SoxProspects News

August 12, 2020 at 6:17 PM

Scouting Report Updates: Thursday's starter, plus Song and the Lowell rotation


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update features Kyle Hart, who is set to make his MLB debut on Thursday at Fenway, as well as a quartet of promising young arms who were part of the Lowell Spinners' talented 2019 rotation and are all ranked in our Top 20.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Kyle Hart, Left-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Tall, lanky left-handed starter. Minimal remaining projection.
 
Mechanics: Long levers and front-side deception. Clean, balanced mechanics. Confident and composed on the mound. 
 
Fastball: 87-90 mph with natural cut. Can reach back and get his fastball up to 92 mph. Works around the plate, pitches to contact. Average command profile. Was a groundball pitcher early in his career, but groundball rate has dropped significantly and flyball rate almost doubled. Below-average velocity. Potential fringe-average offering.

Cutter: 85-86 mph with solid horizontal movement. Peppers it in to keep hitters off balance. Induces weak contact. Learned the pitch in the high minors. Potential average offering.
 
Slider: Low 80s. Longer, horizontal break. Clearly different pitch from the cutter. Has improved as he has moved up the system. Potential average offering.
 
Changeup: 81-82 mph. Consistent arm slot and release point with his fastball. Will induce some swinging strikes. Could use more separation from his fastball. Potential fringe-average offering.
 
Curveball: 76-79 mph. Long, vertical break. Pitch isn't designed to miss bats, but more to steal a strike when sequenced properly. Potential below-average pitch.
 
Career Notes: Had Tommy John surgery during his junior year. Drafted as a low-bonus, fifth-year senior sign.  Pitched first 6 2/3 innings of a combined no-hitter on April 25, 2019, finished by Daniel McGrath and Adam Lau. Was something of a surprise addition to the 40-man roster in November 2019 to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft that offseason. Earned opportunity to join Boston rotation in August 2020 after retiring 34 of 38 hitters faced in consecutive sim game starts at Red Sox Alternate Training Site.
 
Summation: Potential emergency major league depth arm. Ceiling of a spot starter or depth swingman type. Age and lack of a plus pitch limit ceiling. Throws five pitches and will use them in any count. Does a good job mixing his pitches to keep hitters off-balance. Strong pitchability and feel on the mound. Solid command and control profile. Could struggle to get major league hitters out with his high-80s fastball, so will have to play off his secondaries off of his four-seamer. Wouldn't be surprising if he had a run in the majors if given an opportunity given his consistent success in the minor leagues.

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Noah Song, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Tall, athletic frame with some projection, especially in his upper body. Looks the part.
 
Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot from the first base side. Doesn't use a wind-up and utilizes a medium leg kick. Short arm action. Arm will drag behind delivery at times. Some effort in delivery, but repeats it well. Very quick arm with some deception. Ball jumps out of his hand. Gets good extension and separation between his hip and shoulder. Crossfire action in delivery provides deception.
 
Fastball: 93-96 mph. Tops out at 99 mph. Strong command profile. Throws a lot of quality strikes already. Has shown the ability to spot arm-side as well as up in the zone when he wants to elevate. Pitch shows life and jumps on hitters. Pitch has shown the ability to miss bats. Potential plus-to-better offering.
 
Slider: 84-86 mph. 10-to-4 shape. When he gets over it, shows bite and bat-missing potential. Doesn't consistently get over the pitch, getting on the side of it and leaving it flat and up in the zone. Potential above-average offering.
 
Changeup:  83-85 mph. Throws with deceptive arm speed. Can pull the string with late fade at its best. Inconsistent at times, feel comes and goes. Threw a fringe-average, show-me changeup in college, but pitch has already shown signs of development early in his pro career. Potential above-average offering.
 
Curveball: 74-78 mph. Work in progress. Long, 11-to-5 shape. More of a spinner, but has the potential to continue to improve. Fringe-average offering.
 
Career Notes: Red Sox drafted and signed Song with the knowledge he may have to miss two seasons at flight school as part of his commitment to the Navy, knowing he was a day-one talent but for his service commitment. Applied for a waiver of his service commitment in fall 2019 to move to the reserves in order to continue his baseball career, but after several months in limbo, he altered his request in April 2020, requesting to begin flight school. Was ultimately ordered to report to flight school in June 2020. Eligible to return to baseball as early as May 2021, but likely will miss all of 2020 and at least most, if not all, of 2021. Participated in 2019 Fall Instructional League. Pitched in relief for Team USA in the 2019 Premier12 Tournament and was considered by some to be the most impressive pitcher on a talented squad.
 
Summation: Has the potential to develop into a number three or four starter. Canceled 2020 minor league season, plus clarity with regards to his situation with the Navy, give him a better chance of reaching his potential relative to his peers. There is still a non-zero chance he doesn’t return to baseball or returns with diminished stuff having not pitched in so long, and therefore his floor is much lower than that of a typical prospect with his talent. Strong pitchability, already showing the makings of a four-pitch mix, with three showing above-average potential. Outstanding makeup, strong work ethic. Type of person every organization strives to have. If he returns from his Naval service with the same stuff he showed in Lowell in 2019, he could move quickly as long as he can build up his stamina.

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Aldo Ramirez, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Athletic, lean frame with some remaining projection, especially in his upper body. Quick feet. Looks slightly taller than listed.

Mechanics: Throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side. Quick arm. Deliberate, vertical delivery. High leg lift. Could do a better job incorporating his lower half. Finishes upright and square to the plate. Arm action has a stab behind, but is relatively free and easy. Good rhythm in delivery, works quickly. Repeats well. Varies delivery times from the stretch. Has deception in his delivery, hides the ball well behind his head until late, giving hitters less time to pick it up.

