Sunday, March 29, 2015
Backfield Notebook: Reports and notes (Part 1)
Revving themselves for upcoming and crucial campaigns en route to actualizing their potential and continuing upon their path of development, Oakland's contingent of farmhands competing for full season opportunities have already descended into the Athletics' new fangled facility relocated from Papago Park to half a mile directly south of the since vacated and now reinhabited HoHoKam stadium after Chicago abandoned ship westward over to their new complex at Sloan Park. With other international and short season pieces having yet to arrive and waiting until the opening of the extended spring in April, the A's have been playing host to minor league assets since February with the opening of mini camp with coaching and instructional minds forming the upcoming affiliate staffs throughout the country acclimating with their future squads and assisting in preparation for what shall service for some as pivotal seasons in reestablishing their objective wealth within the industry, beginning to actualize their toolsy abilities with an installment of baseball aptitude or just plain attempting to figure out how to play baseball continuously for five months without succumbing to fatigue and sloppiness. For arms such as Raul Alcantara, Tanner Peters, Chris Kohler and Dustin Driver, 2015 serves as a means to reacclimate after injury riddled campaigns and reaffirm their value after rehabilitation while draftees such as Daniel Gossett, Brett Graves, Branden Kelliher and Heath Fillmyer begin to finally log frames onto their arms through their first initial professional spring gauntlets at the academy. High profile bats such as Ryon Healy, Matt Olson and Renato Nuñez acquire a crucial development exam in Midland and a league riddled with probable adjustments with arms knowledgeable how to exploit potent holes within a swing while breakthrough international kiddos like Yairo Muñoz and Franklin Barreto seek to continue to actualize within a full season developmental rung including a means of adjustment for Barreto personally having to shift organizations and transition across the country. Providing a teeming scouting envirorerment with talent juxopppsed on dualing fields in-games and extensive daily preliminary workouts and drill work prior in the morning, the area provides significant insight into oncoming seasons and a means of checking-in on the progress of those whom strided forward during the Fall within the Instructional League and towards the conclusion of their own individual minor league stints the year before. Most notably, stock ballooning from short season pieces such as Dustin Driver and Yairo Muñoz served as an intriguing narrative heading into the spring as both prepare to tackle their initial full season assignments and the consequent adjustments laying ahead versus more advanced bats with better semblance of the zone and arms with a preliminary ability to sequence along with a more consistent stream of plus potential pitches to encounter.
FULL REPORTS -
3B Yairo Muñoz (*Potential* 5 Hit, 6 Pop, 4 Run, 4+ Glove, 6+ Arm):
Muñoz continued to skyrocket after affiliated eyes got their initial peek at the Domimican within Vermont and has since seen a developmental spike in his production, flashing innate strength and present solid average speed accompanied with present plus raw pop and a well above average arm from the left side of the infield that have made the Caribbean signee a prized commodity and means of value within the Athletics developmental system. Muñoz has undergone a physiological change since the Instructional League, presenting positive and detrimental ramifications, having bulked up through the upper half with tangible shoulder mass added onto an already strong frame and a slightly thicker torso that have allowed Muñoz to tap into and actualize his strength even further, funneling it through a pair of strong and sturdy hands at the plate with easy above average bat speed and explosion into the zone with the lumber. Demonstrating an ability to generate loft and backspin while remaining in the zone for a lengthy stretch, Muñoz saw an incremental tick up with his natural strength from the previous Fall, able to routinely put on impressive BP displays if desired to pull and center without having to fully barrel up and getting underneath balls to flash raw pop that has the potential to increase more so as he begins to fully develop into his adult frame. Possessing a mature opposite field ability, Muñoz showcased an adept and more mature semblance of how to wait and catch stuff deep into the zone while remaining coordinated with a strong back side through contact and extension, flashing above average raw to RF consistently if required with an ability to adjust to pitches inside and deep routinely for power to the opposite side. Another means of improvement at the plate, Muñoz has since begun to track fastballs more consistently to the mitt, one of the lone within his caste showcasing an ability to do so at this stage and thus having witnessed an uptick with his recognition at the plate on plane and downhill of primary pitches from release. The trigger on his swing has flashed more consistency and a slight adjustment with patience, having since sought after his appropriate pitch as opposed to fishing for anything remotely within the proximity of the zone, also proving to keep his hands back and recognize arm speed on changeups more consistently while maintaining and adjusting his timing to the pitch. With his consistency to remain within the zone, the 20 year has also extended his zone coverage, consistenly getting bat-to-barrel and making loud contact, demonstrating a constant short stroke and intangibles with bat speed enough not to be frazzled of imtimidated by middle-in velocity. An improvement in two strike situations has also been noticeable, showing a more controlled trigger on spin while beginning to better diagnose break movement and keeping himself shorter to the ball with lessened elongation and fishing. Weilding a 60+ arm within the infield, Muñoz has insurance for his glove with a massive arm that has remained accurate when set, complementing a present average amount of footspeed from the right side on the basepaths that has given him some stolen base ability and quick times out of the box. With a mature approach, makeup and work ethic, Muñoz has made himself a favorite internally within the organization for his innate capabilities on the field and his maturity that has played up his age.
