Another week, and another round of traffic on 495 with the payout of top collegiate talent. This weekend I packed the family into the SUV, and headed back down to Wareham on Saturday to catch newly activated Brewster Whitecaps Lefty Zack Thompson. For those of you not privy to who Thompson is, he’s considered one of, if not the, top college arm in next year’s draft. The plan was to get there early enough to catch his bullpen, and then get some shots to dice up for this post. See, I’m a giver. Luckily the weather held off enough to get in the game. It was actually the only game played around the league on Saturday as the rest were washed out by rain.
Thompson was in the midst of doing some rocker drills with the coach as I walked up. Good on the two of them not laughing in my face as I stood there taping his pen. He’s not the tallest guy, particularly for a starter, sitting about 6’1 or his listed 6’2. He’s stout, and strong in the lower half, which should lessen some of the concerns on his height. The first thing that jumped out to me was Thompson’s back leg drive. He really pushes off, and extends his lower half through his motion. You’ll see in some of the gifs below just how great his balance is.
He throws over the top, and shows some decent arm action, mixing a fastball, slider, and curveball. The latter of which I noticed is from a knucklecurve grip while peeping in on his pen. The scouts were out in full force on Saturday, and because I’m too child-rich and cash-poor to own a shiny stryker gun of my own, I leered onto their’s. I asked as many guys holding guns “what’da ya get on Thompson’s fastball?…Slider…Curve?” as I could ask. Today no one offered me chewing tobacco, but there’s always tomorrow. As for the gun reads, the fastball was mostly sitting 91-92, hitting 93 a few times. A couple of guns had a 94 MPH reading but those were the high guns. The slider sat around 83, with the curveball not getting any consistent readings. He hung a slider to Shaid Valenzuela that the switch-hitting Cal Fullerton second baseman sent out to deep left. Other than that, there was very little damage against the lefty, driving lots of weak contact. He finished the day after four innings, with two runs, one earned, on two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Overall it was a solid performance, though certainly not electrifying. He now heads off to join Team USA, alongside other notable performers like Andrew Vaughn, Spencer Torkelson, and Bryson Stott. Speaking of Stott, here’s Thompson striking out his new teammate on Saturday.
Week 2 (June 20th – June 27th) Performers and Names of Note: This will summarize players that performed over the last week, as well as some of the top draft names. This week is almost entirely hitters. I want to become a bit more familiar with the layout, and what each pitcher’s arsenal is before diving in.
Sahid Valenzuela, 2B Wareham (2019 Draft) Both of the Wareham hits belonged to one man, and it’s wasn’t Andrew Vaughn, Bryson Stott, or Ryan Kreidler. It was the recently activated Valenzuela. The Cal-Fullerton man hit a homer in the first, and then doubled later in the game on a hard groundball down the line to left. As you can see below, he pushed for extra bases, on what really should have been a single. So far, in his first five games he’s hitting .381, and looks a lot better than his 2018 statline indicated. He’s a switch hitter with a contact first approach, and some speed to go with it. One I’m keeping an eye on.
Best hitter in the game tonight was Cal Fullerton 2B Sahid Valenzuela. Homer in First at bat off Zack Thompson, then hit double down the line, pushed for xtra bases. pic.twitter.com/jyAaQ9yTBq
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) June 24, 2018
Greg Jones, Chatham (2019 Draft) Since we last left Jones, he’s gone 7-for-22, with a homer, four walks, 3 runs, with 5 steals on 5 attempts. He’s the best player I’ve seen in my handful on in person looks, and so far the numbers are supporting that. We have a seriously dynamic offensive talent on our hands, with speed, power, and the defense to stick at short.
Andrew Vaughn, Wareham (2019 Draft) Vaughn was just named the 2018 Golden Spikes winner, which honors the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport. He didn’t do much on Saturday in the game I caught, but he was more than happy to go YABO in his swan song Sunday before shipping off to team USA. Vaughn leaves the Cape slashing .308/.368/.654, tied for the home run lead with 5. His plus plus bat speed, plus raw power, and innate ability to get his barrel seemingly on everything make him one of my favorite’s heading into next season.
