out his frame, this pitch can be a plus pitch in the future, sitting in the mid-90s while retaining the movement. His slider sits in the low-80s is above-average with short but sharp movement with potential to improve with proper coaching and a slow curve in the low-70s that I saw on FG video that lacks true sharp movement and a looper so far. His change is still a work in progress but I will project it as an average pitch. He is still very young and the scouts love his makeup, focus and feel for pitching. His delivery needs some ironing, his frame needs to be filled up, his command needs to improve, and his stuff needs to be more better but all of the arrows are pointing up for him and once he returns from his injury, he got a really good chance to reach his full potential with the Giants. 

My Grades: FB 50++ (60+ or 65 if fully developed) | SL 45++ (55 or 55+ future potential) | CB 40+ (45 to 50 future potential) | CH 40 (50 future potential) | CMD 50 (55 or 55+ future potential)

Ceiling: #3 Starter     Floor: #5 Starter/Long Reliever     ETA: Late 2017/2018

Something Extra: I covered Tyler Beede's start is a subpar one. He throws first pitch balls to a lot of hitters that he faced. He got into 3-0 and 2-1 counts a lot in his outing. He threw 3 to 4 pitches that were way up and in on the righty hitter's point of view. More flyouts than groundouts, that's not his M.O. this season. Left a lot of pitches high in the zone. But retired 8 straight guys. Pure talent making that one work. My conclusion to his outing his that he lacked the feel for his sinker tonight. He needs more seasoning on the command because his walks are higher than in A+. Possibly a tighter strike zone in AA. His hitting though. He got good swing mechanics, good hands, possible MadBum candidate.

     That wraps up part 2 of my scouting reports. I hope you enjoy reading it. Cheers!


  1. Been reading your series, very interesting. One suggestion to make it better for readers: break up the long paragraphs. Lots of good info, but it looks very dense and daunting to read.

    About Okert, BABIP is not necessarily going to go down in the minors. Preventing hard hit balls is apparently a skill that most MLB pitchers have, but not a lot for the minor leaguers (clearly). Now, if he had a low BABIP before, then that could be mentioned, but we never know where the Peter Principle will rear its ugly head.

  2. Thanks Mr. ogc! I'll follow your suggestion to chop it up once I edited it! Thanks for that suggestion! I'm still new to this and I never written anything like this except you know the essays that professors and teachers gave me.

    Okert's BABIP in AA last year is .266 and his BABIP this year is .338 which is a tick high on his past BABIPs. The one I'm concerned more is the BB/9 going up to 4. He never went above 4 ever since 2012 when he's pitching in rookie ball.

    Thanks for the tips Mr. ogc and I learn a lot from everyone!