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OnBaseMachine
12-01-2008, 12:17 PM
Yonder Alonso is #3 behind Buster Posey and Andrew Brackman. Seriously, Andrew Brackman #2? That is funny. Brackman posted a 5.56 ERA and walked 25 batters in 34 innings. Posey posted a .797 OPS compared to Alonso's .929 OPS. Todd Frazier was #7.

A little summary on what Baseball America had to say about Alonso and Frazier:

On Alonso:

Most offensive upside of any prospect in Hawaii. Strong, short to the ball, and very selective. Could move quickly. Hits to all parts of the field. Good plate coverage. Biggest adjustment will be facing lefties with good breaking balls.

On Frazier:

Fast hands compensate for a high setup. Held his own at shortstop. Has plus raw power and led the league in slugging. The ball jumps off his bat. Will be a frontline hitter. Played all four positions (1B, 3B, SS, LF) well.

OnBaseMachine
12-01-2008, 12:43 PM
1. Buster Posey, c, Waikiki BeachBoys (Giants)

2. Andrew Brackman, rhp, Waikiki BeachBoys (Yankees)

3. Yonder Alonso, 1b, Waikiki BeachBoys (Reds)

4. Dominic Brown, of, Honolulu Sharks (Phillies)

5. Kyle Drabek, rhp, Honolulu Sharks (Phillies)

6. Jason Castro, c, North Shore Honu (Astros)

7. Todd Frazier, if/of, Waikiki BeachBoys (Reds)

8. Jeremy Bleich, lhp, Waikiki BeachBoys (Yankees)

9. Michael Taylor, of, Honolulu Sharks (Phillies)

10. Roger Kieschnick, of, Waikiki BeachBoys (Giants)

11. Chris Carter, 1b, North Shore (Athletics).

12. Caleb Gindl, of, West Oahu (Brewers).

13. Brad Emaus, 2b/3b, Honolulu (Blue Jays).

14. Jonny Venters, lhp, Honolulu (Braves).

15. Kyle Martin, ss/3b, North Shore (Royals).

16. Ryan Kalish, of, North Shore (Red Sox).

17. Mark Hallberg, 2b, West Oahu (Diamondbacks).

18. Javy Guerra, rhp, Waikiki (Dodgers).

19. Kyle Bloom, lhp, West Oahu (Pirates).

20. Tony Cruz, c/3b, Honolulu (Sharks)

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=1811

Mario-Rijo
12-01-2008, 01:10 PM
Yonder Alonso is #3 behind Buster Posey and Andrew Brackman. Seriously, Andrew Brackman #2? That is funny. Brackman posted a 5.56 ERA and walked 25 batters in 34 innings. Posey posted a .797 OPS compared to Alonso's .929 OPS. Todd Frazier was #7.

A little summary on what Baseball America had to say about Alonso and Frazier:

On Alonso:

Most offensive upside of any prospect in Hawaii. Strong, short to the ball, and very selective. Could move quickly. Hits to all parts of the field. Good plate coverage. Biggest adjustment will be facing lefties with good breaking balls.

On Frazier:

Fast hands compensate for a high setup. Held his own at shortstop. Has plus raw power and led the league in slugging. The ball jumps off his bat. Will be a frontline hitter. Played all four positions (1B, 3B, SS, LF) well.

Seems like both guys reports are right on point with what the consensus is on them.

RedlegJake
12-01-2008, 01:16 PM
On Frazier:

Fast hands compensate for a high setup. Held his own at shortstop. Has plus raw power and led the league in slugging. The ball jumps off his bat. Will be a frontline hitter. Played all four positions (1B, 3B, SS, LF) well.

What others are seeing as a downside for Frazier may actually be a primary strength - he can be slotted at 4 positions, albeit probably as a emergency fill in at SS. Seems he is at least okay at all four which would be a big plus. If his bat is just okay for a left fielder that becomes a lot more acceptable for a leftfielder who can fill in at 3 other spots in need. I like Frazier more and more.

Mario-Rijo
12-01-2008, 01:21 PM
What others are seeing as a downside for Frazier may actually be a primary strength - he can be slotted at 4 positions, albeit probably as a emergency fill in at SS. Seems he is at least okay at all four which would be a big plus. If his bat is just okay for a left fielder that becomes a lot more acceptable for a leftfielder who can fill in at 3 other spots in need. I like Frazier more and more.

