Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Arizona Fall League recap

Ushering in another offseason contingent flanking the Instructional League bunch within Arizona, Oakland's upper minors assignments extended with an offseason regimen applied to Ryan Doolittle, Austin House, Matt Olson, Drew Granier, Boogie Powell, Daniel Robertson and Tanner Peters during the Arizona Fall League schedule with Peters, Doolittle and Granier contending for Rule 5 amnesty alongside 2015 eligible Rule 5 assets such as Powell and House with Robertson and Olson showcased as two of Oakland's most valuable pieces available within their present system given more extensive opportunities and an initial taste versus slightly more advanced pitching prior to diving into a Texas League assignment surely set to present developmental hurdles and adjustments. One of the more intriguing performances bursting forth from the squad, Ryan Doolittle demonstrated a significant velocity increase following his Tommy John recuperation and newly adopted late inning capacity while flashing a tangible major league projection upon the mound. Generating rotational torque with a wind-up twisting his torso and arm around to the extent where Doolittle exposes the ball prior to stride towards the plate to lefties, Doolittle unleashes his repetiore at a slightly higher than 3/4ths slot clip with fairly consistent mechanical intervals, release point and repetition with late arm extension despite some minor shifting on his arsenal at times that can result in minute control struggles. Peppering the zone often against inferior Instructional League and Arizona Fall League competition, Doolittle was able to definitively control and command the fastball while sitting with 93-95 MPH velocity while dipping into 92 on occasion out of the stretch and topping 96 MPH routinely with an ability to pitch with downward plane and sink and solid wiggle that frazzled fringe AA bats whom were unable to time and appropriately square his fastball as Doolittle was often susceptible to being more loose within the zone with Midland and thus was feasted upon in waves versus Texas League offenses. Weilding an improved slider flashing above average potential, Doolittle got tilt with periodical sweep off his primary secondary break while showcasing some cutting action on the pitch at times as well despite a slot more condusive for 11-5 and 12-6 movement with velocity fluctuating from 84-88 MPH that was able to successfully fare as a wipeout pitch and figures to play as a major league quality miss bat offering while Doolittle additionally complemented the slider with a tertiary cutter at 86-90 MPH that flashes armside cut and was successfully able to induce weak contact in on the hands against the pitch with appropriate command on the cut as well that figures as another potentially reliable offering at an average rate. Concluding with a 81-84 MPH changeup, Doolittle's arm speed remained inconsistent on the pitch and figured to be his lone pitch that generated lackluster release point and and strike zone location and thus shall regulate the righty to a pure three pitch variation with steady relief projection. At a 60-55-50 potential rate with above average present control and potentially above average command, Doolittle seems firmly planted into a possible 7th/8th inning relief role with an ability to generate weak contact and limit baserunners consistently with a lively repetiore and genuine stuff backed up by a presently average command rate despite some occasional lapses of mental difficulty with runners aboard shown in Texas. With a competitive attitude and athletic delievery, Doolittle's rejuvenated arsenal seemingly points strongly towards at the bare minimum a major league opportunity with a chance to stick there in a late inning capacity for the previous injury plagued organizational arm whom shall still have to maintain command and continual improvement upon the increased bite off the slide as his repetiore becomes less of a novelty as he progresses forward into the Pacific Coast League and therefore the cusp of a major league berth. 

(13 1/3 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 11 K) 

