After the first 4 games, my impression is there are 4 legitimate top twenty prospects on this team (Arcia, Ortiz, Salcedo and Soliman). Here is my assessment of what happened in Quad Cities over the weekend. (it should be noted that normally the weather is cold early on in the Midwest league, but the weather in Davenport was very nice all weekend long. So that may have helped some of the hitters avoid the slow starts we often see)
First, Hermsen, despite his size and ability to pitch to contact with a delivery that is effortless....does not project well. I spoke to a scout behind home plate that basically seemed bewildered as to why Hermsen doesn't have better stuff given his size. He has some good things going for him. He throws strikes (unlike Martire Garcia). He can generally keep the ball down...has that downward plane... He has a smooth delivery. But is not deceptive...and throws in the high 80's. But nobody seems to think he will be much of a prospect.
Second, Salcedo. Salcedo throws hard and generally locates the ball pretty well. I saw three separate guns (Lobonav was charting for Beloit, the Quad Cities guys were there with their own gun...and the scout had his gun)...they generally were all within 1 mph of each other. Salcedo was regularly at 94mph with what appeared to be a 4 seam fastball. It was fairly straight, but it seemed to explode late. No right handed hitter could touch his fastball (the lefties had some success....I will get to that in a minute)
Salcedo is unique for those of us who have seen so many finesse (pitch to contact) guys. Salcedo is the classic power pitcher. Very nasty breaking ball. Right handed hitters were at his mercy. He struggled with his offspeed stuff to lefties early...so he challenged them solely with fastballs. After back to back bombs, in the second inning, to a couple of lefties (and I mean absolute no doubters...way over the fence) he got more focused and starting using all his pitches. He was virtually unhittable the rest of the game.
the only caution on Salcedo is that his delivery may be violent, according to the scout next to me. He does throw across his body a bit....so ..we will see what that means down the road. But he is a power pitching prospect the likes of which the Twins have not seen in years. His breaking ball is so nasty, I don't think any hitter even put so much as a good swing on it...nobody touched his breaking ball.
Arcia.... is a physical specimen. Thick, powerful, yet surprisingly athletic. Arcia is a left handed hitter who dominates right handed pitching. And he faced some excellent right handers in this series. Rosenthal, Swagerty and Blair are all excellent prospects for St. Louis. Rosenthal apparently hit 97 on the gun a couple times, Swagerty (2nd rounder from ASU) has an explosive fastball, and Blair (1st round draft pick from ASU) has a power curve that is truly elite. Quad Cities had some other arms that were pretty impressive too, but Arcia handled pretty much all of them.
Arcia, hit a triple off the wall that the wind blew back (the wind also blew back what would have been a home run for Santana...and a couple Quad Cities hitters had balls blown back on Saturday night...stiff wind in from right field). So in that instance, Arcia pulled the ball. His two doubles on Sunday were to left center, and he fought off a tough pitch by a LHP on Sunday and hit a two out RBI single to left. He used the entire field all weekend. An impressive display. He may not have hit any HR's, but those will definitely come. He is a powerful hitter. He almost decapitated Blair with a line drive single on Saturday night. The ball explodes off his bat. And he can run a bit. He stole second base on his fourth attempt (two hitters fouled off three pitches with Arcia running...so by the time he actually stole second, he was probably pretty tired..but he stole it anyway on a close play)
Ortiz, standing next to Arcia, looks like he is in 7th grade. And yet, Ortiz has a decent projectable build. He plays well in the outfield, although he will likely be a corner outfielder down the road. He has a pretty good arm and covers some ground. Not quite as good as Angel Morales, in my opinion, but a good left handed hitting prospect. Since a hitter faces mostly right handed pitching, it is good to have two solid left handed hitting prospects in Arcia and Ortiz. Ortiz used the whole field as well. He absolutely laced a single over the shortstops head in one at bat...and in another at bat, he got out in front of a change up and sort of one handed a fly ball that was caught at up against the right field wall...he has some power. Ortiz did not seem to get fooled much this weekend ...unlike Lance Ray who, while being a good hitter at times, struck out a lot and was fooled a lot in every game. Arcia never seemed to get fooled. Arcia did strike out on a pitch that seemed about 8 inches outside. Arcia barked at the home plate umpire and, for a second, I thought he may get ejected. But the ump let him walk away. (one additional point about Arcia...he wants to swing. You can tell ...but he, nonetheless, has a very good eye. He did not chase much. Probably had one bad at bat the whole weekend.)
Solliman throws hard. Did not get to start, but the scout raved about his raw stuff. Might have to follow him closely to see how he progresses.
Some disappointments. McCallum just doesn't seem to put good wood on the ball. Michael Gonzalez is huge and has a big swing. Sadly, he rarely, if ever, squares one up. Tobias Streich and Knudson are good defensive catchers, but not much offense from either. Pinto is probably not going to be around long. Tonkin is very skinny, funky delivery...throws hard, but does not deceive anyone. O'Rourke has an odd delivery...unimpressive offspeed stuff. Not much there from him or Dempster. Martire Garcia could not find home plate with a map. He was all over the place. I expected more from Reggie Williams, but he was just sort of there...
Gunner Glad is a good hitter. Not sure where he will play though. He hit an absolute bomb to left field, off a very good pitcher. And he took the ball to right field in other at bats. Solid hitter who may not have a defensive position.
Daniel Santana is an enigma at this point. A switch hitter who shows signs from both sides of the plate. He hit with gap power from both sides. He is very fast. He has a cannon for an arm at Shortstop. Lots of potential here. But...he does some other things that make you scratch your head. LIke failing to lay down a sac bunt on three successive pitches on Saturday night...then again on Sunday he had another weak effort on another sac bunt situation (fortunately their pitcher threw to second and the ball went into center field..so Santan was spared some misery there) And he is still raw as a hitter. Chases a lot of pitches.