The byline on this entry might suggest otherwise, but make no mistake -- this is the Jason Parks show, replete with his always-excellent scouting observations on a number of high-profile Rangers prospects (including Jorge Alfaro, Jurickson Profar, Luis Sardinas, Michael Main and Alexi Ogando) and some lesser-known names worth tracking as they progress through the system. Because we could all use a little more "El Magico" in our lives.
Two quick things before we embark upon this trip into scouting heaven: first, you can receive Jason's latest prospect updates from Surprise, Arizona by following Baseball Time in Arlington on Facebook, and second, this is a reader-participative article -- Jason won't be conducting a full-fledged Q&A session at this time, but he will be answering some of the questions that you submit below in the comments section (via text message to me, after which I'll post them), with "some" being the operative word in that sentence. Higher-quality, penetrating questions will be given higher priority. Fire away with everything you've got.
● Jorge Alfaro: Really strong with ability to use raw strength to generate power at the plate; strong wrists and fluid hip rotation. Was instructed to take outside fastball to opposite field and showed no problem going the other way with pop. Very, very raw behind the plate, but very promising with the bat. (3/12)
● Assorted POP times (time elapsed from the ball arriving in the catcher's mitt to the ball arriving in the fielder's glove at second base): L. De Los Santos: 2.12 seconds (Very strong arm, but suspect throwing mechanics and sloppy footwork).
A. Perez: 2.30 seconds (Solid arm strength with a slow release and inconsistent accuracy).
Vin DiFazio: 2.25 seconds (Accurate throws, but a slow, deliberate release and average footwork.
B. O'Conner: 2.19 seconds (Sound fundamentals).
K. Torres: 2.18 seconds (Good instincts with solid arm strength and release; leader on the field and with the younger players)
Jorge Alfaro: 2.00 seconds (Well above-average arm strength and quick release. Throws tend to carry because of his footwork and positioning. Alfaro works very hard and asks questions. Extremely unrefined, but has the raw tools, work ethic, and intelligence to eventually develop into an above-average catcher).
● [Jorge] Alfaro just knocked one 400 feet. Yeah, he's 16. (3/14)
● Chris Davis was killing the ball in batting practice today. It's always awesome to watch legit 80-grade power from ten feet away. (3/9)
● Batting practice notes: Odubel Herrera: Fast bat, but limited power and very limited physical projection. Makes decent contact and has a feel for bunting.
Alejandro Selen: Despite small size, has raw strength that generates pop in bat when he can barrel it. Doesn't make consistent hard contact, though.
Santiago Hill: Keeps weight back with quiet load. Makes good contact, but lacks much power at this point.
Christian Villanueva: Didn't barrel many balls and moved around in the box too much during pre-load. Was under the ball most of the time and didn't show much power.
Luis Sardinas: Fluid hitting mechanics from both sides of the plate allowing him to make consistent contact. Lacks any power at this point and rarely drove the ball out of the infield.
Clark Murphy: Keeps hands low and drops left arm during load. Showed good pop to all fields with loft to swing. Didn't make consistent contact.
Jurickson Profar: Some noise in pre-swing from both sides of the plate including happy feet and arm wiggle. Late on balls from the right side showing little to no power and soft contact. Drove ball with more authority from left side, but was occasionally late and body would open up. Like in the field, Profar needs to slow down and harness his natural ability. At this point, Profar's coolness and flash are more advanced than his fundamentals. (3/13)
● Notes from the infield drills: Leury Garcia: Very smooth with soft hands and instincts. Looks like a well above-average fielder in drills and a below-average fielder in live game action. Defensively, Garcia just needs time to catch up to the game; the raw skills are there.
Jurickson Profar: Soft glove pick-up from either side and good natural instincts and feel. Profar is always in top gear and needs to let the game come to him to prevent rushed fielding positions and throwing mechanics.
Luis Sardinas: True Venezuelan shortstop tools including soft hands, glove-pick-up, and fluidity. Despite his rail-thin frame, Sardinas isn't awkward on balls requiring a quick first step and his overall feel for the position is evident. That said, Sardinas has a LONG way to go and will need years of repetition and refinement to reach his very high defensive ceiling. (3/13)
● Luis Sardinas just flashed serious range to his left; very smooth glove and quick reactions. Profar and Leury Garcia looking good as well. Lots of defensive talent at the position. [Odubel] Herrera wasn't a slouch either. (3/13)
● I think [Jurickson] Profar's best attribute is coordination. His ability to adjust his body and recovery from mistakes is impressive. (3/14)
● Batting practice notes: Miguel Velazquez: Excellent raw power to all fields. Squared up on most balls, even with inconsistent swing mechanics.
Guillermo Pimentel: Flat-back stance with some dip during load. Doesn't use legs/hips to generate bat speed. Makes contact, but doesn't drive the ball with authority and doesn't utilize raw strength.
