Saturday, March 18, 2017

Scouting Reports for the 2016 Giants: Sacramento River Cats Prospects

Hello! I'm going to finish up my scouting reports series for this season with my scouting reports of the Sacramento River Cats. I'm going to try to mix it up for this year and do my scouting reports more descriptively rather than the more nitpicking reports of old. I feel that I deliver the reports better in description based on my own review of my own writings. I hope you enjoy this one.

6'3" 230 lbs.  L/R  
Videos: Credits to minorleaguebaseball 1 and 2

Blackburn's performance regressed but he relatively stayed the same pitcher as last year. His frame hasn't changed for a few years now and he's still capable of going deep into games.

His fastball still sits in the high-80s to low-90s with sinking movement in it. His curveball is still consistently above average with a big break in it. His changeup is also a solid average offering. His command of his pitches is still solid above average but he caught too much of the strike zone this season especially his fastball. 

Blackburn is still one of the best strike-throwers in the system right now with a three-pitch mix that he throws with good to great command. He needs to not catch the plate too much and command his pitches better to take the next step.

Grades (Current): FB 45 | CB 55 | CH 45 | CMD 50+
Grades (Ceiling): FB 50 | CB 55 | CH 50 | CMD 60
Grades (Probable): FB 45 | CB 55 | CH 45 | CMD 60

Ceiling: #5 Starter   Floor: Middle reliever    ETA: 2017/2018

Ty Blach  LHP

6'2" 200 lbs.  R/L  

Videos: Credits to Sean Bialaszek

If you want a prototypical lefty control pitcher, Blach is your guy. His mature frame allow him to pitch 150 innings a season.

Blach doesn't have flat out stuff. His fastball is a modest 90-92 MPH and has reached 93 MPH with some sinking and cutting action while also incorporating a true four-seam. His changeup is above-average with late fade and similar arm action as his fastball and his best swing and miss offering. His slider is decent and his curveball has been better than ever with rainbow arch and flashing consistent average. What Blach lacks in stuff is replaced by his mastery of his pitches. His feel for his fastball is masterful (there are a lot of times where the catcher's glove don't move at all) and his feel for changeup and curveball are impressive as well. He loves to mix up his pitches and knows how to work backwards. His mechanics has some deception in it with short extension and solid arm speed and he has great feel for it.

With mastery of three average pitches and an above average changeup and the ability to spot his repertoire wherever he wants, Blach has the highest possible floor in a prospect as he can contribute to the parent club all throughout 2017. 

Grades (Current): FB 45 | SL 45 | CB 45 | CH 55 | CMD 60
Grades (Ceiling): FB 45 | SL 45 | CB 50 | CH 55 | CMD 65
Grades (Probable): FB 45 | SL 45 | CB 50 | CH 55 | CMD 65

Ceiling: #5 Starter   Floor: Set-up/middle reliever    ETA: 2017

6'7" 180* lbs.  R/R  

Gregorio's weight is still listed at 180 lbs. but on the videos this season, he has really filled up his frame like a good 40 lbs. has been placed in his body frame. He has long arms and long legs that helps his pitching in plenty of ways.

His mechanics is very deceptive and the arm action is very hard to describe. Hitters also has problems detecting his true 3/4 release point with plus arm speed and his long levers gives him plus extension and tremendous downhill plane that is unusual for a drop and drive delivery. His fastball sits at low-90s and can reach higher along with good sinking action. His mechanics makes his fastball even better. His slider flashes above average but is often inconsistent and tends to lack the sharp break when he doesn't get on top of it. His changeup improved but there's a lot to be desired from it to be a viable third pitch. The main issues for him is the repetition of his mechanics which can be a whack at times thus limiting his command to just average at best.

Gregorio will be given all the chance to be a starting pitcher but his fastball-slider combo and deceptive mechanics are better suited at a relief role where his fastball can be a few ticks faster and his slider will have better bite on it while not being worried about his changeup too much.

Grades (Current): FB 60 | SL 50+ | CH 40+ | CMD 40+ 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 65 | SL 55 | CH 45 | CMD 50
Grades (Probable): FB 65 | SL 55 | CH 45 | CMD 45

Ceiling: Set-up RP/Closer   Floor: AAAA RP   ETA: 2017

6'5" 255 lbs.  L/R  
Videos: None (I can't find a video in YouTube but his only outing in Sacramento is in MiLB)

Not gonna be beaten by Dan Slania in terms of size, you will never miss Myers' physical presence on the mound. He really needs to keep his body in check, possible shed some weight, to make me say that he can handle 100+ innings without breaking down. Losing weight might also help him possibly improve his velocity. 

