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Catching up with Diamondbacks 3B Prospect Ryan Wheeler

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February 17, 2012

Wheeler in the Day (photo: Baseball Beginnings)

Ryan Wheeler is the classic example of why, as a scout, you must refute the notion that “there are no secrets.”

Man, I love Wheeler. Pretty soon he’ll have a dollar for everyone who missed him.

He played more basketball than baseball. And when he played baseball, you would have seen a left-handed high school hitter with a smooth, easy swing. Now, about five years later, he’s knocking on the door of the big leagues. This is a guy who was going to beg his way onto a junior college team until he tripped into Loyola Marymount.

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Arizona Instructs Notebook, Part 3

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November 13, 2010

 

Putting on the mileage, wearing out the boots, stocking up on the sunscreen. Next stop, the backfields to look at the A’s, White Sox and Rangers. As I have mentioned before, I didn’t see every guy on each roster, so as usual, I can only give you the guys I saw.

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Arizona Instructs Notebook, Part 2

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November 7, 2010

Continuing our walk through the backfields. You can read Part 1 right here.

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Scouting Video/Update: Drew Pomeranz, LHP, No. 5 overall 2010 MLB Draft (Cleveland Indians/Ole Miss)

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November 6, 2010

Drew Pomeranz got a ton of money, a summer vacation, and his feet wet in Instructs. In this look, he was 89-94 with a high 3/4 arm slot. Fastball has occasional cut and 40 command. CHG 82 lacks feel and consistency. Slurve, 79, has depth and arm speed to be average or above-average in time. Bullpen arm if rushed, potential no. 3 starter if allowed to develop secondary stuff.

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Arizona Instructs Notebook, Part 1

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October 30, 2010

Time to open the notebook and have a look at the Arizona Instructional League. These are players I saw that I liked for various reasons. Sometimes they are playing out of position from what they are typically listed as. We’ll go team by team. These aren’t going to be exhaustive because I didn’t see every single guy. These will be the guys who stood out or guys we have previously seen on this site. You also have to consider that guys are gassed at this time of the year. Many of these players have just finished their first full-length pro season. What you want is the pure tools, even if the guy is beat. In this environment, the tools won’t usually hide. To the backfields we go:

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Scouting Update: Davidson, Skaggs, Linton, Arenado & More

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October 24, 2010

My travels brought me to Chase Field in Phoenix recently to watch the Diamondbacks and the Rockies instructional league teams. I had a good updated look at many of the players we have previously seen on this site: Matt Davidson, Nolan Arenado, Tyler Skaggs and others. Read on.

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Scouting Update: Jake Thompson, RHP (Tampa Bay Rays)

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August 25, 2010

I was just strolling through the visiting locker room at Angel Stadium when the Tampa Bay Rays were in town this week. I had a nice long look at the pitchers, and most of the time, I had a kink in my neck looking skyward. For a second there, I wasn’t sure if I was in the NBA. I’ve been in an NBA locker room a handful of times in my career, but I know my way around a big league locker room. And I wouldn’t have to be as sharp of a baseball thinker as I am to realize that the Rays like their pitchers to physically profile to be taller than the trees.

Up in the paper mill towns where the New York-Penn League plays is where former Long Beach State right-hander Jake Thompson is getting his feet wet in pro ball. I always liked Thompson, for two reasons: big arm, big competitor. He was just a name on a list in a lot of the pre-draft stuff, and to be honest, Beginnings liked him a lot more than most.

West Coast bias? Um, no. Power arm bias, with a hard and nasty slider, better pitch-ability than he got credit for, and a legendary streak as a 50-50 ticket seller back in Chatham. We had a look at him last week in short-A.

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Catching up with Rockies LHP prospect Tyler Matzek

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August 18, 2010

Tyler Matzek was a first-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2009 from Capistrano Valley HS

As a young pro in his first full season, it’s fairly obvious from a developmental standpoint to see what the Rockies are having left-hander Tyler Matzek work on. He came into pro ball with a curveball he trusted and a change-up he rarely used. The Rockies, for all intents and purposes, told him to shelf the curveball and learn to compete with his weakest pitch to make himself better. They also had him work on tightening up his delivery to get better downhill plane.

The numbers are solid but irrelevant in the long term, because these are developmental stats more than they are performance stats.  Matzek feels that, by and large, most of the walks he has allowed have come from not yet being able to consistently throw the change-up for strikes. The other weapons are there, which is why in his first 12 starts and 60 2/3 innings for Asheville, he had allowed 48 hits, a solid figure, and 40 walks, a number he wants to get down. He had 63 strikeouts, so there’s the fastball that in high school was 87-90 early in the spring 2009 draft cycle and 90-94 as he loosened up.

Matzek, 19, explained how he feels his velocity and command have been steady this season. He’s had a few moments where he questioned himself, especially in situations where he has had to learn to compete with what prior to this season had been his third or fourth best pitch. That comes with the turf, but much of being a young pro is about learning how to battle when you’re learning on the job. This is what ancient big leaguers mean when they talk about not getting too high or too low. The game is too hard not to hang on tight to proper perspective.

Baseball Beginnings and Matzek caught up again recently to break down his first season, the ups and the downs of being a new pro, and what factors have gone into the numbers that have come up so far. He’s from our very first draft class, 2009, and we’re always glad to welcome him back to the site.

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