Welcome to Quick Hits, a new recurring feature this season. Quick Hits will be a short rundown of any video scouting notes I accumulate. It’ll focus on Orioles prospects, but may also include draft prospects, interesting prospects from other teams and Orioles MLB players who have changed in a noteworthy way. I will also be doing some live scouting, but those notes will appear in a different series. These articles won’t focus on stats, but the tools, stuff, and process behind the performances. I will however, link the box score for the game(s) I watched. Here is the first installment, with notes from the Orioles spring opener.
Wright appeared to be working on his cutter, it didn’t look very good to me. It was in the 87-89 range and didn’t miss any bats. In general, his stuff wasn’t very sharp, his 2 seamer (sinker) didn’t have it’s usual life. Most pitches were in the 88-92 range, nothing to mess with hitters timing. He did show a better changeup than he was carrying last year. Buck talked about him using a new grip. Command was spotty as well.
Saw the same thing I saw from him last season in AAA, except the fastball quality was down a half grade today. So it was a 55 (above average) LH fastball t94mph with ok life. Mostly a 45 (fringe average) slider that he didn’t command well, although he flashed 50/55 in his second inning of work. Command was (40) below average, missed his spots. Can get GBs, but he needs to command the ball better, his stuff isn’t good enough to play over the plate.
I don’t know how serious he is with this or if it’ll stick going into the season, but he’s holding his hands much lower pre-swing.
So last year, Araujo threw almost exclusively FB/CU. The curveball is why he was selected in the Rule 5 draft, it’s at least a plus pitch (usually). Today he couldn’t throw it, he tried a few times, but it just didn’t break or was too firm and looked like a bad slider. It seemed to confuse hitters. His FB is a hittable 90-92 and his command is fringy. I think he’ll get the CU back of course, but without it, he’s not very interesting. The one thing that was interesting about his outing was that he threw two good change-ups. In all the innings of work (from last season) I watched, I didn’t see one clear change-up. So it looks like a new pitch possibly, and that is something to watch since it should help his mediocre FB play better.
First time seeing Rodriguez, a NRI to camp competing for a LH relief role. I was impressed, he was mostly at 95 with his FB and he commanded it well. Also showed a couple solid, slow sweeping sliders. He has a good low 3/4 arm slot to attack LHB as well. Certainly think he’s got a decent shot at a LOOGY role.
So I saw Santander in Bowie last year and then when he got to Baltimore he looked like a completely different guy at the plate. In Bowie, he had a loose, effortless looking swing. In Baltimore is was stiff and muscled. It looked like he was trying too hard. Even though he was badly fooled his first AB today, I saw right away that the swing looked loose and free again. That’s a good sign.
Not much to write here, but he showed his ability to fight off pitches and get back in counts in his first AB. Went from 0-2 to 3-2, fouling off a bunch of good pitches, ended up flying out, but the point is he doesn’t waste ABs.
Last but not least, Sisco hit a pretty legit opposite field home run. This isn’t about results, but that showed some real power that I hadn’t seen before. This wasn’t his typical line drive home run, and it easily got out. Even more encouraging was his AB vs a LHP earlier in the game, he hung in there and lined an inside pitch to CF. He didn’t hit the ball hard against lefties much last year. Behind the plate, he made a poor throw to second on a play that needed a perfect throw to catch the runner. Other than that, he was good behind the plate. He looked confident and was quiet in his receiving. Sisco looked to have stolen a few strike calls as well. He made a nice block on a pitch in the dirt as well. If he can continue to play like that behind the plate, I don’t care if he only throws out 10% of the runners.