A few days ago I was on hand for Tyler Cloyd’s start against Jeurys Familia in Lehigh Valley. Triple-A has become more of a taxi squad of players than a haven for prospects, but I was able to catch a glimpse of some very promising arms and here are some scouting notes on the kids I saw.
Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Phillies; Age: 25; Stats: 14-1, 2.07 ERA, 148 IP, 104 SO, 34 BB (Double-A & Triple-A)
Cloyd is the perfect example of a guy whose numbers absolutely lie to you. He’s enjoying a fantastic season in Triple-A, he’s still very young, and he misses bats. What’s not to like? Well, Cloyd doesn’t have a plus pitch. He uses a 40 fastball, a 50 slider, and 70 control to paint the corners and induce poor swings. The fastball sits 86-88 and the slider is 80-82. There’s some glove side run on the fastball and nice bite on the slider, but both are really only good enough for Triple-A. His delivery is somewhat repeatable, with early momentum towards the plate and only slight imbalances with his body and his head. He has a chance to make it as a reliever and deserves a chance to fail at the next level, which might come in September.
Jeurys Familia, RHP, Mets; Age: 22; Stats: 7-, 4.98 ERA, 112 IP, 100 SO, 66 BB (Triple-A)
The polar opposite of Cloyd, Familia uses a plus fastball (94-96 with life), a plus slider (83-84 with excellent depth and plenty of bite), and a show-me changeup (88-89) to get hitters out in Triple-A. Familia is a big boy, regardless of what he’s listed at. The %%%-year-old needs to find ways to use his weight better, as he’s an exceptionally poor fielder and struggles to repeat his delivery, which obviously costs him command. The delivery is pretty violent, but I don’t think a violent delivery is necessarily the kiss of death for pitchers, as many have made it last for years. Familia’s upside lies in the development of his third pitch. The changeup was pretty lousy; I’d grade it a 35. If he can develop an average pitch, we’re probably talking about a #3 starter in the big leagues. If not, he could pitch in the back end or be an awesome late-inning reliever.
Jake Diekman, LHP, Phillies; Age: 25; Stats: 1-1, 0.96 ERA, 18.2 IP, 25 SO, 7 BB (Triple-A); 1-1, 4.64 ERA, 21.1 IP, 29 SO, 15 BB (MLB)
This was the first time I saw Diekman live, and it was a lot of fun. His plus-plus fastball (95-98) and plus slider (84-85) are an outrageous tandem. The fact that it comes from the left side is gravy. It’s a weird, low ¾ delivery, but he hides the ball well, which allows the fastball to play up even more. Ultimately, Diekman should be the type of pitcher that’s used in incredibly high-leverage situations night in and night out. Expect to see him in a few All Star games, too.
Elvin Ramirez, RHP, Mets; Age: 24; Stats: 3-1, 1.98 ERA, 41 IP, 44 SO, 21 BB (Double-A & Triple-A); 0-1, 7.30 ERA, 12.1 IP, 10 SO, 11 BB (MLB)
I saw Ramirez throw three pitches, so I didn’t get a great feel for his mechanics, but I saw him throw a hard biting slider (flash of plus) that grabbed the outside corner (82), then two fastballs (both 95) to generate swings and misses. Nothing definitive, but has the makings of a solid reliever.
Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Phillies; Age: 23; Stats: 2-1, 3.63 ERA, 39.2 IP, 53 SO, 32 BB (Triple-A)
11th overall pick? Sure, I get it. Long levers, plus-plus fastball that sits 94-95 and touches 97, and a plus slider are the things that once made Aumont a top prospect. Aumont showed a changeup (87) that looked average, but it was random and he didn’t go back to it. The Phillies are in an awkward spot with relievers, as Jonathon Papelbon is entrenched in the closer’s role with a bad contract, and folks like Antonio Bastardo and Michael Schwimer are solid pieces in the back end of the pen. Thinking about how much teams have paid for relief pitching in recent years, the Phillies could be sitting on a pair of gold mines in Aumont and Diekman. Six years of controlled relief should have huge value and the Phillies could eventually flip one of these arms for Josh Reddick, Raul Alcantara, and Miles Head*.
*Sorry Boston, I had to do it.
Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies; Age: 22; Stats: .252/.273/.476, 14 HRs, 12 BBs, 90 SOs
Valle was the only position player that stood out for me. The Mets had a few guys who have been up and down, but nothing I feel like dropping more than six words on. Valle is an athletic catcher, and he’s pretty good at blocking balls in the dirt and preventing wildness. He flashes a plus arm with pop times in the 1.9 neighborhood and a quick transfer and release. At the plate, he couldn’t get the bat on breaking balls and looked a bit lost. He was able to make contact with premium velocity, but Buffalo pitchers recognized his inability to hit the breaking ball and attacked him. Valle has above average power potential, but there’s plenty of swing and miss in his game. Valle’s upside as a hitter lies in how he adjusts his approach. He’s going to have to get better at pitch recognition if he wants to hit even a lick. Ultimately, I think we’re looking at a Rod Barajas type, who plays over a decade in the show, hits plenty of home runs, but never garners a Hall Of Fame vote.
Overall, my experience at my first (and probably last) Triple-A game of the summer was not terrible. There are some guys who are very close and just need to continue logging innings or ABs. I sat about five feet away from Mets’ top prospect Zack Wheeler, but didn’t realize it until I saw a picture of Wheeler after the game. The Mets and Phillies are both teams that clearly still value Triple-A development, so it wasn’t a bad night for a prospect junkie like myself.