Analyzing Video Highlights of Each of MLB's Top 10 Prospects
As I prepare to unveil my top 50 prospects later this week, I’ve been busily sifting through video—both what’s available on YouTube and my own game footage from the last two seasons—as a means of breaking down various players’ mechanics.
Therefore, today (Monday, Feb. 11) I thought that I’d share some of my thoughts on the game’s top prospects using video as a reference point. I’ve also included some scouting notes on each player’s specific attributes highlighted by the clip.
10. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
What to Watch for: Reach/Extension toward the plate; explosive fastball-curveball mix
6'6" right-hander’s fastball sits in the mid-to-high-90s with movement to the arm side; long arm gives him exceptional reach; velocity plays up due to extension; jumps out of his hand; curveball is a second plus pitch with sharp, two-plane break; development of changeup will be crucial toward overall progress; needs to iron out some minor issues with his mechanics and refine his overall command.
9. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
What to Watch for: Raw power; extension after contact
At 6’3”, 175 pounds, Bogaerts is a right-handed hitter with an upright stance; employs a big leg lift load; gets all of his weight to backside and then through the ball; vicious swing results in loud contact to all fields; possesses plus bat with plus raw power to all fields; hit tool has developed better than expected despite aggressive, free-swinging approach; has posted oddly low line-drive rates through minor league career; will have to cut down on strikeouts and chase less breaking balls out of the zone; highly impressive bat and power utility considering age versus level.
8. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins
What to Watch for: Ability to pound lower half of strike zone with entire arsenal
Fastball is an easy plus pitch that ranges anywhere between 92-97 mph with weight; touched 97-99 mph in 2012 XM Futures Game; pitch explodes out of his hand with late life to his arm side and some downward action; curveball is a second plus pitch in the mid-80s with excellent depth and pace; throws a hard slider with sharp, two-plane break that projects to be at least a third above-average offering; possesses a feel for his changeup beyond his years (yet another above-average to plus pitch); a lot to love in his pitchability; still more of a thrower than a pitcher.
7. Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
What to Watch for: Explosive delivery; downhill trajectory; arm speed
Wheeler, a 6’4” right-hander, has a very projectable frame and present strength; potential to be a front-line starter; athletic delivery and lightning-quick arm; creates excellent shoulder angle and trajectory toward plate; results in overall deception; throws each of his pitches with tilt and depth; a rarity in that he’s also adept at stifling running game.
6. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
What to Watch for: Explosiveness of entire arsenal
Cole's power arsenal is highlighted by a plus-plus fastball that sits in the high-90s; routinely touches triple digits; complements heater with a plus slider in the high-80s; features a devastating wipeout break; completes elite arsenal with an above-average changeup; filthy when around the zone; arm speed; excellent speed differential; talented right-hander is poised for a big season and potentially long career at the front of the Pirates’ starting rotation; size, durability and arsenal suggests true No. 1 starter upside.
5. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
What to Watch for: Athleticism; arm action
Walker possesses an ideal frame at 6’4”, 210 pounds; excellent athleticism with little mileage on his arm; easy, fluid mechanics that he repeats well; love his smooth yet explosive arm action; four-pitch mix comprised of two plus offerings (fastball, curveball) that should continue to improve as he logs invaluable experience.
4. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
What to Watch for: Quick wrists; bat speed; leveraged bat path
At 6’3”, 205 pounds, Myers' upper body is loaded with quick-twitch muscles that allow him to seemingly flick his wrists at the ball without sacrificing hard contact; setup is upright and slightly open; allows him to clear his hips and tap into his awesome pull-side power; excellent bat-to-ball skills; he still has a tendency to drop his back shoulder and get long; will get out on his front foot and cast hands around ball; both are mechanical/timing issues that will be ironed out.
3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
What to Watch for: Everything. Seriously.
A left-handed hitter, Taveras employs a powerful yet balanced swing; keeps bat head in the zone for an extended period of time without sacrificing pop; began to tap into his power last season against advanced competition; extra-base machine; makes loud contact to all fields; comfortable hitting any pitch in any count; doesn’t walk a ton; strikeouts will always be minimal given his pitch recognition and excellent hand-eye coordination.
*WARNING: Video contains background music that is NSFW. Therefore, mute your computer volume now because this is a must-watch video*
2. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
What to Watch for: Present physical strength; ability to repeat mechanics
Bundy boasts an advanced four-pitch mix highlighted by a mid-90s two-seam fastball with exceptional run; will also blow hitters away with a four-seamer that easily reaches the high-90s; breaking ball is a hammer and plus pitch, though he’s still developing command of the pitch and will occasionally leave it up in the zone; changeup is his most consistent secondary pitch at the moment with the potential to be another above-average offering; he also has a slider but primary breaking ball is the curve.
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
What to Watch for: Plus bat speed; balanced and powerful left-handed swinging
Profar is a switch-hitter who showcases plus bat speed from both sides of the plate; short, compact swing should give him an easy above-average-to-plus hit tool; right-handed swing is more line-drive-oriented; shows exciting raw power and lift from the left side; more of a leverage swing; loftier extension after contact; possesses an advanced knowledge of the strike zone that’s uncommon for players his age.