4/25/2013 1:50:58 PM
Catching up with the DVR during a busy time of year as we're rolling out our Draft Preview content.
Jonathon Crawford: Watching Crawford pitch now reminds me of the Crawford I covered 2 summers ago when compiling the top prospect lists for the Northwoods League. Scouts and coaches were in agreement that he had among the best and most well-rounded repertoire in the league, but lacked the command to be consistently effective. I was a little surprised last year when he was as consistently good as he was because of this, as the light switch seemed to go on pretty quickly for him. I'm not sure if he's regressed, if it's focus, or what, but his command again is in question, although he still has been fairly effective, largely on the strength of his pure stuff. He doesn't approach the upper-90s this year from what I've heard like he did a year ago, topping out around 94-95, which is still plenty good, but it's the command of his fastball that is lacking and would really go a long way to improve the rest of his arsenal. He has inconsistent mechanics/arm slots and almost looks rushed at times. One fastball will come in way high, and then the next is buried in the dirt (and that's not just a matter of him trying to change eye levels). His slider has very sharp break down and away from RH hitters, and he does a nice job dropping his curve in for strikes. His changeup is also effective. If he can learn to focus and find some patience to properly set up batters while keeping consistent mechanics, it's easy to see him going back to his successful ways from a year ago. If not, he could become a dominant reliever if he doesn't have to worry about pacing himself.
Alex Bregman: It's of no surprise to the PG staff that he's enjoying success this year, as he was dubbed one of the top prep hitters a year ago and was part of our All-American squad during the summer of 2011. He put on an incredible display of power at the 2011 National Showcase in Fort Myers, and was one of the best pure hitters in that class. He consistently squares up the ball very well and hits it very hard to all fields with very strong hands, wrists and forearms. He's not the tallest of athletes, but is very versatile, similar to someone like Brett Lawrie (although not quite as physical, yet, as Lawrie). You could even say he's like a RH hitting version of Brian Giles. He had 3 hits in the game against Alabama, a triple (a ball hit to the outfield that was misplayed -- should have been a single), a double that he ripped past the 3B bag and a home run in which he golfed a low, inside fastball over the LF fence. He makes very good adjustments, and his bat speed allows him to let the ball travel deep into the zone. He also hustles his tail off and shows very good, natural baseball instincts. He's going to be a very good MLB hitter, and a premium pick in the 2015 draft.
Ryan Eades: It's been a while since I last saw Eades, I believe in a matchup with Ryne Stanek a year ago. Eades is a tall, slender, long-limbed RHP. There's a little funk to his delivery, although his fastball comes out of his hand fairly straight over the top. His curveball is a really sharp pitch that he's able to add/subtract off of for a different effect. He throws a softer version in for strikes and a sharper version that is more of a true strikeout pitch. He somewhat reminds me of Taylor Jungmann for that ability. Eades got hit around a little in this game, tending to leave the ball up, and was much more effective keeping the ball down in the zone as his stuff, while good, isn't good enough to simply blow by hitters consistently. He did get into one part of the game where he threw his curveball too much, seemingly not trusting his fastball/command. He's a good athlete that consistently repeats his delivery, fields his position well, and he also flashed a few solid changeups.
JaCoby Jones: Jones also had a 3-hit day, although two of them were loopers to the OF for singles, and he didn't get a particularly good swing on either ball. His athleticism is obvious, although his upper body seems to be more developed than his lower. I know there's a lot of scrutiny with Jones given his potential (good) vs. his production (not so good), and while this was only one brief look at him, I've seen him enough times in the past to remain skeptical.
Mikey White: Like Bregman, keep an eye on this kid for 2015. He's a great looking athlete with very good bat speed that made hard contact on a couple of balls in this game. His numbers aren't the greatest, but I would bet he finished his freshman season strong and starts to make a bigger name for himself this summer and during his sophomore year in 2014.
More to come as I have to clear out my DVR soon to make room for a ton of good games this weekend...