Chris Mellen at Baseball Prospectus believes that the best way to tell how good top prospects are is to watch them against other top prospects. Many players in the lower minors might not make it much further up the ladder, so the better players tend to feast on lesser talent. Seeing how two talented players respond to each other can be very informative during the evaluation process. Mellen saw just that when Gary Sanchez faced off against Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays organization.
Gary Sanchez is having a great season so far, hitting .286/.375/.495 and four home runs with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Aaron Sanchez was blowing Trenton hitters away all day, but our Sanchez adjusted. After falling behind in the count, "rather than try to do too much or unleash on the pitch, he put a nice, easy swing on the ball by guiding the head with his hands, and laced a hard line drive to right field for a single." Such an approach shows his understanding of the art of hitting and the maturity to know when to make adjustments.
After seeing the matchup, Mellen felt he had a solid takeaway on Gary Sanchez as a prospect and future major leaguer:
He has the physical ability to compete against the competition in the majors. The bat speed, hands, strength, and swing fluidity are there. It's the development of the secondary skills in the upper minors, along with his level of engagement, that will determine whether this is a regular in the big leagues over the long run.
Josh Norris of Baseball America recently saw Shane Greene pitch for the Scranton-Wilkes/Barre RailRiders. The right-hander has spent time traveling between the major league team and Triple-A this season, only managing to pitch 6.1 innings all year.
During Greene's one and only start of the season, Norris observed that he was throwing four average-to-above average pitches. That day his fastball was sitting 92-96 mph, while his slider was averaging 87 mph and his changeup was hitting 84-85 mph. Though he was apparently reaching deeper in a later start:
That's easily as good as I've seen Greene for an inning. 93-95 heater. Slider as hard as 90, saw another at 79.— Donnie Collins (@RailRidersTT) May 5, 2014
Norris asked a scout about how he was pitching:
Scout here noting that Greene has excellent stuff but really needs to mix and match more. Durham sitting on FBs and hitting on screws.— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 29, 2014
Greene throws a fastball, two different sliders (as he described it in our October interview with him), changeup, and sinker, however, his fastball and slider are believed to be his best pitches. He might not have the weapons to keep hitters off balance for several innings. If his career leads to the big league bullpen, he might have to give up on his lesser pitches in order to become a fastball-slider pitcher, like he did in his big league debut.