As a member of the Buc's Bombers early hitting camp, Campbell combined power and placement, demonstrating both strength to the opposite way and deft performance in situational drills. In the field, Campbell earned an outfield assist in one intrasquad game on a bullet throw from right field to third base, and his ability to get good jumps should impress his more seasoned teammates.
In hitting several home runs this spring, Crosta has demonstrated his comfort level with his new swing. The ball seems to jump off his bat every time he steps in the box. This could be a big year for the natural hitter.
Dowdy came into the camp in the best shape we have seen him. His first step quickness added two-tenths of a second in speed to his 60-yard dash – akin to what pro football prospects see when they are getting ready for the NFL Draft. His hustle has been turned up a notch and we expect regular playing time for Dowdy this year.
Winner of the "I can handle anything" award from Brad more often than any other player this spring, Freese continues to do all the things that made him a prospect last year – timely hits to knock in runs and solid defensive play at third – despite the reports that said it was an area he had to improve.
The first thing that was obvious was the improvements he made behind the dish. Hundley's footwork has improved and he sets up to throw better than we have ever seen. His throws are also accurate. His hitting was decent and should still be a strength but the defense is where he really had to focus and seems to have accelerated the learning process.
Hunter continues to grow as both a hitter and a centerfielder. He's proven himself as a gap hitter who displays both patient hitting and aggressive base-running. Though I've yet to see him drive one out of the park, his speedy base-running makes him a threat to turn singles into extra-base hits.
His work at second base continues to excite as he has some of the best range in the system. But his bat has taken another step forward. He is waiting for his pitch and driving it – surprising those who don't believe he has the power. This could be a breakout year for an already good player.
It seems like every time we watched Lauderdale, he was either on base, about to be on base, or making a solid defensive play at second base. The biggest surprise of the spring.
Macias got an early start on things working with Dr. Yaeger down in New Orleans – a former Padres coach who fine-tuned his hitting. He is following the path of the ball with his bat rather than pulling off as he was prone to do at the end of last year. He has also regained the step he lost in the outfield and his defense is again near the top of the charts within the system.
Our scouting report on Madden two weeks ago alluded to the importance of him throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. This spring, Madden showed that he has nearly perfected his slider, pulling it from his repertoire on 2-strike counts as his go-to strikeout pitch. We didn't witness a single fly ball or even a hard-hit grounder off Madden; his fastball finds a way to sink enough to draw ground balls. His increased confidence against lefties should quell some doubts about his numbers against left-handed hitters.
McDaid has demonstrated significant control and an uncanny defensive awareness. He understands the importance of getting ahead in the count. Both his fastball and off-speed pitches daunted batters. He was the lone tryout camp signing to make a full-season squad.
Since being placed on the 40-man roster, Rosales has stepped his game up a notch. An unusually slow starter during April and May through his career, Rosales' changeup has shown nasty bite and his fastball has mid-season movement and precision. He could storm out of the gates for Portland and end up in San Diego soon.
When the talk of Venable skipping a level hit it was met with some trepidation. He went out and silenced the critics by proving he could handle the jump – using the same attributes that he showed in the Midwest League. Another season with close to 100 RBIs is within reach for this smart, heady baseball player.