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November 30, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Scout Chatter: Bradley Blalock, Durbin Feltman and more from Fall Instructs

This is the third article based on reports we’ve received from Fall Instructs. The data we’ve collected will be up on the News Page for your reading pleasure before we use it to update player page scouting reports, so forgive any inconsistencies until that point. Today, we focus on players the Red Sox drafted before 2020.

- Even though he was drafted in 2019, right-hander Bradley Blalock is still only 19 years old and was one of the younger pitchers at instructs. He got off to a slow start, but as camp went on, his delivery and stuff improved. By the end of camp, the reports coming back on him were very encouraging, enough so that he entered our rankings for the first time in our recent update, all the way up at number 36. At his best, Blalock sat 92-94 mph and topped out at 95 mph with a good slider that complimented his fastball well. He also mixed in a curveball and changeup, giving him a four-pitch mix with remaining projection in his frame. He pitches with the type of swagger you like to see on the mound and looks like someone who will add velocity as he matures. Blalock has a lot of development remaining to project as a starter, but his fastball/slider combination gives him a reasonable floor as a potential relief option if his other pitches do not take a step forward. 

- After a strong debut in 2018, right-hander Durbin Feltman really struggled in Double-A Portland in 2019, considerably decreasing his stock. It seems Feltman put in the work at instructs, as he looked much closer to the pitcher we saw in 2018 than he did at any time in 2019. Feltman’s velocity came back, as he was up to 96 mph, mostly sitting 93-94 mph. His 85-87 mph slider flashed above-average potential, and even though it was not as crisp as it used to be, he still was able to use it to get swinging strikes. He also mixed in his low-80s curveball, which was a good change of pace to his slider. Feltman’s command and control profile is still a long-term concern, but the stuff he showed at Instructs definitely could play in a middle relief role at the major league level. 

- Left-hander Brendan Cellucci showed off a strong arm and a slider with a very good spin rate. His fastball worked 92-97 mph, but his ability to command the pitch is a big question mark. He seems like a potential left-handed reliever.

- After a breakout 2019 professional debut with Lowell, left-hander Chris Murphy had a steady, but not spectacular Fall Instructional League, which fits the type of player he is. Murphy did not show any standout pitch, but showed three average to above-average offerings. His fastball sat in the low-90s, topping out at 96 mph, and he mixed in a curveball at 73-75 mph that flashed above-average, a changeup in the low-80s that flashed average, and a below-average slider in the low-80s. He seemed to be working on the slider early in camp, as he was not using his other secondary pitches much, but it lags well behind his other pitches. Scouts do have some questions on Murphy, particularly regarding his long-term command and control profile and whether or not he can consistently repeat his delivery, as it lacks coordination at times.

- Right-hander Brock Bell struggled, showing a strong arm but a poor delivery, and he had a lot of trouble throwing strikes. His fastball usually was 92-95 mph, but in some outings it was down in the low-90s. He showed three secondary pitches: a changeup, a slider, and a curveball, though none of them showed even average or were consistently usable from outing to outing. 

- After barely pitching after signing in 2019, right-hander Blake Loubier had an inconsistent camp. Loubier has good size, but he lacks athleticism and his delivery is very stiff. He struggled to repeat it and was constantly tweaking things to try and find something that worked throughout camp. His fastball sat 88-92 mph, topping out at 93, but he struggled to command the pitch. His curveball showed loose, 12-to-6 shape at 76-78 mph, but he did not snap it off consistently. He also mixed in a changeup at 80-82 mph, but he did not show great feel for the pitch. 

- Though he worked his way into the Salem rotation at the end of 2019, scouts see right-hander Andrew Politi as a reliever all the way. His delivery has a lot of effort, and his command was inconsistent at Instructs. His fastball sat 93-95 mph and he mixed in an average slider. He also showed a changeup and curveball, and seemed to be working on a cutter as well. 

- 2019 21st-round pick Dylan Spacke had a solid pro debut and he carried that into Instructs. Spacke does not have a high ceiling, but seems like at worst a solid organizational player and potentially an emergency up-and-down arm. His velocity was up a bit to 91-94 mph, and he showed a pair of averagish secondaries. His changeup at 80-82 mph was more consistent than his slider at 78-82 mph, which better hitters seemed to be able to pick up quickly. 

- In 2019 with Lowell, outfielder Nick Decker showed significant power and the ability to hit right-handed pitchers, but he really struggled against left-handed pitching. That continued at Instructs, where he raked against right-handers, but continued to struggle against lefties. Even with his struggles against southpaws, scouts were encouraged by his power and offensive potential against righties, so much so that they think he could develop into a really good platoon player. 

- Shortstop Matthew Lugo had an up-and-down Fall Instructional League. Lugo, who received the second highest bonus of any player in the Red Sox 2019 draft class, seemed to have regressed some athletically and did not look as good at shortstop as he did in 2019. His arm is still strong, at least above-average, but the rest of his defensive skill set left question marks about whether he will be able to stick at shortstop long-term. 

- Outfielder Wil Dalton had a good camp, but did a lot of his damage against the lower-tier pitching that was there. Dalton seemed to have shortened his stance a bit from the one he used in a rough pro debut with Lowell in 2019, and the tweak allowed him to tap into his power more and make more contact. He still can get pull-happy and profiles best in left field defensively, which puts a lot of pressure on his bat. 

Photo Credit: Durbin Feltman, Chris Murphy and Nick Decker by Kelly O'Connor.

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