Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Florida State (stats as of 6/4/06)

Shane Robinson – Florida State, Junior

5’9”, 165


265 AB 78 R 15 2B 3 3B 7 HR 38 RBI 39 BB 23 K 31/35 SB

Small in stature, but still a special athlete and a very skilled ballplayer with prototypical leadoff man abilities…great track record of success at the collegiate level will get him drafted within the first four rounds…comparisons between him and Shane Victorino (Phillies) make a lot of sense to me, not just because they share the same first name – the two have similar builds, similar power/speed combos, and similar upside (top notch fourth outfielder with the potential to start without hurting a team if absolutely needed)…

Tyler Chambliss – Florida State, Junior
Righthanded pitcher

5’11”, 175

2.97 ERA 12-4 115 IP 105 H 50 BB 117 K .248 BAA

April 8: 7.1 IP 7 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K

I got a first hand look at Chambliss at a Florida State-Boston College game on April 8. I came away very impressed after watching him hold BC to 7 hits and 2 earned runs in 7.1 innings pitched. He throws both a two-seamer and a four-seamer for consistent strikes, but still needs to add polish to his curve and change. Ultimately, he projects best as a relief pitcher who can worry less about pacing himself and instead go all out during short stretches of work. He should be a fast riser in any farm system he joins and could be a steal for the team that takes a chance on him at any point after round five.

Brian Henry – Florida State, Junior
Righthanded pitcher

6’3”, 205

2.88 ERA 9-4 115.2 IP 30 BB 98 K .230 BAA

Good size and pedigree...intriguing blend of projectability and strong past performances could make Henry a late day one option for a team in need of pitching...

Luke Tucker – Florida State, Junior
Righthanded pitcher

6’3”, 195

1.17 ERA 2-1 30.2 IP 13 BB 49 K .124 BAA

Tucker got his eight save of the season at the April 8 FSU-BC game I attended (1 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 1 K). Tucker’s collegiate numbers (49 K in 30.2 IP) while pitching for a top program will be enough to get him drafted this season, maybe even late in the first day.

Ryne Malone – Florida State, Junior
Third base

5’11”, 175


236 AB 49 R 14 2B 2 3B 12 HR 52 RBI 33 BB 51 K 9/10 SB

Malone is a good athlete and a high energy player, but there just isn’t enough there for him to achieve anything much more than becoming organizational filler for some club…a return to Florida State for his senior year would be very beneficial to all parties involved…

Brett Lilley - Notre Dame, Sophomore

5'7", 165


75 AB 38 R 61 H 4 2B 0 3B 2 HR 31 RBI 71 TB 23 BB 18 K 5/10 SB (19 HBP)

The instant comparison that comes to mind when watching Brett Lilley is David Eckstein. Unfortunately for Lilley, I’d have to call him a poor man’s Eckstein after watching him play – I couldn’t believe how small he was in person and, more damning than his lack of size, I couldn’t believe some of the strange things he did on the field. For being listed at 5’7”, 165, Lilley sure has the swing of a power hitter. Lilley went up to the plate each time hacking away with one of the longest, loopiest swings you’ll ever see. He crouches way down at the plate, suddenly making his 5’7” program listing look about six inches too high. One of the things that jump out about Lilley’s stats is his astronomical HBP numbers on the year – the Fighting Irish second baseman was plunked 19 times in the 2006 regular season. There are two reasons for this: 1) he stands right on top of the plate (fairly obvious), and 2) he starts his swing with an exaggerated leg kick (a timing mechanism) that makes it very difficult to get out of the way of ball heading his direction. As if the strange batting stance wasn’t enough, Lilley also has a peculiar way of throwing the ball from third base. He continuously whipped balls to first base using a funky sidearm delivery that made my arm hurt just watching – it was reasonably effective though as each and every throw he made hit first baseman Craig Cooper in the chest. Lilley has decent on base skills (23 BB/18 K…but keep in mind his .466 OBP is boosted by those 19 HBP), but no power to speak of at all. He isn’t much of a pro prospect at all at this point, but he could prove to be just “scrappy” enough to fool a team into spending a low round pick on him someday down the line.

