By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
November 13, 2010
Putting on the mileage, wearing out the boots, stocking up on the sunscreen. Next stop, the backfields to look at the A’s, White Sox and Rangers. As I have mentioned before, I didn’t see every guy on each roster, so as usual, I can only give you the guys I saw.
Three outfielders intrigued me. Tyreace House can fly. Aaron Shipman is a young left-handed hitter with good speed and athleticism who showed signs both of hard contact and of learning how to be a professional hitter. Rashun Dixon has a strong body and features and is an inexperienced pro hitter.
I had my first look at Yordy Cabrera since the 2009 Aflac game. He’s got a lot of physical projection and bat speed with an aggressive uppercut. He’s geared for power, probably can give third base a try at least early in his career, and his feet moved much better than I remembered as an amateur. Third baseman Chad Lewis, fresh out of Marina High, also has a great deal of physical projection. He showed more signs of being able to use the whole field than when I last saw him in high school. His swing is geared for right-handed pull power as his primary strength.
I had my first look at Trayce Thompson since he left high school. He missed about half of the 2010 season after breaking a bone in his hand. Thompson is a guy who would stand out because of his body type and physical projection, but also because of his loose athletic flexibility, which is something you don’t usually see in outfielders. I still think he has some of the best wrists I have seen in young hitter and I expect that to be where he generates his bat speed and power in the coming years.
I loved right-hander Luke Jackson. He was smooth, loose and explosive with tremendous downhill plane. He showed a live arm, fastball movement and location and proper 12/6 curveball rotation. I liked his mechanics, between smooth arm action in the back and proper extension in the front.
I had my first look at right-hander Cody Buckel after seeing him just a few months earlier in high school. In this look, Buckel battled his command, which is unusual for him. More fastballs started up in the zone than I think I had ever seen from him in several amateur looks. I’m not sure why, though I do wonder if the Rangers are playing with his delivery. Buckel lacked the same power I have seen from him in the past. The ball still came out of his hand with life, though he didn’t quite have the bite low in the strike zone that characterized his amateur success.
The Rangers have aggressively scouted Latin America for years, and if you want to see a bunch of kids take a crisp infield, this was the place. The best of the middle infielders was Leury Garcia, who could range to his right and throw with a solid average arm. He’s an above-average runner and a switch-hitting contact guy.
I only had a look at catcher Kellin Deglan in pre-game, but his athletic actions and arm strength made him stand out very easily. Third baseman Tommy Mendonca is a big body who threw well enough to stay at third but whose actions make me think first base is in the future. He has lift in his left-handed swing. I did not see third baseman Mike Olt.