Scouting Reports: Delmarva & Greensboro
Last week, I provided a focused scouting report of Grayson Rodriguez. This week, I touch upon other notable prospects with the Delmarva Shorebirds and the Greensboro Grasshoppers with video from April 18th.
Adam Hall, 2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles selected Adam Hall in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft from Canada. Following the draft, an oblique injury limited him to just two games in the Gulf Coast League. Last year, the Orioles assigned Hall to the New York-Penn League, where he experienced a painfully slow start over his first 38 games (.228/.310/.279). However, he exploded in August, hitting .395/.459/.523 with 16 stolen bases over his last 24 games. This year, Hall has picked up where he left off. Thus far in Low-A, he is hitting .347/.444/.413 with an impressive 11.1% walk rate and 11-for-13 in stolen bases.
In the first video below, you can briefly hear a fan state Hall “looks like he is starving to death.” He is certainly thin, listed at 6’0″ and 170 pounds, which may be generous. Despite his narrow frame, Hall receives average raw power grades from some observers. Unfortunately, he is a pure slap-hitter at the moment, leading to only five extra base hits, a 57% ground ball rate, and a majority of opposite field contact (42.9%). The main draw, however, are his lead-off hitter characteristics. Hall possesses a quick, direct swing with easy plus speed and an aggressive approach on the bases. Indeed, he unsuccessfully attempted to advanced from first-to-third on a sharp single to right field during the game (captured in the JC Encarnacion video below).
There is a lot to like about Hall. Still a raw prospect with plus speed, he has intriguing upside if he taps into more power as he physically matures. His early success in Low-A is promising, and he could be significant riser if, and when, the power arrives.
Lolo Sanchez, LF/CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Entering last year, Lolo Sanchez was a prime sleeper candidate following a strong performance in the Gulf Coast League (.284/.359/.417 with a 19-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio). Further, the Pirates aggressively promoted him past the New York-Penn League to full-season ball last year. Unfortunately, Sanchez struggled for much of the season, hitting just .243/.322/.328. On the bright side, he was 30-for-43 in stolen bases and limited swing-and-miss (16.3% strikeouts and 7.6% swinging strikes).
This year, Sanchez returned to Low-A, and he is off to a fast start, hitting .321/.386/.551 with 6 stolen bases (on 12 attempts, ouch!). Speed remains his calling card, as evidenced by a 4.02 second home-to-first time in the first video. His issues on the bases stem from an aggressive, unrefined approach. In fact, he prematurely took off for second in the second video below, only to be saved by a dropped throw. At the plate, Sanchez remains a work-in-progress. While he continues to make plenty of contact (12.2% strikeouts and 6.2% swinging strikes), he is still pull-heavy (48%) and makes far too much weak contact. Overall, I am not buying his numbers just yet. For what it is worth, he has batted ninth in a poor lineup more often than not this year. With that said, Sanchez has the raw talent to develop into a potential five-category performer. It just may take awhile.
Cadyn Grenier, SS/2B, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles selected Cadyn Grenier 37th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. He was an integral part of the National Champion Oregon State team, supplanting Nick Madrigal at shortstop. During his junior year, Grenier hit .319/.408/.462 with 6 home runs and 9 stolen bases. Despite his prominent college role, he is a far less inspiring fantasy prospect. Grenier has both below-average hit and power tools. Further, both his plus speed and advanced defense have not been as advertised. Understandably, he has struggled thus far in professional ball, hitting just .225/.310/.333 over 62 games all in Low-A.
This game was arguably Grenier’s best offensive performance on the year, including his lone home run (sadly, no video!). Even so, he had some ugly swings and missed some hittable pitches.
JC Encarnacion, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles acquired Jean Carlos Encarnacion as the centerpiece from the Braves at the trade deadline for Kevin Gausman. Prior to the trade, he was impressing in Low-A, hitting .288/.314/.463 and flashing plus raw power. Since joining the Orioles, however, he has struggled, hitting just .218/.257/.347 with a 60-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 44 games.
Regardless, it is all about projection with Encarnacion. The first thing that stands out about him is his size. He towers over his teammates, and he likely is larger than his 6’3″ and 195-pound listed height and weight. His big frame generates plus bat speed and power potential. At the moment, his hit tool is extremely raw, his swing is long, and his approach is overly-aggressive and unrefined. As such, Encarnacion pulls nearly everything (60.5%) and suffers a lot of swing-and-miss (17.7% swinging strikes). Interestingly, the video below shows him effectively going the opposite way for a base hit.
Others of Note
Rodolfo Castro, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates made consistent hard contact against Grayson Rodriguez all day, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk (home run video below). Last year, he was overmatched in Low-A at just 18 years old (.231/.278/.395). This year, he is off to a solid start, hitting .237/.288/.542 (134 wRC+). Still just 19, Castro is an intriguing middle infield bat with some pop and solid defensive actions.
Robert Neustrom, RF/LF, Baltimore Orioles was a fifth round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft after an impressive college tenure at Iowa. He performed well in the Cape Cod League (.302/.346/.479) and during his junior year (.311/.386/.538). A strong start in Low-A this year is not unexpected for a college hitter (.309/.415/.515), but impressive nonetheless. Neustrom has potential to develop average tools across the board.
Mason Martin, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates enjoyed a loud debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2017 (.307/.457/.630). Since then, swing-and-miss issues have plagued him, including 37.1% strikeouts this year. There is legit power here, though (.279 ISO and 25% HR/FB so far).
Seamus Curran, 1B, Baltimore Orioles is a large man (6’6″ and 245 pounds). During this game, he hit a mammoth home run. As a first base-only prospect with hit tool issues (pull-heavy and lots of swing-and-miss), Curran is a long-shot to become a productive major leaguer.