Kyle Weiland - Notre Dame, Freshman
Righthanded pitcher

6'4", 175

2.54 ERA 2-3 14 SV 39 IP 31 H 18 BB 36 K .226 BAA

Kyle Weiland is a true freshman pitching in the closer’s role at Notre Dame…I’d say that qualifies him as a guy to keep on eye on down the road. By the way, he also has some pretty impressive numbers…he’s been a bit wild, but it hasn’t exactly killed him as opponents have had a hard time getting quality swings off of him. Again, Weiland is just a true freshman, but is still worth keeping an eye on.

Wade Korpi - Notre Dame, Sophomore
Lefthanded pitcher

5'10", 195

2.20 ERA 5-2 65.1 IP 48 H 22 BB 81 K .207 BAA

All of the typical college lefthander descriptions apply – “knows how to pitch,” “very polished on the mound,” “able to set hitters up using craftiness and knowledge of the situation.” Korpi throws a fastball, changeup, and a curve. His numbers seem to indicate that he has a pretty good idea of how to throw all three pitches (81 K and only 48 H in 65.1 IP).

Jeff Manship - Notre Dame, Junior
Righthanded pitcher

6'1", 195

2.65 ERA 9-1 88.1 IP 69 H 19 BB 102 K .212 BAA

One of the things teams will look long and hard at when evaluating Notre Dame righthander Jeff Manship will surely be his medical records. Manship went through a complete reconstructive elbow surgery (good ole Tommy John surgery) in February of 2004, but has since come back strong enough to become the legitimate draft prospect he is today. On top of lingering medical concerns over his rebuilt right elbow, Manship has had to battle hard throughout his career to overcome the stigma that comes with being a short righthanded pitcher. These are two major strikes against him in the minds of many big league scouting directors – it is not uncommon for some teams to totally disregard any righthander under 6’2”/6’3” (the Phillies recent draft philosophy seems to support this claim). Manship may be short, but he knows how to pitch. He throws three pitches for strikes including a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a developing change, and the most impressive pitch in his arsenal, a plus plus curve. Watching where Manship goes in the draft will be very interesting – again, I go back to mentioning the short righthander prejudice of scouts (not to mention his injury past) to highlight the battle between projectibility versus past results. Manship may not have all that room to grow as a thrower, but he knows how to pitch (102 K/19 BB plus only 69 H in 88.1 IP is pretty good proof of this). He has gotten stronger as the season has progressed and as more and more time passes between his injury two years ago; look for Manship to go anywhere between rounds 2-4 come June…and for the team drafting him to be very happy with the results.

Jeremy Hunt - Villanova, Senior
First base

6'3", 220


54 GS 187 AB 72 H 52 R 14 2B 4 3B 15 HR 56 RBI 35 BB 27 K

Hunt is a well traveled collegiate athlete who played for both the University of Maryland and St. Petersburg College (JUCO) before landing on the Main Line before the 2005 season. He looks like a very promising athlete and an advanced collegiate bat that could help a team’s rookie league squad instantly – not a reason to select a player in the first few rounds, but definitely a consideration come the second day of the draft. He may be the kind of guy who is drafted as an advanced college hitter, but turns out surprising teams by his athletic, projectable frame. His sample of at bats against Notre Dame prospect Jeff Samardzija on May 18th are broken down below:

2nd – ground out to third base on a 1-0 pitch, nearly beating the throw with his surprising speed
4th – got ahead in the count (2-1) before knocking in a run with an RBI single to center field
6th – two out single back up the box on a first ball slider after Samardzija had struck out the first two batters of the inning
9th – pitch sequence: low fastball called a strike (0-1), same pitch as strike one but this time it was called a ball (1-1), line drive double to leftfield – this double chased Samardzija from the ballgame

Hunt showed off a very pretty swing that looked like almost a perfectly level line drive stroke, but one that can still result in homeruns due to his plus strength (see his 15 homers on the year). Concerns about his game will come down to the level of competition he has faced over the years, not to mention any lingering concerns about a guy who has attended three colleges in four years. Hunt is a very large, very powerful man, but also athletic enough to be both a plus defender at first and at least an average runner on the basepaths.