Already having been loudly questioned through his initial affiliate run and Instructional League, Muñoz' ability at shortstop has decreased furthermore heading into the spring and all but assuredly spells a positional shift heading forward thus diminishing the value of him and placing significantly more pressure upon the bat to elevate him with a migration to third base seemingly eminent. Flashing some occasionally promising spells during the Fall, Muñoz' first step and fast twitch abilities at the position have diminished noticeably with his increased weight and physical presence, additionally having seen a drop with his range to a fringe capacity at the position with a plunge in footspeed and quickness enough to field the post longterm. Already an incessant issue through the previous Summer and Fall, Muñoz' hands have seemingly become even more unreliable and choppy in the field which raise question marks for his ongoing projection and probable success with the leather at third base as well, continuously fumbling easy hops during drill work and in-game action at an alarmingly consistent pace while not often bodying fully behind balls to can get into position in front of prior to the play, leading to miscues with a lack of defensive fundamentals. Muñoz' footspeed is also unlikely to last as he matures and progresses upwards towards the cusp of the majors, with his developing mass already having shown signs of slowing the Dominican with less consistent home-to-first times compared to five months prior already and afforementioned handicapped range within the infield. At the plate, Muñoz still has significant means of adjustment remaining to actualize his hitting potential with pitch selection still a question mark despite some gradual improvement with a tendency to chase elevated stuff early in counts and occasional timing lapses on quality secondaries. Armside breaks have proven a difficulty to target early and keep his hands back on without triggering through the zone while fastballs with quality movement have proven trouble for him to barrel up on consistenly. Selecting his pitch has been an issue through his recent spring as well, opting for elevated outside stuff or whatever flat that happens to come within the vicinity of the zone rather than taking soft pitches outside or waiting for his appropriate pitch to pounce on. Will still often chase early in counts, reluctant to take pitches at times at this stage. Additionally, only a present short season résumé with numerous developmental hurdles waiting him before his raw abilities begin to materialize into major league adequate stuff.
Despite the glove issues, impending move westward to third and having yet to dabble amongst official full season competition, Muñoz' bat has proven enough potential to remain at third and an adept aptitude for the game with humongous strides over the previous six months in beginning a route to actualize his intangibles. A budding tracking ability, extremely mature all fields approach with plus raw and capable in appearance adjustments at the plate and outstanding hands make Muñoz a tantilizing means of value for Oakland to shop as one of the best offensive upside bats within the organization with an assignment that could see him wind up in the California League with Stockton ahead of Franklin Barreto as the Athletics still evidently wish to seperate the duo and play both at shortstop for the time being with a greater present maturity at the plate having been unanimously shown by Muñoz within the Fitch camp facilities. With surprising pop from the right side,an ability to produce loft and backspin more than anyone else within the system and incremental increases having been shown within his hit tool development over the offseason, Muñoz' raw talent and maturity at the plate gives him a chance to overcome a fringy glove and potentially worrisome body for solid average impact at the major league level:
Role 5 ceiling (Everyday starter)
RHP Dustin Driver (*Potential* 7+ FB, 6 CH, 5+ SL, 5+ 2SFB, 5 Command):
Possessing an athletic build and repeatable mechanics from the right side, Driver provides a strong frame with athleticism on the mound to play up a tantilizing raw repetiore following his rehabilitation completion after avoiding a surgerical procedure for his back issue last spring, showcasing a lively and loud fastball to rank as one of Oakland's best potential offerings from the high 3/4 slot with decent deception to opposite-handed eyes within the box, disguising his grip and presenting an average action to give batters less looks prior to striding towards the plate. Able to touch 97-98 MPH already early into contests or when required, the present 20 year old sits around 92-96 routinely able to reach back for more juice when required; able to generate armside wiggle to the pitch on occasion with late life and explosion towards the plate consistently and beginning to grasp his budding capability to produce plane and pitch downhill from his higher slot prior to his initial bout of full season competition. Mixing in a capable change-of-pace pitch, Driver sequences the four seam with an 86-90 MPH sinker