P2Daily: Altoona Curve Scouting Notes

This week I’ve been in Altoona, watching a very loaded prospect team. I’ve been spending a lot of time talking with players for features that will hit the site next week.

One of the best parts of seeing a player live is that you can pick up on things you don’t necessarily notice while watching on MiLB.tv. You can see what players are doing before each pitch, how they react after the play is over, and all of those small things that happen that make the production crew decide to switch the shot and follow the action.

The Altoona coverage is going to be for our subscribers, since they paid to make this coverage possible — and for me to eat every type of Pennsylvania potato chip sold at Sheetz.

When I’m watching games, I’m taking the scouting approach and writing down observations of what I’m seeing — mostly what I might not see otherwise. To kick the Altoona coverage off, and to give the non-subscribers a look at this team, I wrote about some of what I saw over the last few days.

Matt Fraizer

I love the hustle and heads-up play I’ve seen from Fraizer this series. He constantly is taking an extra base, or keeping an inning alive. Beating out a double play at first with his speed. Sliding hard into second to force a bad throw for a slower runner behind him. Even playing shallow in the outfield, he gets back to the wall in a hurry. His offense has struggled this year, limiting how often he gets on base. When he does get on base, he maximizes his impact.

Nick Gonzales

Gonzales has one of the quickest swings I’ve ever seen, and he’s developing a tendency to hit the ball out in front of the zone. This also leaves him open to low breaking pitches that drop out of the zone at the last second. He had a great series at the plate, even though he did swing over a few breaking pitches. I talked with Gonzales about the things he was working on with his swing, and will have a feature on him next week.

Carmen Mlodzinski

Yesterday was my first time seeing Mlodzinski pitch in person. He came out of the bullpen, and struggled the first inning, before a mound visit seemed to settle him down. That lasted for over an inning before he ran into issues again. Mlodzinski has a very short and quick delivery, which he doesn’t do a great job of keeping consistent. He has a tendency to power through with added effort at the end of the delivery, and the result is his pitches being jerked across and out of the zone. He doesn’t seem to need that effort for velocity, and his pitches are effective when he’s not outwardly displaying effort.

Liover Peguero

There’s something I noticed about Peguero in the field: He’s consistently late to get set. I was watching him between Nick Gonzales and Jared Triolo — the latter being a Gold Glove third baseman who is always moving and active on the field. Peguero was constantly the last to get set of the three. There were a lot of times where his feet hit the set position after the ball made contact with the bat or the glove. Peguero is so fast and reacts well, so he can still make plays, despite starting late. He’s had issues this year with errors, and it wouldn’t surprise me if those are related to this issue. There are going to be some plays where his tremendous talent can’t make up for the split-second delay of landing in the set position after contact is made.

Endy Rodriguez

Next week I’m going to be writing about why Endy Rodriguez is my number one prospect in the Pirates’ system. This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, and this trip confirmed it. I’ll say this: He tracks the ball better than anyone on the field, on both sides of the game. He’s following the ball from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s mitt with his eyes at the plate. When he’s behind the plate, he often doesn’t even need to be looking at the ball to know exactly where it is. Rodriguez will scoop balls out of the dirt while looking at the runner at first, and his transition for throwing out runners is lightning fast. There are so many things that he does well on the field, and chief among them is his ability as one of the best contact hitters in the system. Based on reputation, Termarr Johnson might be the only player who could challenge him.

Lolo Sanchez

Sanchez has a lot of defensive range, and moves well in the outfield. He showed a lack of arm strength needed for center, with a few extra bases taken on his throws. His arm grades as below-average at best. That gives him a left-field profile, which puts a lot of pressure on his bat. Sanchez works best at the plate with a leadoff hitting profile, geared toward contact and speed. It’s difficult to make it as a starter in the majors with that overall profile.

Connor Scott

What I noticed about Scott is that he has a tendency to pull the ball, even when the pitch is outside. That’s very difficult, and this ability would play well in PNC Park for the left-handed hitter. I have to think he would benefit from going the opposite way with some of those pitches, especially the outside ones.

Aaron Shackelford

Here was a sequence I liked: Shackelford made an error at first that led to a run and the Curve losing the lead. That was despite him staying with the play and going home immediately for the runner. It was a heads-up reaction, displaying great awareness. What I liked was that he came up the next inning with runners on base and got the lead right back by dropping a hit into left field. Sometimes it’s less about the error and more about what a player does following the error.

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Josh

“Next week I’m going to be writing about why Endy Rodriguez is my number one prospect in the Pirates’ system.”

This is awesome to hear. Certainly his stats are eye-popping, particularly over the last few months, but your take on his soft skills get me really excited.

ironmike56

This is great stuff Tim as Altoona really is loaded. Looking forward to your observations on Thomas. Preister, Ortiz and Triolo. At the beginning of the year Thomas was a mess and he has turned it around. Triolo looks like a future ML regular to me. Peguero is unbridled energy and athleticism and reminds me of Marte. Nicky G at the plate always looks like he is trying to make the majors tomorrow.

Last edited 1 month ago by ironmike56
joesolo6181

Mod is running out of time to prove his worth to the organization. Another very high draft pick that is doing little to nothing.

James_Robert5

Not sure how to share the STUFF+ Google doc

In any case Mlod has stuff about as good as any of the Pirates

Spring Training tab

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AE1dNnudwRS6aLhWA1SArp1GoviUeHNcASXxtm3Le9I/htmlview

TNBucs

One of the best parts of seeing a player live is that you can pick up on things you don’t necessarily notice while watching on MiLB.tv. You can see what players are doing before each pitch, how they react after the play is over”

One thing that struck me when I went to an Altoona game was watching Alvarez head back to the dugout after his ABs–it looked like he was deep in thought processing the AB and what he could learn for the next time. That could be way off or something nearly every player does, but for some reason he stood out to me in this regard.

AlOliver16

I love this article and look forward to the articles coming. I agree about seeing things live that you don’t see on TV.

I recently saw the Pirates on the road and sat right by the on deck circle for the Pirates. It was fun to watch the routines of each player. Brian Reynolds and Kevin Newman were early in the on deck circle with a set routine and a great focus. On the other side of the spectrum, O’Neal Cruz seemed late to get everywhere, including the on deck circle. There were times he got to the on deck circle, fidgeted a little with his gloves or his hair, and then walked up and hit. No routine at all. He is young enough that he can right the ship, but he has some work to do on figuring out what it takes to stay in the majors. He needs someone he respects to get in his ear. His athleticism was amazing to see live, and he needs to be given a long leash.

Peguero may have an issue with getting set early and getting bad jumps. Sometimes they will tell a player like that to set as late as possible. Seems like Bonilla had that issue when he played third, and they had him walking into his ready position at the last second.

Nick Gonzalez and his quick swing is likely having problems with his timing of getting his foot down. That is typically why a guy with a quick swing will swing through fastballs.

NMR

Hell yes Tim.

leefieux

Endy is my top prospect, too. I think he is our future catcher and Davis our future first baseman. Endy is about our only prospect that I REALLY like. All of the rest can go either way with me. (Now that I’ve jinxed him, he’ll probably go 0-23).

I can’t believe that our crack development staff hasn’t noticed that about Peguero.

I agree on Nicky the K’s quick bat, but if you don’t hit the ball, it doesn’t help. Can’t wait to read your feature.

James_Robert5

At the beginning of the year I thought Tsung-Che Cheng would emerge as the top prospect.

At this point it does seem that Endy is #1

I guess ZZZ will need to park in the #2 slot (or 2A with Gorski)

capirate

I loved watching Paul Molitor hit years ago with his quick bat.

Colin

Great stuff! Fingers crossed our development team can turn these guys into big league talent

leefieux

Development staff hasn’t impressed me yet. Most of our prospects have seemingly gone backwards.

Colin

Agreed. Still holding out hope but won’t hold my breath

ricramer

Thanks Tim. This is why we pay for the site. Nice work.

hoptown

Great analysis. Appreciate it.

bradlej31

I did two of the games and concur with all you said with the additions: that a) I think Shackleford is a MLer now. He’s adequate at second could play RF and has the power and intangibles.

and b) that if Conner Scott developed some power I think he’d be ML regular in CF. He’s got a pretty swing, patient at the plate and can play center. Also, for folks that haven’t seen him he’s very thin. Think Glasnow but only like 6’4″. I think he could add muscle.

NMR

Scott’s turning it on in the second half again, too. Patience!

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