SoxProspects News

September 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Quick-hitters from Lowell



Although he has struggled in the second half of his first professional experience, Michael Osinski has been one of the better hitters in the Lowell lineup. As of September 6, Osinski has hit .259/.328/.348 in 177 plate appearances (including three games in the Gulf Coast League before a quick promotion to Lowell). He came out of the gates quickly, hitting .341/.385/.427 in his first 23 professional games, but from August 5 to September 5, he scuffled to a .171/.267/.263 line in 20 games.

Osinski was selected in the 31st round in this year’s draft out of Longwood University—from where the Red Sox previously drafted outfielder Kyri Washington in 2015—and signed for a $25,000 bonus. A shortstop in college, the 6-2, 195 pound Osinski has split time between third base and shortstop since he signed, playing 18 games at third and 13 at short. Long-term, Osinski is unlikely to stick at shortstop, as he is a fringe athlete, a below-average runner, and lacks the fluidity or range to play up the middle. At third base, Osinski has a below-average arm and his footwork is poor. He has struggled with the move as a result, making eight errors and posting just a .822 fielding percentage. 

At the plate, Osinski starts with a slightly open stance and utilizes a leg kick. He has average bat speed and a line drive–oriented swing. He has the tendency to extend the zone and makes a lot of contact on the ground. Osinski could still add some power as he has some projection in his frame, but at this point, his power is relegated to the pull side and projects as below-average. 

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Another hitter who has established himself in the middle of the Lowell order is outfielder Marino Campana, though his long-term upside is limited unless he significantly improves his approach. Now in his third year in the system, Campana began the year in the Gulf Coast League for the second season in a row, but unlike last year, when he returned to the Dominican Summer League after 12 games, instead he was promoted to Lowell after nine contests for a successful stint that has included a 17-game hitting streak. In 174 plate appearances in Lowell, Campana has 49 strikeouts compared to only eight walks and has put up a .238/.282/.378 line. 

Only 19 years old, Campana is tall and lean, listed at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds. He has long limbs and projection remaining in his frame, especially in his upper body, where he needs to add strength. He is already a below-average runner and defensively is best suited for left field. At the plate, Campana starts slightly open and utilizes a leg kick. His swing is long and he lacks pitch recognition skills. He rarely walks and has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, especially on secondary pitches. Campana likes to get his arms extended, and when he makes contact has shown flashes of the ability to drive the ball, exclusively to the pull side, where 11 of his 14 extra-base hits have gone.

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2017 18th-round pick Dominic LoBrutto was the highest drafted left-hander by the Red Sox this year. LoBrutto had a very strong 2016 season at Florida International, but struggled in 2017 and ultimately signed for $100,000. With Lowell, LoBrutto has been inconsistent but shown flashes of potential, with 30 strikeouts and 20 hits allowed in 24 2/3 innings, but also walking 18. 

LoBrutto has a tall, lean frame, listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. He has long limbs and a high waist with some remaining projection. He starts on the first base side of the rubber and uses a stiff, jerky delivery with a lot of moving parts. He utilizes a high leg kick and has a long arm action, throwing from a three-quarters arm slot. The jerkiness in his creates deception, but also hinders his command and control. 

LoBrutto’s four-seam fastball sat 89-91 mph in a recent look. He didn’t throw the pitch often, instead relying on his cutter at 86-88 mph, which was effective, especially against right-handed hitters. The pitch showed short, horizontal movement, and he did a good job locating it in on the hands of righties. LoBrutto also featured a short slider at 82-84 mph. The pitch was on the vertical side with inconsistent shape. He also threw a changeup on occasion, but he lacked feel for the pitch and it was firm and on the straight side. 

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Right-hander Taylor Ahearn, the club’s 32nd-round selection in June out of Cal State San Marcos, showed off a four-pitch mix in a recent relief outing. He has split his season almost in half between the Gulf Coast League and Lowell, excelling at the former level (0.83 WHIP, 16 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings) but struggling after moving up (1.43 WHIP, 6 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings). 

Ahearn has an average frame, and his fastball sat 90-92 mph with sink during his three-plus innings. He featured two breaking balls, a curveball and a slider, the latter a pitch he didn’t show earlier in the summer. Ahearn used his curveball frequently, throwing it 77-78 mph with 11-to-5 shape. He mixed in the slider at 83-86 mph with the pitch showing short, 10-to-4 break. Ahearn threw a few changeups as well, but used the pitch less frequently than his breaking ball. The pitch was on the firm side at 84-85 mph. 

Photo credit: Michael Osinski, Marino Campana, Dominic LoBrutto and Taylor Ahearn by Kelly O'Connor

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

 
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