Myers has a starters repertoire of fastball-slider-change. I don't have a clear number on what is his velocity but based on my eye, it is possibly in the low-90s with some running movement. His changeup is the best secondary pitch with immense tailing movement and he sells it well with fastball arm speed. It got a potential to be an above average pitch for him and if he throws it below in the zone, it can draw swings and misses. His slider is underwhelming, with a nice break but breaks early and isn't sharp. His mechanics is athletic and he's athletic for his massive size that he can repeat his mechanics fairly well. The problem that I see in his mechanics is his inverted W and high elbow at front foot landing. He has feel for fastball and slider but needs more work with the changeup in terms of locating it down the zone. 

Myers has the potential to be a true starting pitcher with feel for his three pitch mix highlighted by his fastball and changeup. The thing that might be limiting him is his conditioning so he needs to take a hard look at his weight to unlock his ceiling.

Grades (Current): FB 50 | SL 35 | CH 40+ | CMD 40 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 55 | SL 45 | CH 55 | CMD 50
Grades (Probable): FB 55 | SL 45 | CH 50+ | CMD 45+

Ceiling: Middle Reliever   Floor: Organization Filler   ETA: 2018/2019

6'3" 210 lbs.  L/L  
Videos: Credits to Harrand Sports Performance and MLB 1 and 2

The best left-handed reliever in the organization, Okert has improved his control and tasted the big leagues this season.

He is compared to Madison Bumgarner in terms of deception and stuff. While he slings the ball at the same low 3/4 slot as Bumgarner does, Okert doesn't feature the same crossfire that MadBum does. He does however draws nightmare matchups on lefty hitters as it feels that the ball comes from first base. His plus fastball-slider combination is his bread and butter, with the latter a true plus pitch with hard sweeping break in it that will draw swings and misses on both hitters. His fastball sits at low-90s but has shown ability to throw it harder before. In order to get out of LOOGY status, he needs to have a consistent third pitch and his cutter can be the neutralizer against righties. He stayed on top of the ball more last season and it resulted to better command of his pitches.

With a knockout 2-pitch mix, Okert can be the heir apparent to Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez as long as he keeps on top of his pitches and if the cutter improves, he can get righties better and can have a larger role out of the pen. 

Grades (Current): FB 55 | SL 60 | CUT 45 | CH 40 | CMD 45 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 60 | SL 60 | CUT 50 | CH 45 | MD 50
Grades (Probable): FB 55 | SL 60 | CUT 50 | CH 40 | CMD 50

Ceiling: Set-up RP   Floor: LOOGY   ETA: 2017

Tyler Rogers  RHP
6'5" 187 lbs.  R/R  
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter

It's rare that I put performance over tools in my scouting reports but Rogers is an exemption to the rule. Tall and slender with long arms and longer legs, Rogers really is quite a presence on the mound.

What separates him from other reliever prospects in the organization is that he is a true submariner. He doesn't really dig down there unlike Chad Bradford because of his long legs but he releases the baseball at about a foot above the ground. He only throws two pitches with a sinker-slider repertoire. The sinker is at low-80s but with good amount of sink and together with his land down under style, hitters pounds the earth with it. His slider is less impressive at low-70s with some frisbee break. He lives in the bottom half of the zone often but struggled to command his fastball when he got promoted to AAA. 

While he will never overpower hitters with his stuff, Rogers is a really tough pitcher to face as a hitter when he throws his pitches from the ground (quite literally). If he showed the type of command that he has in Richmond last season in 2017, he could be pitching in San Francisco this season.

Grades (Current): FB 45 | SL 45 | CMD 50 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 50+ | SL 50 | CMD 55
Grades (Probable): FB 45 | SL 50 | CMD 55

Ceiling: Set-up RP   Floor: AAAA RP   ETA: 2017/2018

Dan Slania  RHP
6'5" 275 lbs.  R/R  
Videos: Credits to Sacramento River Cats and FanRag Sports

As big as a container truck quite literally, Slania brings the imposing presence on the mound. With broad shoulders and square torso filled with muscle, he can eat up massive amount of innings. 

Armed with a very compact delivery similar to Bartolo Colon, he throws his full repertoire of pitches for strikes. His fastball sits in the low-90s and can touch 94 in shorter bursts with some running action. Thanks to the tall-and-fall nature of his delivery and his short arm circle, his fastball can blow by hitters sometimes. His slider is his second best pitch that flashes plus with massive, late break though it can get slurvy at times if he don't get on top of it. He also features a true curveball with good break but doesn't have consistent feel for it. His splitter is a hard one with a lot of vertical break because he releases it over the top but it doesn't have that true sharp, late break that you expect like a Tanaka's splitter. He doesn't have a lot of horizontal break but it can get swings and misses as it resembles a vertical dropping four-seamer. He also features a true changeup. He has good feel for the strike zone and his delivery offers deception (short arm action, hides the ball in body, massive size). 

