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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/23/21 : Surveying the System - Part Three - Jersey Shore

With the trade deadline fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to make a quick round about of the system from the perspective of one who watches every affiliate on a nightly basis and also spends days observing the complex league. It’s an ability to do so I don’t take for granted and while most won’t care or likely want to hear what I write or say here’s some notations for those that do 😳.

I don’t take part in the “Prospect vs Non-Prospect” discussions, I just look for good ballplayers with projectable skills that might someday help at the MLB level. Relying on statistics alone is misleading, this year in particular … after a year’s layoff and shortened spring camps it’s more prudent to look for trends or recent consistency, at least that’s my opinion. It’s also my opinion that it is most important to actually watch players play, still no better way to gage ability than actually seeing performance. I think we will see that also born out in trades that clubs make in the next few days, wouldn’t get caught up in the season stats for any minor leaguer.

So with that said here’s part three of five … the High A level … if I were a scout with another team these are fellas I’d have interest in. 😎

High A : Jersey Shore Blue Claws :

To date 19 different position players and 30 pitchers have appeared for the team. Pitching has been the strong suit for the club, as a team they are 5th in the 12 team league in ERA.

The Long View :

Catcher Logan O’Hoppe ( 21 years old ) is having a very solid season. He’s been the primary receiver and usually bats in the upper part of the order. We’ve seen his ability to command respect behind the dish and excel defensively since his days in the GCL in 2018 after being selected in the 23rd round of the draft that season. He’s grown offensively and has had outstanding months of June and July showing a power bat. He’s definitely on the radar of every scout who sees him play.

1B/3B DJ Stewart has had a breakout season to date, internally it was well known that he could drive the baseball with that “loud” sound that barreling it makes. We’ve seen that on the backfields. This season after a torrid start with the Threshers the 22 year old was promoted to Jersey Shore on June 9th. He’s powerfully built and has continued to hit at the High A level. DJ has put himself on the radar, he’s shown his capability to become a “professional hitter” at the higher levels.

OF Jhailyn Ortiz is still the only player I’ve personally seen drive the ball over the trees beyond the left field fence on Roberts Field at Carpenter Complex, he did that as a 17 year old. He’s still got that prestigious power … Jhailyn has struggled with the great equalizer against power hitters … pitch recognition and the off speed deliveries but we’ve seen this season a marked improvement … he’s hitting breaking balls with much more frequency and authority and has also laid off balls in the dirt which used to own him. That’s a great sign indeed as the power is very real. Can’t teach that combination of strength and bat speed. 💪

Speaking of raw strength few hit the ball harder than C/1B Vito Friscia, since his arrival in 2019 he’s hit the ball with high velocity and impact. “Unheralded” for sure but I wouldn’t count him out from climbing the ladder. OF Hunter Markwardt has top level speed and is an old school prototype as a leadoff hitter. Both middle infielders Casey Martin & Jonathan Guzman have struggled offensively as Blue Claws this season but we’ve seen the ability to hit and both are solid defenders.

Arms :

Plenty of projectable arms currently on this staff … power arm relievers like RH Blake Brown who pushes mid to upper nineties, each time I’ve seen him he is in absolute attack mode, no fear or back down in this fella. Both RH Tyler Burch and LH Erubiel Armenta are also high octane delivery relievers. On the starter’s side RH Dominic Pipkin has upper nineties velocity and has shown flashes of dominance, he’s just 21 years old and is making up for lost time from 2020 when his ability to work was significantly limited, he’s got big league skills. RH Kevin Gowdy has shown flashes of his abilities as well, he’s another with mid to upper nineties stuff and plus off speed deliveries … just has to find consistency on release point and command, the stuff definitely plays.

Spinning a baseball is a thing, it’s a big thing and this staff has hurlers that have significant skills in that regard. LH Ethan Lindow, RH Jonathan Hughes, RH Aidan Anderson, RH Noah Skirrow and RH Carlo Reyes all fit that mold. RH Adam Leverett is another in this category, he was recently promoted to Reading.

Don’t sleep on one of our favorites RH Ben Brown, he’s working his way back from an early season shoulder set back but the young man has a big league arm in our opinion and a competitive make up that’s unmatched. He’s gonna climb high when he gets the all clear.

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