SoxProspects News

April 28, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Scouting Report Updates: Flores, Van Belle, and more


Today's SoxProspects scouting report update highlights seven prospects that participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League and are expected to open the season in Greenville or Salem.

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

Antoni Flores, Shortstop
 
Physical Description: Already physically developed for his age. Was noticeably thicker during the 2019 season, to the point that it limited his mobility and quick-twitch athleticism, and looked even less athletic during the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Declining athleticism has become a significant problem. Lacks definition, needs to get stronger.

Hit: Starts square and utilizes a leg kick. Loose at the plate. Good bat angle. Average bat speed. Bat will take some time to develop. Approach needs work. Needs to improve pitch recognition. Will shorten up with two strikes. Struggled against more advanced pitching in an aggressive assignment to the New York-Penn League in 2019. Was unable to catch up to velocity, especially up in the zone, and was overly aggressive early in counts, leading to a lot of weak contact. Potential below-average hit tool.

Power: Will show fringe-average raw power in batting practice. Could take some time to translate in game action. Power is primarily to the pull side at present, but could develop all-fields power in the future. Could stand to add some loft to his swing.

Run: Well-below-average speed. Will not be a threat to steal bases, but could grab a few due to strong baserunning instincts. Speed dropped a half grade in 2019 and another grade in 2020. Will need to put work into taking care of his body to prevent further decrease.

Field: Soft hands, fluid actions in the field. Strong instincts for his age. Reads the game well; rarely lets the ball play him. Plays defense with some flair. Range decreased in 2019 as he lost some of his athleticism, raising questions about whether he will stick at shortstop long-term. Played only second base during 2020 Fall Instructional League. Potential to develop into an above-average defender.

Arm: Plus arm strength. Capable of making all the throws necessary from the left side of the infield. Solid carry.
Career Notes: Had trouble staying healthy in 2018, missing six weeks with what the team called "general soreness" (that may have been a strained left shoulder) after being promoted stateside from the DSL, then pulling his hamstring in his second game after returning, leading to a second absence. Was one of the most impressive players at the 2018 Fall Instructional League. A very small minority of scouts considered him the system's top prospect entering 2019, but he struggled in an aggressive assignment to Lowell. Appeared to be pressing later in the 2019 season, compounding his initial struggles, and was replaced in the lineup by GCL call-ups during the Spinners' playoff run. Also participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation: Potential minor league depth infielder. Ceiling of a high-minors organizational player. Wide gap between what he is now and what he could be in the future, but decreased athleticism has impacted projection. Best present tool is his arm. Strong instincts for his age have allowed tools to play up in the past, but tools played down as he struggled through a difficult 2019 season and again at Fall Instructs 2020. Entered 2019 as one of the most intriguing prospects in the system, but his body regressed and he really struggled at the plate. Odds of reaching his ceiling are much lower now, but it is still possible he could return to the form he showed in 2018 and quickly re-establish himself as one of the top 20-25 prospects in the system.

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Brian Van Belle, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Athletic. Pitcher’s frame.

Mechanics:
Throws from a high-three quarters arm slot. High leg kick from the windup, but lowers it with runners on base. Repeats delivery well.

Fastball:
90-92 mph. Tops out at 93 mph. Throws a ton of strikes, advanced command of the offering. Average potential.

Changeup:
82-85 mph. Throws with a circle-changeup grip. Potential difference-making pitch that could miss bats at the highest level. Advanced feel and confidence in pitch. Will throw in any count to both righties and lefties. Potential plus offering.

Curveball:
77-80 mph. Work in progress. 12-to-6 shape, but does not consistently snap it off. Below-average potential.

Career Notes:
Got the nod ahead of two 2020 MLB draft picks as the Friday night starter for Miami. Was one of the most sought-after seniors in the 2020 unsigned free agent class. Spent three seasons at Broward College, missing his first two due to injury, before transferring to Miami. Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation:
Potential emergency major league depth arm. Advanced fastball command and plus changeup give him some upside. Breaking ball needs significant refinement. Always competes, used to pitching in big spots. Strong pitchability and feel on the mound.
 
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Wil Dalton, Outfielder

Physical Description: Average, athletic frame. Minimal remaining projection. Strong upper body.

Hit:
Starts slightly open and vertical. Starts with his hands high and uses a leg lift timing device. Swing can get long and has fringe-average bat speed. Seems to be working to shorten his swing. Pitch recognition is a work in progress. Really struggles recognizing spin and making contact against plus velocity up in the zone. Swing has a slight uppercut. Will take a walk. In the early stages of developing an approach. Struggles to make adjustments and can get very pull happy. Potential well-below-average hit tool.

Power:
Above-average raw power, especially to the pull side. Flashed raw power in initial season with Lowell, but lack of contact skills limits his in-game power potential. Can make pitchers pay for making mistakes with fringy velocity. Potential fringe-average game power.

Run:
Below-average speed.

Field:
Profiles as a corner outfielder. Lacks the speed for center field. Initial reads are a little slow at times, but shows average defensive potential in the corners.

Arm:
Below-average arm.

Career Notes:
Drafted in the 29th round of the 2016 draft by the Orioles. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020.

Summation:
Projects as minor league depth. Lacks a carrying tool. Inconsistent contact skills and limited defensive value greatly limit ceiling. Will need to make major strides at the plate in order to have success against more advanced pitching.

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Jaxx Groshans, Catcher

Physical Description: Strong, athletic build. Above-average athleticism for a catcher.

