Thanks Jeff. I agree with the formula and progression...especially if one has the needed and special natural heavy action. Speed alone can be hit. That combination as he learns to place it with less to worry about can be a key to help guard success!
Just discovered the Seedlings To Stars site, and it looks pretty kewl at first glance.
I'm always a bit taken aback to see a national site write up a local prospect and sound pretty much like the locals would on that kid. As mentioned, Seedlings to Stars isn't based in Seattle as far as I know, but they've ranked Jose Campos #82 in baseball. Campos is the only Northwest Leaguer to make their top 100. Like we said, they must be completely brilliant, eh.
I don't think there is any question that Paxton, Taijuan, and Danny Hultzen rank even higher than Campos does, whether you are talking about (1) upside or (2) probability of ML success.
As the 80'ish, 90'ish rankings for Campos roll in this winter, it will become ever more obvious that the Big Four SP's are four of the minor leagues' top 100 commodities -- which is to say, that the M's have four of the top 50 pitchers in the minors.
And that doesn't include Michael Pineda, who if he paradigm'ed out as a prospect, would be #1 in baseball.
A bit of kibitz'ing on S2S' fine article:
We knew that, but S2S is a national site, so you gotta like the fact that they put their finger on the right spot here.
Every 18-year-old's frame projects for him to add velocity. That's the default assumption. Sometimes an 18-year-old won't gain velo, but usually he will. You pencil Campos in for Max Scherzer velocity, at least, when he's 21.
As you know, Dr. D preaches the heresy that for many young pitchers, the third pitch can actually be counterproductive.
It's quick and easy for a pitcher to get a feel for sequences and locations when he's only worrying about one offspeed pitch. ... Then, after that pitcher spends two years beating major leaguers, he can add the change in year 3 -- as CC Sabathia did, for example, and as Michael Pineda probably will in 2013.
Jose Campos needs to be fast-tracked. A pitcher only has so many bullets in the gun. If he's throwing great now, get him in there, as early as feasible. The way to do that is with two pitches.
More in the long term, he’ll need to develop a changeup, and both his fastball and slider will need to take a step forward if he’s going to project as a front-of-the-rotation guy. It’s reasonable to expect that those improvements could all occur
In the comments, somebody graded his fastball as 50 (exactly ML average). :- ) Campos' fastball is reported to have plus velocity, plus-plus location and plus movement. He's missing bats, tons of them, just throwing fastballs to spots. There are any number of guys who don't miss bats with 95 fastballs, including in the lower minors.
Right now, SSI gingerly slides Campos into the Bartolo Colon / Curt Schilling family of pitchers. It's questionable how good his offspeed stuff needs to be, or even if he needs one. But if he is throwing a strikeout offspeed pitch then he'll whup A+/AA right Now.
Since he’s so raw and unproven, I’m being conservative with this ranking and not pushing him even higher, but Campos is a pitcher who could put himself in the top 50 conversation just by sustaining his performance next year in Low-A and staying healthy.
Right now, Campos is what Pineda was at 19, except even a little farther along than Pineda was.
There's only so much you can ask from a teenage pitcher who has a boy's shoulder structure, but Campos is doing algebra in 3rd grade. He's top 100 if any teenage pitcher is top 100.
BTW Jeff ... not sure how many sinking fastballs you guys see... what would you tell an 18-year-old facing one for the first time? What's the starting point?
My dad tried out for the low minors, was a pretty good HS player, and he talks about the first time he ran into a pitcher whose fastball "sunk 6 inches. I couldn't make contact," he said.
His coach told them to "swing under it" ...
Jeff, it is rare to see pros at altitude here get much horizontal drop on fastballs and still have high grade velocity. Honestly, some of the best hs pitchers I have seen had great location, composure and change of speed. Colorado Springs Sky Sox games often get out of hand here as Lonnie can tell you. Kind of like a CA league for M's. Most good fastballs might move side to side a bit but any quick drop is like gold....grab it at any location or age.
To face 6 inches of drop, especially if late, I would refer them to hitting coaches! Honestly? Closed eyes? Swing under?? As your Dad knows, that is why good hitters can be made to look real bad by good pitches. One thing.....patience and, what too few kids do...go with the pitch to all fields, even choking up a bit, especially entering back to the age of small ball. Fun stories from your Dad I bet. Did he go to HS in the Seattle area?
And he played in the Boston area IIRC ... high school in the 1950's, I believe. Benjamin Johnson.
Jeff, I enjoy how you retained so much of the baseball trivia and knowledge through the years. That makes it a very special sport. Fond memories there I am sure.
I thought about a good way to hit a heavy fastball...move the mound back.
Is it my imagination R-Jeff or are pitchers getting away with stepping farther in front of the rubber these days?