Monday, June 05, 2006

SP Kevin Mulvey - Villanova, Junior

6'1", 170

May 18th (the game I saw) - 8.2 IP 10 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K (128 total pitches) 12 FO 7 GO

Season - 3.61 ERA 3-8 92.1 IP 91 H 23 BB 88 K .254 BAA

Advanced college arm that should move quickly through a system…his plus control and ability to consistently locate his best pitch, a heavy fastball that sits in the low 90s, are his biggest strengths…his slider is another plus pitch, and he can also throws a better than average slow curve along with a developing change – these two pitches were often used interchangeably…Mulvey will have to overcome the short righthander stigma (listed at 6’1”, 170), but gets high grades on every evaluation concerning character and mental maturity on the mound…his four pitch arsenal and ability to induce more grounders than fly balls should make him an attractive candidate for teams willing to look past his size…Mulvey has a real shot to get picked in the second half of the first round and will surely be off the board by the end of the supplemental first…these projections may be a bit overly optimistic, he had the look of a 2nd-3rd round arm to me on the day I saw him (Mulvey was very good, but ND’s Jeff Samardzija clearly outpitched him)…fun fact: he can also throw in the low 70s with his left arm…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Craig Cooper - Notre Dame, Senior

6'2", 220


199 AB 72 R 86 H 15 2B 3 3B 9 HR 37 RBI 134 TB 34 BB 14 K 9/15 SB

Craig Cooper was far and away the most impressive looking hitter in the Notre Dame starting lineup and looks to be a very good value (sleeper alert) in the upcoming draft. His at bat in the ninth inning against tiring Villanova starter Kevin Mulvey was a very nice piece of hitting, indicative of the approach he takes to the plate every with every at bat. The pitch sequence was as follows: fastball taken low (0-1), fastball taken at the knees (1-1), slow curve fouled off (1-2), single to center field on Mulvey’s best secondary pitch, the slider. The first two pitches of the at bat were nearly identical (both borderline strikes), but Cooper had the plate discipline to lay off the each of Mulvey’s heavy fastballs – something most hitters have been unable to do all year as evidenced by Mulvey’s well documented ability to induce groundballs early in the count.

Cooper’s batting stance vaguely resembles Jeff Bagwell’s famous crouch, though Cooper’s legs are a bit more upright than Bagwell’s deep knee bend. He is listed at 6’2’’, 220 although both numbers may be fudged a bit – he appeared to be a bit shorter and lighter than listed (as so often is the case). His status as a “tweener” with no definite position could be a factor come draft day. One of the big questions surrounding Cooper revolves around deciding on where to play him in the field. He was a two-time conference Gold Glove winner at center field in high school (Chaminade HS), played primarily in left field as a freshman, was converted to right field as a sophomore, split time almost evenly between left and right as a junior, and then made the switch to first base for his senior season. He is an excellent all around athlete who has the pure physical ability to play at either outfield corner or first base at the next level. Left field would seem to be the most likely landing spot for Cooper in the pros, unless a big league club believes he is capable of center field everyday; he has 8 career starts in center for the Fighting Irish and with 45 steals in his four years at Notre Dame he seemingly has the raw speed capable of holding his own in CF.

His unique batting stance, the “tweener” label, and lack of high end competition over his career all could dissuade teams from investing him in the draft. Luckily for Cooper, he has an extremely strong statistical resume that will be tough for certain sabermetrically inclined teams to ignore. Cooper finished the 2006 regular season with a .432/.529/.673 line with 9 homeruns in 199 at bats. He also drew 34 walks while only striking out 14 times. For his career, Cooper managed a 107/81 BB/K ratio while still putting up impressive power numbers (26 career homers). He is an advanced college bat who should be a fast riser in any minor league system so long as a definitive defensive position can be determined. If pro teams feel he can play center field, Cooper’s value as a prospect should skyrocket. If teams project him as a corner outfielder/first baseman, then his bat will be more highly scrutinized and he could drop to the later rounds.

Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame, Junior
Righthanded pitcher

6'5", 216

2006 regular season stats:

4.30 ERA 7-2 13 GS 81.2 IP 85 H 34 BB 52 K .275 BAA 1 HR

I wandered over to Plymouth Meeting, PA on a sunny May afternoon to catch the Notre Dame-Villanova Big East matchup. The game drew a season high number of fans (591) to Villanova Stadium, a crowd no doubt bolstered by the dozens of scouts in attendance there to check out the starting pitching duel of Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Mulvey. The Notre Dame lineup had a couple of intriguing bats, but the most impressive hitter on Irish was 1B Craig Cooper. The Villanova lineup featured some interesting bats in its own right, but the most exciting swing belonged to their 1B Jeremy Hunt. The other top prospect on the two rosters was not scheduled to pitch, but is still a worthwhile enough talent to merit background information on – that would be Notre Dame SP Jeff Manship. Those five names made up the best draft eligible talent in the ballpark, but the Notre Dame roster featured a couple of underclassmen with the potential to make a little bit of noise in future drafts.

Some of the teams with multiple scouts in attendance included the Phillies (obviously), the Yankees, the Nationals, and the Rangers. The Phillies contingent included regional scout, former big leaguer, and Villanova alum Gene Schall not to mention special assistants to the general manager John Vukovich and Dallas Green. The Yankees and Nationals both had a large number of scouts watching closely – it seems logical that these two teams could be potential landing spots for Samardzija (Yankees with the cash to lure him away, Nationals with the new ownership group and the desire to make a splash). I also heard rumors that Samardzija’s football coach Charlie Weis was in the house, but I never actually saw him so I can neither confirm or deny (though I want to believe he was there as his presence would have made the whole event even more of a big deal than it already was).

Repertoire: Samardzija threw a darting four seam fastball (sitting in the low 90s today, though it reportedly peaked at 96 MPH earlier this spring), a slider that showed promise but still needs a good bit of work and the occasional off-speed pitch – reports claim that it is a changeup, but I swear I also saw him toss a handful of very slow curveballs (I haven’t seen this reported anywhere else, so I may have just been seeing things). Judging by the way he was using his slider today made it seem as though he wasn’t all that confident in his ability to get it over for strikes. Then again, maybe he simply realized early on in the game that his fastball was working for him and he wouldn’t even have to bother with throwing his secondary pitches as much.

Mechanics: This is an area where I am way out of my league in evaluating, but I’ll give it my best shot; normally I can’t really figure out the plusses and minuses of a given player’s windup, throwing motion, or batting stance, but Samardzija’s unusual delivery made it easy to spot the differences between his mechanics compared to a more traditional, classic baseball player windup (take Mark Prior’s motion for example). Anyway, Samardzija is funky out on the mound…and, judging by the reaction of the scouts standing by me, he isn’t necessarily funky in a good way. He is a short strider with a suspiciously low leg kick. The way he sets his hands was strange to see as well – they were lower than almost any other pitcher I’ve ever seen. His pickoff move was also pretty ugly to watch – so ineffective that it wasn’t even keeping runners close. However, it should be noted that nobody ran on him…although it wasn’t as if there were many Wildcats who reached base and even got the chance to think about running. The last, and arguably most important qualm about his mechanics I noticed, was the varying arm slot he used from pitch to pitch. His delivery was not one that any scout would call smooth and he seemed to have trouble getting into a repeatable groove. His mechanics deteriorated even further as the game moved on. Again, I should point out that he was excellent today, so these concerns of mine may be totally baseless. I still would not hesitate to call him a “raw” college arm based on what I saw today – good coaching in the minor leagues will make or break him, but there is plenty of natural talent with which to work.

On the mound, Samardzija was all business – the expression on his face did not change all afternoon. I overheard some scouts talking about this and they seem concerned that his emotionless strut off the field after each half inning was a sign that he didn’t get along with his teammates – he barely acknowledged his mates as they came out to high five him. This is obviously reading way too much into a very minor thing, but it was discussed by the scouts in attendance so I figured it couldn’t hurt to add it in. personally, I liked his stoic mound presence and unflappable demeanor. That being said, I do see how a scout could be concerned that Samardzija hasn’t really become a true member of the baseball team because of his many football commitments. This is something that can be cleared up by talking to members of his team…something scouts have far more access to that a wannabe like me.

