The Jason Parks Scouting Extravangaza™ might be entering its final days on location in Surprise, Arizona, but as evidenced by this third weekly installment of the Professor's brilliant Rangers scouting observations (this time weighing in at 2,000-plus words), it's not quite finished yet. This latest edition of the notebook takes a decidedly future-focused turn, featuring abridged OFP (overall future potential) reports and projections for the likes of Jorge Alfaro, Tommy Mendonca, Luis Sardinas, Richard Alvarez, Martin Perez and many more insight-loaded nuggets.
Most of you already know how this drill works (click here to follow Jason's latest scouting updates on Facebook, and submit your prospect-related questions to Jason in the comments section below to receive answers), but those unacquainted with the baseball scouting lexicon might require a quick primer: for many of the following players, there are pairs of numbers such as '50/55' listed. These numbers correspond to the 20-to-80 scouting scale, with '50' representing the major league average and '80' being the highest achievable grade. The first number corresponds to the present grade of some aspect of a player's game (e.g. overall control, pitch velocity/quality/movement, hitting, etc.), whereas the second number corresponds to the (projected) future grade.
In certain cases, a number is listed after 'AOFP,' which stands for adjusted overall future potential; a player's AOFP may or may not deviate from his baseline OFP, with this being contingent upon the player and the weight of the tools in the mind of the scout (or, in some instances, his "gut instinct"). For example, Justin Smoak's raw OFP grade is undermined by his below-average speed, but speed is not an essential part of Smoak's game, a fact which is reflected in his slightly higher AOFP grade. Additionally, keep in mind that these scouting reports are based on present and future tools; it's not a given that specific tool grades will translate to similiar on-the-field production. Now, on with the show!
● C Jorge Alfaro: (43 present/58 future; AOFP 61); Hitting: 30/50 (Plate Discipline: 30/50); Power: 50/70 ; Speed: 50/40 (Good speed for catcher) ... (Base Running: 30/50); Glove: 30/60 (Pop time (seconds): 1.95-2.1/1.85); Arm: 70/70 (Accuracy: 40/60)
Projection: While currently raw in all phases of the game, Alfaro's raw tool projection is 58, with an adjusted potential grade of 61. All-Star-caliber player. (3/28)
● Christian Villanueva: The broad-shouldered Mexicano continues to have good at-bats (regardless of outcome); he doesn't swing at balls out of the zone, showing good pitch recognition; he works himself into fastball counts and squares up producing hard contact; he uses the pitch and will use the opposite field instead of trying to pull balls on the outer half. Advanced player. (3/26, Low-A game)
[Addendum: Villanueva is definitely an interesting young player. I've spoken to him a few times, mostly about life in Mexico, etc., but my wife (she joined me for a weekend in Surprise) had a much longer discussion with him about his background. I'm not interviewing players out here, but I'm sure I can find out more about his path to the Rangers. He did tell me that Quintana Roo own his Mexican League rights, which is funny because I wrote some reports on Roo players last season while in D.F. Finding a player like Villanueva in Mexico isn't easy.]
● Santiago Hill: With the score 21-0 in the eighth inning, Hill hit an average ground ball to the left side of the infield and ran to first base like it was Game 7 of the World Series. You can tell a lot about players in the last innings of an extreme blowout, and Hill showed me that he isn't going to be an easy out, regardless of the game situation. He also flashed the leather at second base, a position he plays (along with shortstop and third base) with true shortstop actions. (3/26, Low-A game)
● Tommy Mendonca: (47 present/53 future; AOFP 54); Hitting: 35/50; (Plate Discipline: 35/45); Power: 60/60; Speed: 40/35 (Baserunning: 55/55); Glove: 60/60 (Range: 50/50*) *Solid-average; Arm: 60/60 (Accuracy: 50/55)
Projection: Solid-average everyday major leaguer with power potential and good glove/arm. (3/28)
● Clark Murphy: (41 present/48 future; AOFP 48); Hitting: 35/50* (*fringe-average) ... (Plate Discipline: 40/50); Power: 50/60; Speed: 35/30; (Baserunning: 45/50); Glove: 40/45 (Range: 40/35); Arm: 50/50* (*fringe-average) ... (Accuracy: 40/45)
Projection: Potential for above-average power and average hit tool. Fringe-everyday player at the major league level. (3/28)
● Luis Sardinas: (46/56; AOFP 57); Hitting: 25/55 (Plate Discipline: 40/55); Power: 25/*50 (*fringe-average); Speed: 70/65 (4.1 seconds from RH); (Baserunning: 50/60); Glove: 50/60 (Range: 65/65); Arm: 60/60 (Accuracy: 45/60)
Projection: Very raw, but has projection for above-average defense at shortstop, above-average speed, and respectable bat/pop. First-division starter at major league level.