that can create sharp downhill plate towards the plate and induce weak contact; often able to bore into right handed bats with armside movement and break bats consistently with the offering. Despite less than stellar amateur reviews on the secondary arsenal, Driver has been able to witness an uptick on the effectiveness of his changeup and flash above average to plus potential, improving his arm speed and thus deception on the pitch at 81-85 MPH with lively movement and boring action able to be achieved on the pitch; able to consistently induce more weak contact and swings-and-misses off the offering; effective in pinpointing on the inner quadrants of the zone to like-handed bats and peppering the outer edges to lefties; thrown for strikes at a projectable rate. When on, Driver's slider can show above average with appropriate tilt with some vertical shape and late drop that can miss bats; shown an ability to throw for strikes and when pitching backwards; more capable than shape showcased during the Instructional League; hand and wrist snap on the pitch has improved over his rehabilitation process as well, with it also showing off some curve 11-5 shape from time-to-time with solid downward thump. Flashes adequate command at times, can sequence well when in front or behind in counts and can hit his spots in bunches; wild stretches are often corralled rapidly and quelled before a contest could potentially get out of hand; rarely misses in the middle of the zone, still keeps command issues when risen difficult to hit. Durable frame, promising for able to log innings and pitch into contests despite limited résumé as a professional thus far. Relatively low floor, mature given minimal experience and lack of complex ball thus far with an arsenal able to play up in high leverage relief if necessary as he heads upwards through the minors.
Driver's risk is already extreme with a mere 11 2/3 professional innings thus far and his most recent campaign entirely squandered by a back issue that required the righty to be relegated into the Instructional League for his first innings since the previous spring. Lack of professional experience means numerous hurdles left to conquer; has yet to demonstrate ability to adjust to opposing competition within a tangible sample size. Fastball can occasionally flatten out and lack downhill plane as the muscular righty can periodically struggle with release point early and overthrow the sinker on occasion to service as a tell at this stage. Command on the pitch is presently inconsistent, has bouts of release point repetition difficulty from plate appearance to plate appearance with the movement on his fastball lacking at times and straightening out, often tending to remain elevated. Movement on the slider has been inconsistent through his previous Fall and this most recent spring, sometimes reverting to a more sweepy 76-81 MPH variation that can become susceptible over and within the zone; difficulties in staying on top of the pitch and snapping the wrist, though has improved most recently. Arm can drag occasionally on the break, can elevate slot slightly on the pitch. Arm has yet to be actually tested deep into outings or throughout the course of an entire season; physical durability and stamina externally is adequate though track record is non-existent. Changeup can often sit elevated within the zone and rarely shows sufficient downhill plane to it; arm speed still has bouts of inconsistently on the offering from time-to-time and requires refinement. Can overthrow on the sink and struggle with late release point, has yet to demonstrate a grasp of command on the offering and reliably hit spots in the lower portion of the zone.
Numerous question marks still abound Driver heading into his initial full season professional run with innings having yet to be logged and sustained performance having yet to be evaluated with a preliminary issue having risen with back difficulty and command troubles at this stage. Overall, his cumulative repetiore and physical presence make Driver a rarity within the A's system even without the summer credentials at the moment, having shown up to #3 starter and mid-rotation potential throughout his most recent performances this past Instructional League and spring training, a ceiling that presently no other arm housed within the organization can attest to. With a lively fastball, mature change and slider having flashes tilt and depth improvement this spring, the righty has a mature weak contact and miss bat arsenal with budding sequencing and pitchability able to likely retain him within a rotation capacity and provide him a very much certain major league floor for someone of only short season experience. At worst, Driver's floor resides in that of a late inning bullpen asset where the fastball can play up in bursts coupled with some solid secondary offerings and command semblance. Adjustments shall be upcoming through his ascent into the upper minors, though has demonstrated an aptitude for improvement and revision over the offseason and amongst the Oakland complexes:
Role 6 ceiling (#2/#3 starter). Realistic projection: #3/#4 Starter.