Planted predominantly at shortstop throughout the offseason proceedings, Daniel Robertson followed his California League statistical breakthrough with an offseason stint alongside Addison Russell within the Mesa middle infield while continuing to demonstrate an adept all fields approach and ability to barrel average velocity at consistent rates for both armside and left handed pitching while keeping his hands strong and steady through extension and into the zone with a line drive swing and ability to poke out mistake pitches on the outer portions of the zone and balls in on the hands as Robertson was able to demonstrate outstanding offensive polish given his age developmental state. Some occasional lapses and holes are already beginning to be exposed however as Robertson struggled to place lumber upon balls through his concluding portion of the league with more advanced arms capitalizing upon Robertson's difficulty with sink through the zone, quality armside changeups and inconsistent ability to square plus velocity with average to above average bat speed as upper minors fastball command shall prove likely as a developmental leap upcoming for the middle infield product. Struggling with power rates attributable partially to some fatigue following a six month campaign already undergone for the Californian, Robertson often didn't display the entirety of his capable bat speed as he previously had within Stockton with some timing adjustments though still comfortable enough to permit balls to travel deep into the zone as Robertson naturally remains comfortable with opposite field ability and primarily opts for gap and line drive production without a significant amount of loft in his swing and a bat path more reliable in its present condition with fewer means to exploit as he ascends towards the majors, although his wrist strength and ability to recognize mistake pitches within the zone provide fringe average power potential upside with annual 15 HR production very much likely with opposite field pop having just begun to surface throughout in-game bouts within Stockton. Weilding an upper minors caliber pitch diagnosis ability, Robertson tracks fastball movement and breaking offerings exquisitely with opposing arms having to possess a concrete semblance of strike zone command to fool the average built youngster despite his afforementioned issues with above average armside offspeed stuff and cutters/splitfingers alongside timing difficulty with plus fastballs. Set to be shifted towards second base as he approaches the major league threshold, Robertson's fluky and subpar foot speed at the position limits the amount of balls he's able to successfully arrive at and therefore his reactionary ability to field balls at the position with fringe average range and difficulty ranging towards his right at times while demonstrating soft hands, decent movements and reliable consistency to complete plays with balls hit within the grasp of his range that make Robertson able to possibly acquire opportunities there in the majors at a neutral to slightly below average clip with some instinctual ability at the post in gauging contact off the bat and playing back off balls having to be refined. With some legitamate intangibles having been shown and thus able to demonstrate an adequate ability at shortstop through the lower minors prior to in-game speeds drastically increasing, Robertson's glove figures to benefit exponentially from a shift down the spectrum to second with his range and instinctual ability with the glove able to produce for positive value there with a probable transition to third possible given his above average arm yet unlikely and a secondary option behind second given Robertson's offensive profile not fully suiting him at the corner and seemingly only purely set for Robertson to dabble at third for utility purposes. With some effort behind his arm, Robertson earns an above average grade that has assisted him with some range difficulty and unread hops at shortstop that figures to feature as a practical non-factor at second though enough for Robertson to tread water at shortstop when bestowed with major league opportunities at the position. Concluding with 55 (Hit), 45 (Power), 40 (Run), 45/50 (Glove) and 55 (Arm) rates, Robertson profiles as a concrete second division second baseman with Role 5 upside and present polish giving optimism to his ceiling achievement and pitch tracking ability enough to result in on-base rates with a glove playing at average to above average rates and thus providing maximum value at second with an all fields ability and average pop enough to seemingly grant Robertson with an assured major league bump in the upcoming future. His probable success hinges upon his ability to make copious adjustments to strike zone command and changeup recognition with some refinements to his velocity inconsistency at the plate with a statistical depression likely approaching within Midland though not impacting his potential at the slightest unless his swing mechanics begin to deteriorate and Robertson becomes psychologically affected by adjustment hurdles, a concern given his makeup and previous aptitude for the game that seems extraordinarily unlikely. A sparse profile of a second baseman with palpable all around value, Robertson's possible ceiling provides an undoubtedly prized commodity for average to above average major league production and an ability to carve out numerous seasons at the highest level as a consistent, yet not game changing, asset.

(22-73, 2 XBH/1 HR, 11 BB, 20 K, 0 SB/3 CS)

