One of the best parts of my job is getting to talk to scouts on a regular basis. I'm nowhere near a scout myself, so their evaluations help me complete the picture of what I'm seeing on the field. I can read radar guns and work a stopwatch (though I don't actually bring one to games with me), but that's about it. Recently, I sat down with one scout who covers the Yankees to get his opinions on the three affiliates he's seen so far. He's what he had to say about a few of the players on the Thunder.
You know I like
Slade a lot. I think he’s going to be an everyday big league center fielder. …
In terms of the position players, I think Slade is the best guy there.
I like Murphy’s bat. I’m
still not convinced that he’s an everyday defender, but he’s improving. You can
see little bits and pieces of where he’s getting better. I still like the bat.
I think he’s gonna be a hitter in the big leagues, I just don’t know if he’s
going to stick behind the plate. When he was in (Charleston) he played a little
left and he played a little third, so maybe he can a super-utility guy who’s a
I think he’s receiving the ball
better. When I first saw him catch, he was kind of stabbing a little bit, and
now he looks a little more comfortable in terms of going side to side with the
glove. Little incremental improvements, so that’s good. He’s still young. He’s
got a chance to continue to improve, but for me he’s a guy who’s going to swing
the bat. I like the bat, and he looks much better in Double-A than he did last
year (in Double-A).
It’s an average arm. I think he
needs a little improvement on the release, because sometimes he stands up
instead of staying down and getting through it. I think it could eventually
play as average. He’s not Gary Sanchez.
I don’t think he’s an
everyday guy, for me. I think the swing gets long. I think he comes off the
outside. With that said, he’s got pop and he’s got juice in that bat. He’s gonna put some charges into some balls.
I think, if I’m projecting him, he’s going to be a fourth outfielder, an
offensive fourth outfielder that’s going to be able to come off the bench and
play a couple of times a week in the big leagues. But I think if he plays every
day in the big leagues I think his bat gets exposed. I think he’s a big
leaguer, but I just don’t think he’s an everyday corner guy.
I think it’s got enough loft in
it. The thing that bothers me that is that it gets long. He’ll pull off the
outside pitch. The breaking ball will give him trouble. He’ll pull his front
shoulder. I’m just afraid that the whole set-up (is a problem) … it’s a little
bit stiff, for me. It’s not a loose, easy swing. With that said, he’s got
juice. He’s got barrel awareness. When
he gets his pitch, he can hit it and he can hit it to the gaps. I just don’t
think it’s going to be a consistent enough bat to play every day.
Flores is a tweener for
me. I don’t think he’s a center fielder, and I don’t think his bat’s going to
play at the corner, so there’s an issue. He’s not going to be a leadoff center
field guy, and he’s not going to hit for power enough to be a corner guy. He’s
a good hitter, though, he’s a good hitter. He gets his hands to the ball. He’s
a young kid still. He’ll take the ball the other way. He’s patient. There’s
something to be said for that. So, when I’m looking long range, like where do I
play him and where’s he going to fit in the lineup, I don’t think he’s going to
hit for power for the corners. It kind of leaves me wanting more with him.
I think his problem is he
gets really leaky. You can get him out with breaking balls all day long. He’ll
get his hands to the fastball OK. He’s got power, he’s a big, strong kid. He’s
not a great athlete. I think he’s going to be a good Double-A, Triple-A player.
He’ll put up some numbers, but he’s not a big leaguer for me.
I think Jose Ramirez is
going to pitch in the big leagues, I just think it’s going to be in a relief role.
Like the arm. Like the sink. Like the breaking ball. I think there’s some
effort in the arm, so I don’t think it’s a starter-type arm. It’s really more
of a two-pitch arm for me than a multiple-pitch guy. The other thing that
bothers me with him is that his arm is in full view, so I think hitters get a
fairly good look at it and it’s not a whole lot of deception. But it’s a really
good arm for me, and the sink plays and the slider plays.
I love Turley’s breaking
ball. Love it. It’s a really good breaking ball. The thing about Turley for me
is that his delivery is ever going to be conducive to really good command. He’s
going to be a guy that is hit-or-miss. He’s got arm strength and the breaking
ball plays. It’s a big league breaking ball. It’s got bite. It’s a really good
breaking ball. The command comes and goes. The fastball is not great. He’s got
a little bit of a curl in the back and he (throws) a little bit across his
body. If I’m projecting him, I don’t think he’s going to be a command guy. With
that said, that breaking ball can play in the big leagues right now. I think
he’s going to make it to the big leagues (but) I think he’s going to be more of
a spot starter, long reliever, fifth-type starter.
What I saw that night was
nasty. The command’s going to have to improve. If he’s going to pitch in the
seventh or eighth inning of a game or even close at some point, that command’s
going to have to be finer. It’s not there yet. The stuff is really good.
BURAWA OR MONTGOMERY?
That’s a tough
one. I’d have to go Burawa. Montgomery, for me, I’ve seen the fastball flatten
a little, because he’s not the biggest kid. That fastball can get a little
flat, but that slider is really good, really good. He’s a big league pitcher
for me too. Right now, I like Burawa a little better, but I think that’s a
little unconventional because they probably have (Montgomery) way ahead of him.
Just on pure stuff I’d have to give the edge to Burawa.
I think he’s a big league
guy too. I don’t think he’s quite at the stuff of a Burawa, but the
fastball-slider plays. It’s a big arm, he’s a big kid. (The slider) is a notch
below (Burawa’s). It’s an average slider. It’s an average slider, whereas
Burawa’s is a plus.
What I saw the other day, I think if they made him a two-pitch guy and put him in the pen eventually (it would be good). He's throwing up to 96 with that breaking ball, that plays. That was the third time I saw him in my life. Once at Tampa last year, and I was intrigued by the breaking ball, but he was never consistent with it, so I put an up-and-down grade on him. Then when I saw him earlier in the year, it was bad. Eighty-eight to 91, it wasn't getting out in front, everything up and way, but the other night (was really good).