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May 5, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Connor Seabold, Eduard Bazardo, Raynel Espinal

Although the minor league season was postponed until May 4, the players at the Alternate Training Site (ATS) in Worcester have been able to get some work against players from outside of the organization in three sets of scrimmages against players from the New York Mets’ Site this month. Two of the sets were played at the Mets’ site in Brooklyn, but the teams played three games April 17-19 at Polar Park, and I was fortunate enough to attend two games—the first time I’ve seen live baseball since September 2019. Since these were only scrimmages, I won’t be doing a full scouting scratch, rather here is a compilation of notes from the two games headlined by standout performances from Connor Seabold.

- Connor Seabold got the start in the last game of the series and was solid, throwing six shutout innings, striking out five, while allowing five hits, walking two. The Mets lineup featured several former major league players, so it was a good test for him and he passed easily, even though he lacked feel for his best pitch. Seabold came out throwing 93-95 mph in the first before settling in at 91-94 mph. His control was plus, but his command was a little off and he lost it at times, especially in the second inning. Whenever it went, however, he was able to pitch through it and work out of trouble. Seabold’s best secondary is his changeup, but he only threw it a few times of the course of the outing. It was clear he lacked feel for it until his sixth inning off work when he threw a few good ones—both parts of that statement confirmed by Seabold in his post-game press availability. With his changeup lacking, he instead relied on his slider, which flashed solid-average potential. It ranged from 81-86 mph and had short, 10-to-4 break. He showed confidence in the pitch, which is an encouraging development as our previous reports had it as a clear third pitch and more on the developmental side. If that pitch can get to average, along with his increased velocity and plus changeup, that gives him three at least average pitches in his arsenal. Seabold also showed a fourth pitch, a curveball, that he has used sparingly before. It came in 75-79 mph with longer, 11-to-5 shape. He did not consistently snap it off and it seemed like a fringe-average pitch at best. Overall, it was an encouraging look, as Seabold was able to control a veteran lineup without his best pitch. 

- Eduard Bazardo was back at the ATS after making his MLB debut and he was solid in his inning of work. Bazardo’s stock has been on the rise since he showed increased velocity at the Fall Instructional League in 2020, so much so that he might be the top depth option if the Red Sox needed a reliever right now. In his inning of work, he struck out two and walked one while sitting 92-94 mph. His curveball was his standout pitch, showing sharp, two-plane break at 79-83 mph. The pitch is a true plus offering, and he has advanced feel and confidence in it. He also threw a splitter at 89, but the pitch still lags well behind and is nothing more than a show-me pitch at this point.

- Raynel Espinal was a minor league Rule 5 selection from the Yankees back in 2019 who was likely to miss 2020 anyway as he recovered from July 2019 Tommy John surgery. Now healthy, he looks set to open the season in the Worcester rotation and he showed off an intriguing arsenal in his 3 2/3 innings of work. He struck out seven in the outing, mainly with his fastball that ranged from 91-93 mph. The pitch shows sink, and his low three-quarters arm slot makes it especially tough on right-handed hitters. His also featured an average 84-86 mph slider and below-average 85-87 mph changeup. Though none of his pitches project as plus, he does a good job mixing all three in and keeps hitters off balance by constantly changing speeds and angles. 

Photo Credit: Connor Seabold and Eduard Bazardo by Kelly O'Connor.

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