The pitching was more impressive than the hitting in Memphis. I got a chance to watch several relievers (Motte, Scherer, Worrell) as well as a couple starters (Walters, Boggs) that could play roles in the future for the big league club. I also saw my two nemeses far too often.
It’s boring out here.
They don’t blow enough games in late innings at Memphis.
They’re still learning to be major leaguers. We’ve got it down already.
Matthew Scherer – He struck out 69 in 70 innings last year post a 3.52 FIP. His numbers this year aren’t as good but I was intrigued to see his arsenal. Obviously, there’s a grain of salt to be taken on a report based on 1 inning but color me unimpressed. His fastball sat in the upper 80s but didn’t touch 90. There was a scout there earlier to chart PJ Walters so I know the stadium gun was accurate as it was matching quite nicely with the scout’s readings. His secondary offering was a so-so slider that sat between 81 and 83 mph. His location was good but neither pitch looked like a major league offering. He’s an organizational pitcher along the lines of Brian Falkenborg or Andy Cavazos, imo. Someone who may come up and pick up a few innings but not someone you want on your roster long term.
I want shin guards too.
Mark Worrell – I can now confirm that he’s a side armer. It’s not hard to understand that a great deal of Worrell’s success is predicated on his being a deceptive pitcher. His fastball dives down and away from righthanders almost like a slider does from a normal pitcher. He also had a pitch that was slower but had a truer path to it. Maybe a cut fastball or splitter or something. It seemed too fast to be a changeup (low-mid 80s) but wasn’t the same velocity as his fastball which was in 89-91 range. He’s unorthodox but exceedingly effective. It’d be a nice pitcher to give hitters a different look out of the pen. (Video)
Jason Motte – Need a fastball in the high 90s? Motte’s your man. Need a breaking ball with sharp bite? Go look somewhere else. The slider is still sloppy with slow break. I’ve described it before and that all pretty much applies. The one thing that I haven’t noted previously was that it sits in the high 80s/low 90s. The scout was clocking it between 89-92mph. I’m not sure it’s a great pitch but it still comes in hard enough that it might be more effective than I initally thought. Maybe call it a 43 pitch rather than a 40. I don’t think it’s getting any better and he’s probably ready to contribute at the major league level even with a below average slider. There’s not much left to find out in the minors — his fastball was sitting 97-98 mph. I don’t think he’ll ever be a closer but he can have a nice run as a setup guy out of the pen given the velocity.
Ryan Franklin’s beard has nothing on me.
Mitchell Boggs – Boggs had his fastball working on Sunday. It was a very good pitch sitting between 91-93 throughout the entire game (he still hit 94 in the 6th inning). He located it where he wanted to moving it around the strike zone with ease. The curveball was also very good with hitters rolling over it and slamming it into the ground for easy outs. He threw a handful of sliders that just aren’t any good. He ought to just scrap that pitch; it’s garbage that doesn’t get out of the strikezone fast enough and is too easy to pick up. I’m still waiting for some kind of a third pitch but without one, Boggs has the profile of a power reliever with a plus breaking pitch.
PJ Walters – 45 Fasball, 60 changeup, 45 slider, 50 curveball. As FR commenter whopperman noted while we watched the game on Sunday, Walters pitches and you kind of forget what he’s doing until it’s the 6 inning, quality start and he’s still going. Walters mixes his pitches exceptionally well and has a real feel for pitching. His fastball sits 86-88 (per the scouts’ gun) and touches 90. The changeup doesn’t really cut away from lefties like a traditional changeup. If I didn’t know that Walters calls it a changeup, I don’t think I would. The bottom falls out of the pitch very late in the approach — maybe 5-10 feet from the hitter. It’s sudden and made more than a few hitters look like fools. The curveball and slider are so-so breaking pitches that play up because he’ll throw them at any point in the at bat. The fastball is not a good pitch though and if it’s anywhere near the middle of the zone it gets hit hard. If you want a best case scenario for Walters (and he’s a unique pitcher so this isn’t a great comp) think Bronson Arroyo. Someone who doesn’t throw hard but “pitches backwards” with their stuff. Unlike Boggs, Walters needs to succeed in the rotation because a move to the pen wouldn’t improve his chances of sticking. He’s not going to add velocity and what makes him dangerous now is mixing the pitches — there’s no fallback for Walters; he’s either a starter or a minor leaguer.