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Scouting the Mud Hens: The Position Players

I was finally able to see some Tigers minor league action, specifically this weekend's series between Toledo and Charlotte. I took several pages of notes, sort of a set of amateur scouting reports on several Toledo players that might have an impact in the major leagues. After the four game set, I have information on three position players (Scott Sizemore, Andy Dirks and Casper Wells) three starting pitchers (Charlie Furbush, Andy Oliver and Alfredo Figaro) and four relievers (Dan Schlereth, Scot Drucker, Jay Sborz and Zach Simons). There's a lot of information, so I'll post on the position players, the starters and the relievers.

Before that, though, I'd like to comment on the scouting process. Specifically, that scouting players is really difficult. Sitting behind the plate, I was able to note strikes and balls as well as fastballs versus secondary stuff. But I still have problems with pitch recognition (these problems improved in the last two games in the series) and swing breakdowns. It didn't help that it was tough to see swing mechanics from behind the plate. So let this serve as a disclaimer: I'm not a professional scout. Please don't take my word as gospel- if something you see here contradicts a scouting report from TigsTown it's probably my fault.

Onto the players!

Scott Sizemore, 2B/3B/DH

Offensively, the results of Sizemore's at bats were varied. He only had a few hits in the series (two singles, a double) and was only on base once (a walk) but he also lined out hard quite a few times and got cheated out of extra bases on a beautiful catch by Charlotte third baseman Brent Morel. Something else to note was that all of the balls Sizemore put in play save for a couple grounders were hard hit balls that happened to go right to fielders. Sizemore hit two sharp liners right at fielders (the right fielder and shortstop). He also had a couple very well hit fly balls early in the fourth game, one of which almost reached the warning track. Overall, I'm impressed by Sizemore's ability to make contact and to work the count until he gets a pitch that he likes. The ball jumped off his bat during this series, and he still has a lot of talent.

Defensively, I did not get to see Sizemore make many plays. He turned a pretty slick double play as a second baseman, but Parrish moved him around a lot- he DH'd two games and started one at second and third. Of note (and I tweeted this during the third game): the only day he started at third base was with a flyball/strikeout pitcher on the mound (C. Furbush), which could be a statement on what either Parrish or the organization thinks of his glove. His arm did look pretty good at third base, but I can't make a judgment as to whether he could stick there since I only saw him make one play and one attempt at a play (dove at a grounder down the line and missed).

Andy Dirks, LF

Dirks really impressed me, and not just because of the results he put up (four doubles, two singles). The bad news: he struck out three times and two of the three were swinging over hard fastballs, which leads me to believe he may have a little problem with hard stuff. But what makes me so happy about Dirks is his ability to work counts. Kid's a scrappy battler. He knows how to make a pitcher work for the out and drive up pitch counts. He's also got decent wheels, okay discipline and strike zone control and passable power. Nothing about Dirks' game really stands out, but he shows no real weaknesses, either. His bat projects out to be a fourth outfielder's, but he looks like a player that could become a manager's favorite.

Defensively, he made some really sweet snags in left, including one deep in foul territory close to the stands. I can't grade out his arm, but I love the range, and considering he was drafted as a center fielder, that makes sense.

Casper Wells, CF

Wells strikes out like there's no tomorrow - it's not a knock on pitch recognition, it's just how he rolls. My problem is that he only works a few walks (I saw one) and tends to offer at pitches early in the count. The results aren't horrible when he does that (he tripled and flew out a couple times) but I'd much rather that he worked the count and tried to walk a little more (his walk rate's dipped this year, which I think is the source of his problems). The power is great - he hit a boatload of extra base hits, and can probably afford to have a low batting average if he can walk enough and continue to knock extra base hits.

Defensively, he was solid in center. He didn't make any standout plays, but I felt like he did a good job playing in center. His range was pretty solid and he didn't make any blunders that I noticed.