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April 16, 2014

Notes from the Field

Notes from Five Leagues

by Al Skorupa, Jeff Moore and Ethan Purser

International League

(Al Skorupa)

3B Maikel Franco (Phillies)

Doesn't possess a textbook swing; features some extra pre-launch movements and a big hand load that leads to a less-than-ideal starting spot. Bat speed is excellent anyway. Big-time power. Prone to expand his zone and chase secondaries; can also get pull happy, but his hands let him recover and square pitches up anywhere. Natural hitter with a unique style who hits rockets. Not the prettiest third baseman defensively; poor runner who looks almost bowlegged when he's under way; plus arm and good first step could still mean an average glove profile at third even if he doesn't cover a whole lot of ground. Franco is never going to exactly fit the mold of what teams expect, but what he can do well shouldn't be overlooked. Solid average big league third baseman with a chance to be an All-Star.

RHP Blake Treinen (Nationals)

Big imposing guy on the mound; ideal mature pitcher's build and size; intimidates hitters. 3/4 slot; fastball 95-96, touches 97 with sink and some tail; held velocity throughout outing (five innings); quick arm. Curveball 81-82; a plus pitch; tight spin, good depth and late break; comfortable throwing for strikes or as a chase. Circle change 80-83; showed flashes but inconsistent; some feel for pitch but often too firm. Backstab and some effort in delivery; more control than command, but missed low when he missed. Capable mid-rotation starter but stuff would also play up out of the pen in late innings.

3B Garin Cecchini (Red Sox)

Cecchini is a tough out every time at the plate; controls the strike zone at an elite level. Pretty swing with a lot of bat speed and loose hands; hits balls where they're pitched and uses the whole field. It's actually difficult to find talent evaluators who don't believe he'll hit .300-plus. Power is gap-to-gap presently but his bat speed and proclivity for squaring up baseballs should lead to at least average power a

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10 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


I really like the emphasis you have put on scouting/minors this year. Thank you.

Apr 16, 2014 06:19 AM
rating: 1

Another article full of great info, thanks.

Apr 16, 2014 07:31 AM
rating: 0

Thanks guys. Any further thoughts about Franco's short- and long-term home? First base or third base? Obviously Ryan Howard (and to a much lesser extent Cody Asche) will complicate that.

Apr 16, 2014 08:38 AM
rating: 0
Al Skorupa

I think Franco is a third baseman in the short term. It's his best position, and I don't see Cody Asche as a real solution at third. Asche is pretty fringy and he would never block Franco for me.

Speaking long term, Franco is capable of playing there into his thirties, but he will have to stay on top of his body and conditioning to do so. He already isn't the most mobile guy... his arm and reactions compensate for his deficiencies, but he definitely can't afford to get any softer.

Apr 16, 2014 09:34 AM
rating: 0

Excellent article! would love to see JP Crawford, Lucas Sims, Mason Williams, Rhymer Liriano,...

Apr 16, 2014 09:34 AM
rating: -1

I've been enjoying this series, but it would be a bit easier to read if the format were a little more consistent from day to day. Particularly, giving the league names is fine, but how about including the level -- I don't remember which leagues are Low-A (or is it A-) and which are High-A (or is that A+, see what I mean about the consistency...).

Apr 16, 2014 13:54 PM
rating: 1

Let me echo that I'm really enjoying this series.

In re Jabari Blash,I've read comments similar to your "swing-and-miss" issues before, but he's walked more than he has K'd this year. Going back to his stint in AA last year, as well, his K rate doesn't seem extraordinary given his on-base ability and power. Discussion of George Springer has noted that high K rates (and Blash's rate is lower than Springer's) don't portend difficulties nearly as much as a bad K/BB ratio does.

What am I missing in Blash that isn't in the numbers?

Apr 16, 2014 16:48 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ethan Purser
BP staff

I'd tap the brakes a bit when looking at his Double-A numbers. 170 plate appearances is hardly enough to make any kind of judgement on that front. What we can say, however, is that Blash has shown laudable plate discipline throughout his career and, perhaps more importantly, has shown a recent willingness to make the necessary adjustments at the plate, which has helped him transform some of his raw athletic gifts into baseball skills. This was on full display when I scouted him.

Remember, Blash is a corner outfield prospect, so the onus is on his bat fully materializing at the highest level. Some of the intricacies therein give me pause, as noted in the report. Could he ultimately become a starting right fielder at the major league level? It's possible with his tools, though he doesn't exactly have time on his side as a 24-year-old. There are enough holes in his swing to question how the bat will profile against major league arms, which knocks his probable role down a couple of grades from his raw, tools-based ceiling.

Apr 17, 2014 11:56 AM

Points well taken. An intriguing guy to follow because he's so unusual in his profile,including not starting baseball until late (how does that affect calculations of ARL? Not sure anyone can answer that).


Apr 17, 2014 17:06 PM
rating: 0

Cecchini turns 24 this year. Everyone knows he's a "gamer" or "grinder" whatever the term is used this year, but showing no ability to lift a ball for HR by the end of this season when he's 24 might take a toll on his ceiling correct?
I talked a lot to a buddy about Franco and how I thought the Phillies allowed him to play to much hardball over the span of 362 days last year. I understand they want to build the endurance, but with his body and only being 20, was it a wise choice to "allow" him to go play in the winter league? If I was the scouting director, I would of definetely encouraged Franco to embrace his great MiL seasons at the age of 20, but instead of leaving the country, get accustomed to a dietrician and bang out calastenics all winter. He started winter ball fine, but ended very poor and now he's in a big slump to start the year. The Phillies had no plans of starting that service clock, so waiting a year to extend his games played seemed like a much better option.

Apr 24, 2014 22:32 PM
rating: 0
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