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I was in Lansing from May 1st to 3rd watching the Lugnuts play against the Lake County Captains.  Lugnut Fan was there too for two of the games.  I have descibed what I saw below.  In summary Drew Hutchison looked very good, Sean Nolin also looked good.  Jake Marisnick looked like a five toool prospect, he had six hits in three games and ran and fielded well. Carlos Perez was his usual line drive self.  Most of the other hitters didn't stand out.


The first thing to note about Drew Hutchison is his excellent fastball command.  There were a lot of at-bats in this game where Hutchison went strike one to the outside corner, then strike two to the outside corner.  The catcher would put up his glove and Hutchison would hit it.  His command on this day was the best I have ever seen from an A level pitcher. The Lake County hitters were taking the outside pitches and they faced a lot of 0-2 counts.  Because Hutchison had a very good fastball on this night he used it a lot.  It comes in between 89-91 mph according to the scouts guns.

Hutchison also features a slider and a change-up.  The slider looked very good and Hutchison was willing to throw it inside, starting it at a right handed hitter and letting it break across the plate.

Hutchison is listed at 6'2" and 165 pounds.  I think he may have beefed up since last year and now he is probably closer to 175 or 180 pounds.  (Hutchison faced Lake County again on Saturday and didn't pitch as well.  I assume his command was off.)

Egan Smith is a left handed pitcher who features four pitches, a fastball, change, slider and curve.  Smith was sitting at 86-88 with his fastball.  Smith is obviously not overpowering and relies on mixing his pitches to keep the hitters off balance.

Sean Nolin is half the man he was last August.  Nolin told me he dropped 40 pounds in the off-season and while he looked overweight last year, this year he looks great.  Nolin is another lefty and for now is pitching long relief out of the bullpen until a starting spot opens up for him.  Nolin's fastball sits at 89-90 and he adds a curve and and a change-up.  Nolin's command was pretty good too.

Misaul Diaz has a problem with his delivery and that is causing him to have problems this season.  He is dropping his arm and slinging the ball across his body at the hitters.  This impacts his command of the fastball.  Pitching coach Vince Horsman told me that they were trying to correct this flaw.  Diaz's fastball sits around 90 mph and he also features a curveball and a change-up.  In the game I saw Diaz's erratic control left him behind in a lot of counts and that led him to use his fastball a lot.

Alex Pepe is a lefty who throws from a 5/8th angle, almost a side-armer.  That is an arm angle that can be hard to control.  In the game I saw him pitch he had good command and pitched very well for several innings.  Pepe relied on his 88 mph fastball which has good movement as you would expect from a side-armer.  Pepe did not show a breaking ball.  To be a LOOGY prospect, Pepe needs a big breaking ball and better command.


Jake Marisnick has the potential to be a true five tool prospect.  I didn't see the hit for power tool in the games I attended but we know it's there.  I saw a player who can hit for average, who can run and throw and who is a very good centre fielder.  There has been some speculation as to whether Marisnick is a long term centre fielder, I don't see why not.  Marisnick is a player who appears to glide in the outfield, he is obviously fast but he never looks like he is moving fast.  Marisnick can steal bases, I saw him steal two. 

Marisnick has an advanced approach at the plate, he doesn't swing at pitches outside the zone.  Marisnick had three hits in the first game and three more in the second game.  None of the hits were boomers but he was making solid contact.  I saw him K twice, once on a pitch that was low, the scouts I was with thought it was a ball, and the second time came after he ran hard to second base on a ball that was ruled barely foul.  He was somewhat gassed and took a pitch for strike three.  Assuming Marisnick keeps on hitting, and I don't see why he wouldn't, Jake will move up the prospect ranks this season.  Remember Marisnick just turned 20 on March 30th.

Carlos Perez can be described as a line drive to the gaps hitter.  Perez is average size and not bulky.  But his strength is his ability to make good contact.  Offensively Perez models the "you can't walk off the island" approach.  He doesn't swing at everything but he does swing at strikes, and that limits his offensive success.

Defensively Perez has been criticized for some passed balls, and there was another one in game one.  But manager Mike Redmond spoke highly of Perez's defense and liked his leadership abilities.

Michael Crouse is probably the most physically impressive Lugnut and he has been called the most athletic player on the team.  Crouse is big, 6'4" and .  Crouse looks to be an excellent defender, he moves well, has excellent speed and has a plus arm.  I wouldn't expect Crouse to be a big base stealer, as a big guy he cannot get the good jumps that smaller guys get.  However Crouse's speed on a ball in the gap or on a first to home run would be outstanding, he is a bit slow to start but his top speed is well above average.

Offensively Crouse was not in good form in the series.  His stance is very spread out and because of his size he has a lot of moving parts.

Marcus Knecht, like Crouse, wasn't hitting well in the series.  Knecht has developed a Micky Tettleton approach at the plate, he points the bat at the pitcher until he is ready to deliver.  Knecht has an average arm and average speed.

