Saturday, May 28, 2016

Scouting Reports for the 2016 Giants Part 1: Beede, Bickford, Suarez

Welcome to the 2016 Scouting Reports series for the San Francisco Giants prospects! It is another year, another great time to scout prospects. There have been a lot of impressive Giants prospects right now in the system (I'll touch on to them along the way) and I will do my best to deliver good scouting reports for the people to read and enjoy.

In the first part of this year, I'm going to touch on 3 pitchers, Tyler Beede, Phil Bickford, and Andrew Suarez. Possibly the three biggest pitchers in the organization right now, people have been clamoring for information about them as well as videos for the prospects. The grading system is still the same as last year with the addition of current grades of the prospects tools to compare it with the potential of the player. It is still based on a 20-80 scale and I have done my best to deliver the best scouting reports that you will ever find for the the Giants. I hope you enjoy!

Tyler Beede  RHP  AA
6'4" 230 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Adam Hayes 

Former college baseball champion, Tyler Beede, now bigger and better, looks to dominate his way out of the Eastern League and into the big leagues.

Now bulked up thanks to his weight regimen during the offseason, Beede has the prototypical frame of a workhorse pitcher capable of eating a lot of innings in pro ball. He got broad shoulders with a rock solid torso and thighs full of muscle, creating intimidation on the mound. He has strength to sustain his velocity deep into his starts. He also has athletic actions on and off the mound.

He got one of the most natural mechanics that I have ever seen. Standing on the first base side of the rubber, he rocks to the side slightly with his left foot with his hands around the level of his hips. He raises his glove reaching to his neck at the same time as his front leg. He has great balance in his leg kick and his glove starts to move down at the peak of his leg kick just below his glove. He tilts his back side at the start of his drive and breaks his arm and glove hand and drives at the same time with his front leg. He got a long extension as he bends his back leg and drives aggressively with it while his front leg extends far away resulting to some drop and drive-feel in it. His arm action is impressive and very natural. His arm swing is not wide and feels smooth but there are a few times that I have seen where his arm lags a bit causing him to be late on his mechanics and affect his command. He stays closed in his drive until he starts to produce good torque with his hips thanks to his great hip-shoulder separation. His throwing arm is in a great spot when his front foot lands, tucking his glove arm inside. He throws his pitches in a high 3/4 slot and the tilt of his right side in his body helps him create a steep downhill plane on all of his pitches. He got one of the best follow throughs that I have ever seen for a pitcher as his body is in line with the plate when he throws his pitches and his torso follows his arm as it finishes his motion, leaving his torso to be almost parallel to the ground. He is also not falling towards the side anymore and it puts him to a good spot to field. Overall, his mechanics is smooth and very desirable with little effort in it. He hides the ball well and generates plenty of arm speed. Sometimes however, it can become too smooth and in effect, the hitters can get a good timing on his pitches. 

His repertoire is highlighted by his variation of plus fastballs. His four-seamer is obviously the hardest of them all and it is back this year after leaving it in the shelf as he focus on his other fastballs. His four seamer sits on the 93-95 MPH range but it can reach as high as 96 at times and reports have him at 99 MPH with it earlier this year according to Giant Potential. He can hold his velocity deep into games and it doesn't look like he will overthrow his fastball. It is relatively straight but sometimes the pitch has life. He got a good feel for it and will spot it nicely but it will get loose and fly high above the zone at times. He will sometimes throw it at the heart of the plate when he wants to get ahead of a hitter. His sinker is another plus pitch at his disposal, hovering at around 90-93 MPH range and got very hard sinking movement in it. Couple that with his downhill plane and it can generate plenty of ground balls. He throws it around the lower half of the plate but will have the pitch located around belt to thigh high. He shows some aptitude to throw the sinker inside towards lefties but will sometime have too much movement that it will come back towards the heart of the plate. 

I want to separate the cutter from his other fastballs because I like it more. Its velocity is slower than his sinker, right around 87-90 MPH range but it got hard cutting action with the resemblance of a mini slider. It moves like a fastball at the first half of its journey towards home plate then it breaks sharply at the last minute. It got the ability to get under hitters bats and cause weak contact. He often throws it inside lefties but I didn't see him throw his cutter inside towards righties to give righties another look. He will sometimes leave his cutter high in the zone but it retains the plus break in it and can blow by hitters or get called strikes. 

