April 27, 2012 at 7:45 AM
-Jose Iglesias still tends to get too far out on his front foot when trying to handle secondary offerings. With all of his weight committed, the head of the bat drags through the hitting zone and he has trouble squaring breaking balls up. In one recent plate appearance, Iglesias got a hanging curveball, but had opened up too early with his hips and could only carve the ball out to right field for a lazy flyout. The pitch was in a good spot for him to drive. Iglesias has also looked indecisive. Despite his plus batspeed, he has been in-between pitches and jammed consistently with fastballs to produce weak contact during scouting looks. His lack of trust in his batting eye shows as he hesitates when attacking pitches instead of being comfortable to let his swing flow.
-Alex Hassan looked much more relaxed at the plate against Triple-A pitching during this go-around than earlier in the season. Hassan stayed back well to put good swings on two fastballs and drove both hard back up the middle. While Hassan’s swing is on the long side, he has learned how to be quicker with his swing load to clear through offerings on the inside of the plate with greater frequency. Sharp breaking balls, especially ones away, do give him trouble. Hassan’s defense in the left field has been on the shaky side. He does not get the best of reads off the bat and has around average range. His defensive value is limited and he is more of a tweener offensively. How well he can continue to adjust to advanced pitching will be a strong determining factor as to whether he can get a shot to stick at the major league level down the line.
-Che-Hsuan Lin’s offensive development has been at a plateau. He has reverted back to some bad habits that had been cleaned up while in Double-A too. Lin has been lunging frequently at off-speed pitches, resulting in a lot of off-balanced swings and weak contact created. In three of his four plate appearances during this look, he was diving out at the ball. Lin’s swing dragged considerably to cause the head of the bat to dip under the ball and produce weak contact in the air all three times. His swing path also showed too much downward movement when trying to drive a fastball in a 2-1 count. Despite hitting the ball well, it was beaten into the ground for a one-hopper to the third baseman. Lin can provide above-average defense in centerfield for a major league team, but his light bat makes it tough to see him in anything more than a fifth outfielder’s role.
-Ryan Lavarnway’s batting eye is ahead of Triple-A pitching. Lavarnway did get fooled by a couple of secondary offerings to swing over the top of them, but he turned in four solid plate appearances during this look. He showed the type of patience at the plate that should enable to him have quality at-bats when he gets the chance at the major league level. His swing has also looked fluid. The challenge for Lavarnway is getting pitches to hit. Opposing pitchers have been apt to stay away from feeding him fastballs and instead try to nibble consistently. When he finally did get a fastball in the zone, he just missed hitting it out to dead centerfield. His bat will be tested by big league pitching, especially on the inner-third, but he looks beyond the level when in the batter’s box.
Chris Mellen is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisMellen