Nothing could be further from the truth. Grey has seen each and every one of the over 200 players in the Guide in action multiple times, with many of the hitters scouted in a dozen games or more.
Coupling that first-hand, live scouting with relevant statistical analysis provides a more complete view of these emerging players than can be found anywhere else. The result is valued by several major league organizations and countless baseball aficionados each fall.
Now, you have the opportunity to receive a glimpse into the Guide with background and potential impact summaries for each of the seven Cardinals prospects who competed in the 2006 edition of the Arizona Fall League.
Capsules are reprinted here with the permission of FantasyBaseball.com and may not be copied or re-printed under any circumstances.
Background: Good athlete but inconsistent in many aspects of the game, proverbial "gamer" that only knows how to play at one speed; erratic arm at short, actions are not fluid, and I don't like his footwork; will occasionally make the great play but miss the routine ones; decent bat speed and good strike zone judgment; not very strong, won't add much bulk; stance takes away from his power; spread-eagle style in a Bagwell fashion to add balance to his stroke, but doesn't have the raw power to pull it off; fastball hitter that is beaten too often by good off-speed stuff; all sorts of injury problems all season (finger, wrist, hamstring, back)
Potential Impact: Shows some potential but needs to put it together for much longer stretches
Overall Future Potential Grade (OFP): 40 (Triple-A players that may get some cups of coffee in the big leagues – may not embarrass themselves in the Majors, but not someone you want on your team)
Background: Strong frame with power to all fields; Angels reportedly wanted him instead of Terry Evans in the Jeff Weaver deal; held his own at Double-A this season; Cards challenged him right after he was drafted by pushing him right to a full-season league; chases too many breaking balls and appears to pick up the slider a bit too late; goes after pitches he has no chance of driving; can turn on good fastballs with his plus power; below average range in right field but his arm will play there, and he does take good routes to the ball
Potential Impact: Has done OK so far, but my big question is how much better he's actually going to get; I can't help but feel he's close to his ceiling already, and that may not be enough to wind up anything more than a backup
OFP: 45 (Still Major Leaguers, but backups or fringe everyday players; some #5 starters, early-inning middle relievers, situational lefty relievers)
Background: Marti is a Cuban defector that played for their national team under the name Amaury Casanas; like fellow defector Michael Abreu, Marti's age is a mystery – he says he is 28 and there are many informed sources that agree; other sources swear he is 33 – he fled to Mexico and jumped the border into the US in Texas and headed for Miami; because he applied for residence in the US, he was subject to the amateur draft, and the Cardinals picked him in the 18th round after watching him in independent ball and in their spring camp (when they thought he was a free agent they could sign at any time); now that he's here, what is he? very, very strong arms and ferocious bat speed with great raw power; his arm will play in right field and he gets good jumps but he is unsure of his routes at times; strangely, he often doesn't hustle out ground balls; some in the Cardinals organization think he can progress to the Major Leagues very quickly, but I think he's going to struggle mightily with the strikeouts; he's already shown a good tendency to chase at the lower levels, though he will hit mistake pitches once in a while; one scout mentioned his swing looks a lot like Juan Senreiso's to him, and Senreiso is a strikeout machine still trying to get out of Double-A
Potential Impact: The raw tools are certainly intriguing but to me he looks like another in a long line of if Cuban defectors that ultimately couldn't hit enough, regardless of age – I've seen this movie before, and I know the ending
Background: Tall 6'7" hurler features four pitches: a four-seamer, a two-seamer, a good 75-76 knuckle curve and a changeup which has potential but lacks refinement; fastball tops out in the low-90's; keeps his pitches down in the zone well; tries to nibble too much at time and works behind in the count a little too often; tries to mix up his looks with the fastballs by running one in on righties and sinking the other; doesn't use his height well because of his lower arm angle on his delivery; gets groundballs but no out pitch; doesn't get rattled and pitches with confidence regardless of situation; quiet, soft-spoken guy needs sharper command within the zone; missed some time this past season with a strained oblique
Potential Impact: Doesn't profile as a particularly noteworthy starter, but has a chance to eat up innings in the back end of a Major League rotation
Background: Groundballer can throw four-seamer at 86-88 and also a cutter; slider at 77-78 and there are some occasions when he throws it quite well; curve at 77-80 that he hangs too often, but shows some promise; average change; command is the key to everything for him, his pitches move, but he's had a lot of control problems with his secondary pitches and has problems with fastball command especially; nibbled too much and then left too many over the heart of the plate this past season; one plus is that he does generally keep the ball in the park; he has some stuff to work with but a lot of refinement is needed – he has to be able to throw a breaking ball for a strike because he can't get by on just the location of his fastballs
Potential Impact: Might be miscast as a starter despite his assortment of pitches; might be better served working in the pen and concentrating on throwing less pitches with more command; perhaps a situational lefty-type but still probably a Triple-A hurler
Background: None of his stuff really stands out; 91-92 straight fastball that comes right over the top; mixes in a curve at 75-77 with nice bite, but it needs to be more consistent – he still hangs a few too many; slider is fringe average and change is solid average and he needs to utilize it a bit more; keeps a book on every start about what went right, what went wrong and what he can improve; has had problems with big first innings – would come out too hyped up and get lit up early before settling in and pitching well; pitches aggressively in the zone; will lose his downward plane now and then and needs to understand that he can't over power hitters with his stuff
Potential Impact: Decent pitches overall, but general inconsistency and poor feel are problems
Background: Main asset is a 93-94 straight fastball and raw arm strength; a little hesitation in his delivery as he enters his stride towards the plate; converted to pen this season because of lack of decent secondary pitches; command issues; mechanics not clean; missed much of 2004 with ankle problems; curve is probably second-best pitch at 79 but it's mediocre; bottom line is he really can't do too much at the moment except throw hard
Potential Impact: Lack of pitchability and secondary stuff will likely keep him in minors for extended time