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Scouting Martinez, Skaggs and Segura

4/2/2010

Fabio Martinez ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Los Angeles Angels system in my offseason rankings of the top 10 prospects by organization, while Tyler Skaggs ranked eighth. I saw both pitchers in my last game during spring training and walked away higher on Fabio but concerned about Skaggs.

Martinez was 89-94 with very good downhill plane, touching 95 once and showing better velocity in his third and fourth innings of work than he had in his first two. His two offspeed pitches -- a slider and a changeup -- both flashed above-average; the changeup was more consistent, as he tended to release his slider too early and get around the side of it, causing it to flatten out or fail to break enough. Martinez is listed at 6'3", 190 pounds, but is thicker than that and maybe an inch taller, with a potential workhorse build as long as he doesn't add the wrong kind of weight. His fastball command wasn't great, and he got ahead of hitters more because of velocity and aggressiveness than consistent location. He'll pitch at 20 this year, probably starting in low-A Cedar Rapids, but I think you can dream a little on his size and potential for three above-average to plus pitches.

Skaggs didn't fare as well, throwing four innings in relief of Martinez. Skaggs fell in last year's draft after an ankle injury hurt his velocity, leaving him at 86-88 or worse toward the end of his senior season. On Monday, Skaggs was 87-90 with a very inconsistent curveball, best at 73-75 with good depth but more frequently slow and loopy at 68-70, and his arm speed varied from pitch to pitch. Most noticeable was the extent of contact, much of it hard, made against him by a not particularly prospect-heavy San Francisco Giants roster. Skaggs was always a highly projectable kid -- tall and very lean -- and he's put on a little weight since high school but still has thirty or so pounds left before he fills out, and he's going to need the velocity that comes with that if he's struggling to miss bats like this.

Angels second base prospect Jean Segura earns some physical comparisons to Adrian Beltre -- although I don't remember Beltre being this stocky when he first reached the majors at age 19 -- but his offensive profile is more like Howie Kendrick, with high contact rates and batting averages but moderate power and low walk rates. Segura has outstanding bat control and a good line-drive swing path, but his back side collapses completely and he gets on top of a lot of balls he should be driving to the outfield. He's an above-average runner but is still a poor defender at second, and he's had some trouble staying on the field, but assuming he gets a full season in this year and the Angels can work on keeping him upright through his swing, he has the potential to at least hit for high batting averages as he moves up the ladder.