FSL Game Notes: Tampa & Daytona

Cubs RHP prospect C.J. Edwards

Kiley breaks down some high-end prospects he's seen recently in the Florida State League, including #2 overall pick 3B Kris Bryant, Matt Garza trade piece RHP C.J. Edwards & top Yankees prospect RHP Rafael DePaula.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Daytona Cubs

I just missed seeing Bryant a few times as an amateur and he was the top guy that I asked national and west coast scouts about most often leading up to the draft last June. Raw power grades for him ranged from 70 to 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, which converts to 30-40 homers annually in the big leagues. As with many players just drafted, Bryant is at the end of the longest season of his life and wasn't putting on a display in BP, but you could still hang a 70 on his power from seeing the ease with which he could deposit one beyond the center field fence with a lower-effort, mostly gap-to-gap approach. He's a solid runner, at least average once he gets going but is limited at third base as his size and lack of flexibility make him a little mechanical and stiff at times. Bryant is more of a long runner than a quick lateral mover and one scouting director suggested he could play center field right now, but most scouts agree his plus arm will end up in right field after he puts more weight on his lanky frame.

The question on Bryant is about how much contact he'll make and while he swung a missed a good bit in the three games I saw, I'm not overly concerned. He's new to the level, which should be a bit of a challenge for him and it's the end of a long season. Bryant is about as big at 6'5/215 as you can see a guy expected to hit for any average and many scouts comped him to Jayson Werth as an analog for a guy that should hit around .260 or .270 for most of his career. I didn't see anything in this look to edit that opinion.

Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Daytona Cubs

Vogelbach is a fun player to evaluate with, let's call it a unique physique as you can see from the video above. He's got easy plus power, advanced feel at the plate with an ability to hit the ball to any part of the field. The speed and defense aren't much to look at, but Vogelbach moves better than you'd think, is looser than you'd think in the batter's box and has made some progress in this area. He doesn't strike out much, gets more than his share of walks and I think he'll hit enough to get to his power in games. It definitely doesn't look right, but I think Vogelbach will be in my top 100 prospects list this offseason as I see a .350 OBP/.475 SLG type of first baseman that will be underestimated his whole way up the chain.

C.J. Edwards, RHP, Daytona Cubs

Edwards is very interesting case as a guy that signed in the 48th round out of a South Carolina HS for $50,000 and was completely unknown until this season, when scouts saw his full-season debut and the lanky righty was working 91-95 with three average or better pitches. His 77-82 mph curveball was plus at times for me, though it's break and consistency varied. He didn't throw a changeup his entire outing but threw a few in warmups that looked solid and other scouts that have seen him this year said they've put a 50 on the pitch. Edwards worked 92-95 mph in the first inning and toward the end of his outing was more 89-92 but had 94 in his back pocket when he needed it. He should still put on a few pounds and even with just modest improvements has mid-rotation upside that's attainable. Given the new velocity, athleticism, arm speed and looseness, all the scouts I talked to are very excited about where this could go.

Rafael DePaula, RHP, Tampa Yankees

I saw DePaula a long time ago, pitching before July 2nd in the Dominican Republic before his age troubles started and he's a different pitcher now. He's more under control now and relies more on his changeup (which he didn't have back then) more than his curveball, for which his feel varied in this outing. The velocity is still there, sitting 91-95 mph with above average life. DePaula's delivery bugs me a little bit as his short stride contributes to some command issues and inconsistencies, something Rays righty Chris Archer dealt with for awhile and corrected this season, coinciding with his breakout campaign. DePaula is loose and easy with an above average changeup that could be plus with some work while his curveball was fringy but I've seen it above average in the past. Some scouts told me they thought DePaula is a reliever based on multiple outings but we all agree the mid-rotation upside is in there. This level of adjustments is rarely made for a pitcher who is already 22, despite DePaula's unique path (stuck in the DR until 2012 with paper work issues).

Corey Black, RHP, Daytona Cubs

I wrote up Black earlier in the year and he looked similar this second time, though after the Alfonso Soriano trade, he was now facing the Tampa Yankees instead of pitching for them. He worked 93-96 mph early on and his hard 85-85 mph slider flashed above average potential while his looser 79-83 mph curveball was more average but a useful pitch. I didn't see a changeup much this time but in my earlier look it was an average pitch. There's some obvious effort to the delivery, he's a small righty and his velo drops after a few innings, so it's a pretty obvious middle reliever here even if the stuff might play in the back of a rotation in a perfect scenario.

Branden Pinder, RHP, Tampa Yankees

Pinder has some similarities to Black in that he's a pretty obvious reliever with two standout pitches that's being used as a starter now. Pinder hit 97 and worked 91-95 mph with occasional plus life and an 84-87 mph slider that was above average at times but has been above average for me in the past. He threw a couple curves and changeups that he didn't have much feel for. He has good size (6'3/215), but there's some effort and some length to his arm action that affect his command and feel, limiting his upside.

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