Saturday, October 22, 2011

AFL notes: 10/21/11 (Scottsdale at Surprise)

Scottsdale Surprise
Gary Brown (SF) CF CF Kevin Mattison (FLA)
Jean Segura (LAA) SS SS Leury Garcia (TEX)
Will Middlebrooks (BOS) 3B DH Wil Myers (KC)
Bryce Harper (WAS) LF 3B Mike Olt (TEX)
Alex Hanssan (BOS) DH 1B Joe Terdoslavich (ATL)
Cody Overbeck (PHI) 1B C Kyle Skipworth (FLA)
Joe Panik (SF) 2B LF Todd Cunningham (ATL)
Dan Butler (BOS) C RF Ryan Strausborger (TEX)
Tyson Gillies (PHI) RF 2B Tyler Bortnick (TBR)
Matt Purke (WAS) LHP RHP Shane Dyer (TBR)

Be advised: all "scouting reports" listed below are of the amateur variety; but first, some history:

Seeing Matt Purke listed as the visiting starting pitcher did have me excited. Anyone who has followed prospects over the past few years should be well-aware of Purke's trajectory from star prep pitcher out of Texas, later drafted in the first round by the Rangers in 2009. He would eventually fail to be signed after ownership transferred to the office of MLB (he did have an agreement with the previous Rangers ownership in the neighborhood of $6 million - which the MLB found grossly above slot, instead he was offered $4 million and promptly told the commish to take a hike).

Purke would go on to pitch for TCU. Rumors swirled that he hurt his shoulder as he found himself struggling during his sophomore season. To possibly cut his losses before more concerns begin to mount, he declared himself draft-eligible in 2011 and was drafted by the Nationals in the third round (worth roughly $4 million over four years).

Watching Purke's pre-game warmups. He was flashing some good velocity on his four-seamer (mid-90's) and showed good arm speed and command of his offspeed offerings. However, against live batters, it was a different story. Immediately he would struggle with his command which allowed opposing hitters to sit on his get-me-over fastball when behind in the count.

His final line: 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 R, 1 HR (delivered by Kyle Skipworth on a 3-1 fastball over the plate).

Shane Dyer looked solid in his five innings pitched.  He did surrender five runs on eight hits in five IP (one of them was a two-run HR surrendered to Will Middlebrooks off a 1-0 fastball that was elevated in the first inning) but he was very effective in keeping the ball on the ground and showed good command.  Dyer will always have his limitations since he nibbles around the low 90's which forces him to follow a pitch-to-contact style, but if he can show effective command while flashing a variety of speeds from his fastball (89-92), cut fastball (87-88), slider (85-87) and curve (79-81) - he should be fine as a back-rotation starter (esp. for a team that values defense like the Rays).

Brock Huntzinger (BOS) came in to relieve Purke. He flashed a heavy fastball that seemed a bit faster than the official PitchF/X speed at 93. 

Gary Brown displayed a great arm in center field, in spite of not getting the best jumps on some deep flys that were hit his way (he really got tested when Purke was on the mound).

This is the second time I've seen Kyle Skipworth behind the plate and I must say I find myself impressed by his ability to handle pitchers.  When Dyer found himself with the bases loaded in the fourth inning (caused by two well-placed grounders and a botched play by Kevin Mattison in center that allowed a line drive to sail over his head), Skipworth was instrumental in calming down Dyer and getting him to make his pitch to left-hander Tyson Gillies to ground out to first (Skipworth signaled for Joe Terdoslavich to be ready to turn the double-play; alas, the ground ball came his way but the double-play wasn't executed in time - Gillies has good speed).

Watching Bryce Harper, it seems like the strategy of Dyer was to flash enough offspeed pitches at him during fastball counts.  Dyer was able to use Bryce's aggression against him especially on a 3-1 slider in the fifth inning which resulted in a ground out to first.

Mike Olt looked to have some defensive issues.  He overthrew to first on a routine groundout and, later, mishandled a slow roller that caused Terdoslavich to come off the bag.  Olt did effectively field another slow roller later in the game. Update: I did have my boneheaded assistant ask Jason Parks via twitter since he has surely seen a lot more Olt than I have... he had this to say.

Finally, Jean Segura did flash some good range at SS.

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