Scouting Report: Midland Rockhounds
I saw Midland play Tulsa on August 17th. Here are my impressions.
Chris Carter, LF
Carter seems like he's been around awhile as a prospect, but is still just 22 years old. His Double-A adaptation has gone well: .336/.432/.575, 23 homers, 40 doubles, 76 walks, 113 strikeouts in 473 at-bats, even 13 steals in 18 attempts. He's reduced his strikeout rate compared to last year without losing walks, always a good sign, and has added almost 80 points to his batting average. Carter has some vulnerability to sliders, but he crushes fastballs. He's very patient, and has the bat speed to drive the ball to all fields. There are a lot of questions about his defense. He is a big guy, but he's not a slug by any means and has adequate running speed once he gets going. He has a strong throwing arm. Unfortunately I did not get a great feel for his outfield defense in the game I saw him play, but I didn't see anything to make me think he can't be an okay left fielder. And considering his bat, okay will be good enough.
Josh Donaldson, C
Hitting .272/.388/.416 with 75 walks, 80 strikeouts in 394 at-bats. Listed at 6-1, 215, but looks bigger. . .looks like he's picked up some weight, though he still shows mobility and arm strength. Works the count well, but swing looks very level right now and cuts off his home run power, though he does have 34 doubles.
Archie Gilbert, CF
Hitting .286/.387/.362 with 25 steals in 39 attempts, 53 walks, 46 strikeouts in 398 at-bats. Very fast, and can really scoot in center field. Didn't look like much offensively in this game other than his speed, appears to lack power. At age 26 his prospect status is limited, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him get some emergency action as a reserve outfielder sometime.
Josh Horton, SS
Hitting .270/.346/.367, 56 walks, 57 strikeouts in 455 at-bats. In this game he showed enough range and arm strength for shortstop and a good amount of overall athleticism, but I'm not certain about that bat. He was having trouble catching up with Deduno's fastball, but would then get fooled by a slider as well. His numbers indicate a polished offensive approach, but mediocre overall production. I didn't see anything in the game that would make me think the overall season numbers are an inaccurate read on his ability.
Shane Peterson, 1B
Hitting .311/.382/.444 since the trade with Oakland. Another polished hitter with a sound approach, didn't swing at stuff outside the zone and seemed to be getting a better read on Deduno than the other Midland hitters, though he still went 0-for-3. I saw a level swing with no mechanical flaws but not a lot of home run potential, either. Looks slick around the bag at first base.
Tyson Ross, RHP
6.33 ERA with 15/12 K/BB in 27 innings since being promoted to Midland. Walked four guys and gave up three hits and three runs in four innings of work. Positives: he's got great stuff, working consistently at 90-94 MPH in this game and showing good bite on his breaking ball. His fastball also has good sinking action in addition to the velocity. Negatives: he had no idea where the ball was going, showing poor command, especially in the first inning before settling down a bit in the second and third. I'm also not wild about his mechanics, though it looks like he's smoothed them out a bit since he was in college at the University of California. Ross has very good stuff but is still figuring out what to do with it.
Matt Spencer, DH
Hitting .319/.364/.508 in 76 games since being promoted from the California League. Went 2-for-4 Monday and, along with Shane Peterson, was one of the few Midland hitters who wasn't flummoxed by Sam Deduno. I got some good video of his batting stance that I'll post later. He does some unusual stuff with his feet. Overall I thought he showed good bat speed and offensive polish, but he was DHing in this game so I didn't get any read on his defense.
Matt Sulentic, RF
Hitting .289/.344/.417 with 20 steals in 27 attempts for Midland, 31 walks, 90 strikeouts. Went 0-for-3 against Deduno and looked like his timing was thrown way off by his fastball and slider. The main thing I noticed about Sulentic was that he looked much quicker and more athletic than he did the last time I saw him in the Midwest League a couple of years ago. He looked about 10-15 pounds lighter, and he certainly ran better and looked more mobile in general.
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Hitting .213/.302/.298 in 13 games since being promoted from Stockton, went 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout on the 17th. Very patient, works the count. He didn't make hard contact on anything in this game, but it was just one contest and Deduno was really on. Weeks looked good around the bag at second base, with very good range and a lot of quickness with his hands. I saw nothing to criticize glove-wise.