His deep repertoire with three above-average offerings along with his size and repeatable mechanics gives him a good shot at staying on starting but if the opportunity doesn't present itself, he's very familiar at being a reliever since he is a converted reliever.

Grades (Current): FB 55 | SL 55 | SPL 45+ | CB 40 | CH 45 | CMD 50 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 55 | SL 55 | SPL 55 | CB 40 | CH 50 | CMD 50
Grades (Probable): FB 55 | SL 55 | SPL 50+ | CB 40 | CH 45 | CMD 55

Ceiling: #5 Starter   Floor: Set-up/middle reliever    ETA: Late 2017/2018

Austin Slater  OF/2B/3B
6'2" 215 lbs.  R/R
Videos: Credits to Sean Bialaszek and Adam Hayes

Slater has always been one of the most complete prospects in the system, showing all five tools in the field. He has filled up and matured his frame in a way that he didn't hurt his athleticism which is above average.

Slater's swing has been long and flyball-oriented but he has struggled to time up pitches before. He generated much more power numbers this season as he timed pitches better, put his weight in the ball better and became more selective at the plate. Having good strong wrists helped him drive pitches better. He also has a good eye at the plate and it showed this season when he drew a lot more walks since the start of the Fall League. His bat speed is good but the occasional stiffness in his swing and his flat swing path will still make him draw swings and misses. There are still some contact issues especially against righty pitching that make me think that he'll be a shade below average hitter with a chance for double digit homers.

His speed has been good and with better technique, he can stole more than a handful of bags and play the all three outfield spots but his arm is only average so he's going to be relegated to playing left field in his future but if he could improve his fielding techniques, he could be also become a viable infield defender since he played in second base before. 

While he doesn't have loud tools, his all-around skillset (his Nelson Cruz-like swing, defensive versatility, athleticism) will make him a good utility player and if he can improve his approach against righty pitching, he has a shot to become an everyday player.

Grades (Current): Hit 40+ | Power 50 | Speed 50 | Arm 50 | Glove 45
Grades (Ceiling): Hit 50 | Power 55 | Speed 50 | Arm 50 | Glove 50
Grades (Probable): Hit 45 | Power 55 | Speed 45 | Arm 50 | Glove 50

Ceiling: Bench bat    Floor: AAAA OF     ETA: 2018

6'3" 190 lbs.  R/R  
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, MLB and minorleaguebaseball

While I can say that Stratton didn't pan out ever since being selected in the 1st round in 2012, him reaching the Major Leagues is impressive to say the least.

Armed with sound mechanics, he has a full arsenal of four pitches that he mix well. His fastball has some tail and sinking in the low-90s and also has thrown some cutters with slight cut. He has confidence to throw his fastball on both sides on the plate but lacks explosiveness. He has two breaking balls that he throws, with his slider a better pitch with sharp break that flashes above average than his curveball. In his short Major League stint, his curveball has shown flashes of being an above average pitch. His changeup still leaves something to be desired. He has advanced pitchability and pitching acumen and along with his smooth mechanics, he can have above average command. The problem with him is that his arm speed is only average which reduces the life of his pitches.

Even though Stratton's stuff is not as explosive like when he was drafted in 2012, his fastball-slider-curveball mix plus his command makes him a good option in the bullpen in the Major Leagues with a chance to spot start.

Grades (Current): FB 50 | SL 50 | CB 45 | CH 45 | CMD 50 
Grades (Ceiling): FB 55 | SL 55 | CB 50 | CH 50 | CMD 55
Grades (Probable): FB 50 | SL 55 | CB 50 | CH 45 | CMD 55

Ceiling: #5 Starter/Middle Reliever   Floor: AAAA SP   ETA: 2017

This is the end of my scouting reports for the River Cats and my scouting reports overall. I might have forgotten to touch plenty more prospects so I apologize for that and if you need my opinions in more prospects as long as it's Giants-related, you can hit me up at the comments section or just tweet it at Twitter. 

Giant Potential has posted his plethora of videos of prospects in his website and I can give my opinions on that by next week. So far though, I really love what I see in Conner Menez. He might be another Ty Blach but he needs to fill out that frame so that he can sustain the long grind of the season. I also loved what I saw in Miguel Gomez as his hit tool is already very legit and Major League-quality. 

I hope that you enjoy reading my stuff here in my blog and my Giants Farm!

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