Team: Williamsport Crosscutters
Standing: 6th in Pinckney Division
Top Hitter Stat Lines:
Top Pitching Lines:
David Whitehead – 74.0 IP – 2.19 ERA – 8 BB – 43 K
Ricardo Pinto – 47.0 IP – 2.11 ERA – 15 BB – 48 K
Brandon Leibrandt – 41.0 IP – 2.20 ERA – 8 BB – 45 K
Edubray Ramos – 22.2 IP – 0.79 ERA – 2 BB – 24 K
Top Hitting Prospect – Deivi Grullon
Jiandido Tromp hit better, Cord Sandberg has more tools, Aaron Brown has loud tools, and Jose Pujols does some incredible things on a baseball field, but I am going with the 18-year-old catcher who hit .225/.268/.283 in Williamsport this year. Grullon is already an incredible defender behind the plate, the arm is at the top of spectrum and he is willing to make every throw (maybe sometimes too willing) and he has a feel for receiving and blocking pitches beyond his years. The real question with Grullon is the bat, and it is an area he struggled this year as he caught in 79 games (not including extended spring training) across 3 levels and the wear and tear of the season got to him. He is already physically filled out so you aren’t dreaming on projection, but there is some pop in the bat and some feel for contact in the swing. The ideal here is he is a guy who is going to hit around .260, maybe give you 10 HRs and stellar defense behind the plate. It is not a sexy profile, but I had Grullon #8 preseason and #6 mid-season and I don’t think his stock has slipped this year.
Top Pitching Prospect – Chris Oliver
Much like top hitting prospect, numbers aren’t everything here. Oliver was the Phillies 4th round pick this year, but came into the draft with second round pedigree before a DUI caused him to slip. By no means is Oliver a finished product, but there is upside here rarely seen in a college pitcher. In college the fastball was 94-95 touching 96, in pro-ball it was more 90-92 touch 94 as the Phillies work to clean up and retool the delivery. This has to do both with his erraticness and the natural run on the fastball. The movement is what sets Oliver aside, the combination of velocity and movement. The fastball is matched with a plus slider that he has been able to miss bats with. There still isn’t a usable changeup and as mentioned the control is a problem. But if the Phillies can clean it up, there is at least #3 starter upside here, and if starting doesn’t work out the fastball-slider combination profiles as a knockout reliever.
What the GCL lacked in draft picks the Crosscutters gained. On offense Stankiewicz (11th Round), Hoskins (5th Round), and Aaron Brown (3rd Round) provided the heart of the order, and Emmanuel Marrero (7th Round) played a great shortstop on defense. Brown has gotten a lot of press for the good numbers he put up both in Williamsport and in Lakewood, but Hoskins is a guy who did not get a lot of mention, but quietly built a really solid season. Hoskins managed to improved his numbers each month (hitting .289/.373/.478 in 27 August games) and his 9 HRs would have looked a lot more impressive if it wasn’t for Jiandido Tromp’s power display this year. On the pitching side Matt Imhof (2nd Round) made a 3 start cameo and some later round picks helped in the bullpen, but two pitchers really stood out. Brandon Leibrandt (6th Round) doesn’t have a flashy fastball, and he is going to need to find more velocity to be a major league starter, but when he does he has the pitches to complement it. The college lefty showed outstanding control and a devastating changeup this year that allowed him to post a 8:45 BB:K ratio in 41 innings. After losing most of the college year to injury the Phillies pushed him on his innings in Williamsport and will get him more in Instructional Leagues as well. In the bullpen Calvin Rayburn (16th Round), put up a good ERA and control numbers, but struggled to miss a lot of bats, but after some mechanical adjustments the RHP showed a fastball up to 95 and had a 60% GB% on the year. If he can replicate the results next year he could find himself moving through the system quickly.
Should We Worry:
Take a moment and look at Cord Sandberg and Jan Hernandez‘s lines (.235/..267/.345 and .186/.256/.320 respectively) and panic. Now stop. Now that we have that out-of-the-way we can move on rationally, both guys are fine, 2014 was a step back, but they are fine. I think because of his fast start we forget how much catching up Sandberg has to do, he really struggles with pitch recognition and approach as pitchers start pitching him backwards, he has shown the bits of pitch recognition before (and a solid, if passive approach), but he has not seen the volume and quality of offspeed pitchers he is seeing now. He is a great defensive corner outfielder, his swing is looser and more athletic, and there is power there. He still has plenty of room to fill out and he is beginning to learn to go to all fields, in the end the ceiling is all there, it is just a bit farther away than we may have thought. Hernandez has a lot more work to do that Sandberg, but there are still exciting things to work with here. There is big pull side power, strong wrists, and good bat speed, on the defensive sides he will have lapses of concentration, but he will also make a lot of great plays at the hot corner. The approach is non-existent and he is too aggressive at the plate, and he will need to learn to go the other way more. There is a ton of talent there though, and he is on the fringes of the Top 30 in a deep system, but he is not someone who should be forgotten about.