I'm not going to write up a formal scouting report but I do have some informal observations and video on some of the players
When I was in Miami many years back, I went to see the college regionals and I remember watching Pat Burrell walking up to the plate for the first time. My thought was that he exuded a presence our there that was simply different than everyone else, He looked like a man among boys.
I got that same feeling from Kyle Schwarber. He oozes confidence yet it's not arrogance. He doesn't show up the pitcher or the ump for that matter. I remember him having a discreet discussion with the ump on a questionable call that was framed around gathering information rather than questioning the ump's judgement. Sure enough, he got the benefit of the doubt on a a borderline call that would have struck him out later in the count. He gives respect and he seems to get it back.
As for what he looks like at the plate, he starts in a deep crouch, reminiscent of former Astro Jeff Bagwell. He has a rolling load, as Kevin mentioned in his report, pulling his hands back fluidly rather than cocking them back as some hitters do. He tracks the ball well, a slight leg kick before dropping the bat head as he collapses his back leg and drives through the ball. He made loud contact all day, even when he made an out. The "different sound" description definitely applies.
My colleague Mauricio wrote this for Baseball Prospectus,
Aesthetics are a tricky thing. They’ve compelled me to appreciate and perhaps even love fringe-type prospects with long odds who can still do that special something out on the field that endears them to me. Trey Martin is a tall lanky center fielder with speed and quickness who is just not hitting well this year. Martin keeps his hands high and takes a weird path through the strike zone. The barrel does not stay in there very long. I question the hit tool quite a bit but the man can play a mean center field. He makes good reads and he covers a ton of ground. The arm is solid, as he’s shown good strength and accuracy from left and center. I don’t know if Martin ever makes it but I really enjoy watching him.
I can relate here as a I feel the same way. If you were to start off by watching Trey Martin in CF, you would see him use those long legs to eat up ground with a graceful gait in center, the smooth athleticism, the confidence. He looks like an MLB player out there.
But the same lanky, athletic build that makes him look like a gazelle in CF sometimes makes him look gangly at the plate. He had trouble finding a rhythm and getting those arms and legs working together, sometimes over-striding and sometimes getting tied up inside. He needs a lot of reps before he resembles a major league hitter, but the skills -- the quick hands and an improving approach, are there. I'm a big fan of Martin and want to see him put it all together.
Johnson has a nearly effortless, balanced delivery. He tilts his right shoulder back, creating leverage and leg drive with his delivery that I think would be difficult to repeat for a less athletic pitcher. Even Johnson struggled to do it at times, though that might have something to do with the long layoff as he comes back from his leg injury.
He threw a fastball that clocked in at 92-94 on the scouts guns and it had some arm side run. He would also cut his fastball at times, sacrificing some velo (high 80s) but creating some tailing movement, making it a nice compliment to the fastball. The breaking ball lacked the bite I had seen from it in the past, showing a short of slurvy, sweeping break that he used to try and get hitters to chase low and away. He struggled with command, which has been an issue this year and especially so after the time off.
I still see a #3 starter ceiling here because of the good velo and movement with his fastball and cutter, and I think his breaking pitch will be an asset once he tightens it back to where it was earlier in the year. The change-up will be at least average, but better command is going to be the key for him. Wasn't at his best, but not hard to see the positives.
Hannemann has a classic upright stance with quiet hands and solid approach at the plate. He shows some surprising bat speed, taking an outside pitch just foul over the LF wall and then later turning on one and ripping it down the line -- again just foul. But I didn't like his approach with two strikes, when Hannemann seemed to slow things down rather than shortening up, perhaps looking to make contact, but losing the bat speed and sort of sweeping the bat through the zone at times.
I think Hannemann is still feeling his way through and developing a consistent approach at the plate, understandable because he has had some time off, but you can definitely see glimpses of what the Cubs saw in him when they gave him $1M as a 3rd round overslot.
Underwood has an easy, athletic delivery and the best arm speed of any pitcher I saw that day. He had trouble maintaining that velocity at the end of his outing so it may just be a matter of him building strength and stamina. He is still young and there is still some maturing, both physically and mentally as Underwood was visibly upset with himself when he hung a curveball that got deposited over the LF wall. His curveball was hit or miss and he slows his arm speed noticeably when he throws it, perhaps tipping it off to some of the hitters. As far as physical gifts are concerned, Underwood may have more than anyone out there, but he also needs the most development. Right now I see a reliever, but remember that Underwood has not yet turned 20. It's way too early for me to make that kind of projection. There is plenty of time for him to refine his game.
It appeared to me that Candelario was inconsistent with his hand placement, sometimes holding them lower than I've seen him in the past as in the picture above, but sometimes even lower than that. I wonder if he is trying to hard to generate power and in the process has gotten his normally sound swing out of whack.
On defense, Candelario made an athletic play on a slow roller and showed plenty of arm on an off-balance throw. He can play 3B, now let's see if he can find his smooth stroke again. The good approach is still there and he's a better hitter than he has shown so far this year.
Dunston hold his hands up high in his stance and then brings them down as he starts his load. The hands are more quiet than the last time I saw him but there is still some movement, so what we end up seeing is that there is too much going on before the pitch gets there. Dunston has the hand speed to get away with it against lower level pitching but I think as pitchers become more experienced, they'll exploit that extra time he needs to set up and throw off his timing.
In the outfield, Dunston has a good arm and plus athleticism but didn't always read the ball well off the bat, which means he has to use his good speed to make up ground. Very different feel with him in the OF than with Martin, who tracks the ball early, takes good routes and makes difficult plays look routine.
I want to believe in Dunston, but he remains a raw talent at this point. He has the good work ethic and makeup to put the needed time and effort to turn that talent into skills, so there is still hope.
I was impressed by Carhart's improvement on defense. With the bases empty, he sits very low in his crouch, setting a nice low target so that Cubs pitching prospects can pound the lower part of the zone, as they are taught to do.
He also gunned down a runner trying to steal 3rd by a good country mile. He looked like he could stick there long term from what I saw yesterday.
Johnson had the most movement on his fastball and Underwood had the best velocity, but Tseng (90-92) had the best command of it and was able to locate it far better than either, allowing him to set hitters up for his sometimes devastating curveball . The curveball was the best breaking pitch I saw that day. It had more bite and depth than I saw early in the season. It is a legit out pitch that he sets up well with his solid fastball. The command of his fastball and curve make him one of the top 4 pitching prospects in this system along with CJ Edwards, Johnson, and Paul Blackburn. Right now I think he ends up being the best of the bunch.
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