Sunday, February 6, 2011

JJ and the 10 Royal dwarfs

Since GMDM was hired in 2006 he said that the Royals success would hinge on drafting and developing players, thus the day of following Royals prospects was reintroduced for the first time since the days of Dee Brown.

For folks like myself who love to follow these Royals and minor league games there is one day every year that is bigger than Christmas, of course it's the newest release of Baseball America's Prospect Handbook, the most in depth coverage of minor league players by organization in the business. And while I've read past BA Handbook's, since the '08 draft the Handbook's arrival has become a bigger and bigger deal every year since I actually use it while I try to learn about players at minor league games and try to interact with scouts.

Since that 2008 draft class BA has had one consistent writer cover their system and has had 10 prospects that have appeared in the books the past three seasons. I thought it would be interesting to interpret what JJ Cooper thought each year and see if much had changed in their game along the way.

Mike Moustakas #1, 4, 3
Eric Hosmer #2, 5, 1
Mike Montgomery #4, 1, 5
Tim Melville #5, 6, 14
Danny Duffy #6, 8, 7
Johnny Giavotella #11, 16, 18
Kelvin Herrera #12, 18, 30
David Lough #15, 10, 25
Derrick Robinson #16, 22, 26
Salvador Perez #19, 20, 17

Mike Moustakas
Power 70
Makes consistent contact and should hit for average.
Can turn on any fastball but can get pull conscious
Needs to recognize breaking balls better
Lacks athleticism and will have to work on first step quickness.
Above average arm
Two above average tools Raw Power and Arm strength
Too pull happy
Footwork raw and thick body
Good hand eye coordination and quick wrist
Struggled to adjust to offspeed stuff early in the count.
Plus Plus power
Excellent bat speed that allows him to drive balls to any field
Uncanny contact ability
Below average runner
Better approach
Above average arm
Average first step quickness
Average hands
Mechanics lacked consistency

The Constant- Plus plus power, excellent bat speed, plus arm,doesn't walk, great contact ability, below avg runner
Improvements- First step, improved approach
What GMDM said- GMDM mentioned that they've discussed with Moose and other prospects that they need to be patient at the plate. This is big because Moose is not going to be a big strikeout guy as JJ pointed out he has an uncanny ability to make contact. If he is in positive count situations his ridiculous power will dominate. His power will touch parts of the K that haven't been seen by many Royals and his hard hit balls will allow him to carry a solid average which will help Royals fans forget he is only walking 6% of the time.
My opinion-I like to compare his game to two Brewers he'll either be Casey McGehee, as I just can't see a real low failure rate with an outside shot of becoming a Ryan Braun type peak.

Eric Hosmer
'09 Handbook-
Big time Raw power and bat speed
Ability to go the opposite way.
Soft hands with good athleticism
Enough athleticism to play OF
Very good arm
Needs a better gameplan at the plate
Offense- Outstanding raw power, struggled w/pitch recognition(possibly due to eyes), below average speed
Defense- Plus Arm, average defender, less athletic than advertised w/heavy feet.
Offense-Uses the opposite field, Bat speed to turn on pitches and drive them out the opposite way. Lasik improved his eyesight which led to better results, Below average runner
Defense- Plus arm, showed increased agility and good range w/ability to occasionally play OF.

The Constant- Plus Arm, uses the opposite field, outstanding raw power
The Improvement- His eyes and agility and range
Look ahead- As pointed out by others Hosmer's breakout 2010 was similar to what Billy Butler did for his minor leaguer career (Hos .977 OPS v. Butler's career .978 OPS). Hos initially could be very similar to Billy when he arrives at the K but should have more projection longterm as he adds more strength to that big frame.

Mike Montgomery
Fastball 90-92 touches 95 with plenty of life on the fastball.
Changeup-80 mph changeup already rates average and could become an outpitch.
Curve-Palm curve puts little stress on arm. Can spin a breaking ball
Makeup- Extremely competitive
FB sits 90-92 while touching 94-95.
Curve- Switched to traditional downward curve grades as slightly above avg when he stays on top of it.
Changeup- shows flashes of being a plus pitch.
Mechanics- Solid, able to repeat delivery, excellent arm spped
FB sits 91-93 and can run it up to 95-96.
CB Benched the palmball, Throws above avg curve 74-76 He is still learning to locate it however.
Change- Plus pitch w/late fade and excellent arm spped
His mechanics are solid.

The Constant- FB Velocity, solid mechanics, competitive
Improvements- Changeup and Curve have both improved flashing plus
My opinion- An arm problem kept Montgomery from possibly taking the top minor league pitching honors last season. His drive and stuff could push the Royals to a callup this season and will take over the void left by Zack in a couple seasons.

Tim Melville '09
FB 91-95
Curve Plus Curve
Changeup- Adequate
Other- Plenty of athleticism and repeats his free and easy delivery so he has no trouble throwing strikes. Needs consistency w/ curve and changeup.
FB sits 92-93 touches 95.
CB True 12-6 downer, plus pitch when he can command it.
Changeup Lacks conviction w/this pitch
Other- Has to work on keeping delivery in sync and tends to lose tempo. Inconsistent mechanics, adequate athleticism and clean arm action w/durable build.
FB-91-93 mph Fb that touches 96 with good downhill plane.
CB-12-6 curveball can be a plus pitch
Changeup- Improving can stay up in zone when he loses proper mechanics
Other-Inconsistent tempo and slow down delivery = problems w/control. Tends to nibble on the corners too much and curve loses tightness when mechanics are off.

