Special to A’s Farm by Jason Pennini / @JasonPennini / baseballbellcurve.com
Jason Pennini of baseballcurve.com has been busy in Arizona this fall getting looks at a number of A’s prospects, along with other young players, in the Instructional League as well as in the Arizona Fall League. And we’re happy to share some of his impressions and videos of numerous A’s prospects here, so that you can get a better look at them too…
3B Sheldon Neuse (10/17 AFL) – Neuse has shown me a lot this fall. He makes frequent loud contact and tends to shoot baseballs opposite field into the right/center gap. He is capable of using all fields though. He has a good feel to hit and awareness of the zone. I think the power will play to average because the approach seems more contact-oriented than power-oriented. I have yet to see him in BP, but I suspect there is more raw in the bat than he has shown in games. Defensively, he lacks some agility and quickness of his peers. However, I think the industry consensus is he has enough to get the job done. I was thinking he has an above-average arm. Then, a scout informed me Neuse used to touch mid 90s as a pitcher, so it’s probably plus. This is a guy I am in on as a possible everyday regular. On 10/25, Neuse played shortstop and looked good there. He made a good play on a tough grounder and showed quick hands getting it to first. The athleticism is better than I originally thought.
RHP Nolan Blackwood (10/20 AFL) – There is a lot to like about Blackwood. The 6’5” righty uses his frame to his advantage to achieve deception. He caught my eye in a previous outing when he made Francisco Mejia look ugly in a three-pitch strikeout. The fastball sits low 90s and is thrown from a sidearm angle. Hitters appear to struggle picking up the ball out of his hand, which helps everything play up. His change is in the low 80s, and both of the aforementioned pitches have quality sink. Today, Blackwood also busted out a 75-77 mph curveball. It is a pitch he reserves for right-handed hitters. It was not used in his previous outing when he faced three lefties. I was muttering aloud trying to figure out who Blackwood reminds me of delivery-wise. A scout offered up Dan Otero as a comp.