LHP Chris Lamb (*Potential* 6+ FB, 6 Split, 5+ CH, 5+ SL, 5+/6 Command):
Demonstrating easier, looser arm action comparatively to a more funkier interpretation shown off within Stockton the summer prior; able to repeat mechanics more reliably out of the stretch and thus hit spots more frequently with runners aboard. Fastball able to comfortably sit 91-94 MPH with frantic armside wiggle and periodical cutting action from the left side; fastball hops and dips while able to generate consistent plane on the pitch while touching up to 96 MPH, difficult for opposing bats to square up the pitch and put bat-to-barrel. Offering has some late movement and life with consistent plane, rarely loses grip or release point that results in an elevated pitch. Splitfinger works with solid arm speed and crisp downward sinking action at 87-90 MPH, pitch cuts through zone with spike and can induce swings-and-misses with missed bats alike; consistent on offering shape, command and movement. Comfortable with split in front of or behind in counts when pitching backwards. Shows slider at 79-84 MPH, generates gloveside break able to be utilized effectively to both handed sorts of bats; when achieving appropriate snap, pitch services as a decent miss bat pitch with dart through the zone; depth on the offering improved over the offseason based upon what was shown in the spring, can often get the pitch to finish in the zone and throw it for strikes at a fairly consistent clip. Changeup shows at 80-82 MPH, mostly consistent arm speed with solid wiggle; emulates fastball in producing cut and hopping late movement to miss barrels sufficiently, able to corral the pitch towards the lower portions of the zone and hit spots, shows plane and downhill on the offering, can repeat from equal release point and maintain arm action on it. Already with more experience than the majority of Oakland depth upon the mound, having completed a California League stint and poised for his initial Texas League bout this spring. Has demonstrated appropriate command on arsenal through an extensive sample size, able to work with slightly more deflated fastball at 89-92 MPH predominantly for Stockton with a presently mature command profile; able to generate armside movement from the left side and play up some lessened deception through delievery with lively wiggle consistently dispersed througout repetiore. No injury history to be spoken of as a professional, body with an average build and minimal potential physical issues.
Shows off grip to both handed sorts of competition, some rock-and-fire initially to produce momentum and preliminary looks to be targeted and pounced upon more frequently by upcoming advanced bats. Fastball can flatten out on occasion, placement predominantly reliable though can lack some movement from time-to-time if he loses grip and placement; occasionally shown tendency to do so. Slider can drift periodically and lack appropriate tilt and thump, shown more inadequate means with lessened shape and depth through his time within Stockton. Difficulty command the slide for often than any other offering within his repetiore. Changeup with some detectable arm speed at times and early release point to see it occasionally elevated; can lose a little depth and plane on the pitch while lacking some wiggle as outliers that pop up sometimes through an outing. Fastball unlikely to remain as crisp as season progresses, ought to dip more comfortably into 90-93 range with more innings and can lose some movement occasionally at times during innings. Limited experience versus upper minors bats, has yet to demonstrate adjustments within the elevated reaches of developmental ball. Lacks a true standout pitch, nothing at a plus-plus potential clip with a consistent yet underwhelming ceiling on the secondary arsenal.
Despite a lack of a prominent definitive punch housed amongst Lamb's arsenal, a consistent sprinkling of above average or higher pitches and an above average command profile with present grasp on pitchability and sequencing, the southpaw figures strongly veered towards major league upside with #4 rotation potential with the floor being a versitile and effective swingman should his command versus more advanced bats begin to falter or his stuff starts lose the bite and movement shown throughout his most recent affiliate and spring stints. With the present profile having been shown by Lamb however, a backend rotation seems fairly certain as a feasible projection with a greater present command semblance than anyone else within the Oakland system and sharp wiggle througout his repetiore to produce consistent weak contact. With a demomstrated ability to sustain velocity and life on the fastball into the depths of a season, a borderline mid-rotation role could be achieved as well with his quieter mechanics and action coupled with crisp late burst on the fastball shown this spring along with a consistently solid secondary kit showing good results for the breakthrough arm this month and heading onward:
High Role 5 ceiling (#3/#4 starter). Realistic projection: #4 Starter
LHP Dillon Overton (*Potential* 5/5+ FB, 6+ CH, 5 CB, 5 Command):
Loose arm action with a thin yet sustainable, athletic frame from the left side; generating sufficient armside wiggle when the fastball ticks on while able to tail the pitch away towards the outer quadrants of the zone to righties and bore inside towards like-handed bats. Can flash an ability to showcase downhill plane on the pitch and achieve some sinking action while working it to both sides of the plate; deceptive mechanics play up the offering as it first appears to batters out of Overton's shoulder, no initial looks prior to extending towards the plate. Changeup figures as one of the lone plus potential secondary offerings to be found within Oakland's system with the potentiality to arrive at well above average status; pitch maintains sufficient arm speed with crisp funneling and tumbling action at 76-79 MPH. Consistently arrives at lower corners of the zone; able to be commanded off the fastball and comfortable pitching backwards with the pitch with late fading bite that can induce missed bats and weak contact alike. Semblance on the pitch is mature, can depend on it regardless of situation. Curveball thrown in at 72-76 MPH, possesses 1-7 shape from the right side; gets sufficient snap and some downward spike to the offering; able to be thrown for strikes and difficult to barrel with shifting means of depth. Mature repetiore relative to his developmental status, some present command semblance on secondary arsenal and comfortable utilizing all pitches in ranging counts. Just acquired initial professional experience and entirely recuperated from his Tommy John procedure; repeatable mechanics and consistently projected arsenal throughout.
