SoxProspects News

June 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Garrett Whitlock, Kaleb Ort, Eduard Bazardo and Raynel Espinal


Today's SoxProspects scouting report update highlights four right-handed pitchers that impressed at Major League Spring Training or were with Worcester to start the Triple-A season. SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Garrett Whitlock, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description:
Tall, sturdy frame. Looks the part of a prototypical starting pitcher. Little-to-no remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side of the rubber. Does not use a windup. Starts tall and gets well-above-average extension towards home plate. Really uses his size well in his delivery and gets elite extension. Short arm action behind, hides the ball. Delivery is a little stiff, but he repeats it well.

Fastball: 94-97 mph. Tops out at 99 mph. Throws both a four-seam and a sinker, primarily relying on the sinker. Pitch shows heavy sink and jumps on hitters due to his extension towards the plate. Sinker induces a lot of groundballs. Velocity jumped after Tommy John surgery from prior 90-93, T95 range. Potential plus offering.

Changeup: 82-84 mph. Throws with circle grip. Pitch has improved drastically since joining the Red Sox, reportedly due to conversations with Matt Andriese during spring training in 2021. Now is his primary secondary. Pitch shows heavy drop and fade and will fall off the table at his best. Used to throw harder at 86-88 mph. Potential plus offering.

Slider: 82-85 mph. True slider with vertical shape. Has continued working on development of the pitch with Red Sox staff in 2021. Sometimes will throw even harder in the 86-88 mph range. Pitch has shown the ability to miss bats at the highest levels. Does not have much horizontal movement. Potential above-average offering.

Career Notes: Played for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League after his freshman year at UAB. Missed time during his sophomore season with food poisoning and a back strain. Signed an above-slot bonus as a draft-eligible sophomore after being selected in the 18th round. Tore his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019. Began throwing in January 2020 and by the summer was throwing close to his previous velocity. Selected by the Red Sox with the fourth pick in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. Broke out as a member of the Red Sox bullpen in 2021, rising quickly to become a top-five prospect in the SoxProspects rankings before graduating on June 1. Used carefully by the club so far in 2021, often getting three to five days of rest between outings.

Summation: Potential mid-rotation starter or late-inning reliever. Has excelled in a bullpen role, but has the size and three-pitch mix that could work in a starting role. Improvement of changeup and increased velocity have raised his ceiling significantly since his selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Has shown the ability to adjust when hitters have made adjustments to him. Continued refinement of slider could help determine his eventual role with the organization.

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Kaleb Ort, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Tall right-hander with a mature frame. No remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side of the rubber. Effort in delivery. Long arm action with a stab behind before he pauses briefly as he comes forward.

Fastball: 93-96 mph. Tops out at 98 mph. Pitch has life and has shown the ability to miss bats. Command and control need work, but overpowering stuff can compensate if he only gets to below-average command. Potential plus offering.

Slider: 79-83 mph. Really snaps it off at times with tight, two-plane break, but on other occasions will cast the pitch leading to looser shape. At higher velocities, pitch has shorter, more horizontal shape; has longer, 10-to-4 break in the lower part of velocity band. Potential average offering. 

Career Notes: Tore his UCL in high school but rehabbed the injury and did not have surgery. Signed with the Diamondbacks in 2016 out of the independent Frontier League. Was cut in training camp and went back to the Frontier League briefly before signing with the Yankees in May 2017 at age 25.  Was selected by the Red Sox in the 2020 minor league Rule 5 Draft. Opened 2021 at the Alternate Training Site.

Summation: Potential up-and-down reliever. Ceiling of a fifth-/sixth-inning arm who slots in as one of the last few members of a pitching staff. Future potential is tied up in improving his command. Has MLB-quality stuff, but command needs to take a step forward.

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Eduard Bazardo, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Small, undersized frame. Minimal projection even though he is on the thin side. Could stand to add upper body strength.

Mechanics: Throws from a high three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side of the rubber with hands at his waist. Jerky, effortful delivery. High leg kick and slight trunk twist. Slight stab behind before whipping his arm forward. Loose, quick arm. Head whack. Some deception as he keeps his arm hidden behind his body. Average extension. Repeats delivery.

