For those of you who aren’t aware, Mike is the brains behind the Scouting the Sally website, and with Lakewood a member of the South Atlantic League, he gets a chance to scout Phillies prospects. After a recent trip to Greenville to see the Blueclaws and the Drive, he wrote up a detailed scouting report on Jon Singleton, which you can read here. Mike was also kind enough to do an interview and share his thoughts on Jon Singleton and other BlueClaws. Check below for the Q/A
phuturephillies: Who was the biggest positive and negative surprise for you of the Phillies prospects you saw?
StS: The biggest surprise for me had to be the all-around skills of Sebastian Valle. Everything you read online about his defense is negative and it seems as if his deficiencies have been greatly exaggerated. His receiving skills need refinement, but he’s an excellent athlete for a catcher and has enough quickness and arm strength to stick.
While I was impressed with the athleticism of Jiwan James, his baseball skills weren’t as advanced as I expected them to be. I understand he deserves to be cut a little slack due to his tools and a change of position, but he was 22-months older than opposing centerfield prospect Reymond Fuentes with much less polish. The tools are impressive, but the clock continues to tick and he has plenty of catching up to do.
pp: You mentioned in your stock watch update that Trevor May was a disappointment. Do you see his flaws as purely mechanical/his approach? Is it something that should be easily correctable?
StS: May was like a prize fighter trying to push through a championship bout with a separated shoulder. He fought hard, but something just wasn’t right. Mechanical issues seemed to sap his velocity some and he was tipping his curveball. With the number of walks he has, I wondered whether he was trying to be too pretty prior to watching him pitch. May is attacking, but he just loses his release point far too often. In the South Atlantic League, pitchers like May can get by with 90-92 MPH fastballs up, but as his 5.01 ERA in the Florida State League showed, success in the Florida State League is significantly harder to attain.
pp: You tweeted that Leandro Castro impressed you. Do you think he’ll be able to handle CF defensively? He doesn’t seem to have a ton of projection left, do you see him as an every day guy or more of a 4th OF?
StS: Castro has the throwing arm and speed to play centerfield, but his routes in left field were pretty messy. I wouldn’t mind him there in a pinch, but it’s certainly not ideal in terms of maximizing his defensive value. Some regard “projection” as a player’s ability to get bigger, stronger, and faster. To me, a big part of projection is also the ability to refine tools already present. In Castro’s case, his present tools are better than the vast majority of prospects I see at the level. However, he lacks polish and additional refinement could lead to significant growth as a prospect.
pp: Jon Singleton has gotten rave reviews since joining Lakewood in May. What did you think of his approach and swing mechanics, and judging his athleticism, do you think he could be passable defensively in LF?
StS: Singleton’s swing mechanics remind me of a smaller version of David Ortiz. He has an advanced approach and extremely short swing from the left side. However, I wonder just how big the power will be when he matures. Singleton is the best hitter I’ve seen this season, but he’s a rung below the best hitters I’ve ever scouted. I wouldn’t place him in the same class as the Montero’s, Stanton’s, or Heyward’s of the world. As for left field, his arm action is more 3/4 and his throws are going to tail. Additionally, he has very long limbs which look a bit awkward on the infield. Not sure that’s going to translate well when he has to cover even more real estate.
pp: Ebelin Lugo finished the game on August 2nd, and he’s put up excellent periperhals this year in the SAL, having turned 20 at the end of April. What kind of stuff did he feature, and would you project him as having a chance to be a middle reliever in the majors?
StS:I had him up to 90 MPH with the fastball which is no great shakes. Lugo also worked in an 82 MPH slider which looked like a solid average pitch. Nothing too exciting, but better than most of the relief arms I see.
Thanks again to Mike for sharing his insights. Be sure to bookmark his site and check back regularly for views on Phillies guys and also the guys they play against.