Approach: The one thing that stood out above everything else for me about Samardzija’s game was his ability to throw a first pitch strike. Unfortunately I did not record this while watching so I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but it really seemed that he was getting his four seamer over to about three fourths of every hitter (a totally random guess on my part). Samardzija was working ahead all game and the Villanova hitters (outside of Jeremy Hunt) never seemed to be able to work themselves into hitter’s counts. Hunt was the only Wildcat to hit the ball hard off of Samardzija all day long. This is a testament to Samardzija’s ability to get ahead in the count and consistently pipe low fastballs by the overmatched opposition. Everything was down in the zone for Samardzija today – he was hitting his spots with tremendous precision (the umpire was calling a very low strike all day and both Samardzija and Nova starter and possible first rounder Kevin Mulvey were using it to their advantage) and his control as a whole was excellent. Samardzija only got in real trouble one time – first and third with nobody out in the fifth inning (after a dropped third strike on a K and an error). Samardzija got out of the jam unscathed after getting a double play (just the everyday 5-3-2 DP) and a flyball out. It was rather impressive to see him work himself out of a tough jam that he himself had no part in getting in – give him a plus for mental toughness on the mound.

Samardzija’s final line was impressive: 8.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K - by my count, he got 14 ground ball outs, 4 fly ball outs, and 7 strikeouts (109 total pitches). I must admit, I came into the game with a ton of doubts about all the hype surrounding Samardzija. I thought he might just another guy who gets high expectations pinned on him as the rare athlete that can potentially excel at two professional sports. I was wrong – forget the football hype, Samardzija is a legitimate prospect based on what he can do on the diamond. He has a live arm, stays low in the zone, induces a good number of ground balls (I know it was just one game’s worth of data – I’m hoping to go through some box scores and figure out the GO/FO ratio for him and some other top college prospects before the draft), and shows enough with his secondary pitches to project as a potential big league starter. He is listed at 6’5’’ on both his baseball and football bios, but I’m not sure he is that tall – I’d say he is closer to 6’3’’ than 6’5’’ (again, just one onlooker’s estimate), but what’s a couple of inches between friends? His frame is long and lean (a plus), but his mechanics are shaky at best (an obvious negative). He is far from the perfect prospect, but his raw talent can not be questioned. He isn’t the typical college star pitcher that can be moved quickly to the bigs (he is no Tim Lincecum), so any team drafting him will have to be patient with his development. Jeff Samardzija should be a major leaguer some day (if that is the path he so chooses…) who will be drafted within the first three rounds of the MLB draft this June.

As far as football goes, I believe he is the top wide receiver in the senior class. Once you add Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson and USC’s Dwayne Jarrett, things get a bit more crowded at the top, but he is still a player with as good a shot as any to be a first round pick in the 2007 NFL draft. I have no idea what path Samardzija will end up taking, but I think we can all agree that discussing the pro-baseball/pro-football sides of the argument will help liven up the MLB draft this year.

Ricky Caputo - Hofstra, Senior
Third base

6’1”, 185

54 GS 204 AB 48 R 11 2B 1 3B 12 HR 47 RBI 26 BB 38 K 13/14 SB

Nice balance of speed and power, not a big time prospect by any means but worth taking a chance on the second day of the draft as an easy sign, college senior type. His defense at third base was very impressive and he has enough athletic ability to play just about anywhere on the diamond – I think he a conversion to second base would be the best move for him as he starts his professional career. Caputo is a good enough athlete that he profiles as a potential utility man if everything breaks right for him. Below are my unedited game notes from the Hofstra-Northeastern game on May 5:

1st – HBP – an Ottavino fastball nailed him right on the elbow, Caputo didn’t even flinch – it was pretty incredible to watch
3rd – great play on a Chris Emanuele line drive at third
5th – confusing play: Caputo claimed he got hit by a pitch, began trotting down to first, there was a Hofstra player on first who saw Caputo coming down the line and began going to second himself – the problem was the umpire did not say Caputo got hit by the pitch…long story, short = the baserunner was in no man’s land between second and first and was eventually tagged out
5th – strong backhanded play, plus arm – stood out on multiple plays (backhand, E-5, 5-3 DP)
6th – line drive single to left, hit hard, not real big, athlete first, masher second
7th – strikeout on 3 pitches

