First-hand Observations from the Springfield/NWA Game

I went to the Springfield/NWA double-header. Stayed until the top half of the 2nd in the second game before the heavy rain started to hit. Didn't leave the ballpark as impressed as I did in the first three games I saw in Springfield but still have some notes on players and thoughts.

I am not a scout and try to not pretend to be one. It was a great opportunity to see how all these prospects play another time and while at that take notes on the game. I should note that NWA gun was so inconsistent with how many misreads they got I didn't keep track of a lot of the readings.

Mike O'Neill OF- In his first at bat he showed his excellent eye by drawing a 5-pitch walk. In another one of his at bat's he smacked a soft line drive off the bat out to left field the defender booted it and got away from him for a double for O'Neill. Was really impressed by how he placed that line drive in the outfield finding that hole this kid has great bat control. He even tries to make things happen with pitches out of the zone trying to slap them the other way but most go foul got excellent plate coverage as well. It's fun watching this kid play he's a feisty lead-off hitter. Plays with such joy on the field almost like he's a Dominican.

James Ramsey OF- Ramsey has a very smooth swing from the left side. He smoked a 2-1 pitch to deep left field in his first at bat that cleared the wall by a fair distance. Faced one of the Royals top left handed pitching prospects in Noel Arguellas twice and held in tough in one of the at bats ripping a single past the first baseman he's got a quick bat. Also studied how he was built for minute. Came up with a well compact build frame with a mature muscle mass for his age. He just looks like a baseball player if you watch him. Bad thing about having his body type is he looks completely maxed out. Like to see him more and plan on it.

Xavier Scruggs 1B- Scruggs in the 6th of the first game launched a 2-run homer to the opposite field. Was a shot cleared the bullpen. Scruggs worked a lot this off-season on using the entire field instead of being a dead-pull hitter and it's pay big dividends with how hard he hit that ball and far it traveled off the bat.

Jake Lemmerman SS- Didn't see much of him from the offensive side but defensively he looked steady and sure-handed made all the routine plays with accurate throws to first. From watching him take a few swings in the on deck circle and in the batters box it's quick and a compact swing.

Vance Albitz 2B- When I first saw him run out of the Springfield dugout I had no idea who he was until his first at bat didn't realize he was as short as Jose Altuve and he was built like him too. In the first game he made terrific play ranging to his right up the middle snagging a sharply grounder on one knee than making a strong throw to Scruggs at first. Albitz has fit the description of organizational guy very well and wherever managers play him he can supply a great fielding glove. Very versatile MIF.

Nick Greenwood LHSP- My impression of him hasn't changed after two straight starts seeing him. Got decent stuff an upper 80s fastball with a curve that he uses to throw hitters off. Only knock on Greenwood is that he left a few pitches up and got away with a lot of them. For him to be successful he has to keep the ball down because he doesn't have overpowering stuff. Most importantly though he pitched a complete game in only 7 innings but they were big and helped save a taxed Springfield bullpen for game two.

(Game two only two innings saw)

The orginial starter for game two was Richard Castillo but Corey Baker made the start instead fresh from Palm Beach. Saw only inning pitched from him. Has some nice mechanics he wasn't throwing overly particularly hard but looked to be a guy who mixes pitches well.

Starlin Rodriguez 2B- Rodriguez showed off his athleticism making an off balance throw on a turn to make double to first. Also on a routine grounder he fielded it cleanly and released it quickly to first. His throwing mechanics are unorthodox but he makes for up it with a quick release. In the only at bat I saw him in he smoked a single to left field right out of the reach of the third baseman for a single. He flied down the first base line and rounded the first bag in a blink of an eye. He can really fly. If only he could just improve his approach at the plate he would easily be a top ten prospect in the organization with his tremendous bat speed and ability to hit frequent hard line drives into the gap. Good way to describe this kid is toolsy. If the coaches can't somehow improve this kid's approach he's going to be a free swinging type who will get eaten alive by more experienced pitching.

Springfield isn't filled with many toolsy prospects to the exception of Rodriguez but that roster is full of grinders on that team who come out and play hard and maximize there abilities each and everyday. Actually is fun to watch.

Lastly. I had a brief discussion with a professional scout about Mike O'Neill. He said O'Neill is a pesky little guy who puts ball in play and just gets on base. Also asked if he was evaluated any certain prospects of each of these clubs. Said he is evaluating prospects from both clubs for general coverage leading up to the trade deadline in July.

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