Since the season has begun, it is time for me to revert to my overall mission on the site, writing about prospect players.
Living in Arizona I have an opportunity to watch baseball year-round. That means the Arizona Fall League, spring training, the Championship baseball season and when the mood strikes, the Arizona Rookie League. Those that have followed my work know that I write only about players I have personally scouted. While I do watch video, it is either to supplement a brief personal observation or to verify something I have seen.
Each week I will select a couple players and share my thoughts. By going less in depth than I have in the past, I can cover more players during the season.
Caleb Gindl, OF, Milwaukee Brewers, Bats - L, Throws - L
I begin this year's prospect scouting reports with one of my personal favorite players. Caleb Gindl is experiencing every heavyset guy's dream. He has overcome the fact he is not overly athletic, living inside a 5-foot-9 inch, 205-pound short and stocky body.
Make no mistake. Gindl is a fourth outfielder type. He doesn't have the power to play a corner and he doesn't have the overwhelming speed to play center. That said, I saw him play in left and center this past spring. He actually played very well. He got to everything hit his way, flashed a solid and accurate arm and ran down some drives I didn't think he could reach. His speed is deceptive for a man his size. He can play the outfield at the major league level. He can also steal a couple bases with good baseball instincts and knowledge of base stealing requirements.
Gindl has shown he can hit quality pitching. He regularly hits line drives to his left-handed pull side. He smacks the ball on the barrel of the bat. Last season at Triple-A Nashville, Gindl hit .307/15/60. He also stole six bases and was caught five times.
In spring training the Brewers kept playing Gindl. They liked what they saw. He is one of those scrappy Lenny Dykstra type players that enjoy playing the game. He gets his uniform dirty. He runs out ground alls. He takes good routes in the outfield. He takes advantage of every opportunity when he gets on the field. He's just a good, ol' fashioned baseball player.
Gindl knows his limitations. He has a nice, short stroke and he doesn't fool himself into thinking he can become a power hitter by lengthening his swing. His good plate coverage leads to gap hits. Taking a direct path to the ball without a hitch or dip in his swing, Gindl generally makes fastball contact. Like lots of young hitters, he has work to do on breaking balls, but that too has improved in the past year.
Gindl is a player to know. While I don't think he'll be knocking on the Brewers' big league clubhouse door anytime soon, stranger things have happened. The Brewers have solid organizational outfield depth, but Gindl may well be on their radar. He is now on the 40-man roster and he'll have a chance to show he's for real by repeating his season at Nashville. Other teams scout every game at every classification. If Gindl continues to hit, he may land on a 25-man roster at some point. It may be with another team, but he can hit, and that opens the eyes of scouts.
Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
One of the best pitchers I saw this past spring training was Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin. That includes both prospects and veterans.
Corbin came to Arizona in a deal that helped put Jerry Dipoto on the fast track to becoming a general manager. Dipoto was the interim Diamondbacks GM after Josh Byrnes was dismissed. Dipoto made the deal that also brought lefty Joe Saunders, righty Rafael Rodriguez and lefty Tyler Skaggs in trade for Dan Haren.
Corbin can be classified as a "crafty" left-hander. He has a very complete repertoire that includes a fastball, slider and change-up. He throws the fastball at 88-92 MPH without effort. He usually sits at 90. His arm action is very smooth, showing little difference in pitching mechanics among his three pitches. His fastball is his centerpiece, but the remaining two pitches are quickly becoming major league quality. I was surprised at how calm, cool and collected Corbin remained on the mound. It seemed nothing bothered him. He could repeat his delivery and not get distracted by everything happening around him.
When asked to compare Corbin to other D-Backs prospect pitchers like Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, my answer is simple. I think Corbin is a pitcher. Skaggs and Bauer are throwers at this point of their careers. While that may not be totally fair, it is meant to portray how advanced I believe Corbin is at this stage of his development. The others have huge upsides, but I am really impressed with Corbin.
In fact, I wouldn't discount the possibility Corbin arrives in Arizona at some point this year. More about that later.
Corbin didn't really overwhelm the opposition at Double-A Mobile last season. He was 9-8 with a 4.22 ERA in 160 innings pitched. He gave up 172 hits in those 160 innings. He also walked 40 while striking out 142. Certainly not bad. But not great. I think he's a better pitcher than the numbers indicate.
Listed at 6-feet-2 and only about 185 pounds, Corbin can stand to put more weight on his frame. It will be important to determine if Corbin can withstand constant heat during the summer. He isn't as thin as the White Sox's Chris Sale, but he sure doesn't have an extra pound to spare.
During late spring training talk circulated that Corbin could supplant right-handed starter Josh Collmenter in the Diamondbacks' rotation. Collmenter had a rough time in his first start this season against the Giants. The poor showing again stirred talk that Collmenter would lose his job, possibly to Corbin. That is yet to be seen.
Bottom line? Patrick Corbin is a name to circle on your own personal roster. He has a good future as a mid-rotation starter. Especially if he's slotted between right-handed pitchers. He has the ability to go deep in games, helping to save the bullpen.
* How in the world did Brian Matusz lose it so quickly? When he was drafted he had great stuff with excellent command. Now the command is gone and it seems every pitch is up in the zone.
* The Red Sox took a pass on most offseason pitchers on the market. They even passed on their own closer. Now they are in the midst of a mess. How long does the Boston press live with the situation before the city comes unglued?
* The Diamondbacks don't quit. They keep coming after their opponents. They aren't the best team in baseball, but they make things happen. I think you'll hear complaints about the very hard Arizona infield before much longer.
* Was Matt Kemp sleepwalking through spring training? Compared to his early season performance, it was a different guy playing those games I saw in Glendale.
* It really is a nightmare trying to navigate beyond Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. I tweet during every Diamondbacks home game. Also find me at MLB.com in the Voices section.