Fastball: 93-96 mph. Tops out at 98 mph. Pitch shows sink and cut on occasion when he drops his arm slot. Does a good job keeping the ball down and generates a lot of weak contact. Above-average control but below-average command at present. Has shown the ability at times to command the pitch arm-side, but glove-side command is more inconsistent. Velocity jumped from 91-93 mph to 94-97 mph at the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Velocity tended to fall off in later innings as a starter but is not an issue out of the bullpen. Potential plus-to-better pitch.

Breaking Ball: 83-85 mph. Whether it is a slider or curveball depends on who you talk to. Advanced feel. 11-to-5 break. Elite spin rate, among highest in the system. Pitch has tight rotation and depth when he snaps it off. Has feel and confidence in the offering; willing to throw in any count to hitters from both sides of the plate. MLB-quality out pitch. Velocity ticked up at Fall Instructional League to 83-87 mph; used to sit 79-83 mph. At the ATS in 2021, velocity was back down at 79-83 mph, but had ticked back up into 82-84 mph range when he made his major league debut. Potential plus-to-better pitch.

Split-Finger Fastball: 88-92 mph. On the firm side and lacks separation from fastball. Will show drop on occasion. Clear third pitch that is still in development. Replaced changeup in repertoire. Potential fringe-average pitch.

Career Notes: Older international signee at 18 years old, then spent three years in the complex leagues before breaking out as a starter in 2018 in Lowell. Was a candidate to be added to the 40-man roster after the 2019 season, but was not added and was not selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Participated in 2018 and 2020 Fall Instructional League. Had a breakout showing at 2020 Fall Instructional League that led to his addition to the 40-man roster. Began 2021 season at the Alternate Training Site. Made MLB debut in April 2021. Suffered a lat strain in May 2021 and missed considerable time.

Summation: Projects as a middle reliever with the ceiling of a late-inning bullpen arm. Drastically improved velocity at 2020 Fall Instructional League changed his projection, forcing the Red Sox to add him to the 40-man roster and putting him on the team’s bullpen depth chart. Potential for plus-to-better fastball and breaking ball with jerky, deceptive delivery could play in high-leverage innings. Needs to improve fastball command and improve consistency with his breaking ball in order to reach his ceiling. 

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Raynel Espinal, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Large, filled-out frame. Long levers. No remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Works quickly. Long arm action with some stiffness. Delivery has effort, but does a good job repeating it.

Fastball:
91-93 mph. Tops out at 95 mph. Average to above-average control. Induces a good amount of swinging strikes against minor league hitters, but could struggle to miss bats at the major league level. Pitch is hittable when up in the zone, so tends to live near the bottom of the zone. Potential fringe-average offering.

Slider: 83-86 mph with short, 10-to-4 break. Good feel; throws often and has confidence in the pitch. Has shown the ability to miss bats against right-handers with the pitch. Potential average offering.

Changeup: 82-84 mph. Has worked on pitch since joining the Red Sox. Pitch shows some fade. Throws with deceptive arm speed. Primarily uses against right-handed hitters, but not a put-away pitch yet. Fringe-average potential. 

Curveball: 77-79 mph. Show-me pitch right now, used to steal a strike. Long, 11-to-5 shape. Does not consistently snap it off. Could be used effectively when sequenced correctly. Potential below-average offering.

Career Notes: Signed by the Yankees as an international free agent at the age of 18. Spent seven seasons in the Yankees system, alternating between the bullpen and the rotation. Prefers starting. Missed entire 2015 season, presumably due to injury. Had Tommy John Surgery in July 2019. Selected by the Red Sox in the 2019 minor league Rule 5 Draft.  Re-signed with the Red Sox organization prior to becoming a minor league free agent after the 2020 season. Invited to major league spring training in 2021. Opened 2021 season at the Alternate Training Site.

Summation: Profiles as a very solid Triple-A organizational arm. Ceiling of an emergency up-and-down arm. More of a sum-of-all-parts-type pitcher. Has three pitches that grade around average and a fourth show-me pitch. Solid feel on the mound and throws strikes, but command could use some refinement. Fastball-slider combo could carry him in a bullpen role, but seems best suited in a long relief or spot starter role.

Photo Credit: Garrett Whitlock by SoxProspects, LLC and Kaleb Ort, Eduardo Bazardo and Raynel Espinal by Kelly O'Connor.

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

 
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