[Ed. Note: This is the second of two posts by our Hagerstown guy. Yesterday, he looked at the hitters; today, it's the arms.]
This group of starting pitchers has the most potential of any group here in quite a while. I wish I could say the same about the relievers, but such is life in Low A baseball.
Taylor Jordan — To me, Jordan has been the breakout surprise of the year, after his struggles last season at Vermont. Jordan is not overwhelming in any aspect, but lives by the basics: keep the ball down and throw strikes. The low strikeout total makes me wonder a bit about him as he rises, but not to the point of dismissal. A fastball that is not much above average means Jordan strikes me as the type that is going to have to prove himself at every level to the scouting/fan type, but I look for him to at least have a chance on the long term, even if it comes as a long reliever.
Robbie Ray — Not only are Ray’s numbers eye-popping, he has the game to match. Look beyond the numbers as Ray has moved his fastball up to the occasional mid 90’s along with a plus changeup that always plays well in the Sally. If Ray can develop a breaking ball that can be more consistent, I like his chances a lot. Ray just has the “it” factor to me that spells a guy that will makes adjustments as he rises and I would bet that the mental aspect will be a strength as he moves up the ladder.
A.J.Cole — Cole’s numbers are sharp as well with over a strikeout an inning and only eight walks in his seven starts. Cole throws a bit harder than Ray and has a curveball that breaks away from righties and has been very effective.Cole does need to fill out more, but I love the way the ball comes out of his hand. I like Cole a lot and if the Nats are not in too big of a hurry, Cole looks to be at least a middle-of-the-rotation starter if not higher.
Sammy Solis — I give Solis a bit of a pass thus far as he is still rounding into shape after a late start. Solis has made just two of his starts at the Muni, but from what I saw was a fastball in the lower 90’s, a plus change and an ability to keep the ball low in the zone. In terms of age as a college pick, one would think that Solis would be too advanced for the SAL but he missed the 2009 season at San Diego, so in terms of experience he is in the right spot. From the two times I saw him, I liked him quite a bit.
Matt Grace — I do not see much of a future for Grace as a starter at all. His stuff is limited and his control is good,but not good enough to compensate for his lack of a toolbox. Maybe since he is a lefty, he might get a shot in the bullpen eventually as that might be his best hope.
Bobby Hansen — When I see Hansen, I see Matt Grace with a little extra hop on the gas and sharper control. But look between the lines: His road numbers are dominant [2.25 ERA, 0.96WHIP, 24IP] with awful numbers at the Muni [5.65, 1.57, 28⅔]. Hansen would not be the first pitcher to hate pitching here and develop later on. He needs to keep the ball down as a groundball pitcher and I haven’t been overwhelmed with what I have seen, but those road numbers have me intrigued.
Most of the pen guys have done little for me, but there are a few exceptions.
Chris Manno — Way over this league’s head and needs a promotion ASAP. A lanky lefty that strikes guys out at almost a two whiff to innings pitcher rate? He should be doing this at his age and as a college guy, but his numbers are frightening. Count me as aboard for now.
Neil Holland — Strong as a situational guy, but I like the just one walk in 23 innings the most. I’ll need to see more, mind you, but keep him in mind as well as…
Matt Swynenberg …who recently was injured. Swynenberg reminds me of this years Rob Wort, nothing fancy just production. My question with him is the same as Wort’s last season: Is it the funky delivery against this level of hitter? Or will it play as he rises?
Ben Graham — Brian Daubach must like Graham because he uses him in save situations over the above two, but I have not seen anything stand out to me. Considering he turns 24 in November,I do not like his chances.
Wilson Eusebio — Throws reasonably hard, but his fastball does not move and he makes me think of being a pitcher that is serviceable enough here, but gets hammered in Potomac. [Ed. Note: See Garcia, Luis]
The Rest — Paul Applebee and Sam Brown are OS types and Shane McCatty might be the one reason that you could point to for the Suns first-half collapse. Why he seemed to be on the mound in tight situations/important games is a question that I cannot answer….
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, drop them here as I’ll check them out for a few days or stop by my blog located on Sue’s blogroll.