Andrew Vaughn (@WarehamGatemen, @CalBaseball) is without a doubt the most impressive 2019 bat I’ve seen thus far. Plus-plus bat speed, at least 70 raw, and a really nice swing pic.twitter.com/eUBosrLEpc
— Alex Rosen (@asros213) June 25, 2018
Spencer Torkelson, Chatham (2020 Draft) Also heading off to team USA is the top 2020 player on the Cape in Spencer Torkelson. The performance by the Arizona State Sophomore has been nothing short of spectacular, as he’s hit .389/.520/.917, with 5 homers tying him with Andrew Vaughn for the home run lead. If Greg Jones is the best player I’ve seen on the Cape, Torkelson is the best hitter. I described him last week following my live looks as a middle of the order prototype, and that’s exactly what he’s been during his time on the Cape. He has the highest OPS among players with at least 25 plate appearances by nearly 300 points! Last stat on Torkelson; he had a least one hit in 11 of the 12 Cape contests in which he played.
Andrew Daschbach, Yarmouth-Dennis (2019 Draft) Second to only Torkleson in OPS on the Cape at the moment, the Sophomore power hitter out of Stanford slashed .286/.358/.568 with 16 bombs for the Cardinals this season playing first base, and the outfield. He was a 4oth round pick of the Rays, and looks to be a top three round hitter from my looks this summer. He revamped his swing this off-season, opening up his stance and dropping his hands, what has resulted is a bump in power. He has a patient eye, but is by no means passive at the plate, getting aggressive on pitches he feels he can drive. Unfortunately, he’s likely first base only, and the power is more Lumberjack strength than bat speed driven. The power is 60 raw at least, but I have to wonder if pitchers at higher levels might eat him up. Here’s a homer from Monday’s showdown with Orleans, Daschbach hit this ball a mile out to left-center.
Quin Cotton, Yaramouth-Dennis (2019 Draft) An unheralded name with a ton of exciting skills on both sides of the ball. Cotton brings plus speed to the table along with a lightning quick, compact swing from the right side. He’s super athletic, has a high motor, and true five tool skills. He has the speed, range, and hustle to stick in center, and should develop above average pop with his bat speed. A player I’m making a point to catch more than once over the next few weeks.
Quin Cotton (@YD_RedSox, @GCU_Baseball) has been incredible for Y-D. Contact-oriented swing but there’s lightning in his wrists and potential 20+ hr at peak. 60 arm and could handle CF. Also 60 speed that plays up because of + hustle pic.twitter.com/VdbAns6YkN
— Alex Rosen (@asros213) June 25, 2018
Graeme Stinson, Orleans (2019 Draft) A big lefthanded from Duke, Stinson was one of the best arms on the Cape in the early going. In his lone start last Wednesday, Stinson went 5 scoreless innings vs. Cotuit, allowing three hits, and a walk, while punching out 12 of the 19 batters he faced. He mixes a plus fastball that sits 93-95, but can touch 97, with a plus slider, all delivered from a 3/4 arm slot. Here’s one of his 12 strikeouts from his previous start, as he sits down Zach Bierman on a slider.
Joey Matulovich, Wareham (2019 Draft) A Junior from Cal Berkeley, the tall righthander was a swing man between the pen and the rotation, tossing Cal’s lone complete game last season. He was selected in the 20th round of last June’s draft by the Brewers, but instead chose to return to school. He was relegated to the Golden Bears pen during the season but performed well, with an ERA of 2.31 over 27.1 pen innings, striking out 27 batters in the process. In his four appearances on the Cape, Matulovich has been stellar, collecting a 0.50 ERA, with 17 Ks to 5 walks over 18 innings for the Gatemen. Matulovich mixes a fastball, breaking ball, and changeup. The fastball sits low 90’s with the breaking ball in the mid-80s, and a changeup that sits 78-81.
Article featured image – via capecodbaseball.org
You can follow me on Twitter @ProspectJesus, or catch a majority of my Fantasy Baseball prospect writing on Razzball.com, including the Razzball Prospect Podcast, as well as The Fantrax Baseball Show with Andy Singleton.