Robertson's substantially more girthy draft companion, Matt Olson made his offseason debut following a predictable rampage with plus-plus raw power and shortened right field dimensions in Stockton that saw the southpaw accumulate stunning statistical power totals and campaign for the MiLB home run title. Predominantly possessing a noticeable uppercut through the zone with significant loft applied to contact when made, Olson is able to do a sufficient job at actualizing his raw strength with a strong set of shoulders that permits Olson to channel his power through a pair of sturdy wrists with consistent hand placement and fringe average bat speed though does remain somewhat cumbersome in getting his bat around and into the zone rapidly upon starting his mechanics and thus makes him more exploitable to properly maintain as deceptive changeups and sliders with proper tilt through the zone have often fooled him in the past. Preferring to square up contact prior to getting too deep into the zone and starting his mechanics closer to the zone as well, Olson remains as an extremely intensive pull oriented bat and thus shall diminish his batting average and hitting capability to an extent as the thickly built corner infielder has shown an ability to sqaure up to plus velocity with authority for gap and over-the-fence production alongside pitch recognition and tracking ability mature for his developmental state that figures to appropriately supplant value lost due to an exploitable spray chart. Fooled often by 12-6 curves through the zone and quality changeups with secondary command seldom witnessed consistently within the California League, Olson shall confront more advanced fastball and secondary offerings commanded and thus able to locate his holes and deficiencies within the zone more consistently as Olson's present bat path shall possess significant swing-and-miss throughout the remainder of his professional career regardless as his upcoming assignment shall result in facing more mature and crafty arsenals with some weilding even more imposing stuff upon the mound. Often agile around the bag and showcasing solid instinctual ability with the glove, Olson earns average leather grades with a premium capability to dig out lackluster throws and hops while presenting a sufficient target enough to play a capable amount at the position with his glove value being relative and somewhat negligible given his placement upon the defensive spectrum and furthermore negating a slightly above average arm that can potentially play in right field during extreme utility situations though not possessing the mobility or foot speed remotely ideal to permanently man an outfield position. Earning 35 (Hit), 65/70 (Power/Raw Power), 25 (Run), 50 (Glove) and 50+ (Arm) tabulations, Olson figures to overcome his shortcomings with an extreme pull intensive approach and hole riddled strike zone with thunderous raw power topping out throughout those within the A's developmental system and competing for some of most elite througout the realm of minor league baseball that ought to at the very least allow him launch a significant amount of homers providing Olson makes sufficient contact versus more advanced pitching and can probaberly adjust with a committal amount of force in his swing while often selling out for power when seeing something tantalizing from release. With more secondary repetiores featuring above average command to be found within Midland and Nashville, Olson will certainly have to undergo a partial adjustment period to better sqaure up quality secondaries though will continue to make contact for power rates and continue to be pitched around and thus able to overcome his incomplete hitting tool within the upper minors. With advanced scouting awaiting Olson in the majors and numerous profiles such as his having been produced to provide a blueprint, adjustments shall dot Olson's upcoming transition with having to remain consistently short to the zone, prioritizing an opposite field approach with shoulder dip and allowing balls to travel slightly deeper, and deciphering above average command. 

(9-35, 6 XBH/4 HR, 10 BB, 9 K, 2 SB/1 CS)

The lone probable projected rotation arm present amongst Oakland's Arizona Fall League cast, Tanner Peters arrived following Rule 5 eligibility and a desparate need for innings after sustaining a debilitating shoulder injury that squandered the majority of his Texas debut and dealt a blow to the Hound rotation alongside Raul Alcantara. Rocking into his motion with an exaggerated stride and 3/4ths release while briefly flashing though limiting view of his grip to lefties, Peters pumps out 87-90 MPH velocity predominantly while scraping 91 on occasion while having demonstrated adept strike zone control despite nagging command woes within the zone that hung with him through his Stockton tenure and have since figured as a point of contention within his rehabilitation process. Peters complements his primary yet fringy fastball, flashing some downward plane without a significant amount of life that puts a significant amount of pressure upon his command of the pitch, with a secondary repetiore fronted by a changeup floating at 80-84 MPH with consistent arm speed and deception for his level that may figure to be decoded at times with some occasional release point difficulties and thus pitch elevation but plays as an average potential offering with confidence enough in the offering to pitch backwards in counts consistently and effectively with it. Concluding his four pitch mix with a 77-79 MPH slider and 75-77 MPH curve variation, Peters opts for the slide to southpaws with tailing and sweeping action utilized as a chase pitch off the outer portion of the zone with some occasional release point tells, sometimes elevated and movement that can drift into bat paths if location is missed that diminishes the projection of the offering. With a lively 11-5 secondary break, Peters unleashes the curve with sharp late bottoming drop that tends to lack enough break and hang over the plate at times with another pitch presenting release difficulties and pitch elevation as Peters often remains susceptible to struggles in peppering the lower regions of the strike zone which doesn't necessary mesh well for an admitted contact dependent arm versus more advanced hitting. With a 45-50-40/45-50 likely projection with above average control and potential command enough to play as fringe average, Peters profiles as an eating eating arm with probable back end/5th starter upside with a reverence predominantly having to be centered upon his ability to better acquire zone command and more consistently tweak release to naturally sit in the lower parts of the strike zone with fringe stuff apt to be heavily exploited against superior lumber as he shifts into a prolonged stint within the Texas and Pacific Coast Leagues. 