His changeup is what I see to be his best offspeed pitch right now. It got nasty screwball action in the mid-80s and has the potential to be plus. The only problem that I have with this pitch is that it can get inconsistent in terms of his spotting that pitch on the lower part of the strike zone and will leave it around the belt but when thrown right, it is nasty with good velocity separation. I have seen him throw that pitch at any count and he will throw it against righties as well as lefties.

His curveball is a bit behind his changeup in terms of command of the pitch but when spun right, it got a potential to be another plus offspeed pitch for him in the 80 MPH range with 12-6 break in it. It got definite curveball shape and will lock up hitters but I have seen his best curveballs thrown while he's warming up and during the game itself. I would love to see him throw more curveballs with conviction as he got feel for the pitch but is just inconsistent in terms of locating it as it can be a better pitch than his changeup in the future if he shows consistency.

Overall, Tyler Beede is a true starter material with plus fastballs as well as offspeed pitches that got potential to be plus as well. His mechanics is now very repeatable and smooth. Couple that with his good feel for his pitches can have his command of it in the above-average range when all comes together. He can still miss his spots occasionally especially with his offspeed but he can iron that out in time. He has all of the ingredients to be a top-of-the-rotation starter and can reach the Bay Area in a matter of months and Righetti can help him reach his full potential there.

Grades (Current): 4SFB 60 | SNK 55 | CUT 55+ | CH 50+ | CB 45+ | CMD 50
Grades (Potential): 4SFB 60+ | SNK 60 | CUT 60+ | CH 55+ | CB 55+ | CMD 55

Ceiling: #2-3 Starter   Floor: #3-4 Starter   ETA: Late-2016/2017

Phil Bickford   RHP   A
6'4" 200 lbs.
Videos: Credits to David LeeChristopher Blessing and Roger Munter

One of the biggest stories in the Giants farm system this year has been the development of Phil Bickford and his pitching in the SAL. Armed with a funky mechanics and slinging fastballs here and there, he gets the job done very well against young competition.

Bickford is a tall and lean pitcher althroughout, from his long arms to his longer legs. Looks like he doesn't add weight in the offseason as his frame is still pretty much the same as last year. He doesn't offer much projection remaining but the frame is muscular. He's agile in terms of his mechanics as well as his actions on the mound. There's problems with him staying deeper into games but I think it's more because that his mechanics looks very tiring so he tries to hold back on the effort, sacrificing velocity with the hope to pitch longer.

His mechanics is weird and deceptive in a good way. In his windup, he stands on the first base side of the rubber and holds his glove in the same level as his shoulders. There are two variations of his turn for the leg kick. The first is where he doesn't move his glove as he steps back and the second is he drops his glove in the step back. He got a high leg kick, with his left leg arcing wide as he pulls it back then his left knee bents, reaching the height of his chest. His hands raises up to the same level as his head, while having it behind his head. His drives aggressively off the mound and his extension is a long one but not exactly drop and drive, as his back leg is not as bent as expected of a drop and drive delivery. His arm action is short as his right elbow bends during the drive, creating some stress buildup on the elbow but not enough to be a warning sign. His left side of his body drops slightly during his drive as a result of his glove arm dropping during the drive. He lands closed in his drive with his front foot pointed towards home plate but he has been slightly inconsistent in terms of landing spot on the mound. But the drive his the baseball well plus with his short arm action, creates deception. The arm action doesn't exhibit any red flags and his arm is pretty flat when the front foot lands but is not late. 

He generates great torque in his hips as well as great arm speed but sometimes his glove arm opens too quickly, causing him to drift to the side and miss his spots. He throws in a 3/4 downhill slot and what's amazing is that his arm action is short in his drive but his arm action towards the hip-shoulder separation to the actual release is so long and his torso really gets low and he throws it out in front of his body, causing his pitches to jump. He experience some slot inconsistency as he tends to lower his arm slot without intention. The explosion of his mechanics causes him to fall off to the side and not having an ideal fielding position. His arm has some recoil in his follow through. In the stretch, he got an open stance on the mound with his glove already head level and does the same drive and mechanics. His mechanics is very hard to duplicate so kudos to him for repeating it well, and is also very deceptive and pretty uncomfortable for a hitter.

