South Atlantic League Notes (and others): Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, Nolan Jones and more

Alec Bohm - July 7, 2019, Futures Game, Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH. Photo credit - Scott Greene, @Scotty_Ballgame on Twitter

Here is my final batch of MiLB scouting reports for the 2019 season. Some South Atlantic League players and a few others sprinkled in. Thanks to everyone for following along this season!

Adley Rutschman, Delmarva Shorebirds – 6’2″ 216 lbs

Body– Right now the former Oregon State Beaver has the perfect build for a catcher. He’s strong, durable, yet still athletic for his size. That being said catching takes a toll on a guy’s body and I would expect that this is the best shape he’s ever going to be in. His athleticism could back up a bit.

Bat– Rutschman will be solid with the bat. His quality of contact since turning pro has not been very consistent right but he was coming off an illness. I’m confident that next season we will see the 2019 Golden Spikes Award Winner version of Rutschman’s bat. He has an impressive ability to make contact out in front and drive the ball.

Mechanics– He is a switch hitter who has plus bat speed and power from both batter’s boxes. Regardless of what side he’s hitting from Rutschman sets up in an open stance with his knees bent. His front foot is pivoted slightly, angling toward the pitcher and his hands sit low at around chest level. He is quick to the ball. What stands out to me is the way he is able to turn on the ball with a crazy amount of torque generated by his hips and lower body.

Power– Adley can hit a ball really far. With help from his bat speed, strength, and rotation, his power is his best tool.

Speed– The best time I got for Rutschman was 4.33 from the left side, which registers as a 40, but I will put a future 35 on it due to the everyday life of a catcher, and the possibility of adding more weight.

Defense– Rutschman moves fluidly behind the plate. Everything looks simple on pitches above the waist and he can frame with the best of them. On balls in the dirt, he was a little slow to his blocks in my look.

Arm– Adley’s arm is very strong and accurate. Yet another plus tool.

Makeup – Rutschman has top of the scale makeup. He’s a leader and he is loved by coaches and teammates. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone say anything negative about Adley Rutschman.

Bat- 40/55

Game Power- 50/65

Raw Power- 65/65

Speed- 40/35

Defense- 50/60

Arm- 60/60

Projected Role- One of the best catchers of the past few decades who will make an impact from both sides of the plate and behind it.

RHP Dominic Pipkin, Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI) 6’4″ 160 lbs

Pipkin is a 19 year old right-hander that the Phillies took in the 9th round last year. He definitely comes with plenty of projection. At 6’4″ 160 lbs I think he can add some good weight to his body. Currently he throws his fastball at 91-93 mph with some life to go along with it. Next season he is going to have to refine is command and limit walks. The secondaries are a work in progress, with the slider ahead of the changeup as far as consistency.

Projected Role – No MLB, but chance to start.

RHP Grayson Rodriguez, Delmarva Shorebirds (BAL) 6’5″ 220 lbs

I saw Grayson three times in 2019 so I feel like I definitely have a good feel for who he is as a pitcher. In my last writeup for Rodriguez, which can be read here, I gave him a No. 3 starter ceiling. However, that was following the first start of his that I saw where he sat 92-94 with the fastball. In the other two looks the velo on his heater was considerably better, so I have decided that he has warranted a bump up to a potential No. 2. Rodriguez has impressive polish for his age along with nasty stuff and some feel. GrayRod along with LHP DL Hall could form a scary 1-2 punch at the top of the O’s rotation in a few years.

Projected Role – No. 2 SP


RHP Carlos Vargas, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE A-Short) 6’3″ 180 lbs

Vargas is a flamethrower that is still pretty raw, but he has a chance to be something special if it all comes together. He sits 96-98 and he still has projection in his 6’3″ 180 lbs frame. Vargas has long legs and he stands tall throughout his delivery, while releasing the ball from a low 3/4 arm angle. Right now he lacks secondary stuff. His slider is very inconsistent. Carlos is also going to have to throw more strikes. He’s a future reliever.

Projected Role – Dominant back-end RP

3B Nolan Jones, Akron RubberDucks (CLE AA) 6’4″ 185 lbs

Bat- Jones has swing and miss problems due to his lofty swing and selling out for power. He sets up in an open stance from the left side and closes with a moderate leg kick. Jones has a big hand load which could present a red flag especially when dealing with spin. The eastern Pennsylvania native has impressive plate discipline and he draws his share of walks.

Power- The main thing that stands out about Jones is his power. He has an uppercut swing and tremendous strength to drive the ball over the wall.

Speed- I didn’t get a dig time on him, but Jones’ speed will not be a factor.

Defense- In the field Jones currently plays third base but I have questions about his range moving forward. I believe he moves just well enough to stick at third base for now, but he will most likely have to move off the position as he gets older. He may better profile in right field down the road.

Arm- Jones has a great arm. His raw strength is near the top of the scale.

Bat- 30/40

Power- 50/60

Speed- 35/35

3B Defense- 45/45

Arm- 60/60

Projected Role- Jones will ultimately land in RF where he will hold his own as an average fielder. His game will be headlined by his power which will produce approximately 35 homeruns and he’ll hit around .245.

3B Alec Bohm, Reading Fightin Phils (PHI AA) 6’5″ 225 lbs

I saw Bohm on opening day in Lakewood. Lakewood went on a long road trip following that series and by the time they came back, the news broke that Bohm was sent to Clearwater. Therefore I had to wait until Bohm got to AA for me to see him again. I got my second look in the final weekend of the 2019 regular season when Reading made the short trip to Trenton.

Bohm is a large guy who still may have room to put on some pounds. What stands out is his ability to hit the ball really hard to all fields. He has a good approach at the plate, along with great strength. I saw him play first base in this game and he could certainly hold his own there. Bohm has split time between the two corners this year. I saw him at third back in April and he looked to move fine over there along with exhibiting a very solid arm from the hot corner.

I will continue to watch for how Bohm looks in the field as I may get to see him once more this season. However if he adds weight to his 6’5″ 225 lbs frame this will further limit his mobility, moving him off third base. Alec should see time in the major leagues next season.

Projected Role – Bat-first corner infielder who will give the Phillies all-star caliber production for many years.

Owen Surett covers the South Atlantic League for Prospects1500. Owen is an enthusiast of baseball at all competition levels from college/MLB Draft, to all levels of the minor leagues and MLB. He is an avid fan of the New York Mets and West Virginia Mountaineers. His springs and summers revolve around going to as many baseball games as possible, seeing prospects, and writing scouting reports. He is from New Jersey and regularly attends minor league games in Lakewood (Phillies A) and Trenton (Yankees AA). You can follow him on Twitter @CountryRoads277.

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