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SoxProspects News

October 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Fall Instructs Part Three

Recently, SoxProspects Director of Scouting Ian Cundall traveled to the Fall Instructional League to report on the goings-on in Fort Myers. This is the third of four reports from his trip. For part one click here and for part two click here.

- Of all the Red Sox pitchers I saw during my trip, Jake Cosart was the most impressive. Cosart has an athletic, projectable frame and is on the skinny side at present, listed at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds. His delivery is arm-heavy as he does not utilize his lower half much and has some effort, especially when viewed from the side, because he does not get normal extension with his arm. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, where he almost short-arms the ball and has a slight stab. That said, Cosart has a loose arm and elite arm strength that helps him generate easy velocity even though he doesn’t use his lower half to great effect. Cosart’s fastball worked 93-95 mph over a two-inning stint, showing plus sink down in the zone. 

Both his curveball and changeup flashed plus in the outing, notable given that reports had his curveball well ahead of his change. His curveball worked 71-74 mph. On the lower end, it was loose and rolled to the plate, but at the higher end, it showed sharp break and depth through the zone. He threw the changeup at 82-83 mph with similar arm speed to his fastball, and the pitch showed drop and fade in on right-handed hitters. The pitch looked much improved from where it reportedly was during his junior college season. He also threw one pitch at 84 mph that looked like a slider with short 10-4 break, but it could have been a changeup that he cut. Overall, it was an impressive first look at Cosart, and he is someone I will have my eye on next year. Even with his rough mechanics, his raw stuff is very impressive, his arm does not have a lot of mileage on it, and he has solid bloodlines, so he could end up being a great value pick in the third round.

- Gerson Bautista is tall and lanky at present, with a very skinny waist. His delivery is on the stiff side and very mechanical: his body tilts on leg lift, and then his arm comes across his body. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot and has a shot put-like arm motion, during which he seems to be almost guiding the ball, especially when he works to the glove side. His fastball sat 91-93 mph with sink, and he mixed in a slider at 83-86 mph and changeup at 87 mph, the latter looking more like a fastball he took something off of. Bautista looked like he was far from a finished product, but this was only a one-inning look.

- Kevin McAvoy’s stuff was down compared to when I had seen him in Lowell. He has a solid pitcher’s build at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, that should allow him to withstand the rigors of starting if he stays on that path. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot with long arm action behind and slight drop-and-drive. His fastball sat 88-90 mph, topping out at 91 mph, compared to the low-90s where he sat in my prior viewings. His fastball was still heavy and showed sink that leads to a lot of weak contact on the ground. He threw a lot of secondary pitches in the outing, which could have been something he was working on, as he was throwing them in any count. His usage of his changeup was especially high. The pitch worked 83-86 mph, and on some occasions he turned it over, but on others he seemed to slow his arm. His slider worked 80-82 mph with sharp 10-to-4 break and two-plane movement.

- Along with Enmanuel De Jesus, who I discussed yesterday, Jhonathan Diaz is one of the youngest arms at Instructs, and is facing hitters at more advanced stages of development. So even though he had some struggles during this outing, it was noteworthy how he kept his poise on the mound. Diaz is undersized, listed at 6-foot-0, 170 pounds, but has some projection left at only 18 years old. He begins his motion with a slight tilt back, then turning his back toward the batter before coming forward. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, and his arm action is not the cleanest. His fastball worked 88-90 mph and was on the straight side. He also mixed in a two-seamer at 86-87 mph on occasion. He complimented his fastball primarily with a curveball and changeup. He showed the most feel for the latter, with the pitch working 78-81 mph. He threw his curveball at 72-73 mph, with the pitch on the loose side and tending to roll to the plate.

- Jalen Williams is athletic and has a great pitcher’s frame, but the raw stuff does not match up with what you would expect. His arm slot varied anywhere from high three-quarters to over the top, and his body was not in sync with his arm during his delivery. His four-seam fastball worked in the 88-90 mph range, but he primarily threw an 87-89 mph cutter and a few two-seamers around the same velocity. His curveball worked 71-73 mph with long 12-to-6 break, but it was on the slow side and hitters got a good look at it. He also threw one changeup at 79 mph on which he slowed his arm. Williams has a long way to go, and unless significant improvements are made, he is going to struggle to progress through the minors.

Photo credits: Jake Cosart from seminolestate.edu and Kevin McAvoy by Kelly O'Connor

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