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BCB Scouting Bureau: The Peoria Chiefs, April Report

So far, the BCB Scouting Bureau has been a success (except in Florida). We've gotten lots of reports from the Chiefs and the I-Cubs, and one great one about the Smokies, along with a few comments on the AA team. So I want to thank everyone who has gone to see a Cubs farm team and has either sent me a report or posted a comment.

What I've done is essentially cut and pasted these reports so that you can look them up by the individual player. The only things I changed were a few obvious typos and altering a few things for clarity. Now the reports aren't in any particular order right now except in a general sense of whom I thinking people want to know about are listed first. But you can scan this story and see five reports on Josh Vitters in one place, for example.

I've listed every comment or report that was sent to me with a few exceptions. I didn't put any comment in the reports that said something like "Alfonso Soriano was 3 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout" because I figure that doesn't tell us anything that can't be gleaned from the box score. If someone wrote "Soriano was 3 for 4 but looked awful striking out," I generally included that, because of while it doesn't tell us much, it does say that he looked bad striking out, as opposed to all those guys who look good striking out, I guess.

I've tried to give everyone credit. When I could, I put down your screenname because that's what I figure everyone here knows you by. If I screwed something up or missed something or some one, I humbly apologize and ask that you contact me so that we can get the record straight.

Also, in the comments, I'm going to ask certain questions that we don't know the answer to yet in the hope that future Chiefs fans will try to answer them. I encourage everyone else to ask their questions as well.

So as I said, this is an experiment. I'm open to new ways to present this data, and I want this to be an ongoing dialogue. And Iowa and Tennessee reports for April are finished, but I may wait a day or two to let people digest this first and to listen to suggestions.

It's also nice, but not necessary, if you contact me before you go to the game so that I can ask you to look for things. For example, I'm a little embarrassed that no one has mentioned Kyler Burke in any of these reports. (CORRECTION: Just as I was about to post this, I got some Burke info. But we could use more.) That's partly my fault, as some people did ask me for "assignments" and I hadn't collated the reports yet and didn't realize we had nothing on Burke.

Josh Vitters



photo by jasoniniowa (Jason Counts)

"Vitters has a quick bat. I missed the first inning, so I didn't see his triple, but he gets good contact when he swings the bat. I only saw one fielding chance for him (okay, two if you count the popup) and it seemed pretty routine."
Cwyers 4/19/09 PEO@QC

"-With Josh Vitters...there's not a whole lot I can really say about him from tonight's game. There was one ball hit his way the entire night and that particular ball was a tough play for any 3B (low and hard grounder to his left that got under him as he laid out for it). His ABs looked fine and his swing was pretty nice, but he didn't do anything particularly noteworthy. The one thing I did like was that he made a conscious effort to use all fields, even if he only got one hit out of it."
Outshined_one 4/10/09 KC@PEO

"Vitters really stood out last night, he went 3 for 4 at the plate, with some pretty good defense. His first time up he hit a ball hard into the hole at SS, and he beat the throw. He was hustling out of the box and really earned that base hit. His next time up he got a hard hit single to left, which was followed up in the 6th or so with a fly out. His final AB was when he got his RBI single that was the go ahead run. Vitters makes what I would call "Loud contact". He just hits the ball hard. During one of his AB, he got around on a fastball a bit quick, and crushed one foul. It left the stadium, and missed hitting a car traveling by on whatever road that is down the 3rd baseline by about 5 feet. Had he straightened that one out, it would have been long gone. Defensively, he was impressive with his range as well. He made a couple nice stabs going both left and right. The one he made a nice play going to his glove hand he had to rush the throw and subsequently airmailed the 1B. They ruled it a hit..not sure about that. All in all, I'm impressed and you can tell why he was such a high pick." Mikew 4/15/09 KC@PEO

"Vitters continues to hit the ball HARD. He was just 1 for 4, but in his 2nd AB he absolutely CRUSHED one for a HR, except the home plate ump called it foul. I had a real good look at it, and I think the call was did the Chiefs manager who complained about the call. Would have been easily 400+ feet down the line. For those of you who've been to O'Brien, it cleared the street behind the stadium down the LF line and ended up in the Cat parking lot. 'Twas a mammoth shot."
Mikew 4/26/09 CDR@PEO

