Live From Fall Ball: Outfielders

Ready for the in-depth info on the Instructional League baseball going on in Lakeland? TigsTown and Mark Anderson have you covered, going player-by-player. Next up, the outfield.

Left Field
Ben Guez – He was definitely quicker than I expected, covering more ground in the outfield and getting around the bases faster than what I had previously been told. His speed in the outfield helps compensate for some rawness that leads to poor jumps and rounded routes, but overall he gets to most balls he should. His arm is strong enough for the position, and he showed a quick release with reasonable accuracy during drill work. I liked his approach at the plate, as he exhibited a cautious aggression. He attacked pitches in the zone but demonstrated an ability to recognize pitches and avoid chasing those he couldn't square up easily. There's a fair amount of development left here, so be patient.

Brent Wyatt – Worked exclusively in left field while I was here, despite having shown positional versatility in the past. He showed good instincts in the outfield, with quick jumps and good routes, despite only average speed. His arm is strong and extremely accurate; firing darts to the bases with ease. His offensive game grew on me the more I saw of him. He was able to tag line drives to all fields from both sides of the plate, and there was more power in his small frame than I anticipated. He's a pretty patient hitter, though he won't hesitate to attack a first pitch strike that he feels he can drive. I think he may ultimately be best suited for a utility role where his bat and defensive abilities will be best utilized.

Centerfield
Andy Dirks – He started and played every inning in center this week, and I think he'll move quickly playing that position. He could start next year in Lakeland thanks to what I observed to be a refined approach at the plate, good bat control, heady base running, and very good defensive abilities. Andy is a line drive hitter that can use all fields but excels working from center to the right field line. He has a very good concept of the strike zone, allowing him to pick pitches he can drive, and get on base at a good clip. He should be able to hit for average and moderate power. Defensively, he has speed that's a tick above-average, an average arm, and very good instincts. He's probably a fourth outfielder right now, and I don't see much chance he doesn't reach that profile at the big league level.

Luis Salas – I list him here because he took flies from the position during workouts, but he didn't play an inning there during games, and given how much he's thickening up in the lower half, I don't think he'll be there long term. He's a good runner now, but will likely lose a tick or two as he reaches his physical peak. He runs good routes to balls in both center and right, and his arm is strong enough to carry right field. I love his potential at the plate, but he's likely a ways from approaching it. He has power in his bat, though it is more batting practice power, than game power right now. He'll need to improve his contact ability to take advantage of his physical gifts, and given his age there is a good chance he makes strides in this area. West Michigan may be a possibility for Salas next spring, but that is based on the premise of continued development this fall and into minor league spring training. If he remains at his current levels, he's likely destined for extended spring training and a probably trip to Oneonta.

Right Field
Chao-Ting Tang – ‘Tanger' is not nearly as refined as we were led to believe upon his signing, and his development may take time. Working from a classic Asian-style batting stance he has an excellent ability to make contact on pitches all over the place, but he has yet to really demonstrate an ability to drive the ball. He is an excellent bunter with above-average speed. CT's feel for the game borders on uncanny for someone so young, and that knowledge of the game makes up for some rawness in his ability. He is a very good defender in right field with a strong arm, good routes, excellent reactions, and a strong work ethic. He seemed quite frustrated with his performance at the plate, but he did show the tools of a capable offensive player. I think it may take a year or two before we begin to see statistical results from Tang, but he may be worth the wait. Don't be surprised if he makes a return trip to the GCL in 2009.

Londell Taylor – I didn't get the opportunity to see him in any games, but he did participate in several workouts that I saw. He's starting to bulk up, but the impressive raw tools are still very evident. He can run and throw with the best of them, though he may lose a bit of speed down the line. Instinctually he looked as raw as I expected, and that will take some time for him to develop. At the plate he showed more true power than I thought he would, but his swing is very unrefined with some holes and a need for added ability to recognize and lay off breaking balls and change-ups. There is still a ton of raw talent here, so don't get too down on him if things don't come quickly.


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