The Constant- Most things seem consistent.
The Change- With no fault of JJ's Melville went from his draft year being a solid no problem mechanics guy to the last two seasons being a struggling control/mechanics guys.
Other- Melville is less athletic than some of the other Royals pitchers and almost more robotic but still is young and has a nice ceiling. He'll be one of the guys I definitely try to get alot of video of at Spring training.

Danny Duffy
FB sits 88-92 and touches 94.
Curve plus pitch at times
his changeup rates as slightly above average.
Rarely has the feel for both secondary pitches on the same day. August shutdown w/shoulder discomfort
'10 Fastball
88-92 on a good downward plane.
His curve is slow and big breaking which is a good complement to his fastball allowing it to play up.
Changeup got better but he still hasn't fully embraced it.
Other-Motion has improved but still throws across his body. Good at messing w/hitters timing which lets his stuff play up.
FB was as good as ever touching 95-97 regularly. Paces himself early in gms 90-92 then gets to the mid 90s later.
Changeup is his best secondary pitch although his feel for it wavers it is slightly above average at times.
CB- Slow w/plenty of depth
Other- Probably switch to his slider-Crossfire delivery, gotten better at staying online w/plate. Sidelined in April w/elbow soreness
Elbow injury sidelined him in April

The Constant- Crossfire motion
Improvements- Fastball has popped up anywhere from 5-7 Mph from 2009 BA book. Changeup has improved
Watch out- Twice in three years he's had arm problems.
Other- I've heard for sometime Duffy's best secondary pitch could be the slider the Royals made him bench in the low minors. It concerns me though with his mechanics that a slider might put too much pressure on his arm leading to more arm injuries even if it's the best secondary pitch for his arm motion.

Johnny Giavotella
Compact swing that allows him to turn on a fastballs and wait on offspeed stuff
Advanced pitch recognition w/good eye
Vulnerable to pitches on outerhalf
Overall 45
Improved hands on double play exchange
Lacks range to his right
Good knowledge of strikezone
Short stroke adequate power
Played like a below-average defender
Range to his right was poor
Slower first step and shoddy footwork
Above average arm
Other-Took bad at bats into the field
Gap to gap power
Good awareness of strikezone
Improved agility
Range still leaves something to be desired especially on balls up the middle
His arm is good and improved at turning the Double play

The Constant- Quick short swing, gap power, below avg defense, poor range up the middle
Improvements- agility improving

Kelvin Herrera
FB- 91-92 touches 95
Curve- slurvy w/command for his age
Changeup- Solid w/ command for his age
Injured due to overcompensating for a change in his landing.
Injured elbow problems caused by his landing
Returned at instructs
FB Low 90s touching 95
Curve- Average/slurvy
Changeup Potential plus pitch

The Constant- Everything is the same due to injuries
My Opinion- Kelvin has an electric arm and has been one of my off the top prospect faves for sometime now but a move to the bullpen is probably needed unless his landing has been changed and is completely comfortable to him. His injury probs should temper some enthusiasm on Yordano Ventura who is jumping toward the Top 10 of most Royals prospects charts at 5'10 with a high 90s fastball.

David Lough
Raw Power
Plus speed
Avg in CF
Below Avg Arm
Above avg speed
Lack of weakness
Arm tick below avg
Quick stroke=double power
Solid on base ability
Above average speed
So so reads on balls
Avg CF
Below avg arm

The Constant- Avg tools, below avg arm, above avg speed, lack of weaknesses
The New- Solid on base ability
My Opinion- JJ mentioned in the '11 book that Lough is probably a 4th OF. I think this is misplaying his skillset, David's 2nd half on base ability if developed could lead him to a DDJ type career in my opinion. I've always been a huge Lough fan and believe in his skillset very much and a lack of corner outfielders at the upper levels will give him a opportunity this year if he can take advantage of it.

Derrick Robinson
3.8-3.9 sec speed from leftside
Left-handed swing looks unnatural
Improved pitch recognition
Doesn't read pitchers moves well
Speed to run balls down
Arm a tick below average
Movement of feet allows him to get bat thru left stance faster
Posted sub 4.0 times to first after switch in stance
Speed allows him to play above avg CF
Arm Fring-average
70-75 speed on a 20-80 scale.
Gets thrown out stealing too often for his speed
Very little power
Poor jumps at times
Plus defender in CF
Arm Below average

The Constant- Plus defense in CF, 70 speed, doesn't get good read on pitchers, little power
Improvement(s)- Left handed swing
Not looking good- Arm strength, Jumps on hit balls,

Salvador Perez-
Offense- Bat spweed improving but swing path is long due to long arms
Sets a good target, soft hands, decent job at blocking balls
Arm is 55 on the scale plays up due to quick exchanges
Offense- Gap to gap power
Lacks athleticism and projection
Tick above average arm
Receives ball well, handles pitchers like a veteran
Gap to gap power
Consistent contact
25 grade speed
Slightly above average arm
Good job framing pitches
Handles velocity and calls a good game

The Constant- Defense Receives ball, handles pitchers, above average arm, gap to gap power
Improvement(s)- Improved contact
On the downswing- Speed

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