Fastball: 91-95 mph. Pitch shows life and sink. Velocity is trending up and has improved each year since he signed. Advanced command and control for his age. Always around the zone; throws competitive pitches, which allows him to work deeper into games. Potential plus offering with refined command.

Curveball: 77-80 mph. Shows confidence and feel in pitch. Will throw in any count. At its best, shows 11-to-5, two-plane break. Can bury down and out of the zone or backdoor the pitch to steal a called strike to get ahead early in the count. Shape varies at times, some have more depth than others. Below-average spin rate. Potential average offering.

Changeup: 86-88 mph. Splitter-ish movement with late drop down and out of the zone. Reportedly was his best secondary pitch, flashing plus at times during the 2018 season. Rarely incorporated the pitch in 2019 looks with Lowell.

Career Notes: Red Sox purchased his rights from Aguascalientes in the Mexican League for $550,000 in April 2018. Impressed with the DSL in 2018, showing advanced control for his age. Participated in the 2018 Fall Instructional League.

Summation: Very interesting young arm with a strong track record of performance in the low minors against age advanced competition. Shows the early makings of a three-pitch mix with all showing at least average potential. Doesn’t stand out physically, but still young enough that could grow some more. One of the more intriguing arms in the systems low minors, has the early makings of a back end starter profile, but long way to go between what he is now and what he could be in the future.

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Chris Murphy, Left-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Athletic frame with some remaining projection. Looks bigger than listed. Average lower half, medium build.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, starting on the third base side of the rubber. Takes two small steps before a medium leg kick. Drives towards the plate with a big stride and gets plus extension. Left leg kicks up on follow-through, can tend to fall off towards third base post-delivery. Quick, compact arm action. Slight arm hook with some effort behind. Doesn’t consistently finish delivery and can lose release point at times.

Fastball: 90-94 mph. Tops out at 95 mph. Works all over the zone. Command needs work. Especially to the glove side. Much more comfortable locating arm-side at present. May have over-relied on his fastball in college.

Changeup: 80-82 mph. Pitch shows late fade down and away from right-handed hitters. Thrown with deceptive arm speed. Will throw in any count. Inconsistent with his release of the pitch at times. Has improved significantly since he joined the org. Potential average pitch.

Curveball: 73-75 mph. Deep, 1-to-7 break. Has some feel for spin, but doesn’t consistently get over the ball. When he does, shows the ability to land it for a strike or backdoor it. Potential average pitch.

Slider: 81-83 mph. More horizontal with shorter break. Pitch is tighter than his curveball. Potential below-average pitch.

Career Notes: Not drafted out of high school, but was recruited by several top Division I colleges in California. Played for Brewster in the Cape Cod League in 2018, struggling with control issues. Had a fairly impressive junior season at San Diego, despite walking more than 6 batters per 9 innings. His selection was strongly advocated for by then-pitching crosschecker Chris Mears. Cut down on walks dramatically after signing, apparently immediately fixing the one issue the kept him from being drafted earlier, reportedly thanks to minor mechanical tweaks. Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019.

Summation: Ceiling of a back-end starter with an intriguing four-pitch mix. Needs to show drastic improvement in his control after signing was legitimate to stick as a starter. Misses a lot of bats, but pitch counts may prevent him from going deep into games. Could also develop into a high-leverage reliever if starting doesn’t work out.

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Ryan Zeferjahn, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Prototypical pitcher’s frame. Looks the part. Tall, filled-out with a sturdy but athletic frame. Has some potential to add strength in his upper body.

Mechanics: Throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. Controlled delivery with some effort. Starts on the extreme first base side and doesn’t use a wind-up. Has a high leg kick and rocks back before coming forward. Rough arm action with a stab behind and long coming forward. Quick arm that can get out of sync with his delivery. Inconsistent release point. Sometimes telegraphs breaking ball by shortening his arm swing. Delivery is more compact and repeatable from the stretch. Gets some deception from his front side.

Fastball: 93-95 mph. Hit 98 mph in three-inning stints with Lowell during his first season. Pitch shows sink when down. Above-average life. Likes to spot the pitch glove-side, but struggles to locate arm-side. Has the tendency to yank his fastball and will lose release point. Plus-plus velocity. Command lags well behind at present and projects as below-average at best right now. With improved command, could develop into a potential plus-to-better offering.

Slider: 84-87 mph. 10-to-4 shape. Pitch will show depth and bite at its best when he really gets over it. Will bury it down and out of the zone when ahead in the count. Had inconsistent feel during first season with Lowell, not utilizing the pitch in some outings, but then relying on it later in the season where it flashed significantly better. His best secondary pitch. Will flash plus at its best.

Changeup: 83-86 mph. Throws with deceptive arm speed. Has splitter-like late drop. Has confidence in pitch. Uses primarily against left-handed hitters. Potential above-average offering.

Curveball: 76-80 mph. 11-to-5 shape. Average depth. Lacks bite. Viable pitch when sequenced correctly to steal a strike early in the count. Rarely thrown later in the count. Doesn’t consistently get over it. Fringe-average potential.

Career Notes: Perfect Game All-American in high school. Added size and velocity in college. Developed a blister on his nail after signing, limiting his ability to throw his breaking balls in Lowell.

Summation: Has the frame and fastball of a starting pitcher. Secondary pitches and command need work. If he can hone his breaking balls, changeup, and control, could develop into a number four starter. However, could move quickly in a bullpen role, where he could narrow his arsenal and focus on his fastball and changeup, and fastball command wouldn’t be as important.

Photo Credit: Kyle Hart and Aldo Ramirez by Kelly O'Connor.

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

Mark Hanoian is the Scouting Report Manager for SoxProspects.com.

 
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