Hit:
Starts slightly open and utilizes a leg kick. Tick-better-than-average bat speed. Has a tendency to bail early with his front side as he cheats to try and get around on fastballs. Fluid swing. Has shown the ability to use all fields. Struggles recognizing breaking balls and has shown a tendency to expand the zone against them, especially when behind in the count. Potential below-average hit tool.

Power:
Average raw power. If he fills out some and adds a little more loft to his swing, could eventually develop into a 10-15 home run type.

Run:
Below-average runner. Will not be a part of his game, but not a base clogger.

Field:
Defense is a work in progress. Moves very well behind the plate, but receiving skills are raw and really struggles blocking balls in the dirt. Potential below-average defensive profile at best. Unclear if he can stick at catcher long-term.

Arm:
Solid-average arm strength, but slow release and inconsistent accuracy.

Career Notes:
Led high school squad to a district championship and was named league MVP in 2016. Started three seasons for Kansas. Older brother of Jordan Groshans, who was drafted in the first round in 2018 by Toronto. Signed for exactly slot value right after the 2019 draft. Participated in 2019 and 2020 Fall Instructional Leagues.

Summation:
Future potential depends on how his glove develops. Has some of the raw tools you like to see in a catching prospect, but is on the raw side for a college catching prospect. Defense has a ways to go and needs work. If everything breaks right. could develop into an offensive-minded backup catcher with some hit and power ability.

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Jake Thompson, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Sturdy, filled-out frame with a thick lower half. Does not have any physical projection remaining.

Mechanics:
Throws exclusively from the stretch, utilizing a high three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Has a medium leg kick and short arm action. Hides the ball behind his body until late. Quick arm, usually does a good job keeping his line to the plate. Short-arms the ball somewhat.

Fastball:
92-95 mph. Tops out at 96 mph. Showed ability to sit 94-96 mph prior to Tommy John surgery. Pitch is on the straight side with fringy life. Velocity was up from 90-93 mph in Fall Instructs 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early 2019. Potential above-average offering with improved command and control.

Splitter:
83-85 mph. Pitch will flash above-average potential with late tumble. Really falls off the table late. Showed improved feel with the offering very quickly after adding it in 2018, but struggled with the pitch at Fall Instructs in 2020.

Slider:
83-85 mph. 10-to-4 break. Can get on the loose side. Lacks feel. Potential fringe-average offering.

Changeup:
Scrapped in favor of the splitter in 2018. Was 83-86 mph. Inconsistent, flashing average at times and below-average at others. At its best, was thrown with deceptive arm speed and late drop and fade.

Curveball:
Scrapped this pitch as well in 2018. Sat 73-77 mph. Lagged behind other secondary pitches. Did not consistently snap it off and left it on the loose side.

Career Notes:
Missed the majority of his sophomore college season with a back injury. Returned to a decent 2016 season before taking a major step forward in 2017. Made just four appearances in early 2019 before injuring his right elbow and eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery. Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation:
Potential organizational reliever. Ceiling of an up-and-down reliever. Velocity is mostly back after Tommy John surgery, but feel for secondaries and command/control are not, so future projection is murky. At his best pre-surgery, showed two potential above-average pitches in his fastball and splitter. Lack of a third pitch and command and control profile led to move to the bullpen in 2019, where he profiles much better.

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Stephen Scott, First baseman/Outfielder
 
Physical Description: Short, compact frame. Very strong, stocky build. No remaining projection.

Hit:
Starts slightly closed and utilizes a short, leg lift timing device. Solid bat speed, smooth swing. Direct to the ball, keeps the barrel in the zone a long time. Has swing-and-miss in his game, but also will take a walk.

Power:
Above-average raw power. Fringe-average game power. Can lift the ball and drive it with some authority, especially to the pull side.

Run:
Below-average speed. Passable speed for his size.

Field:
Long-term defensive home is still to be determined. Appears to be trending toward becoming a full-time catcher as of spring 2021, although scouts are skeptical that he can stick there. Lacks mobility and clearly looks like someone who just started playing the position. Has played first base and outfield in pro ball as well.

Arm:
Average arm.

Career Notes:
Also played football in high school. Was not drafted out of high school. Spent four years at Vanderbilt, winning the College World Series with the Commodores in 2019. Signed for a modest bonus for a 10th rounder, but a solid one for a college senior. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2019 and 2020 as a catcher.

Summation:
Profiles as a minor league depth payer with solid versatility. Can play first base and corner outfield adequately and is now getting some run at catcher. Could advance quickly, but has the ceiling of an organizational bat. 

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Jordan Divalerio, Right-handed pitcher
 
Physical Description: Average frame, athletic. No remaining projection.

Mechanics:
Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Does not utilize a windup.

Fastball:
89-92 mph. Reportedly tops out at 94. Pitch shows late movement.

Curveball:
78-82 mph. Slurvy breaking ball with varying shape. Sometimes very vertical with 12-to-6 shape, but other times will show more tilt.

Changeup/Splitter:
80-81 mph. Spin rate shows they are two different pitches, but both come in at the same velocity band and have similar movement with late fade.

Career Notes:
Priority unsigned free agent for the organization in 2020. Red Sox had Chris Sale call DiValerio as part of their recruiting pitch.

Summation:
Projects as an organizational depth arm. Lack of velocity limits ceiling, but a solid player to have in the organization.

Photo Credit: Antoni Flores and Wil Dalton by Kelly O'Connor
 
Mark Hanoian is the Scouting Report Manager for SoxProspects.com.
 

 
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