2012 Spring Training Notes: Ross, Wisler, Barbato, Jackson, Paz, De Paula, Reyes, HebnerPosted by in Scouting Reports
This is the third installment of our 2012 Spring Training Notebook, which chronicles time spent on the backfields in Arizona watching Padres prospects. Check back for more notes and observations on top players and batting practice, game and bullpen videos still to come.
Joe Ross – Ross has been the talk of spring so far among scouts and coaches. Everyone who has worked with him is quick to point out his fantastic makeup and excellent rapport with the coaching staff and his teammates – one reason why the Padres weren’t hesitant to send Ross directly to the Midwest League to start his career.
His fastball has sat comfortably in the 93-95 range, topping out at 96 in each outing. He’s got great feel for both his 12-to-6 curveball and fading changeup, throwing both for strikes to right and left-handed batters.
Ross’ delivery is very smooth and his arm action is clean. He has more than enough athleticism to repeat his delivery over extended outings and already commands his pitches well.
Padres coaches were working with Ross to extend out the release point on his curveball to give it more bite during a bullpen session as he has a tendency to throw it more for called strikes than a swinging out pitch.
Ross has a well-proportioned frame that should allow him to draw more strength in his leg drive as he matures, removing any unnecessary stress from his arm.
Matt Wisler – Wisler was locating his pitches really well when I saw him. His fastball command was very sharp, but the pitch looked mostly straight throughout his outing with a bit of arm-side run on a few.
I think there’s more velocity in his delivery, as Wisler doesn’t get great leg extension out of the windup or stretch. At times he’ll land a little stiff on his front leg, forcing his arm to do more work than it should. It’s not a huge problem at the moment as the rest of his mechanics are relatively clean, but when dealing with pitchers anyway possible to minimize injury risk is ideal.
In addition, his frame could easily add a decent amount of weight as he matures physically leading to more consistent and sustainable velocity.
Wisler’s curveball was the real star of the outing. Typically it’s difficult for young pitchers to spot a true curveball in the strike zone, but Wisler seemed more interested in throwing it for strikes than burying it in the dirt. As he advances through the organization he’ll have to learn how to do both.
His changeup definitely wasn’t the worst of all the young pitchers in the game but Wisler will struggle against lefties until it improves.
Below is a pitch chart with velocities for one of the two innings in his outing:
90-FB, 91-FB, 85-CH, 79-CB – strikeout looking
93-FB – single
92-FB – single
73-CB – ground out
79-CB – deep fly ball
John Barbato – Barbato fought with consistency while in Arizona. In the outing I watched in person Barbato had good life and tail on his fastball, but little if any idea where it was going. The pace of his delivery was inconsistent causing him to lose his release point.
When on point Barbato’s fastball is a legitimate 55/60 pitch based on velocity and movement.
His curveball looked great and could be an above average pitch in the future. Barbato’s changeup is still very rough but he has decent feel for it.
Physically Barbato has little if any projection left in his body. He’s taken a bit of heat from scouts and evaluators over the last few years but Barbato looks strong and in good shape. He definitely doesn’t have a bad body but he does have what some like to call a “work body” – meaning Barbato is going to have to work at staying in shape his entire career, not the most irrational thing ever asked of a professional athlete.
Below is a pitch chart with velocities for two of the three innings in his outing:
92-FB, 76-CB, 92-FB, 94-FB – strikeout swinging
93-FB, 93-FB, 75-CB, 92-FB – pop up
75-CB, 93-FB, 76-CB, 92-FB – fly out
93-FB – double
91-FB, 92-FB – double
91-FB, 91-FB, 72-CB, 73-CB – fly ball
91-FB, 90-FB, 82-CH, 73-CB – ground out
93-FB, 82-CH – single
90-FB, 91-FB, 82-CH, 90-FB, 91-FB – walk
83-CH, 82-CH, 92-FB – fly out
Uber Paz – Consistency is key with Paz. He’s got a very live arm and enough athleticism to repeat his delivery, but struggles with tipping his pitches by changing arm angles.
Padres coaches were working on getting his head into the same position when delivering different pitches though it was clear Paz has ways to go.
The fastball had great life to it and plays as a really heavy pitch when it’s on. His changeup isn’t bad in and of itself, but still lacks much deception – same with the curveball. Don’t be surprised if he scraps the curveball for a slider at some point.
Matt Jackson – Nothing much to say here outside of the fact that I love Jackson’s delivery. He strikes me as a guy that may not be a dominant major leaguer, but he’ll definitely have some sort of a career. Keep an eye out for him.
Jose De Paula – De Paula was working on getting better extension with his pitches and finishing his delivery when I saw him throw a bullpen session. Overall he’s got an easy delivery with great toe drag.
He’s had a declining strikeout rate and rising walk rate each of the last four seasons so more consistency could be a huge breakthrough for him.
Cody Hebner – Henber was more polished than I expected. The fastball has great life and the curveball was sharp when I saw him. His delivery adds some deception as he’ll bring his left knee almost level with his left shoulder. He’s a great athlete with a big arm so his actions are fluid throughout.
Genison Reyes – Reyes may have been the surprise of camp. When I was first told about him no one even knew with any certainty what his first name was but everyone was sure that he was ‘a guy’.
Long and lanky, Reyes has a great frame to add more strength and a lightning fast arm that lets him sit in the mid-90s. He was throwing a messy slider when I saw him that would show anywhere from plus to “wow, that looks like a really bad curveball” depending on where he released it.
He’s not a name you’ll see mentioned often, but keep an eye out for #MysteryReyes if you are around a Padres minor league field.