clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Some Comments

New, 2 comments

Here are some comments from the 2008 Baseball Prospect Book.. Note that the book will contain full statistics for each player.

Jeff Bianchi, SS, Kansas City Royals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 175 DOB: October 5, 1986

The Royals were very curious about what kind of numbers Jeff Bianchi could put up if he finally got healthy, following two seasons of injury-plagued play in rookie ball. He got healthy in 2007, but he didn't do much in the Midwest League. I saw him a couple of times, and frankly his bat looked rather lifeless. His strike zone judgment was inconsistent, and he just didn't drive the ball when he made contact. Bianchi runs very well, plays aggressively and with intensity and appears to be a sound defender despite his arm being average for shortstop. But what about his bat? Did the shoulder injuries sap his bat speed? Maybe. He is still very young and no one is giving up at this point, but I can't go higher than Grade C+ until the hitting improves.

Nick Blackburn, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-4 WT: 230 DOB: February 24, 1982

Nick Blackburn got a lot of notice last summer, pitching 44 scoreless innings after his promotion to Triple-A Rochester. Drafted in the 29th round in 2001 out of Seminole State JC in Oklahoma, Blackburn has never been considered a hot prospect and was more of an organization arm until last summer. His fastball ranges anywhere from 87 to 93 MPH, although it has good sinking action. He has a curveball, slider and changeup. None of his pitches are overpowering, but he throws strikes, keeps the ball down, and can start or relieve. Better command was the key to his success last year. From a sabermetric standpoint, I am not enamored of the poor strikeout rate, but his control is sharp enough for him to help out as a fifth starter/long relief type. Grade C+.

Michael Burgess, OF, Washington Nationals
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 5-11 WT: 195 DOB: October 20, 1988

The Nats drafted Michael Burgess in the supplemental first round last year, out of high school in Tampa. This could end up being a steal: he was considered a possible Top Ten pick heading into his senior year, but an erratic spring dropped his stock. He looked great after signing, dominating the Gulf Coast League (led the circuit in OPS) and doing well in a late trial against older competition in the New York-Penn League. Burgess isn't a big guy, but he has a big bat, with excellent power potential. His strike zone judgment is very good, and he's a solid defensive outfielder at either corner, though he lacks the speed for center. The main complaints about him are that he strikes out a lot, and that his swing mechanics get unglued sometimes. This could hurt his batting average at higher levels, but I imagine that the power and walks will carry forward. Grade B+.

Tony Butler, LHP, Seattle Mariners
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-7 WT: 205 DOB: November 18, 1987

A third round pick from a Wisconsin high school in 2006, Butler was one of my favorite sleeper prospects entering 2007. He had a very strange season. He pitched poorly in April and May, with a 7.02 ERA in his first nine starts and horrible peripheral numbers. The Mariners shut him down in June, rested him for a couple of weeks, and rebuilt his mechanics. This worked wonders: he came back in July and pitched brilliantly at times down the stretch, with a 3.29 ERA and a 44/16 K/BB in his last 52 innings. I saw him throw a brilliant, old-fashioned nine-inning complete game shutout against Burlington on August 26th. At his best, Butler features a 90-92 MPH fastball and a very good curve. His changeup is erratic, but it looked good late in the year. He's also a very intelligent and well-spoken young man. Although we need to see more at higher levels, I'm optimistic about his chances, provided he remains healthy. Grade B- right now, but I expect that to rise if he stays healthy.