Tuesday, September 05, 2006
It is tough to get a sense about an 18-olds' potential as a ball player after watching him play five games and being a trained scout, so after one game and being a fan take this post with a gain of salt. And yes, the following is a ton of words based on watching only two hours of low-A ball.
After the Gulf Coast Sox season ended in a title, most of the prospects - at age 18 or 19 - got promoted to Lowell and many were impressive, but first, the starting batter mates - Beazley and Exposito. The first thing out of my friend, Tim's mouth about Beazley was "He's small". Beazley is listed at 6-0 and 170, which is highly questionable. His lack of size projects him as a reliever. On the plus side, Beazley was able to show good control of his off speed pitches keeping the undisciplined Vermont hitters from doing any damage.
As for Exposito, he appears to have good confidence in his average to above average arm, as he threw behind runners on a few occasions. He seems to have quick feet, but got a long talking to after being unable to block a ball that lead to a Vermont run. Like with most catching prospects, they take more time to develop and once in AA, the bat will determine if they are a starter.
The guy, I most wanted to see, was Jon Egan. The second round pick last year out of the Atlanta area. The scouting reports had him with good power potential and continuous improvement behind the plate. Egan DH’ed on Tuesday night and was 0-3 with a walk. The line was just as boring as it seems - all routine outs.
I was surprised by the next two players in different ways. First that Ryan Kalish was playing in Lowell after just graduating from high school this June. Kalish was thought of as a second round talent before the draft, but slipped to the Sox in the ninth round due to signability concerns. He made solid contact a few times and was aggressive at the plate. Hopefully, Kalish's approach will change after reading the Ted William's Science of Hitting. The previous night Kalish went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. So far, he is holding his own against way more experienced competition - a very good sign.
The other surprise guy was another 18 year-old, Chiang, who hit a three run dinger. Home runs are few and far between in Burlington. The relatively cool low humid evenings helps keep balls in the yard. So an evening with temps in the 60's, Chiang's hit was a rocket to right. After checking out his scouting report, Chiang is an offensive second baseman in the making, with a really nice left handed swing. He has the potential to hit for both average and power. At 6-2 but only 170 pounds, Chiang should fill out his frame in the coming years giving him the possibility to add more pop at the plate. Up the middle players that can hit are still rare and provide a club with a significant advantage over the competition. If Chiang can continue to hit and improve his glove work, he should soar to the tops of the Sox prospect lists in the coming years.