Cristian Santana: Possibly the best raw power in the system. Looks to be carrying extra weight in his waist/hips, but looks stronger in his legs. Hit the ball with authority showing ridiculous power to all fields. Has a tendency to in/out the ball without being forced into it by the pitch location. Doesn't have the prettiest mechanics, but had the best [batting practice session] of the day. (3/13)
● Robert Erlin had a very good bullpen [session] this morning. His fastball has some zip and he can spot it. His curveball is very promising. He didn't snap off many change-ups, but his delivery and arm speed remained consistent. (3/9)
● Winston Marquez with another impressive bullpen. He has nice zip on his fastball and can hit his spots down in the zone. Decent feel for his off-speed stuff as well. (3/11)
[Addendum: Marquez's breaking ball is thrown from a high [three-quarters angle] with sweeping movement. His arm speed on the pitch isn't as impressive as his fastball, which probably explains the slurvy movement. I think he profiles as a reliever at the higher levels.]
● Martin Perez: Hit all of his spots today. I'll let you know when he does anything less than spectacular. (3/11)
● Beau Jones: Solid [live batting practice session]. He dropped several good curveballs on target and velocity was noisy. His mechanics were a little screwy and he required some adjustment. (3/11)
● Chad Bell looks to have potential for three average to slightly above-average pitches. He's in a [bullpen] group with LHP Edwin Escobar, LHP Winston Marquez and RHP Braden Tullis, so I didn't have a chance to focus on him today. I'll get a good look at him when minor league games start. (3/11)
● Robbie Erlin continues to impress as well. The six-foot lefty with strength and athleticism was dead to the mitt with the majority of his pitches, including both off-speed offerings. His fastball command looks to eventually grade aboveaverage, as will his curveball, which I think is his best pitch. His fastball has some heavy sinking action and his change-up has nice shape. Erlin also fields his position quite well. (3/11)
● Geuris Grullon update of the day: The 6' 5" lefty was more consistent today, both mechanically and with fastball command. He hit most of his spots down in the lower half and was able to tame the pitch movement that often works against him. He didn't throw many sliders, and the ones he did throw weren't exceptional. (3/12)
[Addendum: Grullon profiles as a reliever at this point. His slider projects to be average at best and his change-up is basically non-existent. I hate to put a 20-year-old arm in the LOOGY box, but he doesn't appear to have much rotation potential. His fastball is so good that a little refinement should allow him to move fast as a specialist.]
● Paul Strong looked very good today. The projectable lefty hit most of his spots with his fastball, keeping the ball down in the zone. The pitch had good natural movement and some zip. His curveball had nice late-break and he showed a good feel for the pitch. He only threw a few change-ups, but located the pitch. He throws with some effort and his change-up is a bit deliberate. (3/12)
● Alexi Ogando was sitting 94-96 [mph] (touched 99 mph) with better than expected change-up/slider combo. He looked very comfortable on the mound and should be a late-inning option for the Rangers this season. Very impressive. (3/10)
● Michael Main: Carrying a little extra weight, but he didn't look slow in fielding drills and his pen was solid. He was leaving the ball up in the zone and his secs didn't look super sharp, but his FB had some zip and his mechanics were smooth. (3/11)
● Pitcher of the day: Wilfredo Boscan. He is carrying more muscle on his 6' 2" frame and had a great [bullpen session]. His arm action is incredibly fast, and his fastball had velocity and life. He was hitting his spots with his change-up (a future plus pitch, if it isn't already) and his curveball was showing some depth. He looked good. (3/11)
● Pressure Pen of the Day: Extra man in the group No. 5 [bullpen] rotation, Randol Rojas was forced to throw a solo session with Nolan Ryan looking on. Rojas showed poise and stuff, pounding the bottom half of the zone with his fastball and showing some feel for the off-speed stuff. Smallish frame, but pitchability and stuff will make him an interesting arm to keep tabs on. (3/11)
[Addendum: Rojas was throwing what looked like a curveball. He was able to spot it and spin it, so that's a good start. Once the minor league games start I'll have a better idea how to project Rojas. I like what I see so far.]
● Ovispo De Los Santos throws very hard with minimal effort. His command seems a bit iffy and his off-speed stuff doesn't compare to his fastball. (3/13)
● Tracking notes from field No. 4: Neil Ramirez showing zip on his fastball and command. Curveball wasn't sharp and lacked depth. The fastball command was encouraging. Ramirez looks more focused and comfortable on the mound. (3/14)
● Carlos Pimentel: Good stuff today. Command wasn't sharp, but fastball had movement (which it normally lacks) and some velocity. His curveball was iffy, but had good slurvy movement. His change-up is a future plus pitch with excellent fade and deception. I dig it. (3/14)
[Don't miss Jason's other scouting notes on Neftali Feliz, Taylor Teagarden, Geuris Grullon and Neil Ramirez, which were posted up last Thursday morning.]