(14 1/3 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 1 HR, 6 BB, 15 K)

Roundng out the positional cast, Boogie Powell arrived following a statistically dominant romp the lower level full season affiliates with an more condensed stance at the plate compared to his previous widened interpretation to shorten a committal slide step and keep himself more centered when tracking. With average bat speed and solid pitch tracking ability, Powell capitalizes deep and in the zone to all fields and line drive slap hitting ability while being able to keep his hands steady through his swing with subpar thump and power but an ability to recognize mistakes within the zone early enough to turn on and alter his approach at the plate in order sell out on inferior offerings for periodical yet unreliable power with below average raw pop. Far too mature with tracking low level minors offerings, Powell has struggled at times when confronted with those showcasing fastball command and quality secondaries with changeups specifically proving to be a challenge despite benefiting from an inherent ability to condense the zone and an extremely rapid trigger to get the bat into the zone that make Powell difficult to exploit with him likely to retain his ability to make contact consistently unless pitted versus overtly superior competition able to command through his minute holes. Struggling with timing on plus velocity however and bat speed not exceptional, Powell may be unable to produce productive contact versus those with fastball control and stuff. Weilding plus speed upon the basepaths, Powell often struggles occasionally with jumps and diagnosing pitching tells out of the stretch that places a present limitation upon his basestealing potential with pure speed enough for annual 25-30 rates with occasional sub 4.00 times from the left side and thus is able to capitalizing with a bunting strategy to catch defenses off guard when leading off innings and early in counts that proved to often be a successful route between the Midwest and California leagues and shall continue to likely assist him with times dwindled down to 3.75-3.80 on drags while cheating out of the box. Possessing solid range within center field with capable foot speed, Powell's subpar arm strength and ill advised decisions when fielding balls at times likely regulates the undersized leadoff man to an ultimate left field distinction with capable utility opportunities to be periodically had in center. With 50 (Hit), 30 (Power), 65 (Pure Speed), 50 (Glove) and 35 (Arm) projections, Powell figures as another profile already having been witnessed on numerous occasions by opposing clubs and a blueprint already established with decent velocity in the zone able to successfully trip him up despite pitch recognition ability enough to continuously generate decent on-base rates versus fringe arsenals and those with nibbling tendencies. With a ceiling that of a reserve outfield type that could potentially float through opportunities, Powell's speed, quickness into the zone and pitch tracking still seems enough to provide for enough success and probable value to arrive at an eventual major league pleateu  as a Role 4 type with additional pinch running  and outfield versitility to assist with playing time. 

(21-70, 5 XBH, 2 HR, 12 BB, 11 K, 3 SB/4 CS)