"Vitters looked real nice on his one play where he backhanded a grounder & threw a BB to first. I wonder if he EVER swings late at a pitch? He has a real quick bat, and is "loose" at the plate ala Raffy."
Kedziekid 4/26/09 CDR@PEO

Ryan Flaherty

"I have to give Flaherty's defense at SS mixed reviews. His range seemed decent but not spectacular - he made a few good-looking plays, but a rangier shortstop probably makes those plays in a more routine fashion. He also seemed to have problems throwing the ball over to first. He had one throwing error, but he also seemed to have several late throws. He could get past those issues, of course. And he swings the bat nicely."
cwyers 4/19/09 PEO@QC

"I see both sides of the argument with Ryan Flaherty sticking at SS. On the one hand, the guy looks kind of awkward at SS. On the other hand, he did a good job out there tonight defensively. He handled the routine plays and made some fairly nice plays tonight. I still don't think he'll stick at SS, but I understand why the Cubs want to see if he can stick there."
Outshined_one 4/10/09 KC@PEO

Junior Lake

"Junior Lake is fast, I mean really fast. And he's a slick fielder, too. Probably not an MLB future for a slap-hitter who can't make contact, but it's fun to watch him play defense. He was pushed over to 2B to make room for Flaherty at SS."
Cwyers 4/19/09 PEO@SC

"Junior Lake looked alright. His error was on a bad hop on a ball that froze him. Much like Perez, his double was a frozen rope down the opposite field line. He made some decent plays at 2B, although it was pretty clear that he still has some work to do in terms of getting comfortable with his position. He had a scary moment during the game when a shallow pop fly was hit out his way. He seemed to have waved off CF Tony Campana and made the catch, but for whatever reason, Campana dove head-first for the ball and took out Lake's legs. Thankfully, both of them got back on their feet quickly afterward."
Outshined_one 4/10/09 KC@PEO

"Junior Lake was the star hitting-wise, going 3 for 4. They list him at 6'2 but he seems taller than that, just by standing next to Vitters. He's so lanky too..he looks real raw defensively, made a bad throw on a double play attempt (even though no error was charged)."
Mikew CDR@PEO 4/26/09

Michael Brenly

"[Michael] Brenly . . . went 1-for-4 with a RBI, on a sharp ground ball for a single IIRC. His best at-bat I think was a groundout in the third - took a lot of pitches, fouled a lot of them off. He looked like a professional hitter, as they say. This isn't necessarily the same as being a good one. He was the DH, so no idea how he is as a receiver."
Cwyers PEO@QC 4/19/09

"Brenly caught today and shows a real nice catch and release. He gunned out a guy trying to steal 2nd."
Mikew CDR@PEO 4/26/09

"Brenly also made a nice play on a foul ball straight back by diving and catching. Looks to need work on hitting the curveball, but he's a large kid for a backstop. Almost looks like Fisk (size wise) back there."
Kedziekid CDR@PEO 4/26/09

Jesus Flores

"Jesus Flores swings the bat nicely - I missed getting either of his HRs on video, unfortunately. He has a strong arm, but I don't know about accuracy - the one runner he tried to gun down, he threw the ball into the outfield."
Cwyers 4/19/09 PEO@QC

Rebel Ridling

"Rebel Ridling struck out three times, so I didn't really get a chance to see how he hits the ball. You can tell he swings the bat with authority, though. It's hard to tell in just one game if he was just having a bad night or if he has problems making contact. He also made some nice fielding plays, or so I thought - I was sitting along the third base line so I didn't have a really good view of him."
cwyers 4/19/09 PEO@QC

Chris Carpenter

"Chris Carpenter looked pretty good. The radar gun wasn't working in the early going and I wasn't in the mood to harass anyone in the stands about their readings, but when the gun got back up, Carpenter was working in the low 90s. He was regularly hitting 92/93 in the 5th inning, which was nice to see. His breaking pitch (I think slider?) had very nice late break on it and his change had some good action. His change had nice action and he used it periodically. He started hanging his secondary stuff in the 4th and 5th innings and the Cougars made him pay for it. However, he worked around it and made the most of what he had. I remember hearing he has trouble with command/control on occasion, but he looked pretty sharp tonight with some clean mechanics."
Outshined_one 04/10/09 KC@PEO

