Over the coming weeks, Eric Longenhagen will publish brief, informal notes from his looks at the prospects of the Arizona Fall League and, until mid-October, Fall Instructional League.
Athletics OF Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros continues to take better at-bats than I anticipated and has an advanced feel for his strike zone. The power is as advertised, too, though he’s extremely vulnerable against breaking balls and is often so far out on his front foot against them that he can’t do anything but foul them off and live to see another pitch. He has a 40 arm, is a 50 runner and a left fielder for me going forward.
Also of note for Oakland yesterday in a Fall Instructional game against the Angels was RHP Abdiel Mendoza, who just turned 18 in September. Mendoza is extremely skinny but loose and quick-armed. His fastball sat in the upper 80s but I think there’s a good bit more coming and I like Mendoza’s athleticism. He’s purely a teenage lottery ticket but one I think who’s worth following.
For the Angels, INF Julio Garcia took the field at shortstop, which is notable because I hadn’t seen him play there for over a year. Garcia, a switch-hitter, came over from the DSL late last summer and looked tremendous at SS, but has spent this year playing a lot of 2B and 3B in deference to, in my opinion, inferior prospects — and also lost a significant amount of playing time to a facial injury. Scouts like the glove, body and bat speed but want to see a more measured approach to hitting, especially from the left side. The Angels’ middle infield is crowded at the lower levels, a group that includes 2016 draftee Nonie Williams, who posted an above-average run time for me yesterday.
Also of note for the Angels yesterday was the cage work of 2016 2nd rounder, OF Brandon Marsh. Marsh has not played in games since signing (neither in the AZL nor during instructional league) but showed above average raw power during a side session yesterday. The body should grow into even more pop. Mid-way through his session Marsh paused to take instruction from a coach behind the cage and immediately made an adjustment on his subsequent swings.
In last night’s Arizona Fall League game between Peoria and Salt River, Mariners OF Tyler O’Neill posted a plus run time for me yesterday and showed off his plus bat speed on several occasions but I thought his at-bats were a little overaggressive. Seattle LHP Luiz Gohara sat 95-97, touched 98 and flashed a plus slider in the mid-80s but struggled with command and, at age 20, is already carrying what looks like 240-plus pounds.
Padres utility prospect Josh VanMeter squared velocity several times and had three hits. Orioles LHP Tanner Scott was touching 99 but not getting as many swings and misses as you might expect from a 95-plus mph heater and his low-90s cutter/slider wasn’t all that effective, either.