With the Billings Mustangs playing on MiLB.tv the past two nights, I’ve gotten a chance to watch them play two games so far. A third game will come on tonight to give me a look at a few more of their pitchers and a second or third look at some of the position players. The view from the camera angle isn’t good to get much information on the hitters as far as their swing mechanics go, as the angle is from behind home plate. It is good though to watch pitchers and fielders though. When it comes to the pitchers, I have also been able to talk with someone who has seen the team quite a bit this year to help gather scouting reports on some of the guys I was unfamiliar with, to help out as I watched. I will have another post up on Monday with more scouting notes on the Mustangs. For today, I’ve got a couple of things that came out of the first two nights of watching. For today, I have notes on Taylor Sparks, Brian O’Grady, Argenis Aldazoro, Soid Marquez and Wagner Gomez.

Taylor Sparks

Here is the last sentence that I wrote about Sparks on the day that he was drafted in his scouting report:

With true five-tool potential, he provides a lot of upside, but his plate discipline and contact concerns also make him a very risky pick.

At UC-Irvine, Sparks was easily their best hitter. One report I got on him noted that he had better plate discipline than his college walk and strikeout numbers suggested. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. Looking at the numbers in Billings, there is no doubt a change in approach compared to where he was in college. Generally speaking, elite level college hitters are walking more than they strike out. Sparks, in his junior season walked 26 times and struck out 66 times. However in Billings he currently has 11 walks and 14 strikeouts, which is something you would expect from someone with far better strikeout-to-walk numbers earlier this year in college. Perhaps that report was right. Watching him play the last two nights, and while it is just two games worth of trips to the plate, showed that he was indeed a patient hitter. He didn’t expand the zone much, he took close pitches, he seemed comfortable in pitchers counts. A very good sign to see from someone who has the hitting tools you want to see.

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4 Responses

  1. Shawn

    Doug, I am unable to sign in for some reason. I checked the email you sent me to make sure I am using the right password.