Scouting Notebook: Week 2

With so much attention given to breaking down prospects piece by piece, looking at their strengths and weaknesses with great detail, we present Scouting Notebook here at Using the valuable input of professional scouts, we take an advanced look at '07 and '08 draft prospects' Mitch Moreland and Pedro Alvarez.

The grading system for the traditional scouting reports used in this article can be simply explained. Scouts use a 2-8 (20-80) grading scale, 8 being the highest possible grade for a tool. An 8 tool is reserved for an elite tool such as Barry Bonds' power. A score of 5 for a skill is considered to be Major League average. You will notice two grades for Present/Future. That represents the grade of a player's current tool and the grade the player is projected to have in the future. Adjustments to the players' "Overall Future Potential" can be made to accurately depict the grade deserved for the player's potential upside.

Mitch Moreland - 1B, Mississippi State (Jr.)

Draft Class: 2007
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Position: First Base
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 228

Present/Future Scouting Grades

Hitting - 4/5
Power - 5/7
Speed - 4/4
Arm - 5/5
Fielding - 5/5
Overall Future Potential - 52
Adjusted Overall Future Potential - 55

Physical Description: Moreland has a strong, physically mature build, a build that bodes well for his durability and athleticism for the long haul. He is high waisted and has sloped shoulders. His weight and muscularity fits his frame perfectly and he does a good job of staying in excellent shape. Moreland is a very good all-around athlete, which has allowed him to also excel on the mound. He resembles current major leaguer, Trot Nixon in body type.

Mechanical Distinctives: Batting out of a very wide stance, Moreland has almost no stride with his front foot in his swing. He lifts his front foot and puts it right back down. This gives him excellent balance and leverage as he drops the barrel on the ball. He also generates an extreme amount of power with his legs, making his swing look rather effortless. His swing can get a bit long at times and he has a noticeable uppercut. When he does connect, his swing extension is very impressive and he has a high finish when he puts a good swing on a pitch. One problem that is recurring for Mitch is the dropping of his back shoulder, leading to quite a few outs in the air.

Abilities: Moreland shows off plus plate discipline and rarely chases a pitch out of the strike zone. He attacks his pitch, but is frequently fooled by a good offspeed pitches as he has the tendency to commit to pitches early. There is definite big league power in his bat, but he may never hit for a consistently high average at the professional level. He jumps on and destroys pitches on the inner-half and makes pitchers pay for mistakes. The ball seems to jump off his bat, but he tends to swing and miss too frequently. His speed is a notch below average, but not bad enough to make him a liability, but perhaps enough to limit him to playing first base long term. As we can see from his solid upside on the mound, Moreland does have a strong throwing arm which could make him a uniquely talented defensive first baseman. His athleticism could make him a rangy first baseman as he continues to hone his skills at the position; overall he should be much more agile than the typical first baseman at the professional level, but will need to work on his hands.

Summation: His bat is what will carry him, but if he proves to be the solid defender he has the ability to be, Moreland could be a regular at the major league level. He'll always struggle to make consistent contact, but his powerful bat and discipline at the dish will make him a highly valuable commodity.

Pedro Alvarez - 3B, Vanderbilt University (So.)

Draft Class: 2008
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Position: Third Base
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215

Present/Future Scouting Grades

Hitting - 6/7
Power - 7/8
Speed - 4/4
Arm - 6/6
Fielding - 5/5
Overall Future Potential - 60
Adjusted Overall Future Potential - 65

Physical Description: Pedro Alvarez is gifted with an ideal big league power hitter's build. He has a large, muscular frame from top to bottom, but not overly bulky so that it would hurt his flexibility. His forearms and wrists are especially well developed, as is the rest of his physically mature frame. Alvarez resembles Mets' first baseman, Carlos Delgado. He has a thick base, strong thighs, but overall looks like an outstanding pure athlete.

Mechanical Distinctives: He uses a slightly open stance from a bit of a crouched position, and appears relaxed at the plate. Overall, he is a hands and wrists hitter, but knows how to use his strong lower-half to generate his prodigious power. He waits backs on offspeed pitches and is able to keep his hands back much longer than most hitters at this stage in their development. Alvarez holds his hands somewhat high and loose in his stance. Pedro still does have the tendency to pull his front shoulder outside, but is often able to make up for it with his plus plate coverage and the extension he has in his swing. Alvarez also has a slight uppercut in his stroke.

Abilities: The name of the game for Pedro Alvarez is power and he projects to have plus-plus power at the professional level. He's also an accomplished all-around hitter as he displays advanced plate discipline and the ability to work and wear down a pitcher. He seems to revel in a run-producer role and he loves to hit in a big spot. He's also proved to be adaptable to every problem he's run into. Expect him to rack up a high strikeout total but he'll constantly be on base due to his good eye. Right now, Alvarez is constantly looking to pull the ball to the right side but he's displayed great power to left-center field. His defense at third base is adequate enough to be playable at the next level and he has a slightly above average, accurate throwing arm. While his speed will never be one of his strengths, Alvarez is a smart enough player not to be a liability on the bases. Pedro also possesses the intangibles needed at the pro level has an even-keel demeanor at all times.

Summation: Considering his power and all around gifted bat, Alvarez looks to be a future third or fourth hitter in a major league lineup. His pure power could put him at an elite level, and his adequate defensive skills should allow him to remain at third base long term. He'll need to learn to use the opposite field, but his pitch recognition and patience should allow him to be a quick learner and not be overwhelmed by professional pitching.

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