Fastball lacking thump from collegiate tenure; unlikely to ever acquire 92-95 MPH velocity showcased on the amateur circuit. Despite overrated dependency on velocity readings in amateur evaluation, Overton presently sits 86-89 while touching 90 on rare occasions and is likely to service as his thump heading forward throughout his professional career. Fastball command can become extremely loose, lost spots in spurts and ability to utilize pitch reliably shaky presently; lessened velocity will magnify impending developmental and future struggles on pitch when they arise. Occasionally losing ability to hit spots and command fastball, telegraphing pitch with earlier release and slightly elevated arm slot from the slightly higher than 3/4; difficulty consistently generating plane on the primary offering with some flattening out and lifelessness on occasion with wiggle and run coming and going through his spring. Can additionally overthrow pitch as well, later release compromises movement and contributes to missing location to the gloveside. Curve with some exaggerated shape; can lack a bit of thump on the pitch from time-to-time thus resulting in probable ability for advanced bats to time to it; some periods of drifting rather than thumping through zone. Can telegraph offering some with heavier pronation on pitch and a slightly shorter arm action; can be spotted more elevated in the zone. Already with a major surgerical procedure on the résumé that increases the risk in the investment in Overton; lacking full season experience with only a short season pedigree to speak of at the moment. Has yet to combat professional lineups through second or third rotation and grapple with in-game counter-adjustments. Limited ceiling overall with significant development remaining; risk present.
Even with a reduced projected role with some velocity decrease and life sapped off the fastball, Overton still possesses a tangible major league ceiling and ought to provide value at the highest level after the upcoming couple seasons with a lively, crisp changeup boosted through deceptive mechanics and a mature semblance of secondary command with pitchability. A favorable frame and left handedness also assist the Tommy John survivor with some armside and plane flashing on the fastball and with more polished, consistent command upon the pitch ought to service as a perfectly adequate primary pitch once approaching his ceiling; the pitch must be able to showcase more consistent plane and reliable release point with elevation and lack thereof to pinpoint spots serving as a present developmental hurdle and means to address as he encounters his initial full season assignment. With some control ability, mature secondary grasp and easier effort to the plate, Overton present polish relative to his competition is noticeable and figures to carry him towards a backend rotation role and begin to contribute to some major league value fairly soon for someone with only a short season track record, though mid-rotation probability seems somewhat farfetched presently with lessened fastball thump and periodical waves of looseness within the zone set to exacerbate struggles more prominently:
Role 5 ceiling: #4 Starter
RHP/RP Bobby Wahl (*Potential* 7 FB, 6+ SL, 5 CB, 4 Command)
Extremely loud and firm fastball; flashing 80 grade, ranging 97-99 MPH in spring with occasional wiggle to the armside and late burst towards the plate. Very firm, able to create plane and locate within the zone effectively and consistently than what was previously displayed throughout the Instructional League. Increased muscle mass within upper body, specifically the shoulders over the offseason. Can ease in plus-plus velocity, naturally freakish arm with fastball assistance in short bursts out of the bullpen since relocation the previous summer from a since abandoned rotation berth. Able to set fastball around middle-in fairly consistently to like-handed competition, easily overpowered middle minors caliber bats with inferior bat speed; more consistent release point than showcased in 2014; softer landing on front foot when striding towards the plate. Slider flashing plus and even some above, showcasing tilt through the zone and more closer to being thrown for consistent strikes than pure chase ability demonstrated the previous Fall, sharp bite and vertical drop; able to miss bats to right handed competition, used behind and in front in counts. More consistent release point and hand position from last season, little better arm speed. Curve inherited last Instructional League showing decent average promise, thrown for strikes with solid vertical 11-5 thump, can miss both handed sorts of bats and features as another missed bat offerings and secondary to utilize off of primary slider. Intangibles and stuff enough for high leverage and late innings relief role, potentially closing duties with refined command ability. Best pure stuff fastball within the organization, potential for two well above average or greater pitches out of the bullpen.
