I had an opportunity to watch Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Alexander Torres make a start against the prospect-laden Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds). At first glance, Torres needs to tighten up his conditioning; he’s a little soft around the middle. He’s also too soft in his approach on the mound. When he gets into to trouble he pitches away from contact and needs to trust his stuff more to be successful at triple-A.
In this game, Torres featured four pitches: a fastball that sat around 91 (touching 94 mph), curveball, slider and changeup. His strikeout pitch is the breaking ball. I’m not sure how well his curveball is going to work at the MLB level because it’s loopy. He also shows a tighter breaking ball (slider) that shows some potential.
I also liked his changeup, but he rarely used it. I’m not sure if Robinson Chirinos or the manager was calling the game but the pitches were poorly mixed. Torres threw far too many breaking balls and needs to work off the fastball – especially when he’s struggling – if he’s going to succeed at the Major League level and strike batters out with his best pitch (curveball).
Zack Cozart: He struck out on a big, loopy breaking ball. He also struck out looking on a questionable inside pitch after fouling off a bunch of tough pitches. He has a solid, well-balanced stance and good bat control.
Yonder Alonso: He also showed nice balance but I’m not a fan of his foot tap, which could throw off his timing. Outside of the front foot, he has a quiet stance but it looks like he’s too bent over. It helps him cover the outer half of the plate, but it leaves him susceptible to the inside pitch. It may be his way of cheating on outside pitches since he has average bat speed.
Devin Mesoraco: The Reds’ catching prospect was the most impressive player that I saw on this day. Torres didn’t want to throw him a fastball and was pitching him away. Mesoraco showed a nice approach and didn’t try to do too much, which is a great trait in a young player. With the bases loaded, he used a level swing to hit a broken-bat single on the first pitch of his at-bat.
Robinson Chirinos: He runs well for a catcher and is athletic; he’ll make an excellent utility player at the MLB level. He is, however, raw behind the plate. He made two poor throws, including one from his knees and another that hit the runner; he needs to make sure he follows through on his throws. If he was in charge of calling the game, he did a poor job of helping Torres mix his pitches. Offensively, he showed gap power and a level, gap swing, Chirinos has average bat speed and was beaten by a high fringe-average fastball.
Desmond Jennings: He needs to square up his shoulders. His back shoulder is pulled too far back, which is creating a bit of an upper cut to his swing and leading to pop ups.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.