So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve seen a lot of baseball on the season. 125 games total since February 2 and traveled through 4 different states. It’s a lot, I suppose but I’ve had to force myself to hold back as well. The one thing I’ve learned is that I need balance. Too much of anything is not good and my hips are screaming from all the sitting.
I’ve also started contributing to 2080 baseball as well, I’ve posted both a Braves and a Yankees Top 50 Prospects lists over at Prospects1500. Over at 2080, I’ve submitted spotlights on Griffin Jax, Nolan Gorman, and Matt Manning. I’ve also seen the last three top overall picks in the MLB Draft. Casey Mize, Royce Lewis, and Mickey Moniak.
Casey Mize v Royce Lewis
Lewis bested Mize 2 ABs with a single and an opposite field HR on a 1st pitch 94 mph FB. Lewis has all the makings of a star. He has double plus bat speed, a mature approach, and plus barrel control. Lewis is adept at fouling off tough pitcher pitches and making contact that leads to basehits. Lewis has plus speed and athleticism. He flashed 60 grade defense, making smooth plays to both sides. His arm is lagging behind the rest of his tools. The throws occasionally zip and fade into the baseline.
Mize was a good as advertised. His FB sat 95 with run. He struggled in this outing to command the FB down in the zone. He was hit hard up in the zone. Mize’s split-changeup is his nastiest off-speed. It has sharp break down and away from left-handers. He also throws a cutter at 85-88, which I thought was interesting. The pitch moves like a SL without the tilt. His SL is 82-83 with 2 plane tilt.
Against Alex Kirilloff, Mize got him out twice, but Kirilloff appeared comfortable and made solid contact. In AB 1, Mize threw FB’s in at 93 and 95, falling behind 2-0. He followed up with a 95 FB that Kirilloff fouled back. Kirilloff lined the next pitch, an 88 mph SPL hard to 1B, 3 unassisted.
In AB 2, Mize threw back to back backdoor SLs at 83, one of which Kirilloff swung through. He was on the pitch though, keeping his hands back and just swinging over the top of it. A 94 mph FB in led to a flyout to center.
I love Kirilloff’s hit tool. 70 grade, future batting champ. He has plus pitch recognition, keeps his hands back, and doesn’t try to do too much. He has exceptional barrel control, lining multiple off-speed pitches for basehits to LF. In the two weeks since my last post about AK, I’ve seen him 5 times, and he has been impressive. He rarely seeks to pull anything in the air and stays consistently to LCF. Pitchers have attacked him in with hard stuff to good success.
The next evening, Matt Manning took the hill. Kirilloff worked three tough at bats but was on the defense all night. Manning repeatedly went hard FBs in to get ahead before dropping the hammer. Once again, Kirilloff was on it. He grounded out to third and swung over a nasty breaker.
I asked a scout friend what he thought about Kirilloff’s hit tool. He gave him a 60/65, liking what he saw. I asked if there should be any concern about Kirilloff’s 0-5 against Mize/Manning. He told me maybe. But then I saw Kirilloff hit an oppo missle off Brendan McKay and any concern was put to rest. the 1-7 against Mize, Manning, and McKay were all 7 tough ABs. Kirilloff didn’t give one pitch away and was never fooled. When RPs came in, he feasted.
Speaking of Brendan McKay. Saw him face Ft. Myers. In short, McKay is NASTY. He has a quiet but athletic delivery. The FB velo is 93-95, touching 96. His FB is heavy and the gas is real easy. Love his arm action. His CB at 83 is a tight breaker. He only threw 4 in 5IP. He didn’t throw any to Lewis or Kirilloff. The Miracle also featured a lefty heavy lineup. I suppose that was to work on his SL with he used frequently. The SL sat 85-87. His CH was 85 with deception. I also saw a cutter at 90. McKay’s stuff is plus and his command is even better.
The one concern and it’s minor was the pitch sequencing and the lack of separation between the SL and CB. McKay was FB dominant, especially early in the count. He rarely went offspeed first pitch and when he did, it was too late. Ft. Myers tagged him for 3 ER in 5 IP.
But McKay begs the question. “Does he need to stick to just one position?” Short answer. No. The Rays have kept McKay on a similar schedule to the one he used in Louisville. He pitches every 6 days so I’m not worried about his workload. However, I do think as a hitter, not playing everyday hinders his development. At the plate, much like his delivery, McKay is quiet. There is no excess motion in his swing. His bat speed is plus with plus raw power. His approach is Votto like. In some ways, McKay is almost too patient. In the FSL, McKay has routinely gotten himself down 0-2. Pitchers know he isn’t swinging. He has been hot at the plate since returning from the DL but lack of reps will hurt. Overall, McKay’s arm will get him to the big leagues by 2020.
Two guys whose offensive games that I don’t doubt are McKay’s teammate Vidal Bruhan and Indian’s prospect Nolan Jones.
Brujan is a smaller guy, skinny, but strong skinny. There isn’t much projection left in the body other than filling out. But 2018 is the era of the little guys. Brujan has double plus bat speed. He is a bit aggressive but not outside of the zone. This kid can flat rake. He makes consistent hard contact. The swing has some loft which means power is coming. On the basepaths, Brujan is a plus runner, aggressive, will take the extra base and tries to make things happen. Rays fan will love this guy.
On the other hand, Jones is tall and lean. He has a large frame that can add weight. He is a patient hitter, consistently working deep into counts, but often expands the zone with two strikes. You can get him to chase up-and-away with premium heat. His swing is short to balls inside with a pull approach. His balls have carry, easy 60-65 raw power. Jones is still young. The pitch recognition, which is already mature, will improve. He may struggle in the average department due to the shift (He did hit a missle through it for a basehit in my 2 looks) but he will put up 20-25 HR witn a .370+ OBP.