Friday, June 02, 2006

Chris Emanuele – Northeastern, Senior


6’0”, 195


50 GP 214 AB 44 R 19 2B 2 3B 9 HR 35 RBI 17 BB 30 K 16/20 SB

Chris Emanuele’s at bats from the Northeastern-Hofstra game from May 5, 2006:

1st – 0-1 double hammered off the top of the wall in left center (ties NEU’s all-time hits record)
3rd – 0-1 line out to third base
5th – 0-0 first ball breaking ball lined to left field for a single (the hit makes him NEU’s all-time hit king)
7th – NEU is losing 3-1, man on third base, two outs: slider (0-1), fastball (1-1), hard slider check swing – barely held up (2-1), inside curveball on corner (2-2), low and away cut fastball – swing and a miss, struck him out
9th – NEU still down 3-1, men on first and second, two outs: strike inside corner (0-1), strike outside corner (0-2), ball fouled straight back (0-2), RBI double to left center

Emanuele was Northeastern’s best hitter this year and is one of the best ever players to ever play for the Huskies. The problem with Emanuele is that he is a tweener – he has the base stealing ability of a leadoff man, but strikes out like a power hitter; he has the gap power of slugger, but the body of a singles hitter. The fact that he is a tweener may work against him in the short-term (read: draft day), but it actually may be beneficial to his career. Emanuele is a diverse enough player that he profiles well as a reserve outfielder – he has power (leading NEU in slugging), base stealing ability (16/20 SB), and is a tremendous defensive centerfielder with an arm capable of playing anywhere in the outfield. His BB/K rate is nothing to brag about and he gets his steals more on craftiness than pure speed (hardly a negative, but worth noting), but the positives of his game and the fact he’ll be a low risk, late round pick make him a sleeper to pay some attention to (both the Angels and Giants have been doing just that – scouts from both teams have been to just about every NEU game I have been at).

Matt Morizio – Northeastern, Senior
Catcher/Righthanded Pitcher/Outfielder

6’3”, 215


48 GP 173 AB 28 R 10 2B 0 3B 5 HR 35 RBI 21 BB 25 K

Morizio is surprisingly nimble for being such a big guy. He made a very nice play in a game I saw where he sprang out of his crouch to field a dribbler in front of the mound. He then unfurled a perfect throw with plenty on it to get the force out at third base. He is a smooth runner (a long strider, very fluid) and an excellent all-around athlete (he has seen time in the outfield). For all his athletic ability, the results haven’t translated onto on the field production. He hasn’t been bad by any means (.312/.395/.457 with a 21/25 BB/K ratio is fine), but you can help but watch him play and expect more. He is a big, strong kid, but his 6’3”, 215 pound frame only produced 5 homers; he is faster for his size, but only swiped two bases.

Morizio is a tough player to project because he has potential both as a position player and as a pitcher. As it stands now, Morizio’s best chance to get drafted is for a team to believe in him as a catcher. His defense behind the plate is difficult to assess because of his somewhat limited experience at the position. He flashes a very strong arm (he is a pitcher after all), but is limited by a slow release. All in all, Morizio is an under the radar player and second strongest draft eligible bat on the Northeastern roster with a chance to emerge as once of the few decent catching prospects to come out of this year’s draft.

Dan Milano – Northeastern, Junior

6’1”, 200


48 GP 161 AB 32 R 10 2B 1 3B 9 HR 27 RBI 25 BB 31 K

Dan Milano’s ability to use the whole field and go the opposite way with his short, level swing make him an intriguing bat to keep an eye on. His defensive versatility is also a plus though he would be best served by making the full-time to conversion to catcher to take full advantage of his plus arm. There are a lot of similarities between Milano and fellow Husky Matt Morizio with the one notable difference being their one year gap in college eligibility; Morizio is a senior with no eligibility remaining while Milano has one more year to go back and prove himself at NEU. Milano would be best served by following Morizio’s path taken last year and return to the Huskies for his senior season.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Adam Ottavino pictures from the Hofstra @ Northeastern game that took place on May 5, 2006:

Adam Ottavino pictures from the James Madison University @ Northeastern game that took place on April 7, 2006:

Adam Ottavino, Northeastern, Junior
Righthanded Pitcher

6’5”, 215

2006 regular season stats (as of May 25):

2.98 ERA 4-5 93.2 IP 71 H 33 BB 120 K .211 BAA

Ottavino's lines from the three games I saw him first hand:

March 31 – UNC-Wilmington: 7 IP 8 H 3 ER 4 BB 8 K

April 7 – JMU: 9 IP 0 H 0 ER 3 BB 14 K

May 5 – Hofstra: 8 IP 8 H 3 ER 2 BB 8 K

Scouting Report

There is a lot to like about Northeastern righthander Adam Ottavino. He’s got a major league body already, throws with a loose and easy arm action, is capable of hitting 93/94 MPH with his fastball (sits at 89-92), and mixes in a plus slider along with an emerging curve. His 6’5”, 215 pound frame and imposing presence on the mound make him look like a major leaguer and his workload this year at Northeastern shows he is capable of becoming a big league innings eater.

One of my big concerns after watching him pitch is the way his throwing motion differs when he going from his fastball to any of his off-speed stuff – the Hofstra hitters completely sat on his curve in the top of the sixth at the May 5th game I was at. I realize this is an obscure reference and an extremely small sample size, but it is an example of the larger problem I noticed in the three games I scouted him. This is his May 5th six inning breakdown (from the Northeastern website):

Hofstra 6th - Caputo singled to left field (2-2). Caputo advanced to second on a passed ball. Kougasian struck out swinging (3-2). Caputo stole third. Walsh singled up the middle, RBI (1-1); Caputo scored. Stern doubled down the lf line (0-1); Walsh advanced to third. Oliveri singled to right field, 2 RBI (2-2); Stern scored; Walsh scored. Panzarella grounded into double play 3b to 2b to 1b (0-0); Oliveri out on the play. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

In that Hofstra-NEU game, I was able to stand with the scouts behind home plate and get a first hand look at their radar gun readings and pitch charts. His breakdown in that game (again, this is just one game, but it is reflective of Ottavino’s bigger picture as a pitcher):

  • Fastball: 89-92 early on in the game, but he was able to hit 93, 94 when he really needed. The majority of the game he was sitting between 89 (his low point) and 91.

  • Slider: 77-81 – very good pitch already, sharp break, gets flatter as the game goes on

  • Curveball: 71-74 – he rarely used his curve (threw it less than 10 times in this game in the game) and when he did, it wasn’t all that impressive to me

I’m as high on Ottavino as almost any other righthanded college arm in this draft – he’ll be a major league pitcher someday. Whether he becomes a back of the rotation workhorse innings eater, a late inning setup man, or something bigger and better (maybe a 2/3 starter or closer) remains to be seen. If I was a betting man, I’d say he reaches that high end projection and becomes one of the first few pitchers to reach the major leagues out of this draft.

Baseball's Next Generation

Tar Heels lefthander and future Royal Andrew Miller

Cole Hamels, Lastings Milledge, Russell Martin, Howie Kendrick, Nick Markakis, Andre Ethier, Kendry Morales…this list represents merely a small sample of baseball’s next generation of talent that have reached the big leagues for the very first time in 2006. Every one of those players is now in a position to continue their evolution as a professional that has taken each on the path from draft pick (or international signee) to top prospect to major league player to maybe, just maybe, big league all-star.

To any baseball fan with even the slightest bit of interest in minor league action and the June amateur draft, the names above have been on the radar for years - now that they've finally made their major league debuts, they are the names that even the most casual baseball fan has heard hyped up as the next big thing over and over again. Those players have all proven themselves enough to warrant a promotion to the bigs. The players featured on this site will be the guys who have yet to prove themselves as big league caliber - they may be top high school athletes, the cream of the college crop, or even the best each professional organization's farm system has to offer.

Coverage will begin with as many of the first hand scouting reports of collegiate and high school prospects that can be posted between now and the first day of the 2006 Rule VI Draft, June 6. After that, the content on this site is anybody's guess - the only thing that is a certainty is that the content will be all baseball, all the time.