Notable Quotables: Thoughts on the Top 100
By Jake Seiner
The Minor League season has come and gone and, sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up against next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.
Below, you’ll find prospects 91-100. And over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you more thoughts and reflections from and about the best prospects in the game.
A quick note: While we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.
91. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland Athletics –- Choice on the challenges presented by pitchers in the Minors’ highest levels:
“The challenge as a hitter, you have to know what an opposing pitcher is going to try to do up here. … A lot of guys rely on off-speed or are pitching backwards. You have to know what their out pitch is. You have to have a better understanding of what you are up against.”
92. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays — Stroman on strides he’s made to remain a starting pitcher:
“I felt like I was in a really good routine being a starter, between my days working out and throwing ‘pens and the intensity I have when I’m doing everything. … I’ve been learning how intense my ‘pens between starts should be.
“Also, kind of toward the end of the season, I backed off a little. I used to really aggressively long-toss before I would pitch. I cut that down and it gave me a lot more power in games. Just tweaks like that as the season goes on, adjusting for how my arm feels.
“I was throwing my changeup a lot more. … As a starter, that’s a huge pitch for me going forward. I’ve learned how important fastball command is, being able to locate inside and outside of the zone. I’ve learned how to be able to pitch, not quite backwards, but throwing 2-0 sliders and changeups. Keeping hitters off-balance, that’s been huge for me.”
93. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves — Sims reflecting on his first full pro season:
“Once I got my routine kind of set, I know what I’m doing now for the most part. There’s still always something to learn but, you know, I feel good, my body still feels good for the home stretch. I’m just trying to finish off strong, trying to learn something new each start, each day. I feel like I’ve been able to throw a lot more strikes, my command feels a lot better [this season]. Mechanically, I’m sound and right now, I’m just feeling good on the mound. The ball’s starting to do what I want it to.”
94. Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants — Blackburn on his 2013 improvements:
“I’ve had some average outings that, by my standards, were not very good, but luckily I’ve been throwing the ball lately. … I’ve played a lot this year and I’ve commanded my fastball. Last year, my changeup didn’t have much bite, but this year it’s been a lot better. I’ve also developed more of a true slider to give them a different look with the off-speed pitch. I started off the season throwing the ball well and I’ve had hiccups here and there, but I’ve had a pretty good year.”
95. Dorssys Paulino, SS, Cleveland Indians — The 18-year-old was the youngest player in the Midwest League this season while appearing in 120 games and getting 476 at-bats. Of the six players who spent their age-18 season in the Midwest League, Paulino’s 28 doubles were second only to Astros prospect Carlos Correa, who hit 33.
96. Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers –
Frisco manager Steve Buechele, evaluating Odor after the infielder’s Double-A debut:
“To have someone like Rougned out there, who I saw in Spring Training, he’s just a gamer. … He’s a blast to watch. The kid, he can hit. He knows the game, so he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.
“Tonight’s game is a perfect example and it goes unnoticed. He broke up a double play in the first inning and because he did, we scored three runs. No one is going to see that in the box score. He does the little things; he’ll do the big things, obviously. He’s got a little power for not a big guy, he runs the bases well, he plays solid defense, he’s just a good baseball player.
“He’s got a baseball background, he’s a baseball player and this is what he loves to do. He plays the game the right way, he’s a competitor, all the things you want to see in a young kid. I don’t think he’ll be overmatched one bit.”
97. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates — Glasnow on the improvements he made in 2013:
“At the beginning of the year, I had no idea what I was doing. … I knew I threw hard, so I just got up on the mound and threw hard. That led to a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks, which led to high pitch counts. I was taken out after five or even four innings. My last few starts, I’ve been pitching more for contact and getting outs earlier in the count.
“I’d say that the changeup is probably my most confident pitch to throw now. … I still have some work to do on it, but from what it was at the start of the season to where it is now, I’m really happy with it.”
98. Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets –
Binghamton pitching coach Glenn Abbott on Montero’s makeup:
“He just goes out there and pitches. Earlier this year, he gave up 10 runs in one game, but you would never know it by how he was pitching. It was the same — he just kept throwing strikes. You wouldn’t know if he was winning by 10 or down by 10.
“And his next outing was one of his best all year. He rebounded very well. It’s impressive with a young kid to have that kind of poise.
“You get players at this level and most of the guys have got the stuff to pitch in the big leagues — but just the stuff. … I tell them their command will dictate how far they go in this game. I think he just needs experience.
“I’d like to see him get more aggressive in the zone. He’s got more work to do, but he does a good job.”
99. Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees — Charleston manager Al Pedrique on DePaula’s early-season development:
“Danny [Borrell], the pitching coach, worked with him in the bullpen. They made an adjustment in his mechanics, not to be out too far in front too soon, stay back and on top of the ball so his fastball will have a better angle.
“He’s a very quiet kid, very low-key. … I’m sure he needs to feel comfortable, get a full season of pitching, being around his teammates. When young Latin players come to the States for the first time, there are adjustments to make.
“I think he’s starting to feel comfortable in front of a crowd, and he showed it today. His composure was much better, more confidence in his stuff. He had a great game.”
100. Roman Quinn, SS, Philadelphia Phillies — Quinn recorded a stolen base in 10.74 percent of his 298 plate appearances in 2013, which ranked sixth in the South Atlantic League among players with at least 250 plate appearances. He had 32 thefts while posting a .323 on-base percentage.