Report From Burlington

Dave · August 7, 2009 at 6:33 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Last night, the M’s Appalachian league team from Pulaski squared off against the Burlington Royals in a double-header. With a chance to catch a couple of games at once, I headed over to the park to watch Gabriel Noriega, Jharmidy De Jesus, and Steve Baron and get a first hand look at some of the M’s younger prospects.

Noriega can really play shortstop. This isn’t news – all the scouting reports on him say the same thing. The kid can pick it. How he’s hit three home runs though, is beyond me – the swing isn’t conducive to power at all, and he’s probably 160 pounds with absolutely no upper body strength. The bat is still a big question mark for me, but the glove is legit.

Baron… read above. His footwork behind the plate was impressive, he’s got a really good catch-and-release, strong arm – the physical tools for him to be a top notch defensive catcher are there. But man, the swing… it needs to be overhauled. He won’t hit without a lot of work. He’s going to have to put in a ton of time improving his offensive game, because his glove is way ahead of his bat right now.

The pleasant surprise of the day was LHP Ricky Ortiz, a 21-year-old whose lower half probably weighs 200 pounds. He’s not going to win any sprint contests, but he’s got a decent fastball (90-92), a curve that showed good break, and good command of both pitches for his level of experience. He can move the fastball in an out, and he throws the breaking ball to both righties and lefties – it’s a good second pitch.

Overall, though, one guy impressed more than the rest. Clearly, the best guy I saw in Burlington was Carmen Fusco. He’s a little old for the league, at 56, but he’s got the kind of make-up that you just can’t teach. It’s pretty rare to find a five tool director of pro scouting, but Fusco oozes the confidence of an Italian and matches it with a keen eye and a sharp wit, plus the endurance of a true warrior. He’s easily the most promising Italian pro scouting director I’ve seen in the Appy League – I think he could be going places. Keep an eye on that Fusco kid – he’s a good one.

Comments

17 Responses to “Report From Burlington”

  1. Dave on August 7th, 2009 6:36 am

    For those wondering about the last paragraph, I promised Fusco I’d put a glowing report of him up on the blog. He was fun to hang out with.

  2. msb on August 7th, 2009 6:43 am

    It’s pretty rare to find a five tool director of pro scouting, but Fusco oozes the confidence of an Italian and matches it with a keen eye and a sharp wit, plus the endurance of a true warrior.

    the fourth tool is obviously his natty sense of style–what is the 5th, again?

  3. msb on August 7th, 2009 6:48 am

    Pshaw. Can’t count.

  4. homi on August 7th, 2009 8:11 am

    I love Gabriel Noriega. I can’t wait to see him as he matures through out the system.

  5. DAMellen on August 7th, 2009 8:14 am

    Any thoughts on Jharmidy?

  6. CMC_Stags on August 7th, 2009 8:33 am

    Dave -

    I know you weren’t there, but he proved at the Library that he has an ability to drink water that is well beyond his A ball status. I’ve never seen someone put on such an aqua-heavy performance without more trips to the facilities.

  7. CMC_Stags on August 7th, 2009 8:34 am

    For those wondering about the last paragraph, I promised Fusco I’d put a glowing report of him up on the blog. He was fun to hang out with.

    He was awesome at the Library, as were the rest of the panel.

    Any clue on if he’ll make it to Saturday’s session at Safeco?

  8. Dave on August 7th, 2009 9:12 am

    I know you weren’t there, but he proved at the Library that he has an ability to drink water that is well beyond his A ball status. I’ve never seen someone put on such an aqua-heavy performance without more trips to the facilities.

    He actually explained that to me last night. He was hydrating so he wouldn’t pass out from the pain, because two hours after the event ended, he passed two kidney stones. I’m not kidding – he spent four hours talking baseball with you guys in agonizing pain. Thus, the endurance of a warrior…

    Any clue on if he’ll make it to Saturday’s session at Safeco?

    He’s traveling around, looking at all the minor league clubs right now. He’s on his way to West Tennessee, so no, he won’t be in Seattle tomorrow.

  9. robbbbbb on August 7th, 2009 9:29 am

    Dave, that’s one of the more amazing things I’ve ever heard. My Dad has had kidney stones, and the first time they hit him the nice people at the hospital couldn’t get the pain under control with morphine.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  10. coreyjro on August 7th, 2009 11:11 am

    In regards to Baron, obviously if he can move behind the dish he has good athleticism. Does he look like that athleticism could translate offensively. I find it hard to believe that good of an athlete couldn’t learn how to hit .250 and draw some walks.

  11. JH on August 7th, 2009 11:51 am

    Nice to hear about Ortiz’s curveball. When I saw him back in the DR a few years ago he was fastball only. He’d try to spin off a breaking ball every one in awhile, but it as just comically bad.

  12. Kunkoh on August 7th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Wow, he did that for us? I already liked him for his scouting ability; but now I like him even more! Seems we really got some good people with very good skills at the helm this time; rather than just good people.

  13. hans on August 7th, 2009 12:37 pm

    I’m very impressed with the kidney stones.

    I worked in Papua New Guinea with a guy who had kidney stones. Every step we took and every bump we drove over was clearly torture for this guy. Then, when he finally passed the first one, smaller stones came out for the next few days. I can’t imagine talking to a group and being the least bit coherent under those circumstances.

    Just to answer the inevitable questions in advance… yes, I did have the opportunity to sample SP Lager. Let me tell you, the Export Lager (with the bird of paradise on the label) is much better than the stuff in the brown bottle.

  14. Paul B on August 7th, 2009 1:09 pm

    I find it hard to believe that good of an athlete couldn’t learn how to hit .250 and draw some walks.

    Michael Jordan says “hi”.

  15. Breadbaker on August 7th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Carmen Fusco sounds like a “character guy” who can also put up numbers, or a numbers guy who also has character. Mike Sweeney, take note.

  16. MattThompson on August 7th, 2009 5:21 pm

    the fourth tool is obviously his natty sense of style–what is the 5th, again?

    Well, clearly the 6th tool is plate discipline. The discipline needed to finish a five-pound plate of Mama’s pasta in one sitting.

  17. Joe on August 12th, 2009 10:19 am

    He was hydrating so he wouldn’t pass out from the pain, because two hours after the event ended, he passed two kidney stones. I’m not kidding – he spent four hours talking baseball with you guys in agonizing pain. Thus, the endurance of a warrior…

    Holy shit. He wasn’t even breaking a sweat that I could tell, let alone giving any signs of pain. And he was hilarious. I can’t imagine even knowing what a sense of humor was under those circumstances, never mind demonstrating it at such a high level.

    At the risk of dating myself via a Wayne and Garth reference:

    We’re not worthy.

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