- The big prospect at this game was Aaron Sanchez, arguably the top prospect in the Jays system and a sandwich pick in 2010 out of a southern California high school. The righty that looks a bit bigger than his listed 6'4, 190 pounds has been known from his size, athleticism and velocity and he didn't disappoint in my first look at him. Sanchez didn't throw a fastball below 95 mph the entire outing, sitting 95-97 and hitting 98 over five innings. His fastball comes out very easy but is a four seamer without a lot of life that he'll leave up in the zone more than you'd like to see. That said, at this level the velocity is plenty to get outs and may be at the big league level, though adjustments will be necessary.
He backs up his heater with a curveball at 78-82 mph and a changeup at 86-88 mph. His curveball is more advanced now but he still has some work to do cleaning up that pitch based on this look. Sanchez flashed an above average curve at 81 mph with three-quarters tilt and, as with most young pitchers, the bite was tighter at the higher end of the velo range. The second time through the lineup, he threw a number of changeups that were average to fringy and there may be an above average pitch in there, but he didn't show a ton of overall feel it in this outing. I'll write up a full-length report when I see him a second time, but for now, suffice it to say Sanchez has some issues with integrating finesse into his game and making adjustments to his delivery when he's succeeding thanks to a plus-plus fastball. He will be interesting to watch later in the season to see if he's making adjustments.
- Facing Sanchez was 2012 Yankees 4th round pick RHP Corey Black. Black is a smallish righty with a good fastball that gets into the mid 90's with more limited off-speed stuff, coming from a small school (Faulkner) in Alabama. Black topped out at 96, sitting 93-95 early and more like 90-93 mph later in the outing. He showed a four pitch mix with a slider at 85-87, curveball at 75-78 and a changeup at 83-85 mph. None of these pitches were above average, but all showed average potential, with the slider being the most advanced currently. There's some effort in the 5'11, 175 pound righty's delivery and the lack of plane, ability to hold his velocity late, advanced command or offspeed make relief an obvious destination. An easy plus fastball and four big league pitches with an aggressive approach is a good starting point and the Yankees may have a solid reliever that can go multiple innings.
- Zach Arneson isn't a big prospect but it notable for his arm action, which scouts around me had trouble describing for their reports. He's also notable for his velocity, which was 93-95 and hit 97 mph. He also throws a slider without much depth at 84-87 that has soft break but flashed average potential. As you can guess, given the delivery you can see above, Arneson isn't a great command guy and likely becomes a solid AAA velocity-based reliever that may get a cup of coffee as long as he's in the mid 90's.
- Evan Crawford is a 6'2, 190 pound lefty reliever that's had some big league time that's rehabbing in Dunedin. He throws a solid-average four-seam fastball at 90-92 and a slider that flashes 55 potential on the 20-80 scale at 83-86 mph but can flatten out more than you'd like. Crawford will mix in a 78-79 curveball that's a softer version of his slider to change hitter's eye level. There's a little bit of deception in his delivery but fastball is flat and tends to get up in the zone. If he's locating, Crawford can be a middle reliever, but I can see why he's been hit around a bit.
- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and center fielder Mason Williams were the two big hitting prospects in the game and I've seen them a lot over the past year. The big difference tonight was Williams looked like he had gained about 15 pounds and lost a step, although it's unclear from this limited look if that's a positive or negative. Tampa is the minor league team I'll see the most of this year and when I get to see batting practice and a few games it'll be clearer if he's added more power to his game and simply matured, or just put on some bad weight. Both looked pretty similar at the plate as they did last year (Sanchez a little undisciplined but very talented, Mason lashing line drives up the middle) so I'll need a few more games for a full writeup on them and other lower level hitting prospects I've seen in the past, like Tampa's LF Ben Gamel and 2B Angelo Gumbs.