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October 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM

2011 Fall Instructs Scouting Notes: 10.1.11


With the third and final day complete of this year's trip, here are more notes from the last two days of action. It has been a very productive scouting trip. Once again, I would like to thank all of the readers out there who contribute to make opportunities like this happen!

- Matt Barnes made his first game appearance during Instructs this morning against the Mets' group. Barnes fired 2.0 innings, sitting 93-95 MPH with his fastball and topped out at 96. His heater showed solid late life and downward movement through the zone. With a repeatable and fluid delivery, Barnes got on top of the ball well to throw downhill and pounded the lower tier of the strike zone with strong command in the outing. His fastball jumped out of his hand. Barnes also flashed a hard 86-87 MPH changeup that showed dropping action and enough separation from his fastball to play up with work hiding it a little better. He broke out a tight, deep 77 MPH curveball in his second frame. This offering looked like a plus pitch capable of getting swings and misses or freezing hitters for strikes. First impression: Barnes has excellent stuff.

- Travis Shaw had a nice day at the plate in today's action, picking up a single and a home run. Shaw also just got under a deep drive out to the warning track in center field. He was all over a fastball down and in, driving it with a lot of lift and extension when hitting his home run. Shaw's most impressive plate appearance produced his single, however. Down in the count 1-2, he waited on a changeup away and lined it back up the box with a fluid, easy swing. He has had trouble with pitches away as a professional, and in this instance he appeared locked in to covering the entire plate with his swing.

- After not showing much during my first two days of getting looks at him, Mookie Betts flashed some of his skills today. Betts came on as a pinch runner in the middle of the game and proceeded to score easily from first on a double into the left-center field gap by Miles Head. His speed was on display again after reaching on a single, getting an excellent jump and showing solid acceleration to swipe second base. Betts has a smaller frame and lean body. He utilized a compact swing to drive a fastball hard to left field when picking up his single and created good batspeed via quick wrists. He looks like a player capable of producing a lot of contact as he begins to learn a professional approach at the plate. Betts also displayed a strong arm when turning a double play. He has been a little rough out at second base though, failing to charge some balls and sitting back instead.

- Word around the park this morning was that outfielder Williams Jerez has a broken right hamate bone. Jerez has not appeared in any game action during my trip, and was only seen running after yesterday's game. He had played this past weekend, drawing some praise with his tools from a couple of scouts in attendance.

- Lefty Cody Kukuk threw in this morning's game against the Mets. Kukuk comes from a high 3/4 arm slot and has a very projectable frame. His fastball sat 91-93, with tailing action to his arm-side. He tended to release his fastball early in his delivery, which caused him to miss away from right-handed batters. When Kukuk stayed on top of the ball, he threw his fastball more effectively for strikes in the lower portion of the strike zone. He also snapped off a couple of hard sliders at 83 MPH that showed late break down through the strike zone. Kukuk faced the minimum of six batters in his 2.0 innings of work.

- Jackie Bradley, Jr. has been hitting the ball more frequently to left field the last two days. After picking up a double off the left field wall yesterday, Bradley drove a fastball middle-to-away hard out to left field that sent the outfielder to the base of the wall to make the catch. He has had a tendency to be pull-happy in prior looks, so this has been a good sign he is beginning to develop an all-fields approach. Bradley has been consistently timed around 4.4 out of the box, but shows better speed when making the turn at first base.

- Mathew Price pitched 2.0 innings in yesterday's action and looked to be getting more comfortable in his return from Tommy John surgery. Price's fastball worked 92-94 MPH with sinking action. Throwing from a 3/4 arm slot, his delivery is on the deliberate side, and at times he over-threw or held onto his fastball too long. When Price was down in the strike zone, batters had a tougher time making good contact against him. His breaking ball was on the loopy side, but he threw a couple of good changeups at 82 MPH that had the opposing hitters out front of the offering.

- Roberto Reyes again showed off his power, lining a rocket to right field for the opposite field home run, but his defense behind the plate has been rough. Reyes had a tough time especially this morning receiving the ball at times, and also allowed a number of pitches to go to the backstop. He is slow with his reactions and tends to be long with his throwing release, which hinders his accuracy.

 
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