Pitching prospects are funny. Sometimes the best major league starters seemingly come out of nowhere. A mechanical tweak, or improved grip on a breaking pitch can sky rocket a prospect’s status to new heights. Sometimes, a high floor prospect that wasn’t getting too many prospect hounds or dynasty managers excited, progresses to the point of at least real mid-rotation upside. The later seems to be the case of the Reds AA righthander Tyler Mahle. On the heels of a perfect game just about a week ago. One in which, he made quick work of the 27 batters, throwing just 88 pitches. He produced another strong showing Friday, going 6 scoreless innings, striking out 6, and allowing 5 to reach. Mahle’s displayed pinpoint control throughout his time in the minors, and the results have been good outside a blip during his first go-at AA last season. A four pitch arsenal includes an average low 90’s fastball, a plus changeup, and a slurvy breaking ball. He’s not someone I foresee breaking a K per inning rate, but so far the swing and miss has been there, with 34 K’s in 32.1 innings. If Injuries to Reds starters begin to pile up, we might see Mahle in the big leagues by mid-July. As always Great America Ballpark is a horrible landing spot for any young starter, but I’m more inclined to believe in one with control and tendencies to induce weak contact (14.8%) and ground balls (44.4% GB).Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Monday night, my top scout (aka my daughter) and I, loaded up our rented scouting station (mini-van), and headed out to LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida to check out some Florida State League action. LECOM Park is actually the corporate name of McKechnie Field, often called the Fenway Park of Spring Training. Funny, I didn’t feel like my seat was designed for a garden gnome, but hey, everything is bigger in Florida right? Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Any the Arsenio Hall, my daughter and I headed out to go scout, and I use that term loosely, some of Bradenton and Clearwater’s top players. Bradenton is the Pirates Class Advanced A affiliate, and Clearwater is the Phillies. While my daughter and I munched on pretzels, hot dogs, and other assorted ballpark foods, I was reminded of why I love the minor leagues. Where else can you see potential future stars mere feet away, chat with coaches about breaking balls, and shoot some sweet scouting video without an usher booting you out of the stadium? Where am I going with all this? Be patient and I’ll tell you. Why are you so hasty bro? Well, I had an idea while shooting some scouting videos of Will Craig, and Cornelius Randolph. What if we had an army of amateur scouts throughout the country sharing their first hand video accounts?
Why not have my readers, and listeners, shoot scouting videos at the minor league games they attend throughout the year? From there, we’ll take your raw footage, edit it, and post it on Razzball’s YouTube channel. It’s crowdsourced scouting, and with smart phones more common than smart people what could be easier. So if you’re taking in a minor league game at anytime this season, whip out your phone and shoot some videos of top prospects you see. Once you do shoot them over to me via email at [email protected]Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another week of prospecting, another pair of systems to review for your strapping heroes of dynasty and fantasy baseball. I’m speaking of course, of yours truly Warrior Poet Ralph Lifshitz Esq. and Grand Master Michael C. Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com. Just in case you’re wondering, the C stands for cunning, don’t ask me, ask Mike. As for the actual show this week, we get the already juiced up Cubs fans more jacked up, as we delve into their impressive farm system. Once we’re done creaming our jeans over Eloy Jimenez, Ian Happ, and Dylan Cease, we move onto the rejuvenated Cincy system. We spend the second half of the show singing the praises of Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Chris Okey, and Amir Garrett. The big news is I admit defeat in my Jesse Winker hate-o-thon, and agree with Halp that he has 2017 breakout written all over him. As for the rest you gotta listen for yourself. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast.Please, blog, may I have some more?
What do you do now Cubs fans? You waited 108 years to drink from the lips of victory, and it happened. So, what’s left to wait for? The hope springs eternal known as the Northsiders minor league system, enters a very new phase in the team’s history. No longer is it the breeding ground of hope and promise, but the feeder system to continue stocking the newly minted juggernaut. While players like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras all played pivotal roles in the Cubs run, they still surprisingly had the lowest number of home grown players on their playoff roster. Of course young talents like Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo don’t count, even if we barely remember them elsewhere. All this to say the Cubs have a young and talented roster with few spots for everyday players to breakthrough. This leads me to believe, that much like the jettisoned Gleyber Torres, many of these youngsters discussed today will end up breaking through with other clubs while the Cubs chase titles. Exciting times to be a Cubbies fan, even if you jumped on the bandwagon on the way to the victory parade.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sometimes you ask and you shall receive and in that vein, I begin this month’s Razznasty update. Now I know the two questions you’re asking, what did you ask for and receive? And which vein? First, it’s the main vein, you know the one in the middle…. Secondly, I asked our very own Hippo in the bush Matt Truss to make a push in the standings over the course of June so I could name the next update “Can’t Truss It”. Done and done. I told Mr. Truss-ah Truss that I’d dress as Flavor Flav from this video while I wrote it. Truss, that I held up my end of the bargain, picture me decked out in white tuxedo with top hat and Batman glasses. Unfortunately I can’t share with all of you due to a shortage on the correct cartridges for my vintage Polaroid Sun 600. Sorry boys, and whatever number of girls are reading this year. I believe we were up to five, but we might have lost a few after the Jose Canseco interview. There’s nothing that upsets the ladies more than invasive question about Madonna’s early 90’s sperm brokering. Enough of the bollocks, onto the Razznasty update for June. Dynasty League Baseball at it’s finest.Please, blog, may I have some more?
When your farm system graduates four top 100 prospects in one season, like the Cubs did, it’s only natural that your overall minors grade takes a hit the following year. After coming into 2015 with one of the most talented groups in recent memory the 2016 version is a bit of a letdown. Don’t misunderstand me, the Cubs system is still head and shoulders above the last two systems we previewed, but it’s a far cry from the level it’s been the previous two springs. There’s still a solid group of hitters left and some upside arms with ETA’s a year or two out. So there’s still a lot to discuss, but none of the current crop has the through the roof tools of Bryant, Russell, Soler, or Baez. In closing its not the prospect pants tent of yesteryear, but it hasn’t dipped to Angelic levels either.Please, blog, may I have some more?