Arizona Fall League
I have returned from the Arizona Fall League and the First Pitch Arizona Conference. As usual, I had a great time, learned a lot I didn't know, and even got to meet a few Minor League Ball readers.
I drove 2,962 miles round trip, and I'm rather tired, though not as tired as Jeri, who was on child care duty non-stop for a week while I was gone. I owe her a week's worth of sleeping-in time, which around here means sleeping until 8 am, given the propensity of the youngest child to wake up about 5. Nevertheless, I'm back in the saddle, and will resume work on the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book this afternoon.
I will write up a report for Rotowire about the Arizona Fall League next week, which will incorporate data from the trip. But here are some bullet points about players of interest.
**I didn't get to see Stephen Strasburg. He was supposed to pitch in the Arizona Fall League All Star Game, but was scratched due to a stiff neck. I did talk with people who had seen him pitch, and they were universally full of praise for him. His fastball legitimately hits 100 MPH, his breaking ball is described as a "wipeout pitch," and scouts love his mound presence. His command needs some tweaking, but most observers felt this was just a matter of needing to shake rust off after the summer layoff. Some believe he could make the major league rotation in spring training, while others believe he could use half a season of minor league baseball just to get used to the pro game. Everyone thinks he'll be an excellent major league pitcher, provided he stays healthy. Right now I'm leaning towards a pure Grade A rating for the 2010 book, but I'll decide that for sure in the coming days.
**On the negative side, Royals prospect Mike Moustakas doesn't look like the same player I saw in the Midwest League last year. His lower half is thicker, as if the size proportion between his hips and his shoulders has been altered in a negative way. He's slower and less mobile in general compared to last year. He still has a solid-looking swing, but his plate discipline is weak and problems with lefties are evident. I had given him a Grade B+ a couple of weeks ago, but am strongly reconsidering that now and could lower it down to B or maybe even B-.. He's still very young, but I'm worried about him.
**Phillies outfield prospect Domonic Brown has a superb set of tools and tremendous athleticism. Scouts are quibbling about a loopy, longish swing, but people who saw him earlier this year suspect he's just tired right now and his swing is wilting as a result. The tools are certainly outstanding and I was very taken with his projectability.
**Ask questions in this thread and I'll answer them.