Scouting Mariano Rivera Jr.

Mariano Rivera Jr.           RHP        Evaluated 3x in 2017, Most Recently 6/6/17

Fastball (45/50)   Slider (40/45)   Changeup (30/35)   Command (40/40)

Washington’s 4th round pick in 2015, signed for $410,700; 23.5 y/o who is listed at 5-11 155lbs and looks smaller, appears to be wearing his older brother’s uniform; very little to no projection left.  Rivera’s a pure relief prospect, pitching exclusively from the stretch and utilizes an almost straight over the top arm slot.  He has a fast arm and a short arm swing.  His mechanics are not particularly smooth, as his medium leg lift leads into throwing off a stiff from leg and a significant head “whack” after foot strike.  Furthermore, he struggles repeating his delivery, hindering both his command and control.

3-pitch repertoire: Fastball (90-93mph, T94) shows late life and occasional arm-side action when he stayed on top; pitch flattens with little plane when he drops his arm slot.  The fastball “plays down” due to the lack of movement and command issues.  The slider (84-87mph) is extremely inconsistent – at the lower bands he struggles with his location and the pitch becomes slurvy.  At the higher velocities it works more like a cutter, sometimes moving away from the barrel and other times finding the heart of the zone.  Rivera will throw the occasional (81-83mph) changeup, but it is a subpar offering as he visibly slows his arm down, causing it to resemble a batting practice fastball.  I applaud the effort in trying to throw a changeup, but it needs significant improvement to be a major league offering.

Rivera has looked underwhelming in each of the outings I have seen this season.  It is concerning he is acting as a non-closer in High-A two years post-draft and struggling against younger competition.  He has good fastball velocity and shows the ability to spin a breaking pitch, but his lack of an above-average pitch and mediocre command limits his ceiling.  Considering he is a 4th round pick and the son of the greatest reliever in history, he will get more opportunities than similarly talented prospects.  However, Rivera profiles as a reliever who stagnates in the upper minors, with the best case scenario being he gets a “cup of coffee” in the major leagues.

Eyewitness Evaluation – Potomac Nationals CF Victor Robles

Victor Robles      CF           Potomac Nationals

DOB:  5/19/97      Height: 6-0        Weight:   185      Bats:  Right         Throws: Right

7-Word Scouting Report:  Elite Prospect, Exceptional Athlete, Impact 2-Way Centerfielder

Future Grades:   Hit (60) Power (55)   Run (60+)   Defense (60)   Arm (60+)

International free agent signed for $225,000 by Washington in 2013; 20y/o listed at 6-0 185lbs with impressive physicality – a lithe, projectable obvious athlete with long legs, a high waist and a wiry upper body, projects to add 7-10lbs of muscle as he matures.  Robles possesses plus or better speed, routinely posting 4.12 – 4.18 second times home to first.  He appears to have quality makeup, seems popular with his teammates and is consistently smiling on the field.

In the field Robles has outstanding potential – he has a very strong arm for center field, shows good carry and accuracy, easy “60”.  Robles utilizes his plus speed to cover tremendous ground, excellent range in all directions.  Only (minor) knock defensively is Robles does not always take the most direct route to the baseball – this should improve with repetition but instincts are more solid than elite.  Profiles well as a “60” defender in center field.

Right-handed hitter; quick-twitch athlete with lightning fast wrists – generates obvious and noticeable bat speed, whips the barrel through the zone.  Advanced approach at the plate and awareness of the strike zone, will work the count, hunts fastballs and recognizes spin well.  Impressive barrel skills, which coupled with impressive bat speed allows the ball to jump off his bat – shows power to all fields during batting practice and to the pull side in game action, generates more power than one might expect from his physique.  Robles reminds me a great deal of Alfonso Soriano with his swing and body.  Still needs minor league at-bats, but projects as a potential plus hitter with above-average raw power.

Robles is a truly exceptional athlete with developing 5-tool major league potential.  The only true warts in his game at this point are a lack of polish both offensively and defensively – he needs refinement in the outfield to improve routes and the challenge of Double-A pitchers with better command and offspeed offerings.  He should receive a promotion to Double-A in the next 30-45 days and could reach the major leagues sometime in 2018 as a 21-year-old.

Robles has a relatively high floor as a prospect due to his defensive ability, speed and raw power – he profiles comfortably as a league-average center fielder if the hit tool lags against better competition.  Robles projects as an impact 2-way centerfielder at his peak, with a ceiling as a .280-.290 hitter with mid-teens power and fringe gold-glove defense.  This is an elite talent and one of the best prospects I have evaluated at this level.

Evaluating Riley Pint RHP Asheville Tourists

Riley Pint RHP Asheville Tourists Low-A (Evaluated 4/9/17)

Fastball (50/65) / Curveball (45/55) / Slider (40/50) / Changeup (35/45)

“We ARE selling jeans here!” – looks the part, standing a wiry 6-4 195lbs with potential to add 15+ pounds.  4th overall pick to Colorado in the 2016 MLB Draft, signed for a $4.8 million bonus.  High 3/4s arm slot, nearly from his right ear; struggled repeating his mechanics, often under-rotating, sending his fastball high and arm-side.  Easy velocity, looks like he is playing catch – mechanics need refining to improve command/control but no obvious flaws.

4-pitch repertoire-  Fastball sits 95-98mph touching 99mph 4x – lower velocities can show sinking and/or cutting movement, upper velocities are lively with arm-side wiggle.  Curveball sits 79-83mph with 11-5 movement and late breaking action; starts behind the batter and made several look foolish; true swing-and-miss “55” potential.  Showed a few 83-85mph sliders with some hard, late bite; inconsistent but potentially average.  Changeup 89-90mph shows excellent arm speed and tumbling arm-side movement; struggles to locate for strikes as it fades out of the zone but freezes batters – “45” potential

Pint will spend all year at 19 y/o and will experience growing pains in his 1st year of full season ball; injury risk due to the premium velocity for a high school arm; will need 3+ years of minor league development.  Fastball command will determine ultimate role.  #2 starter ceiling, with the likely outcome being a mid-rotation starter and floor as an impact reliever.

Scouting Weston Davis RHP Hagerstown Suns

Weston Davis RHP Hagerstown Suns (Evaluated 4/9/17)

Fastball (40/45)                 Slider (30/40)                     Changeup (30/35)

Intriguing, projectable athlete listed at 6-3 185lbs, with easy potential to add 15+ pounds as he matures.  Throws from a low 3/4s arm slot, between the letters and his arm pit.  Uses a simple one-step and rock windup, repeats his mechanics reasonably well.  Arm slot leaves him particularly susceptible to lefties.

3-pitch repertoire – Fastball (89-92mph T93) shows some arm-side run and natural sinking movement, especially at lower velocities.  Struggles with his command AND control, particularly to the arm-side.  Slider (73-75mph) has 10-4 sweeping movement; inconsistent both in shape and throwing for strikes – can spin the pitch and shows some potential but extremely raw.  Changeup (80-83mph) replicates his arm speed well but shows precious little movement; more similar to a batting practice fastball.  Can locate for strikes but not enough sink or fade to disrupt hitter’s timing.

11th round pick in 2014 (signed for an over-slot $200,000 bonus), the 20.5 y/o has an ideal pitcher’s frame, a quality fastball and natural movement on his pitches.  His main weaknesses include his below-average command/control and nascent secondary offerings.  This is an interesting arm and a “name to remember” but unless his command and off-speed pitches improve, he is likely to stagnate in the upper minors.

{ Editor’s Note: Apologies for the lack of pictures and video of Mr. Davis – It was not from a lack of effort but rather a lack of photographic talent. }