Chris Huseby

"-What in the heck happened to Huseby? The guy was working in the 80s when he came out of the pen. Maybe the Cubs are trying to build up his arm strength for later in the season when he'll be starting, but considering how much the Cubs forked over to sign him when they drafted him, this is not what I expected to see at this point in his career. He didn't have any control problems, but that's about the only good thing I can say about him."
Outshined_one 04/10/09 KC@PEO

"TJ survivor Chris Huseby pitched the 8th. He's real tall and throws on a massive downhill plane. He has a pitcher's body for sure."
Mikew 04/15/09

Nelson Perez

"-Nelson Perez is the kind of talent that excites me and yet worries me. His double was a frozen rope down the opposite field line. He has a cannon of an arm that has fairly good accuracy. However, he had an AB where he saw a steady diet of breaking balls and looked completely lost against them as he flailed away. I can definitely see why his walk numbers last season were not so good."
Outshined_one 04/10/09 KC@PEO

"Nelson Perez (who looks pretty huge in person) provided some suspense late with an absolute blast of a grand slam off of Michael Kohn" jasoniniowa 05/02/09

Josh Harrison

"-Josh Harrison has the potential to be one of those mighty mite types of guys. Standing next to guys like Flaherty, Perez, and Lake (all 6'2 and over), he looked like a midget. However, Harrison did a very good job at the plate tonight, laying down a beautiful bunt single and splitting a gap. He also was a nuisance on the basepaths and seemed to have pretty good instincts out there."
Outshined_one 04/10/09 KC@PEO

Aaron Shafer

"Shafer looked real strong as well. Threw 7 innings, giving up just 2 runs, 1 earned. The first one was during the inning where the Chiefs had 2 errors (one fielding at 2B, one throwing by the C), the second was on a TOWERING HR where Shafer just elevated a breaking pitch. I don't know how reliable the Chiefs radar gun is (it hasn't been reliable in the past), and it had Shafer in the 88-91 range. I think he throws harder than that and it sure looked like he was throwing harder.
mikew 04/15/09 KC@PEO

Drew Macias

"2B Drew Macias from Vanderbilt looked strong. He's smallish, but definitely knows what he's doing at the plate. " mikew 4/15/09 KC@PEO

Justin Bristow

"I missed half of Bristow's outing. From what I did see in the 2nd, he wasn't doing anything special. Working in the 88-90 range with his fastball and he was elevating them. The Chiefs had a guy warming up in the 2nd, so it was clear that he was only out there for 2 innings only."
Mikew 04/15/09 KC@PEO

"I also got some video of that evening's starter, Justin Bristow. According to one of the Angels scouts I was sitting next to with a radar gun, his fastball was topping out at 91-92 mph. This wouldn't be so bad if he didn't leave it up all night, which he did, giving up at least a run in every inning he pitched." jasoniniowa 5/02/09

Jeff Beliveau

"Beliveau [...] threw 86-88. He's a lefty, and has a good delivery, but really didn't look all that special. The Kernels were hitting the ball hard off of him, even when they weren't scoring runs."
Mikew 04/15/09 KC@PEO

"As bad as Justin [Bristpw] was, though, Jeffrey Beliveau actually looked worse starting out - I actually tried to get video of his first inning but it ended up maxing out my camera's memory card! Jeffrey did settle down in the next few inning, though, and did eventually start mixing his pitches better." jasoniniowa 05/02/09

Cliff Andersen

"Cliff Andersen led off with a would-be double that was just ROPED, went over the CF'ers head, but he pulled up lame heading into first, and was pinch-ran for."
Mikew 04/15/09 KC@PEO

Kyler Burke

"[Burke] just wasn't showing any discipline at the plate - most of his K's came on pitches that were low and off the plate. The batteries in my camera ran out just before his 3rd AB - but I seem to remember him striking out on the next pitch, a breaking ball." jasoniowa 5/02/09 PEO@CDR

[Ed note: jasoniniowa got some great video of Burke hitting--well, striking out. I will try to post this is a separate entry]