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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

9/26/21 : Let’s Review 🤔 - Part One B - Arms

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Here’s the third in a series of articles from this observers view of the “state of the system.” I’ll attempt to “keep it real” … not a doom and gloom, there’s no talent in the system editorial but also not a “pie in the sky” everything is great PR piece … just a somewhat educated “fan’s view”.

If ya missed the first article here’s a link …

The link to article # 2 …

We pick up the series at the High A and above full season level.

High A Jersey Shore, Double A Reading & Triple A Lehigh Valley

Similar to Clearwater the Blue Claws started and spent most of the season deploying a piggyback tandem approach to pitching. RH Adam Leverett ( 23 yrs old ) stood out early on in the Jersey Shore group yielding just one run over his first four outings ( 12 2/3 IP ). He eventually earned two promotions pitching in eight games for Reading and two for Lehigh Valley. Adam totaled 85 1/3 IP in 21 games and posted a solid 3.48 ERA. He won the June minor league Pitcher of the Month award. He generally sits in the 91-93 range with the fastball, the changeup is his strongest secondary pitch and he also throws a curve.

RH Jack Perkins (24 yrs old ), RH Noah Skirrow ( 23 yrs old ) , RH Jonathan Hughes ( 24 yrs old ) , RH Colton Eastman ( 25 yrs old ) and LH’s Josh Hendrickson ( 24 yrs old ) & Ethan Lindow ( 22 yrs old ) are all pitchers in the same general description. Pitch ability, command, mix, spin, mechanics and moxy are their calling cards and tickets to success. We’ve witnessed each punching such tickets both this summer and before. Not everyone who succeeds on the bump requires high velo heat ( by today’s standards that definition seems to be 95 plus octane ) to do so. I get just as excited watching these fellas compete as a “big arm” hurler simply because I’ve seen what they are capable of … I’ll go to baseball war with this group anytime.

Power Starters :

RH Hans Crouse ( 23 yrs old ) , RH Francisco Morales ( 21 yrs old ) , RH James McArthur ( 24 yrs old ), RH Dominic Pipkin ( 21 yrs old ) RH Griff McGarry ( 22 yrs old ) & LH Jhordany Mezquita ( 23 yrs old ) are all hurlers who are capable of mid and in some cases upper ( Morales, Pipkin, McGarry ) nineties consistency with the four seamer

Francisco Morales also possesses a slider that is major league caliber, when he’s on the young man can dominate hitters as he showed in his only AAA level start to date on 9/24 when he threw five shutout innings allowing just two hits against Buffalo. Francisco just needs to find consistency in approach, mechanics, mix and preparation … all attainable. The skill set he possesses is big league caliber along with his mental toughness to handle adversity. He will pitch in the show at some point, he can be very successful when he gets there as well.

Hans Crouse has worked to simplify his delivery since joining the organization, it’s still a bit quirky but that’s an advantage … his release point slots akin to a Roy Halladay angle. The ability to command the zone has been most impressive in the few times we’ve seen him ( none in person yet ) … he also features a power slider and is working on a change up that will give him a softer pitch option to alter the hitter’s timing. From what we’ve seen both the heater and slider can compete at the top level as well as the command and poise.

Both Griff McGarry & Dominic Pipkin can sit in the upper nineties with movement on their fastball deliveries. The key for both young pitchers will be to continue working on control and then harnassing command within the zone. They each have upper levels stuff and have shown the ability to overpower hitters and rack up the strikeouts. We like their receptiveness to learn, be coached and desire to succeed as well. Once they lock in both are capable of climbing quickly.

James McArthur and Jhordany Mezquita have given us glimpses of what might be. James was popping the mitt in the 95-98 range in 2020 Instructs and we saw a bit more of that this summer in Reading. Jhordany generally sits a tick below the mid nineties but it’s there when he wants or needs it. Both had outings this season where they just overpowered the opponents. With any young hurler finding a repeatable routine and arm slot is the ultimate key to success … along with stuff 🤓. Just saying that we’ve witnessed the “stuff” part from these two and if consistency is found we have two more big leaguers on the horizon.

Relief Corps :

High Velo :

RH Blake Brown ( 23 yrs old ), RH Billy Sullivan ( 22 yrs old ) , RH Braden Zarbnisky ( 24 yrs old ) , RH Andrew Brown ( 23 yrs old ) , RH Mike Adams ( 27 yrs old ) , RH Mark Potter ( 23 yrs old ) , LH Kyle Dohy ( 25 yrs old ) & RH Aneurys Zabala ( 24 yrs old ) and we already mentioned LH Erubiel Armenta ( 21 yrs old ) are all relievers who sit consistently 95 plus with their fastballs, all have also pitched at the AA level or above this season.

Aneurys Zabala and Blake Brown have registered triple digits on the speed gun this summer. The key to both is control as the stuff can be flat out overpowering. Each will also need to continue to refine at least one secondary offering to keep upper level hitters off balance. Billy Sullivan has a delivery angle that’s unique and a arm rotation that would seem to make it most difficult to see the ball out of his hand. That, coupled with a FB we’ve seen hit 97/98 this summer makes him very viable. He was shut down early this season but we will see him again in Fall Instructs. It will be interesting to see if any alterations are made to reduce some torque on his elbow, we like what we’ve seen thus far from him.

Mike Adams and Braden Zarbnisky each rose quickly in their first year of pro ball … reaching the AAA level of play with Lehigh Valley. I’ve repeated it a lot already but it’s a matter of consistency with control and command for both to push up one more step to the show.

This year Andrew Brown threw the ball better than we’ve ever seen him, he had locked into a multi reliever role with the Blue Claws before a bout of arm fatigue set in, we were excited though with his performance, very encouraging. Besides having a great last name Mark Potter has a power arsenal that can become special, again a focus on control, repeatable delivery and command are the focal points needed.

Kyle Dohy spent time earlier this spring at the Complex in extended spring camp after struggling initially with Lehigh Valley … working to simplify his mechanics. The torque in his delivery can get him easily out of sync which makes him fly open and sail the ball. A more compact approach brought a lot of success for him when he moved to AA Reading … he was just promoted to the show yesterday. Kyle has a change up that can be a devastating pitch when coupled with his heater … if he remains locked in with a repeatable release he’s a strikeout machine.

Mix & Command :

LH Brian Marconi ( 24 yrs old ), LH Zach Warren (25 yrs old ) RH Carlo Reyes ( 23 yrs old ), RH Aidan Anderson ( 24 yrs old ) , RH Victor Lopez ( 22 yrs old ) & LH Nick Lackney ( 24 yrs old ) all had success this summer using secondary offerings that almost become primary in their approach. Brian Marconi was outstanding for Reading in the closer’s role, his slider and arm slot are pluses that can advance him up the ladder along with outstanding command and control. I’ve compared him to Aaron Loup … we saw what he did this year for the Mets … just sayin 🤔

LH Jonathan Hennigan ( 27 yrs old ), LH Jeff Singer ( 28 yrs old ) LH Jakob Hernandez ( 25 yrs old )& RH’s Austin Ross ( 27 yrs old ) & Tyler Carr ( 25 yrs old ) are all multi inning relievers that perhaps this year’s numbers don’t jump out on but we’ve witnessed both effectiveness and intrigue from each. Opportunities to show more of what they’re capable of are needed.

We will continue the series next time talking about a core of young outfielders and catchers we are very excited about watching to continue to advance, till then … Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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