It's 1:00 A.M. and I'm in Redondo Beach, and that's pretty close to Long Beach where I was all day on August 6th, 2017 for the beginning of the Long Beach Area Code Games. This was/is my first time at the Area Codes, a national tournament/showcase for soon-to-be senior high school baseball players from around the country. For more information on the event, see here.
Anyhow. Inspired by James Joyce I took the wildest, loosest set of notes today. It's basically a running diary from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM of batting practice, infield, and game situations. Below is a compilation of my thoughts on the talent I saw today (well, yesterday)
Morning Batting Practice (White Sox):
Cannon King: Upright, wristy swing. Finishes up and forward on front leg. Chris Taylor kind of look. ***This was a surprising theme, multiple RHH prospects swing an awful lot like Chris Taylor
Nicholas Schnell: Projectable body, especially on the upper half. Fly-ball endeared with a hips-heavy pre-load. Simple swing from setup through mostly upright finish. A.J. Reed-like with significantly less pounds behind it.
Allante Hall: Upright, hands/upper body heavy swing. Leans towards the pitcher and rips. No/little lower 1/2 seen in the swing, but has quick/strong hands and generates (+) bat speed anyhow.
Nathan Stevens: Wristy, low hands start to finish in the swing. Similar to Kyle Tucker in the throwback swing to the 70s/80s. Worked more of a line drive plane (which seems more appropriate for that sort of swing IMO, but that's a conversation for another time).
Luke Mann: Line drive plane, similar look, results and power to Schnell. Finishes swing with weight back. Common, simple swing seen w/ power-pull based LHH.
Alex Binelas: Quiet, calm in box. Barely a toe tap and still generates decent line-drive power.
Alek Thomas: Strong hands, narrow stance. Tips/manipulates barrel better than most seen. Chose not to wear a hat in BP, which feels relevant somehow.
Jarred Kellenic: Big raw power, aggressive swing.
Jacob Campbell: Wide stand and finish. Broad sloped shoulders on a stocky body. Less projectable look, but has present strength.
Seth Halvorsen: Adjusts body level well to finish on a variety of planes w/ the ball.
John Malcom: LHH with wild cuts. Upright stance with a bat wrap and a finish w/ all weight thrust into a stiff front leg.
Hayden Jones: Tight radius created with hands close to body. Narrow stance. Finished postured upright.
Ryder Green: Biggest power seen in BP, present 50 raw, future 60-65? Wide stance, modern stereotypical flyball swing. Extended bat path through a wide/low body finish.
Maximillian Alba: Quick body. Long limbs. Upright. (Like more as 1B than RHP).
Zaid Walker: Slower bat than most here, weaker wrists/hands. Bat looks heavy and difficult to manipulate.
Cam McMillan: Handsy swing but struggles to cover anything remotely outside w/ force behind it.
Morning Batting Practice (Nationals):
Joe Gray: Already stronger than video seen on him from a month ago. Low hands, loose bat. Still uses little hands/wrists/forearms in swing and relies on shoulders/hips/torso to drag the rest through the zone.
Korey Holland: Tight and quick hands in a compact swing. Barreled everything. (+) Contact skills, swings on a variety of planes very well. Catches up to elevated fastballs. Can prioritize contact but also showed a more aggressive ambush type swing. Best BP hit tool, for whatever that's worth.
Grayson Rodriguez: Simple LHH swing that's the trend. Pre-loaded hips to a one-motion longer swing through the zone with weight back at the finish. Looser than others w/ similar swing, throws the bat into the zone more.
Jarrett Ford: Changes body level to get to low balls and drive, but can't get taller and suit his swing to high pitches. Looks like a difficult spot for him to get to.
Cory Acton: All flyballs. LHH with an easy, fluid uppercut.
Roberto Pena: Busy in the box, looks like he idolizes Nolan Arenado. Similar swing as well. Weight moves from even to forward in swing. Never back.
Nick Zona: Loses hands from his body, out of sync often. Bat is early relative to weight behind it.
John Rodriguez: Minimal load, just tilts body toward pitcher and lets the bat go.
Kendall Logan Simmons: Top spin on every ball. Upright posture. Powerful body. Finished w/ limbs practically locked as upright as possible. Puts ball in the air w/ ease.
Alec Sanchez: Low plane, slow bat. Poor sync in body/hands. Assumed to be a catcher based on BP, but is listed as INF.
Angel Tiburcio: Stiff front leg, but manchild physique w/ major raw power.
Triston Casas: LHH w/ dead pull power. Nothing hit even close to CF though.
Jackson Haas: Kipnis setup look during his swing. Tilts his back back during his load, but looks absolutely susceptible to any sort of pitcher messing with his timing. Such a weird quirk to incorporate in the actual load of his swing.
That's the morning BP I caught. Game notes will follow shortly.