Oklahoma City RedHawks Scouting Report
I saw OKC play Salt Lake for three days last weekend. Here are some impressions of the home team.
OKLAHOMA CITY REDHAWKS (TRIPLE-A TEXAS RANGERS)
Joaquin Arias, SS
Hitting .273/.298/.351 with 18 steals in 20 attempts. He always looks good on defense when I see him; above average range, good arm, soft hands. He runs well and is very toolsy physically, but his bat hasn't grown since he's reached Triple-A. Turns 25 in September, and right now he looks like a guy who is going to bounce around between the majors and Triple-A for the next ten years.
Chris Davis, 3B
Hitting .327/.421/.540 since being demoted to Triple-A. Everyone wants to know how he looked. He looked pretty good, going 4-for-11 with two doubles and just one strikeout. He was working counts effectively, laying off breaking stuff, but putting good wood on fastballs. He even made several good defensive plays at third base. Despite his major league problems this year, remember that he's still just 23 years old. He looked like he was very focused on improving his strike zone judgment.
Greg Golson, CF
Hitting .266/.309/.353 with 16 steals in 20 attempts, 27 walks, 100 strikeouts in 402 at-bats. Went 3-for-10 in the games I saw with three walks and two strikeouts. Offensively I didn't think he looked that great, he was working counts OK but I thought his swing looked complicated and he was behind on plus fastballs. On the other hand, he's very fast, and his defensive skills in the outfield looked outstanding. Still just 23, but I have serious doubts that he'll hit enough for his glovework and baserunning to matter.
Brian Gordon, RHP
3.26 ERA with 42/19 K/BB in 66 innings, 62 hits allowed. Fastball 87-88 MPH, not great velocity though he locates it well. Mixes in a pretty good breaking ball. Not overpowering, but when throwing strikes he can be effective against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .221 mark this year. His velocity is short enough that scouts aren't going to give him a lot of slack, but there have been worse pitchers with major league careers.
Royce Huffman, DH
Hitting .289/.377/.408, 47 walks, 68 strikeouts in 370 at-bats. Like several of the guys I saw in Tulsa, Huffman is a polished hitter with a good approach, but he lacks great tools, and his level swing cuts into the home run potential evident in his natural strength. At age 32 that's not going to change for him, but there are worse fates than running out the string as a Triple-A veteran who can teach the younger guys a thing or three about the game.
Warner Madrigal, RHP
Came in to get saves on the 15th and 16th and looked good doing it, throwing 93-95 MPH and showing an improved slider from when I last saw him. Overall numbers are 1.75 ERA, 46/11 K/BB in 46 innings, 35 hits, 17 saves, .208 average against. Basically he scouts exactly like the numbers look: he's got the stuff to succeed and is effective when throwing strikes.
Luis Mendoza, RHP
4.44 ERA with a 66/41 K/BB in 93 innings, 109 hits allowed. Threw a no-hitter on August 14th, which was a lot of fun to watch in person. He got crushed yesterday, allowing 12 hits in four innings against Colorado Springs. In the no-hitter game, Mendoza walked six and fanned six. He was throwing 93-94 MPH, and his fastball was moving very well. His slider was weak in the first three innings and he was lucky not to get hit, but starting in the fourth inning the breaking ball sharpened up, and by the end of the game it was working extremely well. Mendoza is a frustrating pitcher, as the arm strength is clearly here, but his consistency from start to start, inning to inning, and even sometimes pitch to pitch, is poor.
Guillermo Moscoso, RHP
2.17 ERA with 45/12 K/BB in 58 innings, 48 hits allowed. Went 5.2 innings on the 15th, allowing three runs, four hits, four walks, with six strikeouts. Fastball ranged between 89 and 93 MPH. Threw two different breaking balls and a usable changeup, but command was erratic with his secondary pitches. He is not afraid to throw inside against lefties, but seemed to have problems with being too fine against certain hitters.
A.J. Murray, LHP
3.22 ERA with 30/19 K/BB in 45 innings, 51 hits. Got lit up on the 16th, allowing three hits and two runs in one inning of work. Fastball not very fast at 84-86 MPH, mixed in a breaking ball and changeup. He has a 2.42 GO/AO this year, and his best hope is to be a LOOGY though he won't have a lot of slack with scouts and coaches given his lack of velocity.
Jailen Peguero, RHP
Was pitching in the Mexican League, picked up by the Rangers as a free agent a couple of weeks ago. Threw two innings on the 16th, allowing two hits and a run, with two strikeouts. Smallish at 6-0, 185, but athletic with a quick arm, fastball at 90-93 MPH. I thought his breaking ball was below average. He pitched well in the Houston and Arizona farm systems in previous seasons, and he has enough arm strength to be a useful major league reliever if he can do better with his secondary pitches. Now 28 years old, so not really a prospect, but he was doing well in Mexico (2.03 ERA, 31/8 K/BB in 31 innings) and that's not an easy place to pitch.
Elizardo Ramirez, RHP
4.86 ERA with 67/32 K/BB in 126 innings, 145 hits. Went five innings on the 16th, allowing eight hits and three runs, three strikeouts, one walk. Basic strategy was to throw 89-91 MPH fastballs right down the middle and high in the zone. He had a low 80s slider, a mid 70s curve, and a changeup that he would mix in, but none of them really impressed me. I felt he was lucky to get out of the game with eight hits and three runs allowed.
Max Ramirez, C
Went 0-for-2 on the 17th, drew two walks. This was his first game back after missing all of July and early August with a bad wrist. Not unexpectedly, his swing looked rusty, but he was working the count very well. On defense, he botched a couple of routine plays, but (as usual when I see him) his arm looked pretty good and better than his reputation. He gets an injury mulligan from me this year.
Justin Smoak, 1B
Hitting .239/.354/.356 for Oklahoma City, but this includes a .364 mark with nine walks in his last ten games. In the three contests I saw, Smoak went 6-for-10 with three walks and two doubles. He was controlling the zone very well. I thought his swing got a bit longish in a few at -bats, but in others it was quick and compact. Although he's hit just 11 homers this year, I didn't see anything to make me think that the power won't come eventually. He just needs more time, and he certainly didn't look overmatched in this contest. Looked sharp with the glove, making good scooping plays and showing the requisite range for the position.