Player Reports from San Antonio/Midland Part 2

Scouting Report by MrKupe

Simon Castro, RHP, San Antonio Missions

Heralded arm from the Dominican Republic and a fast-riser up top prospect charts. All arms and legs, a legitimate 6'5”. Impressive athlete for his size. In warmups, does all the little things you like to see, with lots of stretching, long-tossing, and running sprints. On the mound, opened at 90-93 MPH, touching 95. Really works at keeping the ball down. Tons of foul balls off his fastball, sign of good late life. Slider at 82-84 MPH, sick movement, must be like trying to hit a frisbee. Not afraid to throw his slider to LH batters, where its two-plane movement turns it into something like the changeup from hell, lots of swings and misses by LH batters. Could stand to throw a few more high fastballs to change up the hitter's eye level as he likes to bury his slider, would probably miss more bats. Lots of moving parts to his delivery, good thing he's so athletic. Fastball dropped a notch after the first couple of innings, more 90-91 MPH in third and fourth innings. Third pitch is changeup, which he doesn't throw very much at this point but shows more promise than I had previously been led to believe. Good fade on the changeup, should not be a problem for him once he starts throwing it more often. The fifth inning for Castro did not go so well, he looked visibly tired. His mechanics started to break down leading to balls being left up in the zone (and getting hit hard), and his fastball velocity dropped to 89-91 MPH. While his pitch count wasn't that high and the raw numbers weren't bad, make no mistake, Castro was done for the day.

So overall, what did I think of Castro? His slider is clearly a plus pitch if not more than that, and his fastball is a good pitch as well. I think he'll have the changeup if he wants it. He may well be something of a victim of his own success as his fastball/slider combo can at least get him by at this level against LH batters. He shows the dedication needed to be a frontline guy. I think he's much more comfortable pitching down in the zone than up in the zone, and he'd be very potent if he can work in more high fastballs. That being said, his future is by no means certain. He's going to need the rest of this year in AA and probably a good chunk if not all of next year in AAA, refining his command, his mechanics, and his changeup. Obviously, he'll also need to build up his stamina. He has the potential to be a No. 2 starter, but he's not nearly as close to that as his numbers would have you believe.

Travis Banwart, RHP, Midland Rockhounds

24 year old 2007 fourth round draft pick repeating AA with an All Star campaign, just promoted to AAA Sacramento. Big frame, the type of body that scouts like to say is “built to last”. Throws from a three-quarters arm slot, which gives his fastball some life. He does not have an effortless delivery, as he looks like he's putting a lot into every pitch. I thought he might've had some issues repeating his delivery in the third inning, but he settled down and looked fine until the sixth inning, when he struggled a bit again. Fastball sat 88-92 MPH, topping out at 94 MPH. Command of fastball looked to be just okay, but he was generally around the zone with it. Best secondary pitch looked to be his changeup, which shows decent fade and induces some bad contact, not really a swing-and-miss pitch though. Banwart showed two breaking balls, a curveball and a slider. He only threw the slider a few times and it didn't look to be anything more than a show-me pitch. In contrast, Banwart went to his curveball a fair amount of the time, and I would guess that it is the work he has done on this pitch that is most responsible for his success this year. It's an okay pitch, although he often looked to be focusing more on the location of the pitch than its break. At times Banwart's arm speed noticeably slowed when going to his curveball, and the difference between fastball and offspeed became increasingly easy to pick up out of his hand as he got into the later innings of his outing. All in all, Banwart looks okay and he's definitely made some progress this year, but there's nothing that really jumps out about him, either. I would guess that he's a potential No. 5 starter or maybe a middle relief type as he does have respectable arm strenth, but the combination of average velocity and lack of a true out pitch precludes him from having a higher ceiling.

Fautino De Los Santos, RHP, Midland Rockhounds

One-time top prospect and TJ survivor back on the road to the major leaues, just promoted to Midland. Solid build with a strong core, built for power. Generates his velocity through a big leg kick, hides the ball well against RH batters. Fastball sat 94-96 MPH with good life. Easy heat, went two innings and could have probably gone longer. Scary to think where he might be at this time next year. Only features one secondary pitch at present, a nasty looking slider. Slider worked between 83-87 MPH, but appeared to throw one at 89 MPH. De Los Santos is utterly unfair to RH batters, as his combination of deception and raw stuff gives him the ability to take them apart. Against LH batters he'll have some adjustment issues to work through, as he struggles a bit with his command against them. Two LH batters got in good swings on him: Cedric Hunter drove a 95 MPH fastball to center field, and Matt Clark bombed a 96 MPH fastball deep foul. It shouldn't be a problem for him long-term, stuff is just that good. If he remains in relief, De Los Santos profiles as a future closer and could help the team in relatively short order. If Oakland chooses to develop him as a starter, he'll need time to learn a changeup. Very high upside player.

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