SoxProspects News

March 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Scouting Scratch: Two Days Deep


With another day in the books from Fort Myers, here are today's scouting notes from around the field. SoxProspects.com will be bringing coverage from the backfields of the complex all week so keep an eye out for these daily player notes.

-Peter Hissey's swing has improved since his early days in the organization. Creating more lift and physically stronger due to physical maturation, the ball carries off his bat better. Hissey got all of a fastball middle-away during the Double-A game to drive an opposite field home run into the left-centerfield gap. He also stroked a fastball hard back up the middle for a line single to centerfield in his first plate appearance. Hissey's eye will be tested against breaking balls as he can commit his weight too quickly, but he has looked like a different hitter in spring training so far.

-Ryan Pressly struggled to feel his fastball in his three inning outing to begin the Double-A game. Pressly could not control the pitch and sat in the middle of the plate when he was able to come into the zone. While showing arm-side run, his heater was prone to contact. Pressly also struggled to finish his curveball, but flashed a couple of solid changeups. His arm speed has improved when throwing the change to create more deception. Pressly also looked more filled out coming into camp. The progress of his secondary offerings will be of watch as he currently lacks a pitch that consistently misses bats.

-Derrik Gibson looked opposite field in all four of his plate appearances, but was only successful utilizing an inside-out swing once to line a single to right field against a fastball middle-away. Gibson has a tough time getting around against fastballs on the inner third. Still on the lean side and lacking strength, the batspeed is inconsistent to get the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. He was eaten up twice by higher velocity heaters despite pulling his hands in during his swing.

-Manning second base for half of the Double-A game, Oscar Tejeda showed a much more relaxed approach during his plate appearances. Tejeda drilled a rising line drive into the right-centerfield gap for a home run, going with a fastball moving away from him. He also went with another fastball a bit further away to dump a single into rightfield. Tejeda often neglected to use the whole field last season in Double-A. Capable of driving the ball to the opposite field, mentally committing to doing so and understanding that he does not have to just pull the ball to hit it hard are the first steps towards unlocking his hit tool in the upper levels of the minors.

-Bryce Brentz did not look out of place with the Double-A group. He ripped a screaming line drive off the base of the wall in left-centerfield in his first plate appearance. Brentz jumped all over a fastball at the belt to explode quickly through the ball and drive it with backspin. An aggressive hitter, he showed patience today to pick up two walks as well. Brentz is likely to start the season in Double-A and his selectiveness will be tested by advanced pitchers. If he can learn to take walks like he did today, he has the power to make opposing pitchers pay when coming into the zone with fastballs.

-Today was my first extended look at Adalberto Ibarra behind the plate and it was a mixed bag. He took charge of the game and was vocal, but the defensive skills were on the sloppy side. Ibarra was lazy on some balls outside of the zone with no runners on base, putting in minimal effort to front them, and instead tried to stab for them. He also had trouble with breaking balls down in the dirt, boxing these offerings and not controlling them well. Ibarra did show off some hitting skill today, lining a double hard into the leftfield corner and in rifling a fastball into rightfield for a single.

-Today's game action also lent a first look at newly acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Kurcz. Kurcz is on the lean side and has a body that on first glance would lead you to believe he is a middle infielder. He can crank up his fastball though, sitting 92-94 mph in his outing, and his heater jumps on hitters. He also threw a deceptive changeup that faded arm-side and had similar arm-speed to his fastball. Kurcz's slider is on the slurvy side. Spinning to the plate, it stayed up in the zone and lacked finish. Kurcz profiles as a bullpen arm.

-Kolbrin Vitek hit two balls well, with one carrying out to left-centerfield for a long home run. Vitek stayed through the baseball and extended on a fastball in the middle of the plate. He has the type of swing to produce high amounts of solid contact, but it is on the level side and can at times chop down on the ball. He gets tangled with his swing to roll over the ball or pop it up. His first plate appearance of the game was a good example of this as Vitek jammed himself against a flat fastball and carved a lazy fly to centerfield.

Chris Mellen is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisMellen

 
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