SoxProspects News

April 26, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Bonaci, Northcut, and a quartet of arms


Today's SoxProspects scouting report update is headlined by shortstop prospect Brainer Bonaci. Only 18 years old, Bonaci turned heads at the Fall Instructional League, competing and having success with many other players several years his senior.

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

Brainer Bonaci, Shortstop
 
Physical Description: Physically mature, but small frame. Athletic build and strong lower half. Has some remaining projection even after adding 40 pounds since signing.

Hit:
Strong contact skills and feel at the plate for his age. Average bat speed, shows above-average barrel control. Swing is short and direct to the ball. Potential average hit tool at least.

Power:
Average raw power. Sneaky power for his size and has shown the ability to drive the ball in the DSL. Projects for below-average in-game power.

Run:
Below-average speed. Not a major part of his game. Plays faster than his speed grade due to athleticism and instincts.

Field:
Average defensive profile. Fluid in the field. Hands work. Average range at present, but this could become an area of concern based on how he physically matures. Has primarily played shortstop early in his pro career, but has also seen time at third base.

Arm:
Plus arm. Plenty for the left side of the infield.

Career Notes:
Signed to a mid-range bonus on his 16th birthday in 2018. Has reportedly already drawn trade inquiries early in his career. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation:
Intriguing player who scouts identified as one of the standout prospects at the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Not physically imposing, but has a blend of instincts and ability that stands out. Has feel for hit and at least an average defensive profile to go along with a plus arm. Will stick on the left side of the infield for now.

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Nathanael Cruz, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Tall, thin frame with lots of remaining projection. Needs to add strength, but has the frame to fill out as he matures. Athletic.

Mechanics:
Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. High leg kick prior to delivery. Quick, compact delivery. Short arm action.

Fastball:
91-93 mph. Tops out at 95 mph but velocity is still improving. Pitch shows sink. Needs to improve control.

Changeup:
85-87 mph. Plays well given his arm action, which allows him to push it and turn it over. Shows some feel already.
 
Curveball:
76-78 mph. Work in progress. Does not consistently snap it off. Has also thrown a slider in his early career.

Career Notes:
Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional league.

Summation:
Intriguing arm whose development could take time, but the payoff could be substantial. High ceiling, low floor arm. Has already shown velocity and could add more. Has a projectable pitcher’s frame and a workable delivery. Secondaries need development, but will show some feel for both, especially his changeup. Command and control also need development. Very competitive.
 
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Jeremy Wu-Yelland, Left-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Average frame with minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics:
Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. High leg kick with a short arm action coming forward. Has some effort in his delivery.

Fastball:
92-96 mph. Tops out at 97 mph. Shows late movement. Strong arm, but has struggled with his fastball command and control. Below-average command profile. Potential plus fastball.

Slider:
80-82 mph. Vertical shape. Shows some depth and tight rotation when he snaps it off. Pitch grades out better on Trackman than it does in in-person scouting looks. Potential average slider.

Changeup:
81-83 mph. Pitch can be effective against righties when he throws it well.

Career Notes:
Excelled in the Cape Cod League during summer 2019, putting up a 3.16 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 26 innings. Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation:
Early makings of a middle relief prospect, but needs to improve command and control and refine his secondaries. Fits the profile of arms the Red Sox target with arm strength and high spin rates on his breaking ball. Mostly pitched in relief in college. Will be developed as a starter initially, but bullpen remains an intriguing fallback option given how his velocity plays up in short outings.

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Nick Northcut, Third baseman

Physical Description: Strong, sturdy frame. Thick lower half. Minimal remaining projection.

Hit:
Starts open with his hands high and some pre-pitch movement. Leg lift timing device. Has previously used either a high leg kick or a toe tap, so likely still developing feel for preferred timing mechanism. Long, uppercut swing. Swing is on the stiff side. Fringe-average bat speed. Very rudimentary approach. Struggles recognizing secondary pitches, especially breaking balls. Will extend out of the zone and has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Potential well below-average hit tool.

Power:
Plus raw power. More power to pull side at present. When he squares the ball up, it goes a long way. Power comes from a combination of strength and bat speed. Combination of poor approach and lack of contact skills make it unlikely power potential will actualize in-game.

Run:
Well below-average speed.

Field:
Hands and footwork are fringy at third base. Limited range and mobility, especially laterally. Still developing a consistent pre-pitch setup. Stiff when charging the ball. Likely will end up at first base, but if he can stick at third, projects as a below-average defender.

Arm:
Above-average arm strength. Struggles with accuracy when throwing on the run.

Career Notes:
Rawlings First-Team All-American in high school. Top 50 prospect in the 2018 draft.  Committed to Vanderbilt. Had a low-90s fastball and hard slider that made him a prospect on the mound as well. Signed for significantly over slot but less than some teams thought he would need to sign. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Summation:
Potential bat-first organizational player. Has a long way to go developmentally and needs to show significant improvement to succeed in the high minors. High-risk profile. Biggest strides need to be made at the plate, especially with his approach and bat-to-ball skills. Needs to learn to use all fields and improve pitch recognition. Will always have swing-and-miss in his game, but will need to keep it at a manageable level in order to tap into his raw power, which is his best tool. Bat profiles better at third base than at first base. Long-term defensive home will depend on how he develops physically and maintains his athleticism.

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Dylan Spacke, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Medium-framed right-hander with an average build.

Mechanics:
Throws from a low-three-quarters arm slot. Compact, easy delivery. Low leg kick, stays balanced.

Fastball:
91-94 mph. Tops out at 95 mph. Heavy with late sink. Potential average pitch.

Changeup:
80-82 mph. Primary secondary offering. Has good separation from his fastball. Potential average offering.

Slider:
78-82 mph. Inconsistent and tends to telegraph the pitch. Potential fringe-average offering.

Career Notes:
Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation:
Potential solid organizational reliever. Ceiling of an up-and-down emergency arm.

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Osvaldo De La Rosa, Right-handed pitcher
 
Physical Description: Physical, mature frame. Minimal remaining projection. Looks heavier than listed weight of 210 pounds.

Mechanics:
Throws from a three-quarters arm slot from the first base side. Short arm action with significant effort as he comes forward. Medium leg kick. Hides the ball well in his delivery, keeping it behind his body until very late. Comes across his body.

Fastball:
93-95 mph. Heavy pitch with late downward life. Generates weak contact, but can get elevated when he leaves it up in the zone. Command and control are a work in progress. Velocity was down considerably at the 2020 Fall Instructional League, where he sat 89-92 mph.

Slider:
80-83 mph. Short, horizontal break. Does not consistently snap it off. In 2018, showed a 86-87 mph variation with more vertical break. At 2020 Fall Instructional League, velocity was 82-85 mph and pitch lacked bite. Potential fringe-average offering.

Changeup:
86-88 mph. Firm, lacks feel and separation from fastball. Looks like a two-seam fastball at times. Potential below-average offering.

Career Notes:
Was a catcher before converting to pitching late on in his amateur career. That conversion led to him signing with the Red Sox as a 20-year-old prior to the 2018 season. Impressed in the DSL in 2018. Skipped from the DSL to Lowell in 2019. Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation:
As a late signee, De La Rosa is behind the developmental curve, but he shows interesting raw stuff for a converted catcher. Arm is very strong and can dial up his fastball, but currently lacks an average secondary pitch and command and control have a ways to go. Variations in velocity seen at 2020 Fall Instructional League merit watching going forward.

Photo Credit: Brainer Bonaci and Nick Northcut by Kelly O'Connor
 
Mark Hanoian is the Scouting Report Manager for SoxProspects.com.
 
 

 
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