His bread and butter is his fastball. There's not a lot of pitcher that can generate as much swing and miss as Bickford's fastball is. The velocity of his fastball fluctuates so much that it is from 88-95 MPH depending on the day but it typically hovers around 89-92 MPH. The four-seamer itself has little movement in it but it is coming from a downhill angle thanks to his mechanics. He also got a two-seamer that doesn't have a lot of vertical drop or sink but it got very good tailing action or run. He can front-door the fastball like Greg Maddux and his command of it is plus. He also got some resemblance of a cutter but it's break is not sharp and looks like a four-seamer with some natural cut. He will not miss by much on his fastball unless he messed up in his mechanics and there are times where the catcher's glove doesn't move at all. When he misses his spots, he often miss his four-seamer in towards lefties or yank it to his glove-side or he throws his tailing fastball inside lefties. He throws the fastball so much and has big confidence in it but he tends to overcommit to it and throws too much fastballs. He got the ability to control the entire strike zone with just his fastball. 

His main secondary pitch is his slider. Or curveball. It's hard to distinguish which is which. His slider hovers in the low-80s range while his curveball hovers in the high-70s to 80 MPH. I have seen a curveball from him in the instructs last year and it looks good. This season, I think it's his main pitch to get hitters off balance. His breaking balls both got a chance to be consistently above average offerings, with both flashing plus. Both looked like a fastball out of his hands then suddenly breaks hard. There's not much horizontal movement on both but there's sharp vertical movement especially with the curveball. His attack is primarily down and away for both and he does a good job of locating it pretty well but he hangs his slider when he tries to throw it inside. He needs to throw it inside righties with more confidence and conviction. 

I have seen him throw a changeup a couple of times in videos and it is more of a below-average offering with some velocity differential but it looks like a floating slow pitch most of the time. But there's one time where I have seen him throw a changeup that flashed above average, with a nice, pretty sharp fade. He said before that he's been throwing it more and more to get a hang of it and I think it will work but I don't see it as more of an average offering in the long run to support his fastball. I like for him to throw a splitter or a forkball as a substitute to his changeup if he will not improve on it in the future, kind of like Lincecum's split-change. 

Bickford has a lot of positives going for him like his unique mechanics, his command of his fastball and breaking ball, his polish and good curve for his age but there are some issues for him as well like can he stay longer and sustain his stuff deeper in his starts, will he put on more pounds for the grind of the regular season, having more consistent mechanics and will he ever have a nice changeup to compliment his fastball and breaking balls, and when will he start to mix up his fastball and breaking ball more. That said, when all comes through, he is bound to play in the Majors and be a solid starter.

Grades (Current): FB 50+ | SL 45 | CB 50 | CH 35 | CMD 50+
Grades (Potential): FB 60+ | SL 50+ | CB 55 | CH 45 | CMD 55+

Ceiling: #2-3 Starter   Floor: #4 Starter/Closer   ETA: 2019

Andrew Suarez  LHP  AA
6'2" 200 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Jheremy Brown 

He's never the tallest pitcher in the world nor the pitcher with the quickest fastball in a team's rotation nor also he has nastiest stuff but boy, Andrew Suarez can pitch.

He already has a mature frame for a pitcher with broad and sloping shoulders. He got a good amount of meat in his frame that should handle a good amount of innings every season. He is not ripped to say the least but the weight is definitely more on his body especially that big torso rather than his arm. He has smooth actions in fielding and has great feel for his body although his reactions especially when fielding grounders are a bit lagging. 

