MiLB.TV is like the first two days of March Madness, except it’s on every day, and every game looks like your dad’s home videos from the 80’s. I was flipping around like crazy trying to catch as many high profile at-bats as I could, along with extended stretches from pitchers of interest. Whenever I have something of value to pass along, or something to add to the conversation, I will do a quick write-up the morning after. Here is the first MiLB.TV Prospect Scouting from the Couch: Opening Day:

Max Fried ATL, LHP –  The hype was in overdrive this off-season for Fried, with talk of three 70 grade pitches and ace upside. That might all be well and true, but he certainly didn’t show it in this start before leaving with back tightness in the 2nd inning. He was sitting around 89-92 MPH with his fastball all night, and had very little control or command over it. To be fair, the ump was squeezing him a bit. The curveball is MLB ready right now, breaking off one nasty curve after another that hitters had no shot on. He used his changeup often as well, which is more solid than spectacular right now. If he can stay healthy and have the fastball tick up a few MPH as the year goes on, the hype will surely continue to roll, but there is legitimate control/command and injury risk.

Harrison Bader STL, OF – There was no way I was missing Bader lead off the season for Triple-A Memphis, and he didn’t disappoint by crushing a homer on the 2nd pitch. I don’t know what the pitch was or where he hit it out, because the camera man decided a tight shot of mostly Bader’s ass was the right move to start the game. It reminded me of the brilliant work of Howie Halpern from my childhood, when he forgot he was supposed to be video taping his children, and focused just on his feet. Either way, it was obvious he crushed the pitch with his wrecking ball of a swing, and I found out it was a homer when he started jogging half way to first base.

Josh Hader MIL, LHP – Back to pitching on the dark side of the moon in Colorado Springs, Hader battled through 5 scoreless innings, giving up 1 hit, 5 walks, and striking out 6. His stuff is so unhittable it looked like the very best opposing hitters could do was foul off as many pitches as possible and hope for a walk eventually. He was mostly fastball/slider all night, and is going to need to work on a third pitch if he wants to reach his ace potential. He could probably be a dominant reliever in the Big Leagues right now.

Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Faria will throw that nasty change-up for strikes in any count, but try not to laugh when he flings up some dinky curveball. Even he shook his head after a few particularly lame ducks. Until he figures that out, it will be more of the same of what we saw last night, which was 9 K’s and 2 homers allowed in 4.1 IP.

Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – There is not a more exciting at-bat in the minors than Bellinger. Every single swing is an epic hack. Combine that with athleticism and blinding bat speed, and it is a thing of beauty when he makes contact. He crushed two doubles last night. I’m still worried that better pitching with a specific game plan could give him trouble, but I’m really rooting against that. Baseball will just be more fun if Bellinger has success and kids start emulating him.

If at any point in the season you are interested in my thoughts on a player, please let me know in the comments section or on Twitter, and I will try to make it a point to catch a few of their games.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

12 thoughts on “MiLB.TV Prospect Scouting from the Couch: Opening Day

  1. Michael,

    I came across the prospect podcast (go check it out people—->( )) over the Winter when I needed a crash course for my expansion Dynasty team’s 1st Year Player Draft and have been following you and Ralph ever since to help guide me through the process of drafting my Dynasty team. It was a few years since I’ve been up on my prospect game so for that help, I thank you! I really think you and Ralph are the goods regarding prospects so you have a loyal listener until ya know, you fuck my team royally 😉

    So here’s a question for you, I drafted Senzel in the FYPD and love him. I was approached about him in a trade and was wondering how you would price him out in a strictly prospect trade. The other owner drafted Zack Collins and I think I would want him in the deal, the question is how much more should I legit demand in return since Senzel is the safest and closest college bat in this past draft (and I always want to try and win asap instead of 3-5 years down the road).

    I should mention that the format is OBP instead of AVG
    Some other prospects the other owner has are:
    Jake Bauers
    Willie Calhoun
    Vlad Jr.
    Ronald Acuna
    Juan Soto
    Raimel Tapia

    Obviously which player(s) I want in return is dictated also by my roster, but I didn’t want to over inundate you with more info than I already have haha.

    Happy National Beer Day by the way, have one during the pod taping!

    1. Awesome to have you as a listener! At least until we steer you wrong, haha … which will probably be inevitable at some point in this game of prospects.

      With you completely on strategy, as I don’t like looking 3-5 years out in fantasy rebuilds either. OBP over average makes Collins even more attractive, as Collins will likely outdo Senzel in power and OBP. Senzel is still just so much safer and should produce in every category. It isn’t a move I would be apt to make, unless you can get one of the prospects from Vlad Jr down. I love Willie, but I try to value prospects objectively in trades like that, so I don’t like paying “full value” for guys who I love as sleepers (the entire point is that you should be able to get them for like nothing). Bauers and Vogelbach just never really did it for me. So if you can get one of those high upside pieces or Tapia included, I would pull the trigger. If not, just hold.

  2. Thoughts on Honeywell? 12k’s in 6 innings is impressive. Should he be moving up the ladder on the prospect list?

    1. Just finished talking about him on the podcast coming out tom. Still don’t love the fact he will be in the AL East, but the more the strikeouts show up, it is hard not to love him. Very advanced and really good stuff too.

  3. Oh no worries, I understand the inherent pitfalls of baseball prospecting and expect a handful of my current prospect loves to end up bad… but please, not Tyler “The King of the North” O’Neill! Did you see him in the WBC by any chance? Dude looked overmatched and tentative, but a super small sample size AND he was probably realizing he had to pick up the immense slack that that Canadian lineup left. (Sorry Pete Orr and friends) I was thrilled to see him take Kershaw deep after he got back to Mariner camp though, made me feel all tingly again…. you know, in a baseball way…

    Totally with you regarding not overpaying for “sleepers”, Willie was not a keeper for the purge draft and this guy got him mid to late rounds of that purge draft. I may be able to get a 2 for 1 with one of those other players listed from Vlad on down. I should also mention that I’m dripping in 3B prospects (Matt Chapman, Bobby Dalbec, Lucas Erceg, Austin Riley, and of course Senzel) if that plays into your logic of a potential deal.

    Thanks for the quick response!

  4. Cool cool thanks man. Oh, and I love that Grey keeps giving Ralph shit while at the same time he calls himself “A Halp Man.” Haha, he just keeps riding his ass. The two pods with you guys and Grey were really entertaining. I would hope for more of that in general for what it’s worth.

    1. ** I should clarify not more of Ralph getting shit thrown his way necessarily, but just you guys with Grey on a pod.**

      1. Yeah no I like Ralph too, it’s just to0 funny and obvious that Grey is making an effort to give him shit haha

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