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Eric-OH

One Minor League Thought A Day 3/15

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Hey readers this absolutely stinks.  To ease the pain and to put my time and experiences over the last few weeks I’ll try to focus and expand on one thought I’ve had at least once and see where it goes.  Again I hope it helps all of us who miss and look forward to baseball.
To start with I wrote a long piece about the one thing that makes baseball great, and this period stink-the unknown.  Trying to copy it here I erased it so here goes again.

After my weeks of tight observation at the Orioles minor league camp there is one player I saw every single day in many drills and situations and can not even approach making a sound judgement on what I just saw.  That player is Zach Watson.  My notes and video conclude the same thing.  Inconsistency is consistent

Athleticism is very high level and demonstrated best in short term burst/acceleration.  Two-three steps and he’s turning towards a powerful fourth gear.  He’s not heavy but he accelerates like a back after a handoff-he can use this in the outfield but his strides are measured there.  Pivoting and body positioning in the outfield is his best skill.  The word for him tracking flies ‘familiar’. Off the juggs machine he follows and reacts to spin and path so seamlessly it’s awesome to watch. Again, I want to give respect to this.  I wrote and sent video to @Tony-OH of him settling under a fly because I was excited by that ability.  
When he has to throw the ball back it’s not the same athlete, making me think he’s nursing something.  This is a guy with a powerful lower half that he knows how to use.  A throwing base if I’ve ever seen one despite his slender build.  The ball just doesn’t get there and when it does it doesn’t snap. I’ve seen him throw a football with plenty of juice! LSU?! There simply has to be a problem I’m missing.  I remember thinking,  I’m seeing a guy who simply can’t misplay a fly ball and get can’t throw it to the cutoff man.  Inconsistent.  
 

At the plate I saw more of the same.  Zach uses a pretty large bat and when he barrels it, the path can be high and end up beyond Oriole fences.  But reaching and starting off-time gets his whole motion out of alignment in a big way and he needs that level path being a light player with a high weight stick.  
Swing mechanics he looks wristy a little bit but not in any way does that affect contact consistency.  It’s more body positioning issues when he misses.  Definitely not out of the ordinary.  Developing.  

In the box he stands close and handles in better than you’d think. He can pull the straight stuff and he can also turn a 3-1 into a swinging k on pitcher’s pitches.  I saw good contact and more bad counts.  The cage was also not a clear indicator for me.  He batted all over the ‘order’ in game situations.  He is better meeting the ball at his chest/hip and wrist driving it the other way and although he didn’t do that a ton I saw that as his most natural use of his swing.  I liked it.  Again, not a ton of evidence.

The real Zach Watson was out and showing during baserunning drills.  Watson can move and because he’s low to the ground he doesn’t miss space turning at the bags and blowing into top gear between them.  This dude can just go and 90 feet is a distance made for his acceleration.  I wrote ‘Ryan Ripken... F’ING GET IT WATT!!!! after a drill where the gray legged sprinter picked up the pace and lost his helmet.  He is fast, his skills are evident.  His deficiencies as far as count maximizing and arm strength seem to be too but again I didn’t see enough to be clear. I guess that’s as close to criticism as I can get.   Every other guy I can say what I think.  With Watson, who seems not too quiet or too loud and definitely not too overwhelmed, I just can’t.  
That’s why the lack of games or movement towards games stinks so much.  I’m ready to clean slate this guy and give him an evaluation, I know I haven’t included a ton of him day-to-day.....and now I can’t.  He’s a big part of the system and I haven’t made a conclusion despite seeing him everyday.  Maybe that’s evidence too.  What did I miss?  
What do you think about the evidence and where he’ll end up?  I wish I had more to present but that’s my take on Zach Watson.  

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Nice summary and good information in there. I think he's just a guy we need to see against advanced competition. He has some tools to work from, but as you stated, he's need to find more consistency. If and when the season starts, he's a guy worth keeping an eye on and a a guy who could easily end up in the top 30 next year.

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Interesting, Fangraphs grades his arm a 60, which is well above average.   They only grade his fielding a 45/50 and his running a 55/55.     But everyone else seems to think he’s fast and a good defender, and I’ve seen some questions about his arm.   I wasn’t that thrilled with this pick on draft day, and I’m still not.   

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2 hours ago, Tony-OH said:

Nice summary and good information in there. I think he's just a guy we need to see against advanced competition. He has some tools to work from, but as you stated, he's need to find more consistency. If and when the season starts, he's a guy worth keeping an eye on and a a guy who could easily end up in the top 30 next year.

I was eager to see the start of him taking on higher competition.  Thanks and I’m sorry that I’m incomplete on him.  Maybe revisit after 400-500 plate appearances this year...make that maybe 200-300 hopefully.  He could easily pop up on a lust or two from where he is, absolutely.  I’d like to see him making his best use of the gifts he’s got and then have a framework for evaluation.

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

Interesting, Fangraphs grades his arm a 60, which is well above average.   They only grade his fielding a 45/50 and his running a 55/55.     But everyone else seems to think he’s fast and a good defender, and I’ve seen some questions about his arm.   I wasn’t that thrilled with this pick on draft day, and I’m still not.   

I can understand your perspective too.  I want to leave open every possibility that he was not utilizing his best throws and maybe be hurt.  I did not see a 60 arm on display.  That’s why this no games thing just interrupts us...

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