With his mechanics, he stands on the first base side of the rubber with legs apart and glove covering his mouth while waiting for the catcher's sign in the GP video but in recent starts, I have seen him drop the glove to belt level. After a slight step back, he lifts his front leg slowly just on the same level as his stomach while the glove arm raises quietly to his chest. During his leg kick is where he starts to become rotational as he closes himself by turning slowly but he still maintains good balance. He starts his extension towards home plate by separating his glove arm to almost perpendicular to his body while his left arm dips, almost perpendicular to the ground, creating tilt to gain leverage. His front leg also starts to move forward as well as rotate having his front leg all stretched. The left arm has little stress on it right now. The drive towards home plate hides the ball very well especially towards lefties. As his front leg starts to land, it bends but his left arm is still loading and once his front leg lands, he pushes his glove arm down resulting to having his shoulders back parallel to the ground. His left arm however is parallel also that might cause some problems like the timing of his mechanics especially with his injury history. He does a good job however of rotating it to get the overall timing of mechanics in check. He has little to some hip-shoulder separation because of the mechanics being rotational and he has average to close to above-average arm speed. He throws his pitches in a high 3/4 release point but his arm is a little bit separated from his body overall which made me think that he's putting more effort in his arm to get to his release point. Even though the mechanics is rotational, he does a good job of not falling off the rubber hard by his good arm deceleration and his body following his arm, putting him in a good fielding position. 

Overall, the mechanics looks effortless and natural although there's some points that I see where he is exerting a little bit more effort than normal. He does a great job of hiding the ball on both righties and especially lefties and most of the pitches come from the same slot. He also does a good job of staying closed after landing on a rotational mechanics but there are a few instances that he is late, resulting to problems in command and missing to his arm side.

His got a fastball that hovers at around 89-91 MPH, topping at 93 MPH with good tailing action in it. He got a sinker around the same velocity range with late sink in it but flashes as an average pitch as it doesn't have a lot of sink. He also features a cutter that is a bit slower than his best fastball and features good late cutting action but inconsistent cut to be called a plus pitch. His feel for his fastball is plus to plus-plus. He doesn't miss location by much at all, frequently hitting where the catcher's glove is. He does a good job of living in the lower third of the strike zone and that's good because once he throws his fastball high, the velocity and the movement is not good enough thus allowing solid contact.

His bread-and-butter pitch however is his slider. Thrown in the mid-80s, it got a late, two-plane break on it and is just nasty. It looks like a fastball out of his hand and almost halfway through its journey it starts its sweeping break. His feel for it is also great. It's his strikeout pitch and hitters chase it as it is a nasty pitch. He commonly locates it below the zone regularly but I haven't seen him locate it on the outside half of righty hitters as it is frequently inside them. He can locate it in the zone but sacrificing some movement, somehow resembling a cutter-like movement but with more cut. His fastball command sets up his slider well. 

His curveball is another impressive pitch. He throws it in the high-70s and while it doesn't got the knee-buckling break on the curveball, he does throw it with command. He is a master of locating it below the zone when it's on and has that rainbow shape and feel in it. Given the lack of plus break, it is hittable when his command of it is off. When it's on, the catcher's glove doesn't move at all, and just a perfectly placed pitch on the bottom half of the zone.

The changeup rounds out his repertoire thrown in the mid-80s as fast as his slider. His changeup displays good, late sinking action in it but not a lot of break to be a plus pitch. His changeup is also usually a putaway pitch for righties and is commonly thrown now to be a show-me pitch but when on, it can get swings and misses as well as weak groundballs. 

Andrew Suarez doesn't have a consistent plus pitch at his disposal but his overall feel for his pitches as well as overall feel for pitching should allow him to have plus command. He is approaching the Minor League hitters like Major Leaguers right now and is poised to be a good starter in the Majors equipped by smooth delivery, 4 average to above-average pitches as well as potential-plus command.

Grades (Current): FB 50+ | SNK 50 | CUT 50 | SL 50+ | CB 50 | CH 45 | CMD 55
Grades (Potential): FB 50+ | SNK 50+ | CUT 55 | SL 55+ | CB 50+ | CH 50 | CMD 55+/60

Ceiling: #3 Starter   Floor: #4-5 Starter/Long Relief   ETA: Late-2016/2017

I hope you enjoy the first Scouting Reports series this year. I think it's better packed with information about the overalls of your favorite Giants prospects. See you in Part 2!


  1. Good stuff, I'm giving it another read! I remember when ESPN used to have scouting reports with the players stats. It was always fun to reading them. Thanks for doing this.