This week, the Chicago Cubs traded lefty reliever Andrew Chafin to the Oakland A’s for a couple promising prospects, and while it’s good to read up on them as best we can, I find it is also useful to do some eyes-on work with the video available.
I’ll try to be consistent with this format with all the players the Cubs acquire this week once I get a chance to watch them for an hour or so on video …
Description: Listed at 6-2, 205, selected out of LSU in the second round of 2017 (between the Cubs picks of Alex Lange and Cory Abbott) draft. Played on the 2019 Mesa Solar Sox with a handful of Cubs prospects, which surely provided Cubs some detailed scouting. Starts with high hands in front of his body (in the way Shogo Akiyama does, but less pronounced), and has really shortened to the ball. Swing path reminds me of Chris Coghlan. A little more to the finish – and a little more size – suggests greater power potential. Really chokes up on two strikes.
Skills you’re excited about: Pitch recognition jumps out on video. Sees spin right out of the hand and spits on it. Isn’t willing to budge off the specific pitch and location he’s looking for while in hitter’s counts. Two strike approach allows him to foul off lots of balls and get into deep counts. Makes sense in leadoff profile. Raw power plays to all fields, showed in 2019 the ability to go over the left-center fence.
Development that needs to happen: If you consider the highly favorable offensive environment that Deichmann has played in this year on the west coast, and you adjust his power numbers to reflect that, he looks puzzlingly punchless. There has to be a philosophical decision made about his hitting approach moving forward. If he stays like this, with a contact-focused approach and shortened swing, you’d like to see a greater use of the opposite field, where his usage has dropped in each professional season. If you’re considering trying to access that power, I think you probably look to move that contact point forward a bit and encourage him to be a driver of early-count fastballs. Does not seem comfortable against left-handed pitching, particularly front-hip breaking balls.
Trying to contextualize him in the system: I think it’s interesting to think about Deichmann in relation to Alfonso Rivas, the other A’s acquisition experiencing success in Triple-A this year with a line drive approach. I think Deichmann has both more physicality and athleticism than Rivas, so I give him the edge. But if I jump up to Chase Strumpf, who is struggling in Double-A like Deichmann did in 2019, I think I lean with the Cubs stalwart due to age and a likelier path to reach above-average power at his respective position. I think he checks in shortly after that, however, with his high floor giving him the edge (for me) over guys like Yohendrick Pinango, Cole Roederer, and Christian Franklin. So I think a 10-15 guy in the system.
Description: Listed at 5-11, 160, but I bet the weight is up as Palencia has filled-out thighs. Slow-building delivery with long arm speed, seems like relatively short extension and then a little violence with his shoulders/head and quick arm create velocity. Does a really nice job staying on line towards home plate. Physical build on the mound can remind of Alzolay. Lesser athlete.
Skills you’re excited about: Velocity in the mid 90s that has reached the upper 90s. And more importantly, really solid control of the pitch, particularly when considering the context of extremely limited professional experience. I think the best current secondary is a changeup — which is a fact probably confirmed by his 500 OPS point reverse platoon split — that’s firm and flashes modest fade.
Full thoughts tomorrow @BleacherNation but one thing that struck me in watching Daniel Palencia film that was different than reports I’d read was I think the changeup is his clear best current secondary offering. Here’s the best one he’s thrown this year. pic.twitter.com/zX6vW130Ik
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 27, 2021
Development that needs to happen: The fastball command is really solid at the knees, but very limited at belt-and-above level. Cubs surely like the combination of velocity and size to project Palencia as a Vertical Approach Angle benefactor but that depends on spotting high fastballs more often. Curveball shape is okay — though not tunneled particularly well — but I don’t think has earned more than two swings and misses all season (versus plenty of contact). Gets better when thrown with more deliberate intent. I noted one slider in the June 22 start, but that’s a pitch the Cubs could help him build up from scratch.
Trying to contextualize him in the system: I’m a little hesitant to call Palencia a top 30 organizational prospect right now, despite the national outlets high opinion of him. We don’t talk about Danis Correa that way, who is a similar profile (with more success this year), probably because he’s officially been moved to relief. Someone like Tyler Schlaffer, who I profiled yesterday, is a similarly short right-hander with good arm speed, but I like Schlaffer’s secondary profile (and athleticism) better, even if he throws about 5 mph slower. So while I see upside in Palencia, I’ll say that I view him more as a 30-50 guy in the system.