KC Hobson, and Lance Durham, are two of the big itters on the team, at least in BP.  But in the games they don't appear to adjust well to what the pitcher is throwing.  Durham has also added a few pounds in the off-season.

Gustavo Pierre had made a lot of errors early in the season but the coaches worked with him to improve his technique and slow him down.  They felt he was rushing his throws causing him to overthrow.  Pierre played two games and handled about four chances without an error.  Pierre has a plus arm but he can look tentative at short.  I mentioned this to some people and I got two different answers.  One was that Pierre lacks confidence and he needs to relax and just play.  The other answer I got was that focus and concentration were issues, he spends too much time talking with the second baseman. 

Offensively Pierre has power but his swing needs to be tightened up.  He wasn't too much of a free swinger, a comment we had heard last season.  On one ground ball Pierre pulled an Escobar and jogged down the line.  I heard that that he has been pulled from games because of that.

Garis Pena is an excellent shortstop, very smooth.  Offensively Pena looks understrength, in BP he was hitting ground balls and short line drives.

Bryson Namba hit his first home run in game one, an opposite field shot.  Namba is beefier/solid and doesn't have huge power but enough to get by.  Namba is an average defender.

Guess who this player is.  You might have to look carefully to figure it out.


Lansing Lugnuts Scouting Report - May 2011 | 12 comments | Create New Account
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China fan - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#234371) #

Gerry, thanks for the great article and excellent analysis.  Very encouraging update on Hutchison, Nolin, Marisnick and Perez.   The photos are excellent too -- they clearly show that Crouse is having problems with his stance and his "moving parts."  His left foot is so far forward, and his right foot so far back, that it's hard to see how he could have any power in his swing. Durham's weight issues do seem worrying too.

As for the mystery photo at the end -- I have no idea, but the roster lists Namba as having #1 on his uniform, so is it him?

MatO - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#234372) #
Since Namba was guessed, let's say The Balbino.
Gerry - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#234373) #
The gues is correct but you didn't need to look up his number on the roster.  The photo is a little small on the site but look at the hitters arm tattoo's.
China fan - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#234374) #
I can't see the tattoos on my computer.  But if he's put his name on his tattoos -- maybe this will replace the names on the uniforms??  New revenue source: the teams can sell the uniform space for advertising if the players all decide to put their names on their tattoos...
MatO - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#234375) #
Superficially, the difference between Marasnick and Crouse is that Marasnick's BABIP is .375 while Crouse's is .246.  Their peripherals are very similar.  The both have decent/good control of the strike zone.  An interesting thing about Crouse is that he was signed at 17.  This is his 4th year, so they have to make a 40 man roster decision on him by the end of next year.  Hobson has the best strike zone control on the team but it hasn't translated into any power.  His BABIP is only .232 but unlike Crouse he doesn't hit the ball hard.  Gerry, is he very defensive with his swing?
Gerry - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#234376) #

Hobson does show a lot of power in batting practice.  I don't recall his swinging defensively, I recall him popping up and basically just missing pitches.

Do we know how well BABIP works in the minor leagues, especially in A ball?  There are players who make solid contact and players who make weak contact even when they are not striking out.  In the majors everyone can make solid contact.

bpoz - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#234378) #
I liked Namba when he was drafted because he was young, good size & played 3rd base, AND his HS coach said he has a good arm and was using him as a closer.
Since he has never hit well, maybe he would consider pitching if he has ability there.
Thanks Gerry, excellent job as usual.
robertdudek - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#234381) #
BABIP varies greatly from hitter to hitter, both in the majors and minors. Guys with high BABIP: linedrive hitters and speedy guys; guys with low BABIP: slow guys who hit lots of flyballs.
Gerry - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#234385) #
Henderson Alvarez will start for Dunedin today.
Maldoff - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#234386) #

Gerry, thanks as always.

Any thoughts on the potential futures for Smith and Nolin? They are two guys who are spoken about less, but were relatively high draft picks.

Gerry - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#234389) #
I would be more optimistic on Nolin but he has made about five professional appearances so he needs more time for evaluation and settling in to the pro life.  Smith, whose brother Jordan pitches for Cincinnati, has been kicking around the Jays system for a while and he just turned 22 so would need to get going.  Nolin is 21 and he will have 2011 to show whether he is a prospect or not.  Nolin throws a bit harder than Smith and looks to have a better breaking ball. 
TamRa - Monday, May 09 2011 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#234392) #
Egan Smith was drafted in 2009. not having seen either play, my first thought regarding him was "Chuck Huggins" - i.e. we're not new to the idea of a lightly regarded guy, particularly a lefty, being impressive statistically at the lower levels and yet, despite catching our eye a bit, never doing much past AA.

always a possibility of an exception though.

speaking of pitching prospects, the Dunedin twitter person announces that Henderson Alvarez will start for the D-Jays tonight.

Lansing Lugnuts Scouting Report - May 2011 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.