The same rival scout who critiqued infielder Jonathan Schoop in yesterday's blog entry talks about six more Orioles minor leaguers who played for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.
Pitcher Mike Belfiore, 24 - 12 starts, 12 1/3 innings, 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 14 hits, four walks, 13 strikeouts:
"Between him and (Chris) Petrini, he's the one I like better, and lots of people I talked to kind of have the same impression. He looked pretty good for the most part while I was out there. He throws strikes. He doesn't have dominant lefty-lefty kind of stuff, but I think he'll find his way up there. From what I've seen, I don't think he's going to be a guy like a Troy Patton or even what Brian Matusz was doing at the end of the year. I think he's, at best, going to be kind of an early lefty and maybe a long reliever from time to time. But he's got a good arm. He's a young kid. He's got a good fastball. He was consistently in the low 90s, and his slider was getting better as he goes. It's decent. He's got a little bit of a big league upside there. I don't see him as a specialist."
Pitcher Chris Petrini, 25 - 12 appearances, 11 1/3 innings, 0-1, 7.15 ERA, 15 hits, eight walks, eight strikeouts:
"He's probably a notch below Belfiore. He competes out there. He just doesn't have the same live stuff as Belfiore. He doesn't have anything to get guys out. No real out pitch. But he's another guy who goes out and competes and throws strikes, and because of that, he might be able to hang around a while and maybe find himself up there. To me, he's more of an organizational guy from what he's showing. That's pretty much the general consensus of others who have seen him."
Pitcher Clayton Schrader, 22 - 11 appearances, 10 2/3 innings, 0-1, 9.28 ERA, 14 hits, 12 walks, seven strikeouts:
"Schrader is interesting. He's a shorter guy, but he has a pretty strong arm. He's got a very good slider. It's just a question of throwing strikes. He was kind of all over the place when I saw him. He got himself in a lot of trouble the first time and he worked out of it. The second time, he didn't quite work out of it and he gave up a couple of runs. But I like what I saw of him during the season. He was throwing 93-94 and his slider can be a plus pitch. He can get swings and misses. He's young. He's got to have better command before he takes the next step. I think that can be a significant hurdle for him at this point and time."
Pitcher Mike Wright, 22 - Seven starts, 21 innings, 0-5, 6.43 ERA, 37 hits, seven walks, 15 strikeouts, four home runs:
"Of all the pitchers out there, he's far and away the one I liked the best. He's another guy who misses his spots too often and that's why he was giving up runs. He's got good stuff across the board, including a changeup that might end up being his best pitch. He's caught between a slider and curveball right now. He needs to make one of them better. He's got an OK curve, really slow, and an OK slider that's a lot harder. I think he needs to come up with something in between, and he's got a pretty good shot. He's a really competitive guy out there. He has a good arm. He had his fastball up to 97 and he has a really good body. This was his first full year of pro ball. You've got to give him a break, especially pitching into November. But I definitely see him in a big league rotation in a couple of years as a three or four if he progresses the way it's possible for him. He's got the arm and the makings of a good changeup. He just has to kind of figure out a third pitch, a breaking ball, and I think he'll have the total package to be a big league starter."
Catcher Brian Ward, 27 - 13 games, 37 at-bats, .297/.395/.324, one double, four RBIs:
"Ward's a catch-and-throw guy. I think he's good defensively, but I don't think he has enough bat to be a legitimate big league catcher except maybe if he gets a shot as a backup somewhere. He can catch. He's got a great arm. Of all the catchers I scouted, he has the best pure arm strength. He can really throw and he likes to throw. From what I can tell, he receives the ball pretty well. It's just a question of his bat as to whether he can be a legitimate major league player. But as a backup, I think he can hold his own. That's for sure."
Outfielder LJ Hoes, 22 - 19 games, 70 at-bats, .257/.325/.286, two doubles, six RBIs:
"Hoes is tough for me, to be honest. I don't totally know what to make of him. He's young. I think he can hit a little bit. I don't think he has enough bat to be an everyday corner outfielder and I don't think he's good enough defensively to be an everyday center fielder. He's not fast enough. He's caught in maybe being a fourth or fifth outfielder. If a manager wants to play match-ups. He can swing it a little bit. He's a line drive hitter. He uses the entire field. He doesn't have a ton of pop. I don't see him as anything more than a fourth outfielder. He's limited power-wise and speed-wise as far as what he can do on a day-to-day basis. I like his bat, though. I think he's going to hit pretty decently. I don't see any major holes in his swing. But he doesn't have what you really like from a corner outfielder. He's not going to hit 30 home runs. What he'll do is be a guy who hits .270 with six home runs. He can't be an everyday corner outfielder.
"Wright and Schoop are the most intriguing. At this point in the year it's tough to tell because some guys are tired, some just want to go home. Others are pitching like this is the most important six weeks of their entire career and they're trying to put themselves on the map. You get kind of a hodgepodge in the fall league."