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House of Shlain: Scouting the Snappers

Nick Shlain

Nick Shlain

Nick analyzes prospects for RotoWire and focuses on the Midwest League during the season.

The Lansing Lugnuts and Beloit Snappers squared off Monday night. Here are my scouting notes on a few Snappers that caught my eye:

SS Daniel Robertson - Robertson, drafted in the supplemental first round last summer, split time between third base and shortstop last season in the Arizona Rookie League and New York-Penn League, but he's trying to stick at short this year. There are still questions about Robertson's defense, mainly his speed or lack thereof. He'll obviously have more fantasy value as a shortstop, but there aren't very many people that see him at the position long term. Maybe if he was in another organization, but with Addison Russell already in the fold it's likely that Robertson will eventually shift to third base on a full-time basis in the future. Robertson went hitless when I saw him play Monday night, though he did make hard contact on some of his outs. Scouts like Robertson's easy swing and think he could have above-average power down the line.

1B Matt Olson - Another supplemental first-round selection from last summer, Olson is a hitter with power in the purest sense. In high school, his swing was flatter and most of his home runs were line drives. His swing is loftier now and he's driving the ball out of the park easier. On Monday, Olson doubled, singled twice, and walked. The Lugnuts literally couldn't get him out. Olson nearly threw his bat out at the ball on his double to right center field. It was crushed and he made it look easy. He has the typical frame for a power hitting prospect, but he's also got a really nice swing and he can play a good first base. It was just one game, but I really like what I saw from Olson.

C Bruce Maxwell III - The highest drafted Division III player since 2003 (No. 62), Maxwell signed with the Athletics for $700,000. Maxwell is still very raw, especially as a defender behind the plate, but he has a swing that really works for him. He uses his big frame to his advantage with a level swing so he's not selling out for power. Maxwell is almost Jesus Montero-level slow as on both of his doubles I saw he threatened 10 seconds on his time to second base. He doesn't run so much as he waddles, but you aren't drafting him for his speed anyway. I mentioned he's raw behind the plate, but he made a couple of nice blocks on pitches in the dirt and he's not lacking arm strength.

RHP Seth Streich - Streich, a sixth-round pick last summer, got the start for the Snappers and might have impressed me the most of any player on the field Monday. Streich has a fairly easy delivery and even with the slight hitch he was getting the ball to the plate quickly out of the stretch. He needs to work on repeating his delivery and getting his plant leg down in the same spot every time. He wasn't able to make it through the start without losing his release point for stretches, but he was always able to get his release point back and that was promising. Streich sat in the 90-92 mph range with his fastball velocity according to the Lansing Cooley Law School Stadium pitch f/x, and he touched 93 mph a few times. I was most impressed with Streich's curveball, which was in the 76-78 mph range. He recently ditched his slider and it shows as he gets good horizontal movement on his curveball. Streich's changeup might be his most lethal secondary pitch and it was on display in a fourth inning at-bat against Kevin Patterson. Down 3-1 in the count, Streich got Patterson to whiff on a well located changeup down in the zone. Then he came back and blew him away with a high 3-2 fastball. Maintaining that fastball command is a key for Streich as he is able to change the eye level of the hitters by working up, down, in, and out. Streich wasn't especially adept at holding runners and his pickoff move leaves much to be desired.