Friday, July 8, 2011

Double-A Scouting Report.

As many of you know, I’m in Kansas City this weekend to attend the Royals series. While I’ve spent most of the last two days doing a lot of media engagements – including my first-ever Kansas City TV appearance on the pre-game show today – tomorrow is dedicated to the fans. We’re having our first-ever Baseball Prospectus event at Kauffman Stadium tomorrow; while it’s sold out, if you happen to be at the game, feel free to stop by the right field stands in front of Rivals restaurant and say hi. I’ll be the guy wearing the 90s-era gray Royals cap.

I figure I owe you guys a column, and since the alternative is paying more attention to Kyle Davies on the mound – he’s not fooling anyone, well besides the Royals – here you go.

I have a friend I see who works as a scout for a major-league team, who I see every now and again in a social setting. I happen to run into him on Wednesday, and casually asked if he just got back from the road.

“Actually, I just came back from seeing Northwest Arkansas play,” he said.

So the following is a distillation of his comments about some of the Royals’ prospects. I wasn’t taking notes, so this isn’t a verbatim recollection. But it’s accurate enough.

On Christian Colon: “Yeah, he’s a utility player for me in the end. I guess you could compare him to a guy like Alex Cora – he’ll have a long career in the majors, he’s just not an everyday player.”

On whether, in a perfect world, Colon could turn into someone like Placido Polanco: “The problem with that is that Colon at 22 has the same speed that Polanco has today – and Polanco is 35.”

On Wil Myers: “That guy is going to hit, and hit for power. He’s just 20 years old, and I have no concerns that his doubles are going to turn into homers. [I mentioned some reports that he had a hitch in his swing.] I didn’t see that at all. My only concern with him is that he looked disinterested in the outfield – like maybe he still wants to be a catcher. But he definitely has the arm for right field.”

On Chris Dwyer: “Yeah, he’s a future reliever.”

On Kelvin Herrera: “Great arm. I had his fastball anywhere from 96 to 100. [100?] Yeah, 100. Really good curveball too. On the mound he sort of reminds me of the Nationals' Henry Rodriguez, but with much better control [4 walks in 41 innings this year]. The main issue is that he has control but not command yet. He can pump strikes in there all day, but they’re not always quality strikes.”

On Kevin Chapman: “Like Herrera, the report I filed is that he’s a future bullpen piece in the majors. Good fastball, and a really tight downer curveball. [Note: the report on Chapman when he was drafted was that he was fastball/slider; I don’t know if the curveball is new.] I saw Tim Collins in spring training and put a “50” on him [a 50 on the 20-80 scouting scale means he’s an average major-league player], and I just put a “55” on Chapman.”

On Salvador Perez: “I think he’s better than a backup catcher in the majors, but not quite an everyday guy. He’s a free swinger, and my experience is that guys who are free swingers, even as young as he is, aren’t going to change.  But he has power that pitchers will have to respect.”

On my comparison of Perez to Yadier Molina: “The guy I’d compare him to is someone like Rod Barajas. He’s got a great arm behind the plate and will be a plus defender; I just worry that he’s not disciplined enough to be an above-average hitter.”