Eugene Emeralds Notebook VI

Keizer, OR: What does an American League scout think of the talent in Eugene? And who caught his eye last year – guys who have moved on to play in Fort Wayne and beyond? Breathing techniques are one of many tricks of the trade. Ryan Hinson is working on stuff in the bullpen.

  • An American League scout broke down the top talent currently playing for the Eugene Emeralds.

    His top prospect without any debate – Edinson Rincon.

    "I wouldn't trade that guy for anything," the scout said. "He has tremendous tools at the plate and makes it look easy. He is strong, has a great approach, and will hit a ton of homers one day.

    "The only thing he needs is for someone to hit him a million ground balls. I kind of think his lower body hasn't caught up to his upper body. It looks like his legs don't know how to move that frame. I think he will be fine defensively, especially with that bat."

    Rincon is tied for the team lead with four homers and is second with 17 RBI. He also had more walks than strikeouts and boasts a .477 on-base percentage.

    The scout also commented on Jason Hagerty – the Padres fifth-round pick.

    "I like his bat a lot," the scout said. "A catcher with power. His left side looks better than the right. What happens is if the right side is his natural side, he will get more power out of it. Hitting left-handed, we see a more natural stroke that sprays more line drives.

    "He hasn't been catching long and has some things to work on there."

    Seven of Hagerty's 13 hits this season have gone for extra bases and he has shown a propensity to wait for his pitch, drawing 12 walks compared to 15 strikeouts.

    Among the pitchers, Jerry Sullivan was someone he has his eye on.

    "Scouting pitchers in this league is really hard," the scout acknowledged. "Usually, the colleges abuse these kids and we aren't seeing what they can really do.

    "Sullivan has a good fastball and breaking ball. He has been up in the zone but I expect to see his velocity go up next year and for him to be a quality starting candidate."

    Sullivan is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA across four outings – all in relief. He has given up eight hits and walked five while fanning eight across 7.2 innings.

    The scout also had positive things to say about Wednesday's starter Nick Greenwood.

    "He gets outs," he said. "He has deception and the changeup is a plus pitch. He will win a lot of games. At some point, it will catch up to him and he has to adjust.

    "Fastball command is everything. If he can command the fastball, he has a chance."

    Greenwood is 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA across five starts. In 26.2 innings, the southpaw has limited the opposition to 15 hits while walking seven and striking out 20.

  • The scout also went over some players he saw from last year's squad.

    Among those he liked: James Darnell, Anthony Bass, Dan Robertson, Blake Tekotte, and Simon Castro.

    "Darnell is athletic and a very gifted hitter with a good eye.

    "Bass has four quality pitches.

    "Robertson is going to play in the big leagues. He is fundamentally sound.

    "Tekotte had some mechanical flaws but has surprising pop and is fixable.

    "Castro could be a frontline starter. Great fastball, nice slider – the changeup needed work."

    The one player he didn't like was Matt Clark.

    "Not a fan," he said of Clark. "It will be hard to change that cheating swing."

  • Manager Greg Riddoch was explaining breathing techniques to his hitters on Thursday. His concept of taking cleansing breaths in and exhaling forcefully is meant to take the carbon monoxide out of the body and provide a focal point for relaxation.

    It is something that is the start of positive reaffirmation. His goal is bringing the players back to a positive frame of mind.

    "You will have an intrinsic advantage over every other player who doesn't do this technique," Riddoch said.

    By releasing the carbon monoxide out to the world and getting more oxygen in, the player should be in a more relaxed state of mind – releasing the pent up tension that causes a hitter to squeeze the bat handle or the pitcher to think about throwing a pitch without conviction.

  • Pitching coach Bronswell Patrick worked with Ryan Hinson on his delivery during a bullpen session.

    Hinson has been throwing with a pre-2009 Cory Luebke like motion. His front knee is bent at such an angle that the ball lacks a downward plane.

    When the knee is bent at such an angle, however, the ball will tend to rise and pitches will be left up in the zone.

    Patrick had Hinson standing more upright to take advantage of his height. By standing taller, the ball will naturally sink. Hinson worked at it with a slower motion to try and get used to the different style of throwing. As expected, he had some positive results and some that weren't so positive.

    As for taking it into a game, it is doubtful that will happen just yet, as it will likely take more time to gain a comfort level.

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