Thursday in the Therapy Room: Confessions of a Prospect Junkie

I never thought I would see the day when I got more out of watching minor league baseball than MLB.  While going to games and being outside is much preferable to sitting on my couch, I knew I had a problem when I delayed a chance to see Avengers: Infinity War to see Bryse Wilson.  Now a days, Faedo’s 2-seamer excites me more than my wife taking me to my favorite restaurant.  Watching Cristian Pache is better than any craft beer I’ve tasted.  I got problems, man!  I’m jonesing for the next fix.  So until then, welcome to group therapy.

Imma let you finish, but…

Shane McLanahan of the University of South Florida Bulls was a consensus top 5 MLB draft prospect coming into the season.  He may still be.  However, as USF started to face stiffer competition, McLanahan faltered.  I’ve seen him 5-6x this year.  His command is wildly inconsistent and he falls  in love with his fastball.  The fastball sits 91-94 sometimes touches 95-97 and I have seen him hit 100.  The problem is that it’s all over the place.  His slider flashes plus.  The problem is he doesn’t seem to throw it early in counts.  His change-up is fringe.

I want to like him.  The “experts” love him.  However, mechanically, he is a mess.  So much so that I can watch him pitch and based on his rhythm discern whether the coming pitch is going to be a strike or ball.  I spoke to a scout that told me, No way we take him 1st round.  If he pitched for University of Florida, he wouldn’t even be a weekend starter.  He should go in the comp rounds because he’s expensive and has eligibility left.  Plus, his stuff plays up in the bullpen.

Shane McLanahan

Speaking of stuff playing up….


Cincinnati Reds RHP and beast of man, Tony Santillan, has been money to start the 2018 season.  What’s changed?  Command.  I saw him 4/17/18 against the NY Yankees High A affiliate.  When I say a beast of a man, Santillan is listed at 6’3 240 lbs.  He isn’t fat but he does have the body type that could morph into David Wells.

Santillan has a clean, repeatable delivery.  Sets up on 1st base side of the rubber.  He has a high leg kick, smooth through his delivery with a fast arm.  His arm slows down on offspeed pitches and it looks like he aims it a bit.  He is a little stiff through the trunk.

Santillan’s fastball sat 93-94, touching 96.  He flashed an average-above average change-up at 88.  The change had nice tail at times and he used it effectively to strikeout  Estevan Florial.  His slider was a little flat and hovered around 87-88.  I’m a little concerned that his CH and SL are too close in velocity and neither are plus.  However, he spots the FB well, paints the corners, and keeps the ball down.  So far so good for the young righty in 2018.

The Curious Case of Alex Faedo’s velocity

I’ve seen 3 Faedo starts.  Every time, I get questioned about his FB velocity.  I heard it was 96 in the 2017 College World Series.  OK, great!  So what?  Here is why I don’t care and you shouldn’t either.  Every time I see this guy, he pounds the zone with elite command.  His FB which I presume to be a 2-seamer, darts in to righties and away from lefties.  Faedo has been a master at missing the barrel.  He will start the FB at 89 down the middle to a RHB and it darts in.  If they don’t pull a weak ground ball to 3rd, he will back it up and run it further in on the their hands.  He does this lefties as well but away.

I have only seen 1 or 2 fastballs in 3 games barreled.  His FB has natural sink and is heavy.  He doesn’t need 96 to get outs.  I am a firm believer that the best pitch in baseball is a well located FB.  Faedo has that.  He has a plan on the mound and is usually flawless in his execution

What he needs is to improve his SL command and consistency as well as his change-up.  His change-up is consistently below average and sits 86-87.  Last start, he threw one that had nice fade.  Most of the ones I have seen are straight.  If he leaves it up….well I don’t need to tell you what happens next.

Now maybe just maybe, if his FB sits at 96, the change plays up by sheer difference in velocity.  But just because a guy can touch 96 in-game, doesn’t mean that his FB sits comfortably at 96.  So don’t worry about his fastball.  Look at what he is able to do with in-game experimenting.  If he wanted to just throw FB/SL, his numbers this year would be even better but he would be a worse pitcher.

Hey Kids

18 year old Phillies RHP Francisco Morales has a tall, athletic frame.  He is listed at 6’3 185 lbs.  He looked more like 215 lbs.  He has an easy, clean, and quiet delivery.  He starts on the 1st base rubber and stays tall with an over the top slot.  His FB sat 94 and he flashed a really nice 83 mph SL with nice horizontal movement and 2 plane tilt.

2019 Calvary Christian SS, Christian Cairo, plays for the USA Today #1 ranked team in the country.  He is short but has a solid frame with a lot of projection.  He is a quick twitch athlete, very toolsy, and explosive on the base paths.  Cairo has a short, quick swing.  Simple set up at the plate with plus bat speed.  Defensively, he is smooth with a quick release and a plus arm.  Cairo is the son of former major leaguer Miguel Cairo and has committed to LSU.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Calvary Christian has won 55 games in a row?

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