Field Notes from the Lakeland Flying Tigers and Tampa Tarpons double-header on May 31, 2018. Tigers and Yankees High A affiliates.
Alex Faedo, RHP
Threw 9 pitches in the 1st inning allowing a leadoff HR to Ben Ruta. Ruta hit the second pitch of the game out to RCF for his 2nd HR. The pitch was a 92 mph FB that Faedo left up over the middle of the plate. Faedo’s FB sat 92 with arm-side run. Of his 9 pitches, 8 were FB. He threw 1 SL at 86 to strike out LHH Brandon Wagner. His outing was cut short due to a rain delay. I should get another look this weekend.
As I have said before, Faedo’s velocity does not concern me. His FB has a ton of movement and he usually pounds the bottom half of the zone, generating weak contact early in the count. I understand that he hit 96 mph in the College World Series. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think his FB was sitting 96. Delivery wise, Faedo is not a max effort guy anyways and he lacks the arm speed to sit 96.
His SL and change-up are more concerning. The SL he struck out Wagner with had excellent location and arm speed but it did not have a lot of depth and minimal horizontal break. He did not throw the CH yesterday in his 1 inning but in the past it has been below average and a work in progress. FB velo will not determine Faedo’s success. The secondary pitches will.
Burris Warner, RHP, Lakeland
Warner took over for Faedo in the 2nd inning, making his Florida State League debut. After posting a 1.14 ERA in 39.1 IP (14G/3GS) for West Michigan, Warner was stellar in 4 shutout innings. He featured 3 pitches: A FB 92-93, CB 80-82 with some sweep, and a CH 86-87 that absolutley falls off the table. Possibly 60 grade CH. I need to see more. He may have mixed a SL or cutter in as well. There was a hard biting pitch at 87 with glove side run that he threw inside to a LHH. I don’t remember seeing it more than that one pitch.
Daz Cameron was 1-4 in game 1. He sat out game 2. I’ve seen him quite a bit in 2018. He is a patient hitter and doesn’t mind going deep into counts. His swing is a bit inside out and he is at his best when he is working CF to RF. With that being said, he has been consistently beat on premium FB velocity. He seems to recognizing off-speed and adjusting accordingly.
Tarpons RHP Nick Nelson’s FB consistently sits 95-97. Cameron was late on the FB going down 1-2 before Nelson threw him a 90 mph CH. Cameron smoked that pitch up the middle for a single. In AB2, Cameron was late on 94 and 95 before starting his swing early, lunging a bit, and pulling a 96 mph FB weak to 3rd. AB3: He took two offspeed pitches in for balls before chasing 95 up. After spitting on 96 low and away, Cameron swung through FB’s at 95 and 96. The 4th AB was much of the same. Good takes on off-speed before being overpowered with fastballs. What I noticed, especially in the last two strikeouts is that Daz’s head moves when he takes big cuts. He swings harder at hard stuff but loses himself a bit. This is likely due to a lack of bat speed. I give his hit tool a 30 with a FV 45. Defense should carry the profile but he will need to start hitting 95 plus in order to become an everyday OF.
Speaking of Nelson, he has been impressive in the two starts I’ve seen. His FB sits 96-97 early in the game before tailing off a bit to 94-95. He has a hard-biting SL with tilt at 80-82 and a 90-91 CH with some fade. The command is suspect as is the sequencing. He will throw his CH to RHH. The SL and CH are a bit fringey due to his command. When he attacks the zone, he is tough to hit.
Sticking with the Tarpons, Ben Ruta, who took Faedo deep to start game 1, has a solid approach at the plate. He is patient hitter that looks to slap the ball the other way. He has the ability to pull mistakes left over the middle of the plate, but his game is LCF. He had multiple opposite field hits to LF on the evening but I question his ability to find success with that approach against advanced pitchers. For now, it’s working. But the inability to generate hard contact may limit his ceiling to AAA depth/4th OF type. Even the HR wasn’t blasted and didn’t sound spectacular off the bat.
Hoy Park has sneaky power. The hit tool hasn’t developed in the FSL like I thought it would though. He is patient and isn’t afraid to work a walk. His approach is opposite field in the air and pullside on the ground which has led to his low average. However, if you challenge him inside or leave any mistakes middle in, Park will turn on it and hit it a long way. After Tigers RP Wladimir Pinto threw him 5 or 6 straight 94-95 mph FBs, Park turned on one for his 4th HR. Don’t judge him by his numbers. This kid is better than Tyler Wade although Wade is much faster. Plus his walk-up music is Kendrick Lamar so you know he is gonna ball out.
Before I get outta here, let me touch on Wladimir Pinto and Fernando Perez. I saw Pinto in Spring Training and was excited to see his promotion after 16.1 IP and 30K at A ball. The FB was 94-95 and straight. His CB was flat and below average last night. He was hit pretty hard. While he did not walk a hitter (15BB in 19.1 IP), his FB was all over the place. Park sat on it and did not miss it.
Fernando Perez started game 2 for Lakeland. His FB touched 97 and sat 95. His secondaries were fringe. A CB at 80 and CH at 86. He struggled to command the CB at times but it could develop into an average pitch. He kept the CH down in the zone. He profiles as a RP and is worth keeping an eye on.