A Day of Low-A Power

08
Apr

Making it to my second Midwest League game of the season was much less planned, but with the weather jumping to a much more palatable 60 degrees, the offense showed up today. The Kane County Cougars and the various Cubs prospects I’ve already talked about in this piece, took on the Clinton Lumberkings, the Low-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. I’m likely going to make a few pages on here dedicated scouting pages for various players that I will get to see a few times this summer, but until then feel free to peruse these posts that read more like a story and less like a scouting report…that’s for you @prospectguy.

Dylan Unsworth was on the mound for the Lumberkings and Lendy Castillo for the Cougars. Unsworth had some good stuff and a live fastball, but didn’t have a particularly good outing and wasn’t missing bats too often. He recorded 4 Ks in 5 innings, but they were often bad swings that I attribute more to the player than the pitcher. This isn’t much of a surprise, the South African has spent 3 years in the low minors and at 19 years old, he still has a lot of work to go.

Lendy Castillo had a much better outing than his counterpart, going 5.0 innings with 3 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB and 4 Ks. He had his cup of coffee in the majors after last year’s Chicago debacle at SP. Castillo has pretty much reached where he will probably go as a professional pitcher, at best a 7th starter waiting in the minors. It is telling that the Cubs have stashed a 24-year-old starting pitcher with major league experience in Low-A ball.

The relief pitchers were pretty impressive, particularly Dominic Leone of the Lumberkings who went 2 innings with 3 hits, no walks and 5 Ks. The stadium radar had him hitting 95 regularly and he was blowing some of these young hitters out of the water with that fastball. I didn’t have an angle to judge any movement that his fastball may have, but the way he was missing bats I can only assume it had some tail to it.

I have been championing the name Jeimer Candelario ever since I heard his name dropped and I had never seen him. I heard he was good and that he was a sneaky prospect in the Cubs system and I fell for it without doing my own research, an obvious rookie mistake. He is still young and it is way too early to judge him, but I haven’t seen the great upside that I heard about him yet. Again, I’ve only seen him twice, but he seems to get ahead of good breaking balls (as good as they come in Low-A anyway) and has mainly popped out and hit slow one-bouncers to the second basemen since I’ve seen him. He went 0 for 5 with 2 Ks again today and just didn’t flash much of what I’ve read.

Rock Shoulders and Dan Vogelbach both had okay games, better in person than on the stat sheet. Shoulders had 2 hits with a run and 2 Ks. Vogelbach actually went 0 for 4 with a K, but he got two RBIs. Both Vogelbach and Shoulders flashed their raw power though when they hit multiple balls deep to the warning track, just barely missing home runs multiple times. A side note that doesn’t deserve its own paragraph…Wes Darvill, the shortstop that I complained about in my last piece, had another rough game on the defensive side.

The highlight of the game was without a doubt Guillermo Pimentel though. The LF, whose age is interestingly listed at 23 years old on scoutingbook.com and 19 years old on the minor league site. Normally I would take this as an oversight by one of the two and assume Pimentel was 19, however, as there has been age issues with many players coming out of Latin America (mostly Cuba to be fair) I am still a little bit curious. His monstrous home run is much more impressive if he is actually 19. He crushed a pull side home run well over the fence. The wall is 335 from home plate and Pimentel hit the ball over the porch beyond the wall, likely a roughly 380-foot bomb.

Many players attempted to go yard today, with only 2 making it over the fence. I was impressed by Castillo on the mound, but in context it loses a lot of its appeal because of his age, he is seemingly under-matched at Low-A ball. Like I said, I’ll be putting up dedicated scouting pages soon with blurbs about each player that I see and links to their stats hopefully soon. Until then, get out and enjoy some prospect watching…especially if your favorite team is as bad as mine is.

About the author: Colby Rogers

Colby is the Editor-in-Chief, Founder and Lead Contributor to Other League. Also a law student focusing on Labor & Employment law and intersections with law and sports. You can find him on Twitter via @Colby_OL.