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Scouting the Dogs.

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As a one year anniversary treat, my girlfriend and I are heading over to Joe P. Riley Park tomorrow to watch the Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) take on the Asheville Tourists (Rockies).

Even though it’s Thirsty Thursday, which means $1.00 beers, I am going to try to be somewhat level-headed and scout some players. Each team has some guys who should make the majors in some capacity.

Minor league games intrigue me because I never know if I’m watching the next Albert Pujols or Johan Santana. The Riverdogs have been a part of the development of Josh Hamilton, BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young and more. These guys ain’t no slouches, so I know this year’s Riverdogs have a diamond in the rough, too.

It's amazing that these two played in my backyard.

But without further ado, however, I present to you the guys I’m watching.

For the Riverdogs (with Baseball America Prospect Handbook rank):

#3 RHP Andrew Brackman: Brackman pitched last night, so there’s little-to-no chance that I get to see him play. This will be the second time that I’ve missed his turn by two days. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Brackman is looking to regain the dominating stuff that he once possessed. His fastball has recently reached 97 mph and before the surgery it touched 100. I haven’t heard of anyone with that kind of stuff pitching in low A ball so when I do eventually see him, it’ll be a big day.Can't wait to see this guy pitch.

#14 LHP Manny Banuelos: I gave my description of Banuelos in this post, but here it is again: I think he has underwhelming stuff and is getting away with a lot simply because of the level he’s playing at. He doesn’t show any sort of domination, instead getting hitters to reach on 90 mph fastballs and curves in the dirt. Baseball America raves about his composure and from the one start I saw from him, I can agree. It’s disconcerting when young pitchers focus on basebrunners instead of pitching and that never happened with Banuelos. I don’t know if I see Banuelo’s stuff translating into deeper levels, but I’ll reserve my official opinion until I see another start from him. He’s currently on the DL.

#22 RHP Brett Marshall: As with a lot of guys at this level, not much is known about Marshall. He’s supposedly got a 95 mph fastball. However, he’s also got a 0-3 record with a 6.66 ERA in 3 starts, so the jury’s still out.

#24 RHP D.J. Mitchell: This guy is starting for the Dog’s tonight and I almost wish this was the game I was going to. He’s started the year off hot, sporting a 2.10 ERA with a 4-0 record and a WHIP of less than 1.00 in five starts. He’s a converted outfielder that throws a sinking fastball, a solid curveball, and a slider. He, along with Brackman, are the two I’m most anxious to see.D.J. Mitchell is off to a hell of a start.

#28 and #30 SS and OF Carmen Angelini and Abraham Almonte: The first Riverdog’s game I went to, these were two guys I kept an eye out for. Early in his professional career, Angelini was touted for his ability to make contact, his speed, and for his future pop. Last year, in his first full season, the speed was there, but the contact was not. He batted a miserable .236 and never showed the pop that the Yankee’s expected from him. He’s off to a similar start this year, batting .185. Almonte started as a shortstop but defensive struggles got him moved to center. He shows unmatched athleticism but needs to work hard on plate coverage. He hasn’t yet, batting .211 for the Dogs.

The Colorado Rockie’s organization is not in the best of shape. After the regression of expected stars like Franklin Morales and Casey Weathers and graduation to the big leagues by Dexter Fowler, Ian Stewart and Greg Reynolds, the farm system is depleted and lacks real “impact” prospects. This is a good representation of the system’s breakdown:

There are a few bright spots, however, and some of them happen to be playing at low-A Asheville.

#3 LHP Christian Friedrich: I’m upset that I’ll be missing Friedrich’s start tonight. Friedrich has a fastball that sits at 89-92, a 12-6 curve, and a changeup. In 23 IP this year, he has a 1.17 ERA and is continuing the domination he showed in the Cape Cod league. He is an exciting prospect and should reach the major leagues within a couple years at this pace. I am, however, a little worried that he’ll suffer from Gio Gonzalez syndrome and have trouble getting batters out with two main pitches.

The best prospect in the Rockie's organization.

#11 OF Delta Cleary: With a name like Delta Cleary, I almost guarantee that this guy becomes a star in the near future; it somehow always works out that way. With Fowler making it to the big club, Cleary is probably the best athlete in the Rockie’s system. He’s a former quarterback and basketball player and comes from the same pedigree as Miami Heat player Shawn Marion. His stats this year have been pedestrian at best, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.

#15 RHP Parker Frazier: Frazier has added velocity each of the last two years and, as a result, developed an able sinking fastball that sits at 92 along with a hard slider and a good changeup. He’s shown the ability to adapt to each stop in his rise through the system and he’ll need to continue to do so against harder competition in low A. He’s shown good control this year, walking only six, but his 5.81 ERA and 0-2 record leaves a lot to be desired.

#21 RHP Aaron Weatherford: Unproven pitcher who didn’t pitch in 2008 due to shoulder tendinitis.

#30 SS Carlos Martinez: Martinez stole 54 bases last year. This will be his first year above extended spring training and will show whether he’s a legitimate prospect or whether he’ll drop off.

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2 Responses

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  1. […] a comment » I didn’t stay as sober as I was hoping to at Thursday’s Charleston Riverdog’s game. The $1.00 beers, the midget […]

  2. Awesome Blog, Dude! I am always on the lookout for new and interesting sports sites and info… which is what led me here. I certainly plan on visiting again! Cheers

    Alphonso Stears

    February 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm


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