● Martin Perez: 55 present/63 future with 60/65-grade fastball (91-94 mph; tops out at 96 mph), 60/65-grade curveball, 50/60-grade change-up, and 60-grade control. Projection: Solid No. 2 starter at the major league level.
● Robbie Erlin: 47 present/56 future with 50/55-grade fastball (50/55-grade velocity; 55-grade movement), 50/60-grade curveball, 45/50*-grade (solid-average) change-up, and 50/60-grade control. Erlin isn't flashy, but he is effective with a sound arsenal and pitching instincts. Projection: Major league regular; No. 3 starter. (3/26)
● Edwin Escobar: 42 present/52 future with 40/50-grade fastball (86-89 mph velocity; 55-grade movement), 40/55-grade curveball, 40/50-grade change-up, and 40/50*-grade control. Projection: No. 4-5 starter; reliever. (3/26)
● Richard Bleier: 46 present/49 future with 50-grade fastball (45-grade velocity [86-89 mph]; 55-grade movement), 40/50*-grade (fringe-average) slider, 40/50-grade change-up, and 65/65-grade control. Bleier lacks elite stuff, but locates well and has solid-average change-up projection. Projection: No. 5 starter/middle reliever. (3/27)
● Chad Bell: The 6' 3" lefty was absolutely nasty in the first of two innings of work. Let's start with the good: Bell sat 90-92 mph with his fastball that also has excellent late life. His curveball is a plus pitch with late break that he commands at 75-76 mph. In his first inning of work, Bell cruised 1-2-3 and looked very sharp and composed on the mound.
Bell's second inning of work saw him give up three walks, but he didn't give up a hit and he remained focused when his fastball command left him; his curveball continued to find the edge of the strike zone for called strikes and he flashed a few change-ups, but he wasn't in command of the pitch. After a getting a good look at Bell, it's easy to see the promise in this lefty. With a sneaky fastball and a nasty curveball, Bell is a legit prospect in a system filled with legit prospects. (3/28, High-A game)
● Paul Strong: In his one inning of work, Strong used a heavy/boring fastball at 85-88 mph and a potential plus slow curveball at 70-72 mph. He walked a few batters and gave up an RBI single, but the tools are there. With runners on, Strong was slow to the plate (1.69-1.70 seconds), but refinement in that area isn't a concern at the present. (3/28, High-A game)
● Randol Rojas: Future 60-grade curveball. Really good pitch. (3/26)
● Richard Alvarez: 57 AOFP (adjusted overall future potential) with projection of 60-grade curveball, 60-grade change-up, and 60-grade control. Fastball is currently below-average (85-88 mph) with average movement, but projects to solid-average (88-92 mph) as he continues to mature. Not an overpowering arm, but advanced feel for pitching with projection for above-average control and two plus secondary pitches. (3/26)
● Matt Thompson: 46 present/54 future with 60-grade curveball, 50/55-grade fastball, future solid-average change-up, and 55/60-grade control. Projection as a major league regular. (3/26)
● Carlos Pimentel: 47 present/54 future with 50-grade fastball (movement and velocity), fringe-average curveball, and 60-grade change-up. Projection: Major league No. 4-5 starter or reliever. (3/26)
● Carlos Melo: The projectable righty sat 88-89 mph, topping out at 91 mph with his fastball. His command wasn't sharp, but the pitch had some movement and is usually thrown with more velocity. He threw a few solid mid-70s curveballs with two-plane break, but he overthrew the pitch at 78 mph and it hung in the zone. He flashed several promising change-ups at 82 mph with some fade and deception. Watching Melo flash decent [secondary pitches] is a huge step in the right direction. (3/26, Low-A game)
● Denny Peralta: The 20-year-old righty sat 87-88 mph from a long-armed high [three-quarters angle]. Despite the pedestrian fastball, which was often met with hard contact, Peralta flashed a very good 74-77 mph big, bending curveball that missed bats and found the strikezone. Very promising pitch. He also threw several low-80s pitches that appeared to be true sinkers. The pitch had weight and was thrown for strikes. He was hit hard, but lots to like here. (3/26, Low-A game)
● Richard Alvarez: Because of his mid-80s fastball velocity, Alvarez doesn't trust the pitch and pitches backwards as a result, throwing first-pitch off-speed offerings to the majority of hitters he faced. Once again, Alvarez showed off advanced secondary offerings only to see hard contact with 84-85 mph fastballs over the heart of the plate. I see some projection in Alvarez's fastball to go along with his future plus change-up and plus curveball. If/when Alvarez starts showing an upper-80s/low-90s fastball, his [secondary pitches] will make him a very, very good starting pitcher. (3/26, Low-A game)
● Francisco Mendoza: Fastball sat 91-93 mph and touched 95 mph, but didn't have command within the zone and was hit hard. His curveball, thrown at 76-78 mph, shows promise, but lacks consistency and tends to hang in the zone too long. (3/26, Low-A game)
