Below is the first part of Eric’s preview of the 2012 Futures Game.
Matt Barnes RHP (BOS) – I haven’t seen Barnes yet in pro ball but got a good look at him while he was at UConn. At the time he showed plus velocity and a good breaking ball. His development depends on the development of a changeup and improvement of his control. Based on how he’s performed to this point, I’m assuming at least one of those has improved.
Dylan Bundy RHP (BAL) – Saw Bundy a few weeks ago. Yes, he’s on the short side but he compensates for the inherent disadvantages that come with his diminutive stature through other means. For starters, he uses his monstrous lower half (he has Brian Westbrook’s thighs and ass) very efficiently. He really drops and drives hard off the mound hard which I like since you know he’s not just generating oomph with his arm. Usually I’d be concerned that the combination of his height and this drop & drive would suck the downhill plane out of his stuff and he’d be flyball prone, but he comes over the top enough that he still generates good angle. He sat 95-97mph with it in Wilmington, even when he was spotting it at the knees. The secondary stuff is fine. Curveball in the upper 70s that I identified out of his hand but it’s probably a lot harder when you’re 60 feet away and worried about getting earholed by 98mph heaters. The changeup is alright. He maintains his fastball armspeed, but it doesn’t fade and run.
I’m not as hyperbolic about Bundy as other guys seem to be. He pitches up with the fastball WAY too much right now. He gets a ton of swing and misses with it right now, and he probably would at Double-A too, but it won’t fly in the big leagues. Anyone who says, “he could pitch in the majors right now and dominate” is kidding themselves. He wouldn’t embarrass himself, but he needs refinement.
Gerrit Cole RHP (PIT) – The stuff is ridiculous, saw him touch 101mph in Fall League, changeup flashes 70 grade and the slider, while a tad short when I saw him, is hard. What he doesn’t yet have is an idea of how to pitch. It’s probably a big reason why his numbers never matched the scouting reports while he was at UCLA. Sequencing is lost on him. Joe Terdaslovich popped one off him in the AFL Rising Stars game because Cole of poor sequencing. There’s number one stuff, let’s see if the secondary skills come along.
Danny Hultzen LHP (SEA) – Fastball is a tick above average, sitting low 90s. Changeup is comfortably plus with identical armspeed and disappearing fade, a good 10mph less than his fastball velo, too. The slider, mid-70s, is just average but I think it’ll play up against lefties because of Hultzen’s delivery. It’s a true ¾ delivery and he cuts himself off a bit, so he delivers the ball well behind lefties. It’ll be tough for lots of them to pick up the ball out of his hand. It’s not wow stuff, but he’s going to be very good very soon.