I get the opportunity to watch the Oklahoma City RedHawks twice a year since they play four series with the Nashville Sounds, half being in Nashville. The first series was this last week Monday through Thursday. I didn't make it to the Monday game and the Thursday game was rained out. So, this go around I was able to see two games. Following are the my notes from the games
Overall, Seaton wasn't bad. He was actually quite effective. However, I really didn't see a lot that I think will translate to the majors. His fastball was 89-93 with some decent movement. It grades out as an average pitch. His breaking ball wasn't terrible with about 11-5 break in the upper 80's. The change-up was 81-83 MPH but is inconsistent with movement. Has some decent drop to it. The problem with it is that it doesn't fool lefty's at all. He gave up a home run on an 82 CH to lefty Caleb Gindl. He has confidence in the pitch and came back and through the exact same pitch to the next batter, who was also a lefty.
I had the chance to talk to a scout about him after he left the game, and while he pitched fairly well, I wasn't sure if he showed me enough to be a ML starter. I was already on the fence before and this was my second viewing of him. When I asked if he thought he could stick as a starter, he cracked a grin and asked, "At Triple-A?" He validated my thoughts that he's likely a bullpen piece if he sticks in the majors at any point.
Lyles came out and pounded 93 MPH fastballs one after the other. Remind you of Spring Training? His command of that started off fairly well. He really focused on the fastball in his first inning of work. The second inning of work was two right handed hitters followed by three left handed hitters, so the change-up was emphasized a lot in the second inning. His third inning had a lot of his curves as he attacked righties more.
He's definitely still working on command. He wasn't as impressive as my last viewing of him in AAA.
He didn't do anything to stand out at the plate, but he made the play that had the few scouts in attendance looking at each other quite impressed. He was playing RF and he took in a flyball around the warning track and fired to 3B in an attempt to prevent the runner at 2B from moving up. His throw wasn't in time, but it was a pretty close play. That ball did not float in the air. It was on a rope into 3B and you could tell the scouts did not expect that kind of arm strength out of him.
Oh, Jimmy P. As I was watching the game with my wife, I had to look over at her and say, "He is the most frustrating prospect." He has all the tools in the world, but he just doesn't do anything with them. Because of the depth in the outfield, Jimmy P. has started getting some regular playing time at 3B to play regularly and apparently be groomed into a utility role. I will give him some benefit of the doubt since he played mostly OF in the spring, but his footwork was rough. He even picked up an error on a pretty poor throw to 1B that was very low. He's also swinging very freely at the plate. He just seems to unload blindly at the ball at times. Plenty of whiffs.
I didn't see him make the bone-headed plays in the field but I did see get to range pretty far to his left on an up the middle ground ball and make the play. So, he has good range, and I'm not going to argue against that. At the plate, he's a lot like Paredes, free swinging.
Notes are pretty much the same. The difference is that he was able to unload on a pitch as a lefty for a very nice home run over the right field wall. I will say this though, I never saw the pitcher he hit it off of get a single pitch over 89 MPH.
I spent a little more effort watching him at the plate in this game and he's very comfortable at the plate. He knows his way around the strikezone. He never seems unsure of what his plan is.
This was the game where they started to stretch him out a bit. He was primarily 88-91 on his fastball. He worked quick and effectively. Still like him as bullpen arm.
I have to save this one for last. I even received some heat on twitter for my brief comments, but I stick by my assessment. This isn't my first time to see Cosart pitch and this was the more effective performance by far. His stat line reads pretty as he struck out seven over five innings of work. He only allowed one hit and walked three. He induced six groundballs and one rare flyball out. So, just four over the minimum. It took 76 pitches to go through five innings and forty five of those were strikes.
That looks better than what I saw. The second inning was the worst of them, but I saw a guy who flies in and out of arm slot consistently. I saw a guy who threw his fastball, on average, two MPH faster than what he did in his warm-up pitches. I saw a guy who made his night living off of the term, "wildly effective."
Let me make this clear. I'm not knocking the night he had. He was effective. My notes are my assessment for what we can expect in the majors.
Here are the ages of the lineup that he faced: 24, 29, 24, 25, 25, 28, 27, 31, 29. Notice anything? A very Quad-A lineup. Hunter Morris and Caleb Gindl are the only ones considered prospects. Many of them on the lineup that night had seasons of well over 100 strikeouts. These guys went out of the zone very often.
Yes, you have hitters that expand the zone all the time in the majors and chase pitches. Cosart could probably have effective games against teams like the Braves and Phillies (and of course the Astros if he didn't play for them). But, on average, hitters have much better command of the strike zone at the ML level and will not chase a lot of his poorly controlled pitches.
He just simply cannot control his pitches. And it all relates back to his mechanics. Inverted W aside, its the high velocity scapular load which activates the stretch-reflex loop that massively accelerates his shoulder complex (which includes his upper arm) forward, which then causes extreme external rotation of the shoulder and activates the stretch-reflex again of the internal rotators. That adds up to a very fast and jerking arm and he cannot control his arm slot nor his release point.
That's not something you learn to control with experience. It's a reflex loop that's designed not to be controlled. It's neural firing pattern doesn't go to the brain where it can be adjusted by the cerebellum and other structures that I won't get into. It goes to the spinal cord and immediately goes back to the muscles. Every pitcher has that going on, but Cosart's involvement is greater.
I was able to talk to a different scout that night about it. He said essentially the same thing. He cannot control his arm slot. He thinks his arm is strong enough that his mechanics may not be a health issue, but it's preventing his control/command. His arm is all over the place. He thinks his future is in the bullpen where those issues are minimized.
There's no doubt that his stuff is electric. He can get batters out on his stuff alone at the ML level right now...if it's in the zone.