Since I’ve already given a lot of information on the hitters and pitchers of Georgia Tech and Rutgers, and since this is the second time I saw Brandon Cumpton, I’m going to do a different kind of game report. I’m going to do a kind of "stock up, stock down" look, looking at what players here have done for their stock from the two games I saw this weekend, having talked to a few scouts about their impressions.
Steve Nyisztor, 2B, Rutgers: Nyisztor was absolutely impressive. He showed some tools, along with impressive size and strength for a freshman, and even though that didn’t always carry over to game production, he has a big future if he continues to improve. He was only 1-for-7 in the two games I saw, but he put the bat on the ball against two experienced pitchers, one with excellent stuff, and his defense up the middle was a true plus. He should move over to shortstop next year when senior Dan Betteridge is gone, and I think he has the necessary tools to stick there as a pro. He put on solid batting practice displays, and I see him as a top five round candidate for 2012. He was the main Rutgers guy to catch my eye, and I know he caught the eye of scouts, as well.
Chase Burnette, OF, Georgia Tech: I put Burnette here based on the five games I’ve seen him play in so far. He has come out on fire this year for Tech, and it’s for good reason. He’s stronger, having put on over 15 pounds of weight since last year, and he’s seeing the ball better than ever before, adding up to solid production. I had a conversation with a scout about Burnette, as he hadn’t seen Burnette yet this year until Friday afternoon, and he didn’t have anything on him from previous years. He was impressed with Burnette’s batting practice display, as he did put on the best display both days I was there. He’s showing most of what it takes to be a fourth or fifth outfielder, which is up from a spot as an organizational outfielder. He sprays the ball around well, and he shows fringe-average to average power, which should be good enough for that bench lefty spot. He’s a decent defender, but he did drop a ball coming in and to his right on the Saturday game, resulting in a big error that cost his team some runs. His arm is below-average, and he’ll have to be a left fielder at the next level.
Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech: Even though McGuire didn’t have his best stuff on Friday, and it wasn’t as good as I saw him two weeks ago, he showed something that has been a question mark in his game. He showed tenacity. He worked through his command problems, found his money pitch for the day, and then he efficiently shut down the Rutgers offense. That’s hard to do when you’re having trouble commanding your fastball, but he did it. I know a few scouts were concerned by his lack of zip on his fastball, and it was moving less than when I saw it a couple weeks ago, but his slider was much better than a couple weeks ago, when his curveball seemed like the more reliable pitch. He also threw less changeups, but they were still solid pitches, and he’ll likely incorporate it more against more advanced hitters than the cold-weather Rutgers lineup. All in all, after a tough first inning in which he had to work hard to get out of a jam, he was incredibly efficient, working with what he had for the day and still managing to throw 8 shutout innings, striking out 9 and walking only 1 without his best command.
Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Georgia Tech: There were only four scouts in attendance for Saturday’s game, and two didn’t even bother to gun Cumpton. After having a so-so performance a couple weeks ago, I think I saw him at one of his worst times on Saturday. He was sitting 88-91 with his fastball, but was working more in the 88-89 range, and he had no life on the pitch. One scout called it "too smooth." His average velocity was just too easy and too straight, and there was absolutely no deception. He shows the ball behind his body well before he even releases it, and players with good eyes will catch that and smack the ball around. He also lacked command and control on the day, and he was leaving pitches up and getting hit hard. Very hard. If this was ACC play, he would have been chased after a couple innings. His curveball showed no bite whatsoever, and it was more of a soft, smooth pitch without command. He hung a few and got hurt, and it looked downright awful, more like a 40 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. I think he may be seriously dropping down boards very quickly, as area scouts are coming in for a Saturday game and leaving without much wish to come back to see him.
Derek Dietrich, SS, Georgia Tech: Dietrich had a solid game on Saturday, but he is definitely losing steam in the scouting community. He’s trying to pull everything in the air, resulting in a lot of lazy flyballs, pop-ups, and swings and misses. He’s doing a very good job of not striking out, but it’s been frustrating to watch him do what he is not built to do. In batting practice, it’s almost like he’s been told not to hit the ball the other way. Everything is right of second base and in the air, and he’s not a power hitter. He’s next to last in slugging percentage out of the team’s starting lineup, and he needs to change his approach to suit that. He could be a high-average hitter if he sprayed the ball around the field, and he showed a little life in that regard on Saturday, with a hard-hit double to the left-center field gap. However, for the most part, Dietrich is slipping heavily, having really showed no improvement at shortstop and at the plate. He did do a short two-inning showcase at third base on Saturday, and he made a couple of excellent plays, so he did put that thought into some scouts’ minds, but there were only three scouts left at that point, so I’m not sure how much of an impression he made other than to get a couple of scouts to look at each other and smile.
Jeff Rowland, OF, Georgia Tech: Rowland has quietly had a miserable season at the plate. Of the five games I’ve seen, I have simply not been impressed. He has an incredibly long stroke for a leadoff hitter, causing him to strike out way too much. He’s showed some decent pop for such a smallish frame, but that’s not what he should be about. Like Dietrich, he doesn’t know his place. When he gets a wood bat in his hands, he’s absolutely going to fail, and I have no doubt about that in my mind. He’s going to need a re-work, and it’s going to be tough to do, as he’s bulked up to become a power hitter with a fairly short fence in right field. He’s still fast, a true plus runner, but he doesn’t take advantage of that in his offensive game. He needs to get on base and cause havoc, not swing for the fences and strike out more than a third of the time. His range is good in center field, and he has a below-average arm, but I don’t see anyone taking him before the mid-teens at this point.
Hope this is a more creative way of looking at the Saturday game, as there wasn’t really a ton of action that stood out. Cumpton was flat, the Tech offense teed off against poor pitching, and it ended up in a blowout pretty quickly after Tech fell behind 4-0 early.
I’m going to do a special writeup on Kevin Jacob sometime this week, as I have a few things to say about him, especially knowing he got absolutely hammered today by Rutgers while trying to finish out a shutout started by excellent sophomore arm Jed Bradley.
I’m going to be up in Dalton tomorrow evening to see Heritage HS catcher Tyler Austin, a very toolsy player, and the odds are that it will get too cold too early for me to use Twitter throughout. I will have a report up late at night after I get back, though.
Tuesday’s schedule has changed, as I won’t be going to see Young Harris JC. Instead, I’ll be catching one of the better metro Atlanta names pitch. Andrew Smith, a righty from Roswell High School and a North Carolina signee, will be going as much as 80 pitches on three days’ rest. I’ll be interested to see how his arm will bounce back, as he threw on Friday. Cam Bedrosian follows that on Wednesday, then Mott Hyde on Thursday before returning to Georgia Tech to see Deck McGuire again on Friday against Wake Forest. Chevez Clarke follows that on Saturday, so I have an excellent week ahead of me.
I’m sorry for not being able to catch Reggie Williams today, but I had a family thing come up. Life happens sometimes, and it’s better to be there for your wife than to see a draft prospect that I’ll have multiple chances to see as the season goes on. I’ll catch him in a few weeks, and hopefully that will give me a chance to compare him to other people I’ve seen as the season goes on.
Hope you guys had a great weekend, and I’m looking forward to a great week of coverage here on MLBBonusBaby.