Likely to remain within a permanent bullpen capacity following his most recent Texas League romp, Drew Granier emerged as another Rule 5 eligible participant having struggled with fastball control and release point throughout the entirety of his most recent stint within the Midland rotation with command not present for any tangible or dependable stretch despite life upon the pitch and a slider with sharp horizontal sweeping movement that provides some optimism for a probable late inning bullpen projection. Weilding a slightly lower than 3/4ths release with heavy pronation applied to his pitches, thus making him a seemingly more deceptive and effective situational arm, Granier generates velocity with a medium leg raise prior to rotating and extending his arms before to stride to the plate that exposes grip to lefties before heading forward with some noticeable torque and present yet blatantly inconsistent arm speed that allows him to sit at 88-91 MPH comfortably yet flash velocity up to 92-94 while touching as high as 95 MPH during one of his AZFL appearances while additionally dipping into 86-87 in an attempt attempting to take some off the fastball with mixed results and difficulty in maintaining constant and deceptive speed to the plate. Weilding a primary slider at 76-81 MPH with late movement and crisp sweeping action over the plate, Granier gets significant movement and rotation upon the pitch and is able to sufficiently utilize it as a bat missing pitch to right handed competition when ahead in counts despite some being able to eventually time to the offering without a tremendous amount of tilt and a slightly lower release point that can be detected versus more elevated sorts of offenses. With enough wiggle and movement on the pitch, Granier's most legitamate secondary could potentially play as above average with a present fringe average state dependent on a faulty release point and an easy tracking assignment for lefties with break detected nearly immediately from release. Additionally providing a 81-83 MPH three finger changeup with blatantly unconvincing arm speed, Granier's change-of-pace offering lags behind the developmental curve with early release point on the pitch and resulting elevation allowing the pitch to be easily detected and exploited against capable bats that all but certainly even more so points Granier's projection towards the bullpen with a cutter or splitfinger probable to better assist and provide a useable third pitch out of the bullpen. Concluding with a 45/50-55-35 potential repetiore with zero physical projection remaining coupled with struggling release and thus continual command woes, Granier's fastball command must be heavily prioritized and four-seam repetition revered in order to produce a probable and uncertain right handed situational bullpen role with his tendency to nibble and lapses and location inconsistency having hindered his production. Still able to miss bats at a decent clip and flashing capable stuff, Granier must stress consistency with some wavering fastball life and fluky command having been shown to noticeably bite the right hander who shall attempt to contend for a Nashville berth most likely in a pure bullpen capacity. 

(14 1/3 IP, 18 H, 11 R, 1 HR, 9 BB, 9 K)

One of the more outstanding statistical bullpen successes from the most recent campaign in Stockton, Austin House flashed mature stuff with present command enough to frazzle inferior right handed bats consistently from the right side with a pronounced leg raise coupled with rock backward while keeping his hands set at the belt prior to bringing his arm directly backwards in a customary 90 degree angle before arm extension while lunging forward towards the plate with a slightly higher than 3/4ths slot which reduces probable looks lefties are able to get upon his grip. Weilding a fastball airing at an 89-92 MPH clip while occasionally touching higher, House maintains decent command with projected average to slightly above average control with some armside movement making him all the more effective versus righties alongside occasional yet inconsistently present wiggle and sink that elevates the profile of the average velocity. Similarly to Granier, House weilds another potential average to above average slider that assists a provable situational profile with more do legitamate tilt through the zone and flashing characteristics more inductive of a true, traditional slider that House is comfortable enough to pitch with to both handed sorts of competition and figures to project as a legitamate out offering at 81-84 MPH with consistent release and sharp horizontal movement. Bolstering his arsenal, House additional weilds a changeup at 77-80 MPH with fading action to lefties enough to flash average potential and a competent change-of-pace offering to utilize in situations requiring him to pitch backwards out of counts, though House shall remain firmly planted within a bullpen capacity despite the decent change with a mentality Oakland feels more suits the hefty righty in a bullpen facility coupled with fatigue issues through progression into outings and stuff inconsistency. House does struggle with fastball placement to lefties at times with his release not boding enough deception outside of his flashing armside movement to righties to consistently fool southpaws as lefties have been able to consistently pinpoint and track House's primary offering enough to place lumber upon it and on occasion can be significantly bitten when not possessing command in the zone as righties additionally with enough experience are able to easily get around to the fastball when his stuff goes through periods of lifelessness. With some control recognition at the moment and flashing spurts of appropriate command, fear does arise in that of House's physical stature with weight centralized in his midsection and potentially enough to dissolve mechanical repetition as he ages without proper training regimens as House additionally doesn't possess a significant amount of "good weight" at the moment. With a projected 50-55-50/55 repetiore coupled with solid control, developmenting command already flashing at a nearly present fringe average capacity and armside movement with a slider enough to keep righties consistently off balance, House profiles as a situational bullpen component for Oakland with advanced southpaws likely able to consistently get around on House's average velocity and spells of remaining flat despite his 6'4" frame while possessing an ultimate ceiling of a 7th inning arm with a pair of above average secondaries coupled with average command on both. 

(11 1/3 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 2 HR, 7 BB, 8 K)

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