● Wilfredo Boscan: 47 present/54 future with 50/55-grade fastball (50-grade velocity [88-91 mph], 55-grade movement), 40/50-grade curveball, 55/60-grade change-up, and 60/65-grade control. Boscan doesn't overpower hitters with his fastball and his curveball doesn't have plus projection, but his change-up is a filthy pitch and his control is above-average. Projection: No. 4-5 starter. (3/27)
● Jake Brigham: 49 present/57 future with 60-grade fastball (60-grade velocity as a starter [91-95 mph; tops out at 97 mph]; 55/55-grade movement), 60/65-grade curveball (80-82 mph), 40/50*-grade (*fringe-average) change-up, and 50/60 control. Aggressive power pitcher with two plus offerings at present with projection for above-average control. Projection: No. 3 starter or frontline set-up man/second-tier closer. (3/27)
● Andrew Doyle: 49 present/54 future with 55-grade fastball (50-grade velocity [87-91 mph]; 60-grade movement), 45/50-grade slider, 55/60-grade change-up, and 50/55-grade control. Doyle uses his heavy fastball and slider (with solid-average projection) to set up a very promising change-up which can miss bats. Doesn't have electric stuff, but mature body and sound arsenal will be able to chew innings. Projection: No. 4-5 starter. (3/27)
● Michael Main: Sat 88-91 mph (topped out at 93 mph) with late life. Didn't have the sharpest fastball command (missing up in the zone) and he didn't stay on top of his curveball, causing it to hang a bit, but limited damage, allowing only one run in three innings. Flashed a few promising LH change-ups with good armside fading action as well. (3/27, High-A game)
● Wilfredo Boscan: In his two innings of work, Boscan threw first-pitch strikes to every hitter he faced. Fastball sat 86-90 mph (topped out at 92 mph) with some sinking movement that he commanded in the zone and mixed in a few average curveballs ranging from 65-72 mph. His money pitch, an 80 mph change-up that normally has excellent deception and fade, hung up today and wasn't as effective. (3/27, High-A game)
● Randol Rojas: The athletic 6' 0" righty (looks closer to 6' 1") needed only 11 pitches to finish his brief inning of work. Working with a [three-quarters] fastball that sat 88-90 mph, Rojas pounded the zone on the first pitch and then used his excellent 76-78 mph curveball to force weak contact/miss bats. Facing only one left-handed batter, Rojas threw a very good 84 mph change-up for a swinging strike. This pitcher has a very mature arsenal for his age and the pitchability to execute against more advanced competition. (3/27, High-A game)
● Fabio Castillo: The big righty struggled with command during his inning of work, allowing two hits and three walks while only recording two outs. His fastball sat 89-92 mph and he mixed in a few 79-83 mph change-ups, but neither pitch was able to find the strike zone with any consistency. (3/27, High-A game)
● Tim Steggall: After coming on in relief of Castillo in the seventh inning (three pitches resulting in a ground out), Steggall pitched the eighth with mixed results. Despite giving up a few hard contact hits, Steggall showed off a promising fastball (sitting 89-93 mph) with late life, and a slow curveball, thrown anywhere from 66-72 mph. (3/27, High-A game)
● Matt Thompson: Three up/three down for the projectable righty. With a fastball that sat 90-93 mph, a true wipeout curveball at 75-78 mph, and an improving change-up thrown 80-83 mph (better pitch at 80 mph), Thompson easily handled his inning of work. (3/27, High-A game)
● Kyle Ocampo: Showing good command of an 86-88 mph fastball that touched 90 mph with above-average movement, Ocampo worked quickly and was able to induce weak contact. In his two innings of work, Ocampo only allowed one ball to leave the infield, keeping his heavy fastball away from the heart of the strike zone. (3/28, High-A game)
● Braden Tullis: Another promising arm. Tullis sat 87-89 mph with a very heavy fastball and 81 mph with one of the best change-ups in the system. His fastball often caught too much of the plate, but the damage was limited thanks to his monster sinking change-up that not only forces weak contact, but also misses the bats of both left- and right-handed batters. One of the single best pitches I've seen in camp. (3/28, High-A game)
● Ovispo De Los Santos: With Felizian mechanics, Ovispo fired gas at 93-96 mph, and touched 98 mph on the gun. His fastball has movement and velocity, but his command still needs refinement. He flashed one breaking ball that appeared to be a hard curveball that had good late break. Keep an eye on this guy. Pitchers with plus-plus fastballs have a way of moving fast once the command starts to improve. Add a passable breaking ball to the mix and Ovispo becomes a legit relief sleeper in the system. (3/28, High-A game)