The way I see it is if he held his own there at SS, why is it a stretch to think he can't play a MLB 3B? I see no reason why he can't be our next 3B, unless his arm/reaction time isn't ideal which I have never heard either as a negative for him.

OnBaseMachine
12-01-2008, 01:23 PM
Baseball America is holding a chat at 3:00. Make sure you send in some Reds related questions...

RedlegJake
12-01-2008, 01:28 PM
The way I see it is if he held his own there at SS, why is it a stretch to think he can't play a MLB 3B? I see no reason why he can't be our next 3B, unless his arm/reaction time isn't ideal which I have never heard either as a negative for him.

Or how about this - everyone is banging the Valaika at SS for a couple years then moving. Why not Frazier? Can you imagine his bat at SS if he could play average defensive ball until someone like Cozart could arrive? Pipe dream, I know, but I do agree he could be the third baseman in 2010 or 2011.

M2
12-01-2008, 01:36 PM
I'm still thinking 3B is where Frazier will end up. Given that he keeps hitting the baseball, the Reds need to settle him on a position next season. Right now Frazier's flexibility means he can handle another position while Juan Francisco (who's not as flexible) plays 3B, but the Reds need to stop thinking in terms of what's convenient for constructing a minor league lineup on a given day and instead concentrate on their needs as an organization. Either Francisco should be held up in A ball, Frazier should go to AAA or Francisco should be given a job other than 3B.

HokieRed
12-01-2008, 01:39 PM
It should be a top priority of the organization to figure out, next season and no later, whether Todd Frazier can play 3b at the major league level.

Redman15
12-01-2008, 01:40 PM
I'm still thinking 3B is where Frazier will end up. Given that he keeps hitting the baseball, the Reds need to settle him on a position next season. Right now Frazier's flexibility means he can handle another position while Juan Francisco (who's not as flexible) plays 3B, but the Reds need to stop thinking in terms of what's convenient for constructing a minor league lineup on a given day and instead concentrate on their needs as an organization. Either Francisco should be held up in A ball, Frazier should go to AAA or Francisco should be given a job other than 3B.

I think the Reds sign Juan Rivera to a 2 year deal and have him play LF until Frazier is ready to take over in LF.

dougdirt
12-01-2008, 01:43 PM
I'm still thinking 3B is where Frazier will end up. Given that he keeps hitting the baseball, the Reds need to settle him on a position next season. Right now Frazier's flexibility means he can handle another position while Juan Francisco (who's not as flexible) plays 3B, but the Reds need to stop thinking in terms of what's convenient for constructing a minor league lineup on a given day and instead concentrate on their needs as an organization. Either Francisco should be held up in A ball, Frazier should go to AAA or Francisco should be given a job other than 3B.

Well, ideally both should get some time at 3B. In AA pitchers start to hit in some stadiums. When the Mudcats get to use the DH, they should probably DH Francisco and let Frazier play at 3B. At least get Frazier some time at 3B, but I don't see them pushing Frazier to AAA just yet or keeping Francisco in High A either.

M2
12-01-2008, 01:44 PM
I think the Reds sign Juan Rivera to a 2 year deal and have him play LF until Frazier is ready to take over in LF.

Maybe, but it's a lot easier to find a LF than a 3B. If Frazier can play 3B, then it's kind of nonsensical to station him in LF. Traditionally speaking, a player who's been a SS goes to either 2B, 3B or CF on a position change.

Redman15
12-01-2008, 01:47 PM
Frazier gives them their big RH bat they lack. I think Francisco will stick at 3rd. Throw Alonso in the mix and the Mudcats are going to fun to watch next year.

dougdirt
12-01-2008, 01:52 PM
Frazier gives them their big RH bat they lack. I think Francisco will stick at 3rd. Throw Alonso in the mix and the Mudcats are going to fun to watch next year.

I think Francisco is going to slug .600 next year in his time in Carolina. They shortened their RF fence to something like 308 feet for next year. Given his already crazy power, give him that distance and he is going to destroy the baseball.

M2
12-01-2008, 02:03 PM
Frazier gives them their big RH bat they lack. I think Francisco will stick at 3rd. Throw Alonso in the mix and the Mudcats are going to fun to watch next year.

Is the priority what's good for the Carolina Mudcats or the Cincinnati Reds? Because what you've got there is a Mudcats plan.

