June 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM
In this edition of The Write-Up, Chaz Fiorino provides detailed scouting notes from McCoy Stadium based on a doubleheader scouted on June 14.
Date scouted: June 14 Game 2
Line: 5 2/3 innings, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; 96P-62S
In this outing, Ranaudo's fastball ranged 89-93, and sat 89-91, which is a tick below where I’ve seen him in the past. In turn, Ranaudo did a much better job repeating his delivery and staying on line to the plate than previous starts. He’s made a very slight mechanical adjustment to minimize movement in his delivery and to get out on his front side a bit easier. This allows him to better command the strike zone.
His best secondary pitch was the curveball, as is usually the case. The curveball came in at 75-78 mph with true 12-to-6 action. His changeup was in the 81-84 mph range and it presently grades a tick below-average. There have been recent reports of Ranaudo beginning to develop a slider as a fourth offering, and in this outing, I saw two sliders at 82 mph. They were flat and missed up and out of the zone arm side, grading below-average – a 40 on the 20-80 scale. With his ability to spin a well above-average curveball, I would be surprised if he isn’t able to develop a close to major league average slider with repetition in the future.
Line: 1 for 6, 1 K
Shaw showed the ability to hit to all fields during this scouting look. In Shaw’s first at-bat, he did a great job staying back on a 1-2 curveball and hit it out to left, unfortunately for an out. In his second at-bat, he was aggressive, swinging at a first-pitch fastball away that he lined hard at the shortstop. Shaw’s final at-bat of game one of the doubleheader was an 0-1 pitch he lined hard at the second basemen. In game two, he was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. The stat line was little deceiving, however, as he did a great job of working the count full during his last two at-bats. In the first at-bat, he got in a great hitter's count, 2-0, before ultimately popping up to the shortstop.
Shaw appears to display an all-fields approach with plate discipline. He is an average defender most likely limited to first base, with minimal lateral and lower half quickness. Shaw’s limited positional flexibility eliminates the possibility of a future bench spot at the major league level. He will need to hit his way into an everyday starting role. His keen eye and plate discipline will give him a chance even if his power does not reach its full potential. Still only 24 years old, he will be given every opportunity at Pawtucket to develop and mature into the left-handed hitting power bat at first base that he projects to be.
Date scouted: June 14 Game 1
Line: 2 for 2, 1 BB
Having seen Vazquez numerous times throughout the season, I don’t think his bat gets enough credit. Many people still question whether or not he’ll be able to hit enough to complement his defensive game. For me, Vazquez is simple and quiet at the plate with hands in great position to hit. He’s shown a clear two-strike approach with ability to shorten up and hit the ball to opposite field. He has an understanding of the strike zone and history of great plate discipline. Still only 23 years old and handling his first go-around at Triple-A, catchers statistically and historically reach their peak much later then other position players. People often forget to put the bat in context to other players at the catcher position (.245/.310/.388 MLB average in 2013). I believe Vazquez’s bat will be able to produce at a serviceable level to complement his elite arm and defensive abilities. He also threw out another baserunner on a steal attempt in game one (Video).
Line: 2 for 6, 1 HR, 1 BB
Betts showed tremendous ability at the plate, tracking the ball and recognizing pitches early. He worked counts and was not afraid to hit with two strikes. He saw 17 pitches in game one of the doubleheader over three plate appearances – all reaching two strike counts. He showed the ability to recognize breaking balls early out of the zone, keeping his hands back as he took those for balls.
Defensively, Betts made a great play tracking down a hard hit ball over his head back at the wall. Betts is a tremendous athlete with speed, eliminating any doubts about the ability to handle center field. He simply needs the repetitions to learn and experience the fundamentals of reading the ball off the bat, hitting the right cut-off man, etc., all of which he has been just fine at to date. He's an aggressive runner on the basepaths with great instincts as well.
Photo credit: Anthony Ranaudo and Christian Vazquez by Kelly O'Connor
Chaz Fiorino is a Northeast Scout for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @cbfiorino.