Under Armour All-Star Game Preview

I am not in Chicago anymore and so I will not be attending this weekend’s Under Armour  All-Star Game (nor am I giving away tickets).  We will still cover it from afar and get some help from our readers as well.  Some have expressed interest in meeting up at the game, so feel free to use the forum to make arrangements.  In our experience, we have found it easiest to pick a meeting place before the game.

It’s also a strange time because the Cubs will not have a top 10 pick.  The elite prospects are going to be out of reach as the Cubs will likely pick in the mid 20s range or later in 2016.  Still, some of these players will drop into the late first round and some, like former UA alumni Dylan Cease and Carson Sands, will drop because of reported bonus demands, making them potential overslot selections.

Let’s take a look at some of the players to watch.  You can see the full roster here.

Pitchers

Riley Pint, RHP, 6’4″, 190 lbs (KS)

This is the cream of the crop this year  — and what is really fun is that not many have seen him as Pint has been used carefully, even taking parts of the offseason off.  He is a good athlete, has an ideal, projectable pitcher’s frame and hits 92-96, touching 98.  He also has a sharp curve.  Prep RHPs like this don’t come around every year and he has a chance to be the #1 overall pick.

Jonathan Gettys, LHP, 6’3″, 220 lbs, (GA)

Gettys has a strong build tailor-made to eat up innings as a starter.  His velocity jumped from the high 80s and has touched as high as 94 recently.  CB in the high 70s, change in the  mid 70s.  Younger brother of OF prospect Michael Gettys, who played in this game last year.

Garrett Gooden, RHP. 6’5″, 205 lbs (GA)

A projectable type because of an ideal frame that has room to fill out and an effortless low 90s FB.  Superb athleticism, two way star (football).  Flashes an extra curveball.  Relative inexperience because he had not previously committed to baseball until recently, there is some work to do in terms of learning his craft on the mound.  Upside pick for an organization who develops pitchers well.  Good makeup so coachability will aid development.

Jesus Luzardo, LHP, 6’1″, 205 lbs (FL)

Different than Gooden in that he has an advanced feel for pitching.  Pitches anywhere from 88-92 with a high 70s slider, slow curve — and he is developing a change-up that he isn’t afraid to use.  His idol is Johan Santana, who had one of the best change-ups of our generation.  He has an assertive approach on the mound, goes after hitters, throws strikes, not a nibbler.  Takes classwork seriously, which is not surprising considering he is a student of pitching as well.

Greg Veliz, RHP, 6’2″, 205 lbs, (FL)

Veliz has filled out to a sturdy 6’2″, 205 lbs and his velocity has jumped accordingly, hitting as high as 96 mph to go with a power curve.  He’s another good athlete who has played SS, but scouts seem to think his future is on the mound.

Alex Speas, RHP, 6’4″, 187 lbs (GA)

Tall, lean pitcher with projectability and excellent arm speed.  Low to mid 90s FB, touches 95, flashes a plus slider that has good velocity  with sharp break away from RH hitters.  Change is a solid offering as well.  Has all the skills you want as a pitcher and if he can put them together he could be one of the more interesting upside arms in the draft.

Zach Linginfelter, RHP, 6’5″, 220 lbs (TN)

Big frame, already touches 96, hard curve, and change,  He’s a power pitcher all the way.   High leg kick, curls wrist a bit in back.  Delivery pretty smooth overall,  Height and higher arm slot helps him get good plane on his pitches.

Forest Whitley, RHP, 6’7″, 230 lbs (TX)

A huge pitcher from Texas who can touch  as high as 94 and may have more left in the tank.  He had a late spurt in growth/arm strength.  At his height he has good natural plane and accentuates that with good leverage, dropping the back shoulder and driving as many pitcher from Texas tend to do, but it will also be a challenge for him to keep the ball down in the zone, where it can be more effective.

Brenden Heiss, 6’1″, 190 lbs LHP (IL)

Another local product, Heiss has average size but is a good athlete and works assertively on the mound.  Good arm speed, high leg kick helps hide the ball.  Works low 90s, touches 95.  Also throws CB, change.  Bonus: Cubs fan.

Graeme Stinson, LHP, 6’5″, 245 lbs. (GA)

Huge pitcher who works low 90s, has touched 94.  Best secondary  is his change, also throws curve.  Keeps delivery compact, simple, which helps him throw strikes.  Arm action looks a little long in back but pretty clean overall.

Travis Hosterman, LHP, 6’2″, 195 lbs (FL)

Sits in 87-88 range, doesn’t have great arm speed but pitches with some leverage.  Needs to keep the ball down, change eye levels, locate.  Throws strikes.

Position Players

Seth Beer, OF, 6’3″, 205 lbs (GA)

Outstanding athlete with ideal size, prototypical RFer type.  Lean frame with room to add. Good bat speed with a fluid stroke.  Polished hitter, very still, balanced, swing path may produce more line drives at this point but has ability to add strength, power as he matures physically.

