SoxProspects News

April 13, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Blaze Jordan, Chris Murphy, and a trio of teenage arms


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update features 2020 third-round pick Blaze Jordan, left-handed starter Chris Murphy, as well as three young hurlers in the lower levels of the minor league system--Wilkelman Gonzalez, Juan Daniel Encarnacion, and Gabriel Jackson.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

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. Does not consistently finish delivery and can lose release point at times.

Fastball: 90-94 mph. Tops out at 96 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. Potential average pitch.

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 organization. Potential average pitch.

Curveball: 73-75 mph. Deep, 1-to-7 break. Has some feel for spin, but does not consistently get over the ball. When he does, shows the ability to backdoor it for a strike or induce swinging strikes out of the zone. Potential average pitch.

Slider: 80-84 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. Then-pitching crosschecker Chris Mears strongly advocated for the Red Sox to select Murphy in the 2019 Draft. Cut down on walks dramatically after signing, apparently immediately fixing the one issue the kept him from being selected earlier in the draft, reportedly thanks to minor mechanical tweaks. Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation: Ceiling of a back-end starter with an intriguing four-pitch mix. Needs to show that his 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 does not work out.

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Blaze Jordan, Third baseman/First baseman
 
Physical Description: Thick, physically mature frame. Minimal remaining projection. Will have to watch his body as he gets older. Lost weight and did a much better job maintaining his conditioning as he got older in high school.

Hit: Starts square and utilizes a quick leg kick timing device. Mature approach for his age. Has bat speed. Quick hands and really whips his hips through during his swing. Natural feel for hit and will make pitchers pay when they make a mistake. Has had trouble making contact against better pitching and against velocity, especially when up in the zone. Struggled with velocity in the mid-90s and higher at the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Development of hit tool will be key in order to be able to tap into his raw power.

Power: Plus power potential. Natural loft in swing. Drives the ball with backspin. Potential carrying tool. Has shown all-fields power and the ability to drive the ball well out of the ballpark. Raw power does not have much projection, as he is already maxed out physically.

Run: Below-average speed. Likely to get slower as he matures.

Field: Will start his career as a third baseman, but likely will end up at first base. Improved agility and mobility with weight loss gives him a small chance to stick at third. Lacks fluidity in the field, footwork needs work. Hands need improvement. If he does stick at third, projects as a fringe-average defender at best.

Arm: Average arm strength. Has hit 92 mph on the mound.    

Career Notes: Very young for his draft class. Reclassified in May 2019 from the 2021 class to the 2020 class. Committed to Mississippi State. Won the High School Home Run Derby at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Recorded the highest exit velocity of anyone at the 2019 World Wood Bat Championships (106.9 mph). Attended the same high school as Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley. Had been one of the better-known players on the national circuit for his age since starting high school, in part because of viral YouTube videos showing his power. Participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation: Ceiling of a bat-first regular, likely at first base. Really has to hit, as he is maxed out and has a tough potential profile as a right-right first baseman. A favorite of predictive models due to his age compared to his draft class, elite exit velocities, and bat speed. Needs to show he can hit advanced pitching in order to tap into his raw power, which is his best tool. Will have to watch conditioning. Ultimate defensive position is still to be determined.
 
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Wilkelman Gonzalez, Right-handed pitcher
 
Physical Description: Average frame. Sturdy lower half, but has remaining projection in his upper body. Looks heavier than listed weight of 167 pounds.
 
Mechanics:
High three-quarters arm slot. Very rotational delivery. High leg kick, stiff arm action. Does not use a wind-up.
 
Fastball:
92-95 mph. Live arm. Fastball has shown bat-missing ability even in the zone. Pitch shows all types of movement: life, tail, cut and sink. Variety of movement is a result of him being very raw and still learning how to pitch. Command and control are major works in progress. Has flashed the ability to locate on rare occasions, but is very wild at present.
 
Breaking Ball:
Has shown some ability to spin, but inconsistent. Needs a lot of refinement, but it is encouraging that the pitch already will show flashes.
 
Changeup:
Clear third pitch, work in progress with a ways to go developmentally.
 
Career Notes:
Opening Day starter for the DSL Red Sox 1 in 2019. Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.
 
Summation:
Good arm strength with a lot of development remaining. Fastball and breaking ball show some potential. Still learning how to pitch, but is not as raw as some comparable arms age-wise in the system. Could be one to surprise in 2021 if things click because the raw ingredients are there.
 
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Juan Daniel Encarnacion, Right-handed pitcher
 
Physical Description: Skinny frame. Athletic build with some remaining projection. Needs to add strength.
 
Mechanics: Low three-quarters arm slot. Does not use a wind-up. Stiff delivery. Slings the ball. Short arm action behind, hides the ball well.
 
Fastball: 88-91 mph. Tops out at 92 mph. Pitch will show sink. Fringe-average potential.
 
Slider: 76-81 mph. Slurvy breaking ball. Long, 2-to-8 break. Some are more horizontal, others have more vertical shape. Inconsistent at present, but will flash average potential.
 
Changeup: 84-85 mph. Some feel for pitch, but needs work. Flashed the ability to turn it over and bury it down and out of the zone for swinging strikes. Fringe-average potential.
 
Career Notes: Opening Day starter for the DSL Red Sox 2 in 2019. Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.
 
Summation: Shows the early makings of a three-pitch mix, but does not have stand-out stuff. Lacks a pitch that projects as better than average, but does have some deception in his delivery and some feel. Has a ways to go developmentally and future potential depends on him maturing physically and his stuff improving.

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Gabriel Jackson, Right-handed pitcher
 
Physical Description: Average frame. Thick lower half. Remaining projection in his upper body.
 
Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot from the third base side. No wind-up, medium leg kick. Quiet delivery for the most part before he comes forward. Long arm swing behind. Arm-heavy delivery.
 
Fastball: 90-94 mph. Tops out at 95. Primarily throws a sinker that shows hard, boring action. Should elicit plenty of groundballs. Command is well below-average and needs to improve considerably. Potential above-average pitch with refinement.
 
Slider: 84-88 mph. Hard breaking ball with short break. Lacks feel and consistency. Potential below-average offering.  
 
Changeup: 87-89 mph. Firm pitch that looks like a fastball he took something off. Lacks movement and feel. Work in progress. Potential well below-average offering.
 
Career Notes: Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional League.
 
Summation: Potential minor league depth reliever. Sinker could get guys out, but lacks an effective secondary offering. Raw and more of a thrower right now with limited feel. Has a ways to go developmentally and has to drastically improve his command and secondary offerings in order to push towards the high-minors.
 
Photo Credit: Chris Murphy by Kelly O'Connor.
 
Mark Hanoian is the Scouting Report Manager for SoxProspects.com.



 
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