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Book Excerpts

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Some additional book excerpts for your perusal. Remember that in the book, all players have stats going back at least two years.

Will Inman, RHP, San Diego Padres

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-1     WT: 210   DOB: February 6, 1987

 

Scouting report after watching Will Inman pitch in April for San Antonio:

 

Fastball was better than I had been led to expect: his first 12 fastballs were, in order, 88-89-88-90-89-88-87-91-92-90-89-87. The fastball also had more movement than anticipated, it was not the straight pitch that I have read about in Baseball America. He mixed in a slider at 79-81 MPH, and a slow curveball at 73-74. He also threw one pitch at 81 MPH which had bizarre screwball-like action; perhaps that was his changeup. I was impressed with his secondary stuff, the only real mistake he made was hanging a slow curveball that Dan Carte hit for a home run. I liked Inman and am comfortable with the Grade B he got on the book. I see him as a Jeff Suppan-type inning eater.  

 

Inman’s season in the Texas League resulted in very good K/IP and H/IP ratios, reflecting the quality of his stuff. His walk rate was too high, and scouts report that he had trouble with his fastball command as the season progressed, though he battled through it. His delivery is funky but deceptive. I’ve liked Inman a lot in the past and still think he is underrated by scouts, but the slippage in his control, as well as an excessive fly ball tendency that could result in too many homers, lower his rating to Grade B- Many scouts would say that is still too high. Perhaps I’m just stubborn about this one, but I still like the K/IP and H/IP.

 

Michael Inoa, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-7      WT: 205   DOB: September 24, 1991

 

 

Talk about a tough player to rate. Inoa is only 17 years old, signed last year as a 16 year old out of the Dominican. He’s huge, well-coordinated, athletic, already throws 90-94 MPH, should have good command, and shows the potential for a plus curveball and plus changeup. If he had entered the 2009 draft pool, he would have been a certain first round pick and probably a top five selection. But as with all pitchers his age, we really don’t have any idea how this is all going to pan out, and I tend to be skeptical about guys like this until we get some firm data to look at. Understand me here, I don’t doubt his potential at all. If I was running a farm system, I’d love to have him. But baseball history is littered with the corpses of many similar talents (Jose Pett, Ricardo Aramboles) and it is impossible to know exactly what will happen with Inoa. Grade B-, which is the grade I’d give a similar guy coming out of high school at this point.

 

 

Cale Iorg, SS, Detroit Tigers

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-2     WT: 190   DOB: September 6, 1985

 

 

A sixth round pick from the University of Alabama in 2007, Cale Iorg is an excellent athlete who comes from a baseball family. You’d think this would make him a polished player, but he’s actually very raw as a hitter, partially due to missing two years of development time to a Mormon mission. The Tigers look at him and see a great set of tools. . .speed, strength. . .but I look at him and see a guy handicapped by poor strike zone judgment. This seems to run in the family: Astros prospect Eli Iorg, his brother, is the same way, toolsy but remarkably unrefined for a college hitter with his family background. Cale is a very good defender, but I have huge doubts about his bat. The Tigers think he will be a legitimate regular shortstop, possibly an All-Star as a sound hitter with a strong glove, but unless he shows sudden and unusual improvement with his plate discipline, he is destined to be a utility guy or below average regular. Grade C.

 

 

Eli Iorg, OF, Houston Astros

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-3     WT: 200   DOB: March 14, 1983

 

 

Iorg has excellent tools, but has yet to develop the baseball skills to make those tools work on the field in a consistent way. His strike zone judgment holds him back offensively. He’s got significant problems with breaking stuff and gets pull-happy, weaknesses that Double-A pitchers were able to exploit last year, resulting in a tepid -6 percent OPS. He does run well and play strong outfield defense, but unless he gets the zone under control, he won’t hit enough to be useful in the majors. His tools and baseball bloodlines will get him more chances, but at age 26 entering 2009, time is running out. Grade C.

 

 

Travis Ishikawa, 1B, San Francisco Giants

Bats: L    Throws: L     HT: 6-3      WT: 190   DOB: September 24, 1983

 

I gave Travis Ishikawa a pretty negative review last year:

 

I think it is time for the Giants to admit that Travis Ishikawa is not going to be a lineup anchor and first baseman of the future. He’s got a good glove, and he has some power, but he just doesn’t hit well enough to sustain a regular job as a first baseman. It’s been two years since he’s shown any skill growth, and it is quite possible that he is simply a player who peaked early. My guess is that he’ll get labeled a “disappointing prospect,” settle in as a minor league slugger, then have a really good year in Triple-A at age 27 or 28, earning a second shot somewhere as a Brian Daubach-type platoon player in 2012 or so. Grade C.

 

He had a much better season than I expected, performed reasonably well for San Francisco, and now has a career major league line of .277/.333/.445, +100 OPS in 45 games, 119 at-bats. That’s not far off from Daubach, actually, who hit .259/.341/.476 in his career, +107 OPS. Basically, although Ishikawa performed better than I thought last year, I still see him as a Daubach-type, a guy with some power who can help you, but who isn’t going to be a star. But it looks now like he may avoid the “disappointing prospect who gets stuck in Triple-A” phase. Grade C+.

 

 

Craig Italiano, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-4      WT: 210   DOB: July 22, 1986

 

Here is the scouting report I wrote about Italiano after seeing him pitch in the Midwest League in May:

 

 

   6-0, 0.72 ERA with 63/23 K/BB in 50 innings, 31 hits allowed, 1.15 GO/AO. Working the rust off after injury-plagued 2006 (shoulder) and 2007 (hit in head with line drive) seasons. Fastball consistent 90-92 MPH, hitting 95 once. Good slider, also used a big-breaking curveball a lot. Command is erratic, looks like he was having some trouble with his mechanics at times but he ended up throwing five shutout innings. I got to talk with him the following day and he’s a pretty personable kid, seems bright and motivated.

 

Italiano had the great first half at Kane County, but his command fell apart again after moving up to Stockton, and he was hammered. He’s obviously got the arm strength to be a good major league pitcher, and he seems to have enough intellect, but he’s been snakebit with injuries throughout his career, and as a result he’s still pretty raw. Grade C, but a guy who could end up being a very good pitcher with better command and better luck.