Driving to See the Greenville Drive

The third team to play while I was in Lexington was the Greenville Drive. Last year would have been the season to see this team as Garin Cecchini, Blake Swihart, Keury De La Cruz, Matt Barnes, Henry Owens, and others lined the roster. This season’s team definitely doesn’t have the star power, and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the overall level of talent. I will say, however, that the weather was cold – the low 50s/high 40s – and windy, but the team did not impress over the two games I saw them.

Prospects to Watch 

Jose Vinicio, SS – Listed at 5’11/150, Vinicio’s size is his biggest problem as he’s rail-thin, and I’m not exactly sure where he’d add a substantial amount of weight. He fills out his uniform in a similar way to Billy Hamilton, which is to say almost not at all. What Vinicio does have, however, is some real ability on the defensive end, showing serious range on a few plays along with smooth actions and a strong arm. I don’t see any reason to think he can’t play SS moving forward and do so at a high level, and this gives Vinicio quite a bit of value. Offensively, Vinicio looks the part of a slap hitter, using a handsy swing with little to no lower body movement, and is very aggressive at the plate, almost refusing to work the count. The good part is that Vinicio has speed and forced a terrible play from the third baseman on a nice bunt. I love the defensive value here, but I worry about the offense. He won’t turn 20 until late July, so he’s still young for the level and has time to improve.

Mookie Betts, 2B – Maybe I’m just a sucker for second basemen. Mookie Betts is not a big guy, either, as he’s listed at 5’9/175, but he looks much stronger than Vinicio. Betts also looked much better at the plate, something he’ll need at a less valuable position. The results in the series didn’t show it, but he was able to make consistent hard contact, although it ended up in fielders’ gloves. Betts also showed an ability to work the count, but he didn’t show much power, even when he hit a hanging breaking ball toward a gap. Defensively, he looked fine, though he wasn’t really tested at the position. Betts will have to hit to continue moving along the development path, but he’s probably more likely to end up as a utility player. He might fit better in the lower section, but I think there’s something to work with the 20-year old.

Possible Role Players

Pat Light, SP – Light definitely has a strong arm. He began batters with a 90-92 mph fastball, but he would reach back for 93-95 to finish batters off. The issue I have with Light is the secondaries – curveball and change-up – that were both poor in this start, but he has a nice frame and a strong arm along with a semblance of control.

Madison Younginer, RP – Younginer is definitely stout with a strong lower body. He uses it to throw a fastball in the 92-96 range and a hard curveball in the upper-70s. The negatives here were control/command and the consistency of his curveball. There’s some late-inning potential here.

Austin Maddox, SP – Another stout Drive pitcher, Maddox was selected in the 3rd round of last year’s draft, but he didn’t show anything in this one. His fastball was 89-90 along with a curveball and change-up that weren’t much to speak of. He ran up a high pitch count and was out of there in the 2nd inning. He was a 3rd round pick, it was cold, and this was obviously a bad night, so he may be due a mulligan.

Jordan Weems, C – Listed at 6’3/175, Weems has a thin frame, but there’s definitely room to fill out and get stronger. He worked a few counts, but he didn’t do much offensively. Defensively, his arm wasn’t terribly strong, but it was on the money on a few throws to second. He’s a former 3rd Round pick (2011) that seems more projection than present talent, and he definitely needs to get stronger.

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3 years 5 months ago

Have you ever thought of having a minor league fangraphs community get together? Don’t think you are ever in an area near me, but it might be fun.