Carter Aldrete, SS, 6’2″, 190 lbs. (CA)

Excellent athlete who was a point guard in college.  Solid skill set across the board but no standout tool

Will Benson, OF-1B, 6’5″, 225 lbs (GA)

As you can probably surmise by his physical build, Benson has huge raw power.  He’s still rather slender and has good speed for his size, perhaps with the tools to play RF, including one of the stronger OF arms in the prep class.  I don’t like his stroke as much as I do Beer’s but it is smooth when he gets good extension.  He’s long-limbed so I’d focus on how he gets his hands in on good velocity.   He’s a very interesting talent with a chance to be a 5 tool player, but ultimate fate will rest on hit tool.

Keenan Bell, OF, 6’2″, 215 lbs (FL)

Good hitter with a powerful build who can drive the ball into the gaps with short, clean stroke with enough strength to hit for power as he gains experience.  He’s another player with a strong arm and the bat to play corner, so RF is the best case scenario for him on defense.  Good athlete but hit tool stands out most.

Bo Bichette, 3B , 5’11”, 195 lbs (FL)

Son of former MLBer Dante Bichette.  Not physically imposing but has very good bat speed and big time power potential.   Some question his hitting mechanics.  Holds bat up high, lots of pre-pitch movement.  Starts load up high and then brings hands down.  Not the way you would teach it, but it works for him.

Cooper Johnson, C, 6’0″, 200 lbs (IL)

The local kid has advanced receiving skills and a quick release and good arm strength.  As a hitter he is solid but it’s his polish behind the plate and the good chance to stick at catcher that could make him a high round pick.

Thomas Dillard, C, 6’0″, 215 lbs (TN)

Looks like a catcher with a strong, thick build.  Possesses a strong arm, his best tool behind the plate.  Good lift to his swing which combined with  raw strength gives him good power potential.  Switch hitter.  Ability to stick behind plate is key for him, will have to polish that side of the game.

Michael Amditis, C, 5’10”, 190 lbs (FL)

Another strong catcher’s build.  Short swing, line drive swing path.  Behind the plate he has good catch/throw skills.  Good all-around catcher.

Andrew Yerzy, C, 6’3″, 215 lbs (ON)

Canadian born player who is big for the position.  Offensively oriented catcher who could provide good value as a power hitter — but staying behind the plate is no guarantee.

Austin James, IF, 6’1″, 178 lbs (FL)

Defensively oriented player, slick with the glove though may not have range to stay at SS.  Not a guy who will probably wow you but good athleticism, good instincts, some projection.  Shows good hands at the plate but to me it looks like he can use lower half better.

Carter Kieboom, SS-3B, 6’2″, 190 lbs (GA)

Solid defender with soft hands and a solid arm.  All fields approach at the plate, good hand/eye coordination.   Drives the ball at times but needs to do it more consistently, especially if he moves to 3B.

Joey Wentz, 1B, 6’5″, 210 lbs (KS)

Tall 1B whose primary tool is power.  Looks to have room to fill out but already has in-game power

Comments

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  • I posted this in the minor league recap thread this morning, but given that John has now posted this article, it seems a better place.

    The game starts at 3:00. There is of course the HR derby before the game as well. If any Denizens would like to meet for drinks/food before the festivities like in years past, I am open to suggestions. I don't drink, so I don't really know the bars around the stadium that well.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    A meet-up would be a good idea. I wish I was there to organize. I probably would have picked Nisei Lounge, they're fun on Twitter, interactive with Cubs fans, and it's a pretty understated, more quiet venue. They weren't open early enough last time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ha! I suggested the Nisei a couple of years ago.

    Also has pool tables.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I'll be there again. Great time last year. Where did we meet last year, was it Mullens? That place was cool I thought. A lot of the places are hard to talk in because of layout or music.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Wherever we went last year was pretty loud.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Upon John's suggestion, I looked at Nisei Lounge, and it says it's open at 11am on Saturdays. Never been there.

  • Let's hope that many top draft picks don't sign in the 1st round
    because the Cubs will not have a 1st pick after signing a top FA.
    They will have to do more scouting to find picks to draft

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    With a lot of the pending FA pitchers getting moved at the deadline, some cannot not have QOs extended to them.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I am not sure the Cubs will sign a comp FA. They may pursue Price instead. But if not, pitching is most important for them and, who knows? Maybe they get one back with Fowler if he gets the QO then leaves. Doubtful, but possible.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What are the chances Fowler accepts a QO? Would he be able to get 3-4 years with significant dollars, with that draft pick tied into it?

    And if we get a qualifying pick AND keep the assigned draft pick, I'm for drafting Riley Pint & Seth Beer.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Oh & Thanks John! Good stuff as always.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    YES. Draft Pint Beer :)

  • John, my comment here certainly takes nothing away from the great work you do all the way around, including the daily minor league recaps. But there is just something special about your work with the UA Game capsules. It gives us a glimpse at guys even before a draft preview. Love the nuggets. I'll miss that you will not be at the game. Here's hoping that another Denizen will attend and be willing to lend a report.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    I'll be there and submitting a guest post on it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Wonderful!

  • I'm too far away to go, but always look forward to the reporting. Glad to hear that mjvz will be there.

  • In reply to couch:

    C'mon, I've got a 7 hour round trip, anyone with less has no excuse!

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I'd try to make it if I was that close. But I'm way down south.

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