Effort presently within delievery to notch up into elite velocity, can occasionally disrupt mechanics and frequently release point because of it. Front foot softer on landing, though still troublesome enough to cause disfunction in delievery. Can sacrifice movement to blow up radar guns, fastball occasionally straightened out and lacking some plane; downhill ability. Placement and command still rudimentary, difficulty with release point repetition and reliability in hitting spots; can often hang somewhat flat in zone with the fastball enough where major leaguers could easily pounce upon it. Slider can become more sweepy at times, positive thump and shape demonstrated within the spring though some difficulty with wrist and hand snap shown within the Instructional League to consistently achieve appropriate shape. Difficulty throwing the slide for strikes or getting it through the zone, figures more as a present chase pitch with some difficulty getting repetition on it. Curve can flatten out, lack some depth at times and be spotted elevated in the zone. Higher release point on breaks to service as a tell. Pure bullpen capacity at the moment diminishing rotation value once thought of the previous spring, only minimal experience outside of the Midwest League with few frames within Stockton. Non-surgerical shoulder issue that cost Wahl 2+ months the previous summer and figures as a worrisome mark heading forward in injury history and intensifying some risk.
Though bullpen prospects remain somewhat of an enigma, Wahl's pure stuff housed within his repetiore is tantilizing enough for potential late inning and high leverage situational duty at the major league level with a potentially elite fastball that ticked up some this spring and one of the better projected secondaries amongst Oakland arms at the moment with an easy miss bat slide that can flash well above average when on with tilt through the zone. Though the righty may eventually have to ease the effort demonstrated to bump into the triple digits territory in order to more appropriately prioritize fastball movement and hitting placement with consistent release point more often than what has been shown over the previous six months. Able to more reliably hit within the zone and spot general middle-in to the armside, there have been some strides taken by Wahl on the control aspect of his approach with the upcoming step able to pinpoint spots as opposed to sitting loose to future capable competition. More so just flashing above average secondary thump with shape at the moment, Wahl's consistency harnessing his breaks additionally figures as an upcoming point of development with a three finger change featuring vacillating arm speed and inconsistent movement with release struggles having all but been disbanded in favor of dualing breakers. Likely to tear through middle minors bats riding on pure raw stuff alone, adjustments shall more so begin to become more prevalent within Nashville and the corresponding major league transition where plus-plus to elite raw velocity is no longer an oddity and movement alongside command ability shall take greater precedence. With raw stuff in bursts louder than most anything else in the organization, Wahl does pertain to present value even within an exclusive relief capacity:
Role 5 ceiling (Late innings relief/Closer ability)
SS/CF Franklin Barreto (*Potential* 6 Hit, 4/4+ Pop, 7 Run, 5 Glove, 5+ Arm)
Lightning hands; explosive into the zone with fluidity and strength able enough to produce plus bat speed and result in hard hit contact through extension at the plate. Decent hand position, able to retain enough for some projected adjustment ability at the plate. Raw intangibles very much noticeable, athletic frame with some room left to fill out through lower half and in shoulders despite mature build with present plus-plus speed ability; 4.08 at best from home-to-first from the right side, ranging 4.10-4.20 predominantly. Very quick out of the box, can unlock pure speed fluently from standstill without issue, explosive fast twitch triggers. Able to catch stuff deep in the zone with appropriate timing when flashing, showing some spray ability to all fields at times during BP sessions, can spot armside and inside movement for like-handed arms. Hands fairly reliable in the field on simplistic and exaggerated hops, arm strength above average and accurate when feet are set; first step flashing well at shortstop and getting decent reads off contact at the position. Footwork quick, coordinated and aware around the bag; doesn't show rushing on throws and fairly able to slow the game down in the field, very cerebral on caught stealing batteries. Able to diagnose a little bit of plane presently at the plate, can recognize release point and some depth off fastballs at the moment; lower half and hips able to be in tune with upper half mechanics at a mature rate for his age. Can stay in the zone for awhile, can get flat plane and barrel fastballs for line drive authority presently; makes loud, special contact when barreling up pitches. Has raw tools and athletic intangibles enough for insurance should a shift from shortstop occur with a probable failsafe in center field with footspeed and arm strength able enough to handle the position, though not veered towards that route at the moment and has zero professional outfield experience. Still potential to retain pressure off the bat when achieving ceiling and remain at the premium defensive position regardless. Maturity flashing in certain aspects despite age, solid baseball aptitude and acumen with a possible skipped developmental level likely able to be handled without being overwhelmed.