I'm sure the Reds will be frustrating and indecisive on this matter and choose the path of least resistance - e.g. putting Frazier where the hole is in the AA lineup, probably an OF corner. Doesn't make it a smart thing to do. The organization owes itself a long trial for Frazier at 3B.

On a separate note, the Reds' indecision on where to play Frazier should be a neon sign to other organizations to make him the prospect they insist on in any majors for minors swap. Are the Reds really going to make the kid they can't slot into a settled position a deal breaker? I suspect not.

dougdirt
12-01-2008, 02:07 PM
On a separate note, the Reds' indecision on where to play Frazier should be a neon sign to other organizations to make him the prospect they insist on in any majors for minors swap. Are the Reds really going to make the kid they can't slot into a settled position a deal breaker? I suspect not.

Thats the reason I think Frazier is going to have a strong MLB career somewhere else. His positions are likely going to be filled by others (be it at 1B with Votto or Alonso, LF with a FA or Votto who moves for Alonso even if you think its dumb M2 its likely going to happen, or at 3B with either Francisco or Soto).

Mario-Rijo
12-01-2008, 02:14 PM
Thats the reason I think Frazier is going to have a strong MLB career somewhere else. His positions are likely going to be filled by others (be it at 1B with Votto or Alonso, LF with a FA or Votto who moves for Alonso even if you think its dumb M2 its likely going to happen, or at 3B with either Francisco or Soto).

If they give Frazier's job to Francisco they need slapped upside their head. Seriously Francisco's gaudy #'s don't make him the equivalent in any way to Frazier except for perhaps power alone. And Soto is a year or 2 behind Frazier.

dougdirt
12-01-2008, 02:19 PM
If they give Frazier's job to Francisco they need slapped upside their head. Seriously Francisco's gaudy #'s don't make him the equivalent in any way to Frazier except for perhaps power alone. And Soto is a year or 2 behind Frazier.

Well thats also making the assumption that Francisco doesn't improve his plate discipline, which he certainly could. As for Soto being behind him, yeah, he is on the time table, but he is also a better prospect than Frazier is. If that means the Reds keep EE at 3B an extra year because they trade Frazier for something while waiting for Soto to get some AAA experience in 2010, then its not a huge deal.

schmidty622
12-01-2008, 02:19 PM
Are Frazier and Alonso going to get any PT in spring training this year?

camisadelgolf
12-01-2008, 02:20 PM
Are Frazier and Alonso going to get any PT in spring training this year?

Alonso probably will since he's on the 40-man roster. As for Frazier, he's a first round draft pick, and they tend to get special treatment. I could see him getting 10 ABs or so.

dougdirt
12-01-2008, 02:32 PM
I don't really see either guy getting a ton of AB's because they aren't really competing for spots on the team.

fearofpopvol1
12-01-2008, 03:00 PM
On a separate note, the Reds' indecision on where to play Frazier should be a neon sign to other organizations to make him the prospect they insist on in any majors for minors swap. Are the Reds really going to make the kid they can't slot into a settled position a deal breaker? I suspect not.

I really hope Walt has more sense than this. Unless the return is a sure thing.

RedlegJake
12-01-2008, 03:24 PM
I really hope Walt has more sense than this. Unless the return is a sure thing.

Actually I think now is the time to make a deal that brings a player(s) - the value for Frazier, Francisco and Soto is at a mutal high - I'd be trying to make a deal that swapped one for a C or SS prospect in similar regard in another organization as the back end of a major deal. Actually this kind of top minor leaguer for top minor leaguer deal is rare but I don't know why. If a team has several good prospects at one spot why not swap one to another team who has a glut somewhere else? Texas with their catchers and the Reds with third basemen comes to mind but I'm sure there are teams with multiple good SS prospects etc.

OnBaseMachine
12-01-2008, 03:40 PM
Two very good questions by that Mike from Boston guy. ;) Hmm, wonder who that could be?

Q: Mike from Boston asks:
How does Todd Frazier profile as a 3B? Good defender, bad, mediocre? And how long will the Reds wait to commit to a position with him? Experience at the position he's likely to play in the majors would seem a pressing concern if he hits in the upper minors. It would be a shame if the club delayed the arrival of his bat because it had failed to sort out his glove.

