Yesterday, we looked at the 140-character version of Baseball Prospectus’s Jason Park’s visit to Cubs Park, and today he offers up a more robust take over at BP. Eyes on scouting reports of Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Kris Bryant from a smart dude like Parks? Yes please.
- On Almora, Parks appears to have been very impressed with Almora’s pull-side power and hip rotation. Both would allow Almora to hit for more power than he might otherwise be projected for (Parks says Almora looks stronger this year, too). If Almora could add a little more pop to his game, watch out.
- Parks goes into some depth analyzing Bryant’s swing, which is a fairly involved thing, given Bryant’s size. The upshot is that Parks really likes the way Bryant uses his body fluidly, and believes Bryant’s raw power is going to play in games. A snippet on one of Bryant’s in-game at bats: “Most young hitters—playing in the main stadium against quality arms—will come up to the plate hacking, looking to drive the ball and make the most of the playing time, but Bryant came to the plate with a plan and executed that plan, even if he did go down on strikes. It was a good at-bat from a very good young hitter, and if that is the way he’s going to approach the game, Cubs fans could be in for a real treat as early as this season. This kid is going to hit and he’s going to hit very soon.”
- Naturally, the most effusive praise came from the Baez analysis. Parks believes that Baez has the best all-around ceiling in the minors, and compares his pre-swing waggle to that of (you guessed it) Gary Sheffield. “It’s not something you would teach, and unless you are special it’s not something that will work. But Baez is special. It’s a beautiful stroke once he lets it loose, and despite the noise and the wrap, the hands are elite and he sends the bat through the zone on an elevated line-drive plane.” The best Parksian description of Baez: “Baez has the best bat speed I’ve seen since I started evaluating talent at the minor-league level, and it might be some of the best bat speed I’ve seen period. It’s violent—no doubt—and I’m not always sold that he can control the bat after he triggers. But when he unsheathes that weapon and it finds the ball, the cowhide screams in what I believe to be both ecstasy and agony.”
- Perhaps the only downside Parks offered was that, because of Baez’s frame and powerful lower-half, you could see him filling out in a way up top that will make shortstop unrealistic down the road. Even still, Parks is confident that Baez can play shortstop (well) right now.
- Read the full piece for much more on each prospect, as well as some scouting bits on other top prospects around the game. And then remember that Parks wasn’t even there yesterday for Baez’s huge opposite field bomb.