Significant adjustments awaiting at the plate, severe difficulty with recognizing and diagnosing tailing spin and break depth. Innate optical ability to decipher pitch movement somewhat fuzzy, difficulty with keeping hands back and adjusting to offspeed offerings if recognized. Unsure how to modify bat speed, trigger often early due to it and not in tune with swing enough to adjust to stuff with juice taken off or commanded within the outer portion of the zone. Swing can elongate at times on spin tailing to the gloveside, predominantly short though trouble with patience on breaks. Aggressive early in counts, pitch selection and general patience at the plate requires refinement; trouble indentifying his own individual pitch to hit. Raw pop not loud at the present in his current state, gap power with shorter stay within the zone required to achieve it. Lessened incorporation within the lower half through initiated mechanics, attributable to preliminary exaggerated front foot prior to pitch release that is part of his individual timing mechanism though makes swing intensive and dependent on upper half exclusively. Hip rotation not always concluded through extension thus sapping raw pop further. Some physical and strength development remaining within the shoulders and lower half, though presently mature and increased bulk with the potential to then consequently compromise projected speed. Ability to remain at shortstop still questionable; hands, recognition off contact, first step, footwork all adequate within short bursts, though not enough of a sample size to see sufficient range on contact. Not at coordinated with shoulders through swing, opposite field ability minimal with dependent strength off contact present residing through the hands and wrists. Awkward sequencing in attempting to drop back shoulder and catch stuff with authority deep in the zone. Ability and potential is present, though struggles to allow stuff to travel in-game. Limited professional experience and résumé, still numerous campaigns of development remaining until hit tool refinement can assimilate into major league value with components at the plate raw and having yet to properly congeal.
An athletic specimen oozing physical potential and attributes, Barreto's tantilizing defensive profile regardless of shortstop migration or not coupled with loud bat speed and rapid hands at the plate have the Venezuelan still showcasing tremendous major league potential and protection despite a present fragmented approach that shall have to undergo development over the upcoming few seasons. Some of the better bat speed throughout dueling with fellow countryman, Renato Nuñez, and tremendous hands at the plate give Barreto enough of an offensive foundation to build off of with some prelimary professional short season success and consistent line drive ability to pull and center having been already shown as a teenager with defensive insurance in his potential positioning. Plus-plus pure run likely to be sustained with a muscular, lean athletic frame and an above average arm with fairly reliable hands at the very least make for a consistent package with upcoming major league value likely to be arrived at eventually despite some recognition struggles off spin that may very well haunt Barreto thoughout his career and contribute to some swing-and-miss with the attribute potentially neurologically engrained and only able to be mended to a certain extent. A knack for fastball contact and some budding feel for the barrel at the very least allow Barreto's speed to play up with instantaneous fast twitch through the lower half that can produce near elite times from the right side with potential mechanical experimentation at the plate possible to better incorporate the lower half and unlock raw while further maturing and learning how to adjust bat speed and maintain hands on offspeed and change-of-pace pitches. Toolsy and with some baseball instincts, Barreto still makes for a premiere positional farmhand and rarity within the Oakland system despite tedious adjustments set to be pinpointed at the plate as he settles in with his new organization:
High Role 5 ceiling (Everyday Starter)
LHP Chris Kohler (*Potential* 5+ FB, 4+ CH, 5 CB, 4+ Command):
Loose action from the left side, can generate armside wiggle on occasion and be aggressive on the inner portions of the zone to fellow southpaws. Fastball hangs around 89-91 MPH while topping up to 92 able to produce downhill plane at times and capitalize off of a 6'3" frame with a slightly higher than 3/4 slot. Athletic build, still room to mature some through the torso and shoulders with very few potential physical worries to be concerned of. Fastball able to be spotted to both edges and rarely hangs too loose within the zone, can generate some sinking action and work it to the gloveside as well. Change showing some promise with fairly consistent arm speed at 80-83 MPH with armside wiggle, movement noticeable and can bore into left handed bats. Curve showing 1-7 shape and some periodical spike, able to harness it enough to be thrown for strikes and features adequate depth with some easy spin and snap achieved on an exaggerated loop at 71-73 MPH. Consistent shape and release point on the breaking secondary and fairly comfortable utilizing it early in counts and spotting it in the zone. Can flash decent command ability in bursts and shows adept pitching ability, able to sequence appropriately in various counts and comfortable with pitching backwards with the changeup. Mechanics able to be repeated at a fairly consistent clip. Mature given age prior to sidelining injury, potentially set for a full season assignment to commence his initial healthy full professional season. No inherently glaring flaws througout repetiore, consistently sprinkled throughout despite lack of a definitive plus potential pitch.
