SoxProspects News

March 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Low minors arms


Over the next two weeks, we’ll run several Scouting Scratches based off of our looks at all the players at Minor League Spring Training. Today, here’s a look at several young pitchers from the Low-A and short-season games.  

March 21
- Each spring there seems to be a pop-up pitcher in Red Sox camp, and this year that person was 20-year-old German Taveras (pictured). Working in relief in the Greenville game against the Twins, Taveras sat 93-95 mph with his fastball, touching 96 a few times and topping out at 97. He has a big body that does not have much projection, but his delivery is workable. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot and has a live arm. When he finished his delivery, his fastball showed some arm-side run and the right-hander showed the ability to bring it back over the inside corner at the knees against a left-handed hitter, a very difficult pitch to hit, especially when in the mid-to-upper 90s. Taveras only threw a handful of off-speed pitches in the outing, showing an 82-83 mph slider. The pitch showed short, hard break, and on occasion, solid depth through the zone. While this was only one look, Taveras is a very interesting arm and one to follow as he moves up from the Gulf Coast League this season. One final Taveras note: we noticed Taveras catching on our first day in camp, prompting Chris to tweet that he may be moving to catcher. However, as a former catcher, he was simply helping out catching bullpens.  

- Edwar Garcia (pictured) pitched in relief in the Low-A game, sitting 91-93 mph with his fastball. He struggled to control the pitch and was hit around a bit. He mixed in a slider at 78-79 mph, but the pitch was flat and lacked movement. He is still skinny and there is projection in his frame, but his delivery is rigid and stiff. His delivery varied from a high three-quarters to over-the-top during the outing, and he struggled to finish it. His delivery is also very arm heavy as he does not incorporate his lower half very much. The outing was cut short after he took a hard line drive off the leg. He was able to finish the inning, but did not come back out.

- A converted catcher, Oscar Perez’s stuff was below average in the Low-A game and showed a need for further work on his delivery. Perez sat 88-90 with his fastball and mixed in a 12-6 curve in low-70s. His fastball was straight and lacked life, and his curveball was loopy. He also was long with his arm behind his body.

- Coming into the spring, all I knew about Jose Almonte was his bonus (reportedly $610,000) as he spent last year pitching in the DSL. The 18-year-old Almonte pitched in a Lowell/GCL game and labored through his two innings, with each of them being rolled (ended without getting three outs). Almonte has a lanky, projectable frame that could support added size. His arm is loose and his delivery is relatively clean, except for a slight stab and pronation of his wrist behind his body. His fastball sat 88-90 mph in the outing, topping out at 91 mph. It showed heavy natural cut as a result of how his wrist works. He struggled to control the offering, walking four hitters and falling behind to others. He relied on a changeup and curveball as his secondary offerings. His curveball showed some potential, as he did a good job snapping it off, freezing one hitter for his only strikeout of the day. He threw it in the mid-70s and it showed deep break and had nice shape. He threw his changeup 78-80 mph and it showed drop once, but for the most part, it showed the same cut as his fastball. Almonte is raw, but he has some feel for secondary offerings, a projectable frame and workable delivery. He will make his stateside debut in either the GCL or Lowell, depending on his progress in extended spring training.

- A 2013 36th-round selection, the first thing that stands out with Pat Goetze is his height. Goetze is listed at 6-foot-6 and has a slight frame, lanky with room to fill out as he matures. His stuff, however, does not match his height, as at present it is very pedestrian. His fastball sat 87-89 mph in the outing and he topped out at 90 mph. When he finished his delivery, the pitch showed late sink. However, the rookie-level hitters seemed to be getting a good look at it, and at times he was overthrowing, leaving the pitch up in the zone. The pitch as a whole lacks life and his arm is not very quick. Goetze throws from a three-quarters arm slot and has effort in his delivery, including long arm action and a stiff front side. Both of his secondaries flashed some potential, but at present are inconsistent. He throws his breaking ball in the mid-70s, calling it a slider, but it lacked bite. It was more slurve-y, showing long, loopy 10-4 break. He threw his changeup mostly at 78-79 mph with decent arm speed, showing some drop. He also threw a couple firmer ones at 83-84 mph that looked more like a fastball that he took something off. Goetze has some attributes that you like to see in a pitching prospect, but the overall package is raw.  

March 22
- Last year in Lowell, Mario Alcantara (pictured) showed the raw stuff that made him an intriguing arm to watch, but had his struggles at the same time. His outing for Greenville was more of the same, as the raw stuff looked good but his control and command were not up to par. Alcantara throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that tends to drop closer to full three-quarters when he gets tired. His arm action is still long behind his body, but it has definitely improved since his time in Lowell. He already has a big body and does not have much projection left. In this outing, he sat 93-95 with his fastball, touching 96 a handful of times. The pitch is heavy and has late life. He struggled with his command, however, throwing strikes but leaving a lot of pitches out and over the plate. His curveball looked better than previous looks and he threw it harder, coming in at 77-79 mph, compared to 71-75 mph last season. He did throw one that got away at 75 mph, but the harder breaking ball had 11-5 break and showed depth through the zone. His changeup, however, did not seem to have improved much, as it was still firm. He threw the pitch only a few times, between 83-84 mph, and clearly lacked confidence in it, as well as feel. Regardless, Alcantara’s fastball/breaking ball combination has the potential to play out of the bullpen, and he is someone to watch in his likely full-season debut as a 21-year-old.

- Two other pitchers who got into game action with similar skill sets were Carlos Garcia and Luis Ramos (pictured). Both are left-handed with fringy fastballs and limited projection in their frames. Garcia, the shorter of the two, sat 85-88 mph with his fastball. His delivery was loose, but his arm was slow and it does not look like he will add much, if any, velocity as he matures. His curveball was the typical slow left-hander curveball, coming in 69-71 mph with long 12-6 break. He did not snap the pitch off consistently, as it tended to be loose. Garcia also threw one changeup at 78 mph. Ramos threw exclusively fastballs between 85-88 mph in his outing. He has an average frame and is already filled out. His arm action is fine, throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, but he does not project to add much velocity either. He did show an ability to throw strikes, some of which were quality, on the corners.

Photo credit: Edwar Garcia, Mario Alcantara and Luis Ramos by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.
 

 
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