A: John Manuel: Frazier is such a tough guy to get a read on. He's not conventional offensively or defensively, but I had a couple of solid reports on his defense at shortstop in HWB, not to mention third and left field. I agree in that it would be to Frazier's benefit if Cincy gave him one position and stuck with it. I don't think he's going to be a utility guy; it sounds like he has the bat to be an everyday guy. All that said, I bet he winds up in the OF because it's easier. The Reds could use a righty bat to go with B. Phillips, because otherwise they are quite lefthanded with Bruce, Votto and sooner than later Alonso.

Q: Mike from Boston asks:
Two questions on Yonder Alonso: 1) How did his defense look in Hawaii? 2) Does anyone think he could be put on the Will Clark/John Olerud Express straight to the majors?

A: John Manuel: Good reviews on the defense, should be at least adequate if not average over there. He has the approach and short, repeatable stroke that he could move that quickly, though as I wrote in the scouting report, he's going to have to learn to hit a lot of soft stuff, a lot of stuff that spins, because late in games, he's rarely going to see a righthanded pitcher challenging him with heat.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/chat/chat.php?id=2008120101

Scrap Irony
12-01-2008, 03:50 PM
Two mentions of Frazier being a solid SS with the leather from BA. That makes him the top prospect in the Red pipeline, if true.

(Position scarcity trumps pure numbers.)

It will likely never happen, but Frazier at short, with plus defenders around him makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

OnBaseMachine
12-01-2008, 04:28 PM
Q: Kyle from Middletown asks:
If Todd Frazier's hands are set up too high, why don't the Reds just lower them? Do you personally believe that his swing can work in the major leagues?

A: John Manuel: Because he succeeds with his present approach and hasn't gotten eaten up by being pitched in on his hands, at least not yet. I think there are plenty of exceptions in the major leagues, a lot of guys who don't do things in a textbook fashion who make it work. Until scouts tell me he's getting eaten up inside, I have no reason to doubt him.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/chat/chat.php?id=2008120101&rnd=1

SMcGavin
12-01-2008, 04:53 PM
The organization owes itself a long trial for Frazier at 3B.


Completely agree. If he can play 3B, that solves a ton of problems for the Reds' future lineups. And considering Frazier is likely two years away at the most, I'd like to find out sooner rather than later.

Bip Roberts
12-02-2008, 11:47 AM
this reds team is a couple years away from having one monstrous line up. Maybe it wont pan out but lord it is absolutely crazy to think of Bruce, Alonso, Frazier, and Votto + some other guys if they continue to produce.

JKam
12-02-2008, 02:42 PM
The local radio broadcast team for HWL seems to think that this last class of prospects is the best to come through in Hawaii. They seem to think that many of these guys will get to the bigs soon and they are quite a few that will be very good players for a long time.

redsof72
12-02-2008, 03:47 PM
I saw a lot of Frazier this season and while I am a huge fan of Frazier as a prospect, any talk of him staying at shortstop should be shut down. He simply lacks the initial quickness or explosiveness to play the position. Some tried to compare him defensively to Ripken at shortstop, but I don't see it. Slow choppers or any ball where he needs an explosive first and second step to get to are going to be base hits rather than ground outs.

On the other hand, he has good hands and a decent arm, so I am not sure why anyone would doubt his ability to play third base. Moving him to the outfield would be a waste of an infielder's hands. I think he will play third base. The important thing with Frazier is to put him at a position and let him stay there and learn to play the position. The way they handled him last year, couple of days at one spot, then somewhere else, was insane for a player of his ability. It was almost a wasted year defensively.

Problem with third base, of course, is you also have Francisco set to play at Carolina. With Jockety saying over and over that he prefers the trade market rather than the free agent market this winter, I would not be a bit surprised to see someone like Francisco dealt. He has value, no doubt about that. He is a second tier prospect in the system, just behind the top group of five or six. You are going to have to give up a couple of players in that tier to get a guy who will make an impact at the big league level, as they say they want to do.

Talking with some players who were in instructional league and got their first good looks at Alonso, I am hearing that the things that stood out were his confidence, tremendous plate discipline (will draw a lot of walks at every level), and the fact that he is well-below average defensively at first base at this point. No chance Alonso moves off first base.