Command comes in waves and a presently inconsistent ability to hit spots, often missing elevated and on the armside edges to righties. Fastball has a tendency to remain flat and lack plane, downhill ability is somewhat inconsistent at the moment. Fastball lacks constant wiggle and can sit flattened often with inconsistent armside ability off of the pitch. Can throw with some effort at times, occasionally overthrow on the fastball and miss to the gloveside while nibbling around the zone; no egregious misses or irresponsible offerings though struggles elevated and gloveside in consistently and dependently hitting required spots. Route prior to release somewhat lengthy, gives righties clear and lengthy look at grip early while lacking movement and thump enough on offerings to compensate despite advantage from the left side. Curve can drift and lack thump on occasion, can be sat on with some visible pronation in grip and release point that could potentially result in being punished. Change arm speed still requires development, detectable to advanced eyes and often flattens out; some armside on the pitch through often lack downhill and struggles to get enough plane on the pitch. Surgerical procedure already notched on the shoulder with minimal professional experience to speak of, lacking full season repetition with extreme risk in investment at this stage. Lacking extremist reward, limited backend ceiling with numerous developmental adjustments still remaining. Lacks definitive out pitch, weak contact arm having to rely upon command ability to carry him through the developmental system. Fastball potential for plus ability with loose arm and favorable frame boding probable velocity increases, though presently questionable to lack a true plus potential and projected offering with plane and movement inconsistency. Still numerous seasons remaining before potentially contributing major league value with upside at this stage limited.
Kohler carries a sufficient amount of risk already preparing for his initial bout of full season adjustments with minimal probable reward at this stage possessing three probable at least fringe pitches with the break and fastball up to at least average while lacking a truly certain potential plus offering throughout the repetiore outside of the fastball that shows enough for above average. Flashing downhill ability and command in bursts from the left side, Kohler's mature sequencing at this present stage gives him an advantage that can carry into affiliate competition with a favorable frame and loose action that could potentially allow him to overachieve on his primary pitch, though excessive value for Kohler is unlikely to be present until he matures some and actualizes within the upper minors in a couple years time. Able to show three pitches without a blatantly glaring flaw outside of occasional command and plane troubles accompanied with a lengthy path that gives righties looks prior to striding towards the plate, Kohler presents some potential rotation ability within a backend capacity with more stuff consistency and slightly more tightened sequencing required as points of development prior to materializing into 4/5 starter material:
High Role 4 ceiling (#4/#5 Starter/Swingman)
2B Jesus Lopez (*Potential* 5+ Hit, 4+ Pop, 4 Run, 5 Glove, 4+ Arm)
Quick, strong hands with fluid and tangible bat speed; able to generate consistent bat-to-barrel contact during BP sessions and on in-game fastballs. Knack for the barrel, strong through extension with hands and able to utilize back side through extension to flash opposite field ability at immature age. Flat plane ability through the zone, flashing ability to generate some loft from even plane and spray line drive ability to all fields. Good hand placement, recipe in place to adjust hands on offspeed and acclimate deep within the zone. Can get stuff deep, consistent average to above average bat speed from both sides of the plate fluently. More polished from the right side, hands more consistent and recognition; trigger more composed versus spin; in general more confident and able to diagnose in-game spin more appropriately than what was previously displayed within the Instructional League. Timing polished with hips and front foot triggers through swing, very coordinated mechanically at the plate. Showing off present warning track pop to both pull and opposite center with some average raw potential ability with stronger shoulders and consistent hands/wrists. Grown since the Fall, slightly taller and leaner through torso and hips; more muscluar within the shoulders and thighs. Defensively, more coordinated with footwork within the middle infield despite no potential projection at shortstop; showing an ability to consistently field hops within his range on inbetween bounces; more sure with hands and demonstrating better softness since the offseason. Fundamentally sound at second, bodying consistently behind balls within an accurate arm showing fringe strength negligable for second base projection; better first step and reactionary ability off contact. Very mature and polished given his present age, shown nice makeup and work ethic with physical improvement visable with developmental hurdles and adjustments likely not to overwhelm the Nicaraguan. Projection optimistic despite significant development remaining prior to actualizing, raw ability flashing more reliably than others within his age caste with potential for some major league value despite lacking loud raw tools; has potential to move rapidly within the upcoming seasons...