Strange with the whole internet thing and DirectTV and IEverything that most of us still have not had the chance to see a single pitch by our group of future young studs (we hope) on the mound. So for your viewing pleasure….
So first off, my personal favorite – Daniel Winkler. No, I do not think he is going to be the dominate pitcher we are seeing at Tulsa when we get to Coors. There is a reason he was a #20 pick from U of Central Florida in 2011 (he was picked #43 the year before by the Cubs but didn’t sign so he improved a lot in one year draft status-wise).
It took me all season to finally think about who he looks like when he throws – Jake Peavy. Not saying he is Jake Peavy, but has the same cross-body action and looks similar. Add to that there is a lot of late explosion in his pitches. You wonder if the hitters are only picking up the spin very late. He has had a 7 inning no hit performance before giving up a hit and another one Friday night of 5 innings with 1 hit. He looks really hard to hit against. You will have to scroll down, but this is him striking out the side earlier this month. Only a 20 round-pick, he has been a good student of the thing getting taught since Wiley came along and watching Butler with his change-up. Kids get drafted based on pure stuff and his pure stuff is not that great. But he flat knows how to pitch. MLB network has their Prime 9 30 minute show, and one of those shows was top low draft pick performers. It is the other side, but I always think of Mark Buerhle whose stuff didn’t get him drafted until the 20th round but he knows how to pitch. Again, not saying Daniel is Jake Peavy or Buerhle. Not saying Winkler is going to win 200 games but he might end up being better than a lot of guys who have been drafted before him. Anyways here is a look
And he knows how to get guys to pound the ball into the dirt, as seen here in the 6th inning when he threw 7 no-hit earlier this year.
He gets a lot of ground balls by pitching lower third of the strike-zone and gets a good # of Ks (led minors) because of his delivery and nasty slider. That I believe is the new Coors Field recipe – ground balls with strikes on the lower third.
As I read both here and elsewhere on the web, Rockies fans are over-the-moon about Jonathan Gray, but…we just cannot believe we are ever going to have a guy compared to Roger Clemens. Butler though, still a very good pitching prospect, is a little more our speed. We can see a guy who is that good but not potential future CY good. Butler when he was drafted had a lower arm slot, and threw more across the body. They have worked hard on his mechanics as well as his pitches, and a guy who in college was good but scouts thought 8th or 9th inning arm or borderline starter became a legit starter candidate and then….a potential stud. Here is a slo mo of his motion from late last summer. He still is a little max delivery as they say, but he throws so much easier than he did at Radford you can tell what Rockies coaching has done (you read it before from me – this team does not go cheap on coaching, roving instructors and coordinators – they are investing not just money but quality in these kids’ development and the team deserves a lot of credit for it in my book).
This first video is a slo-mo of his delivery last year in Modesto.
here is a strikeout pitch
And these are nice examples of his full-on throwing motion.
He has electric stuff, more pure stuff than Winkler, but still has good deception. Depending on the scout and where they watched him at, he either has 2 plus plus pitches, 1 good, and 1 okay, or 3 potentially plus and one okay. Regardless he has the most well developed pitching form, pitches, and poise. Winkler is older an a bit more polished, but Butler really could become a very good pitcher long-term.
Oh…and the pitch he threw at last year’s All-Star Future’s Game to Xander Boergarts (that Xander) is still mythical. If this is what he can throw at the major league level, he may have the best changeup since the Twins Johan Santana was winning a CY.
Sorry Xander, one more look for fun….
Tyler is the one of the group who I have seen the least, watching him only once and not this year. I have used the Jeff Francis comparison, and it fits in terms of competitiveness, thinking, left-handed, and not a super-power pitcher. But, Francis is more a classical lefty. Anderson is almost over the top and has more snap to his motion. He is never going to be a great strike-out pitcher, but looking at this motion and slot he could get more Ks than I originally thought. There is no video out there for Anderson at either Modest or Tulsa, so here is a look from Oregon. I like Tyler, I just don’t have a great sense of what he can be. I think if looking for a best-cast scenario is Jeff Francis – during his best years. Somewhere around a 3.50-4.25 ERA. He should eat a lot of innings. The worst-case, aside from never making it, is that he is a decent lefty arm in the pen that would be gold. Again this is from Oregon but looking at stills his delivery is a little more over the top but still pretty close to this.
Tyler Matzek isn’t my favorite prospect, but he is the guy I am cheering the most for among the group. We know the story. Last fall he pitched in the Arizona Fall League as a reliever, both to see how he handled it as a role but also to keep innings down. Here is what he looked like last AFL:
Notice the ball comes out high – about ¾ rather than full over-head and it seems to explode on lefties. The ball appears and is gone just like that. You can see how the team might want him to get a tough lefty after watching this. I watched a great game he pitched earlier this year but there is no video of this on-line anywhere. But let me say this – if his control is good enough (he can and should be effectively wild) – I think he is about as nasty a lefty in the minors right now. When he is wild in a bad way – getting more of the plate, getting in 3-0 counts, and walking guys, he becomes a pinball machine. But I think he has a chance to be 80% the former and 20% the later, and if that is the case, this kid could easily win 10 games at the major league levels, eat a lot of innings, and make a lot of lefties want the day off!!!!
Okay, we have to talk the big horse. He really does look good. Watch one of his Drillers game, pay the fee – it is really fun. He is still a year from becoming a stud, but already just on his talent and the work they have done on him, he is no fun for a lot of hitters to face, as this righty discovered as the ball disappeared off the plate. What I wonder looking at him is if he might just become our version of Garret Cole. Cole when he was brought up by the Pirates last year was a hard thrower who helped get them to the playoffs, but he was just short of being a true #1 – it was there but still learning. I look at Gray and see that same thing.
Gray clearly is the furthest away from the Major League level but when I watch him on the mound…I get visions of teams next year hoping the schedule allows them to miss seeing Gray. Have we ever had a starter teams wanted nothing to do with? Butler is no as dominating in appearance but has plenty nasty stuff. Matzek as a reliever could make lefties disappear. And Winkler has the appearance of a 200 inning guy who will make teams work. And Anderson? A harder throwing Francis? Two years ago I would have called that the greatest thing in Rockies history.
So, those are five nice arms. But baseball history tells us they are not all going to make it. Heck, history tells us they won’t all make it to the major league level, let alone have success. But with Mark Wiley and the careful eye of Dan O’Dowd and a lot of coaches and roving instructors, if things don’t work out, I am hoping its because the players just were not good enough, not because of any mistakes made on the team’s end. Baseball is hard – all of these guys are good enough to have success in the Major Leagues and all the hitters in Major League Baseball are good enough to keep any of them from ever winning a game.
Anyways, hope you enjoy. Just a taste of what we may see, if not in 2014 in 2015.