Today I took in the matchup between the exciting Carolina Mudcats and the Frederick Keys. It’s been awhile, but I am happy to note that my inability to remember to bring sunscreen is still intact. No videos this week, hopefully I’ll have some for you by the end of the month. Also, the stadium gun at Frederick was off by 8-10 mph so I don’t have any velocities to report, unfortunately. I’m going to review the two starters and a releiver I saw and write a bit about Lucas Erceg, but I want to withhold my thoughts on Isan Diaz, Trent Clark, Luis Aviles, Jomar Reyes, Ryan Mountcastle, and others until after further viewings.
Cody Sedlock, P, BAL
This is my first time seeing Sedlock, who hails from my alma mater. Sedlock has a tall, lean frame that he could maybe add 10-15 pounds of muscle to as he ages. He threw four pitches in this viewing from a high-3/4 arm slot – a two-seam fastball, an 11-5 curveball, a slider, and a changeup (which he only threw a handful of times). Sedlock had an excellent outing, striking out 5 to just 1 walk and 2 hits over 6 innings against a prospect-laden Carolina lineup. He generated 9 swing-and-misses (5 on the fastball, 3 on the curve, 1 on the slider) in 83 total pitches. Only Lucas Erceg was able to square him up with any sort of authority.
Sedlock’s fastball was very effective when he was keeping it down in the zone, where it had a lot of arm-side life that helped him miss plenty of bats and induce a lot of weak contact. It flattened out substantially when it would creep up, but to his credit Sedlock rarely worked in the upper half of the zone. Sedlock was able to work to both corners of the plate with his fastball and showed a willingness to attack the inner third of the plate against left and right handed batters.
Sedlock threw two distinct breaking balls on the day, though he was rarely able to get both into a sequence together. He started off the game fastball-slider, which lacked bite, and switched to fastball-curveball for most of innings 2-5, and was finally able to work both together in his last few plate appearances. The curveball is of the big, loopy, 11-5 variety. It is effective in changing hitters’ eye level and he is able to command it to both sides of the plate, but doesn’t have the bite to be much more than an average pitch and he occasionally struggled keeping it down in the zone.
The slider doesn’t have a lot of bite either, but Sedlock kept it low and was able to bury it a few times. It also looks like an average pitch in the future. When he regained feel for the slider late and was mixing it in with his fastball and curveball he was highly effective.
Overall I was very impressed by Sedlock’s outing, but there are clear areas where he needs to improve to start in the majors. His mechanics got much noisier as the game wore on, and the stuff suffered as a result – 6 of the 9 whiffs he generated came in the first two innings. In particular, his stride involved a ton of effort in the middle innings, he was clearly trying to reach back for extra velocity. As mentioned, I don’t have velocities, but the movement on his stuff was diminished and his command of all his pitches started to falter as well.
If he can improve his durability, he has the stuff and command to fit into the back end a MLB rotation. If not, he still looks like a good middle reliever, maybe even one who could give you a few innings at a time.
Kodi Medeiros, P, MIL
The 2014 first rounder struggled quite a bit today. Medeiros is short but broad-shouldered, and there doesn’t appear to be any physical projection left. The lefty threw 3 pitches from a sidearm slot in today’s viewing – fastball, slider, and a few changeups. He fooled nobody, getting just 4 swinging strikes and 2 strikeouts (one of which was a called strikeout on a pitch at least a foot off the plate).
Medeiros’ fastball lacks plane and does not have much life, even if he’s working down in the zone. He struggled to command his fastball to any quadrant, and was constantly missing up in, or above, the zone. Frederick’s Stevie Wilkerson pounded a homer off of one of these fastballs, and Medeiros gave up plenty of other sharp contact. He must develop an ability to command the fastball down in the zone if he is going to make the majors.
Medeiros’ slider was inconsistent all game, and outside of a few flashes where he was really able to sweep it across the zone and bury it behind a righty’s back foot, it is a well below average pitch at present. The pitch, as he most commonly threw it, was a loopy slider without much vertical movement that usually ended up about mid-thigh high. The hump on the pitch was extremely noticeable. Medeiros started showing feel for placing his slider on the outside third to righties late in his outing but did not show the same against lefties.
Medeiros struggled in repeating his delivery, often landing more on the side of his front foot than the sole. Despite the funky, crossfire, sidearm delivery, he wasn’t nearly as deceptive as you would hope. It’s tough to see how Medeiros develops into a major league bullpen piece at this point, even as a LOOGY type.
Lucas Erceg, 3B, MIL
I want to talk a bit about Lucas Erceg’s defense. His bat looked neat but I’ve only 4 plate appearances to go off of, so I’ll wait on that.
Erceg looks like a future plus defensive third baseman with room for more. He made a few of the most impressive throws I’ve seen at the minor league level, and showed impressive range. One throw, he ranged a few steps on a chopper to his right, and from behind the third base bag threw the frozenest of ropes across the diamond to get the runner at first. Another, he backed up on a chopper in the same motion turned and whipped the ball across his body without really turning his hips to second to turn a difficult double play. It looked really awkward but it was a bang-bang play all around and anything slower doesn’t turn it.
He also flubbed two potentially great plays, one a bare-handed bunt he didn’t field cleanly and another a diving stop down the third base line. With repetition, he’ll make those plays – the athleticism he showed to get to both of these grounders was mighty impressive. It’s an easy 7 arm and potentially a 6 glove as well.
Mitch Horacek, P, BAL
Horacek spent his last few years as an unsuccessful starter in the Orioles system and has been converted to a reliever. I don’t have velocity numbers on his FB, so there’s a chance he’s just a total NP, but bear with me. He’s a 6’5″ lefty with enormous shoulders that gets a lot of plane on his fastball. His curveball is of the big and sweeping variety. Based on his body and curveball, I was reminded of a thicker Sean Marshall. I think with some refinement of his fastball command he might be one of those up and down LOOGY types that sticks around baseball a long time. He generated very weak contact from Isan Diaz and Lucas Erceg, two very good left handed hitting prospects.
He also, uh, gave up a dinger to Jacob Gatewood, so maybe he’s nothing.