Mario-Rijo
12-02-2008, 03:56 PM
I saw a lot of Frazier this season and while I am a huge fan of Frazier as a prospect, any talk of him staying at shortstop should be shut down. He simply lacks the initial quickness or explosiveness to play the position. Some tried to compare him defensively to Ripken at shortstop, but I don't see it. Slow choppers or any ball where he needs an explosive first and second step to get to are going to be base hits rather than ground outs.

On the other hand, he has good hands and a decent arm, so I am not sure why anyone would doubt his ability to play third base. Moving him to the outfield would be a waste of an infielder's hands. I think he will play third base. The important thing with Frazier is to put him at a position and let him stay there and learn to play the position. The way they handled him last year, couple of days at one spot, then somewhere else, was insane for a player of his ability. It was almost a wasted year defensively.

Problem with third base, of course, is you also have Francisco set to play at Carolina. With Jockety saying over and over that he prefers the trade market rather than the free agent market this winter, I would not be a bit surprised to see someone like Francisco dealt. He has value, no doubt about that. He is a second tier prospect in the system, just behind the top group of five or six. You are going to have to give up a couple of players in that tier to get a guy who will make an impact at the big league level, as they say they want to do.

Talking with some players who were in instructional league and got their first good looks at Alonso, I am hearing that the things that stood out were his confidence, tremendous plate discipline (will draw a lot of walks at every level), and the fact that he is well-below average defensively at first base at this point. No chance Alonso moves off first base.

Good post and I agree with all of it. That includes Alonso, he's definitely not a GG over there, however I think he can be decent but it's gonna take some work around the bag for sure.

M2
12-02-2008, 03:56 PM
Moving him to the outfield would be a waste of an infielder's hands.

That's my take too. It's generally the bad hands, fleet-footed guys who get shipped to the OF.

camisadelgolf
12-02-2008, 04:00 PM
Hypothetically, if you have excellent defenders and hitters at 2B and 3B, I think you could stick Frazier at SS just to get his bat in the lineup as long as he's no worse than Jeff Keppinger defensively.

redsof72
12-02-2008, 04:21 PM
camisadelgolf, I can't agree with you on that. He is too slow off the bat. There would be a mutiny among the pitchers. He will catch the balls he gets to, but you would be giving the opposition too many four-out innings, and we know how those often turn out.

OnBaseMachine
12-02-2008, 04:42 PM
Hypothetically, if you have excellent defenders and hitters at 2B and 3B, I think you could stick Frazier at SS just to get his bat in the lineup as long as he's no worse than Jeff Keppinger defensively.

No way. Shortstop is one of the most important defensive positions on the field. As Jeff Keppinger proved this season, a bad defender at SS can kill your pitching staff. IMO it's important to have strong defenders up the middle.

SMcGavin
12-02-2008, 04:49 PM
Problem with third base, of course, is you also have Francisco set to play at Carolina. With Jockety saying over and over that he prefers the trade market rather than the free agent market this winter, I would not be a bit surprised to see someone like Francisco dealt. He has value, no doubt about that. He is a second tier prospect in the system, just behind the top group of five or six. You are going to have to give up a couple of players in that tier to get a guy who will make an impact at the big league level, as they say they want to do.


Good post. This is what I'm thinking too about Francisco.

camisadelgolf
12-02-2008, 06:15 PM
Well, my personal belief is that you can have a below-average defender at shortstop as long as his bat is good enough to compensate. Depending on how bad of a shortstop he is, it sounds like Frazier potentially has the bat to stick at shortstop.

OnBaseMachine
12-02-2008, 06:29 PM
Well, my personal belief is that you can have a below-average defender at shortstop as long as his bat is good enough to compensate. Depending on how bad of a shortstop he is, it sounds like Frazier potentially has the bat to stick at shortstop.

I don't like my pitchers having to throw an extra 10-15 pitches in an inning because his shortstop isn't quick enough to turn a doubleplay or lacks the range to turn a routine grounder into an out. I saw enough of that with Keppinger in 2008 and I hope I never have to witness it again on a daily basis. Frazier's bat is good enough for third base or left.

mth123
12-02-2008, 08:26 PM
Well, my personal belief is that you can have a below-average defender at shortstop as long as his bat is good enough to compensate. Depending on how bad of a shortstop he is, it sounds like Frazier potentially has the bat to stick at shortstop.

A guy's bat may be able to compensate in the run diufferential equation, but it never makes up for the damage it does to the pitchers. If the line-up can't survive with good defenders up the middle, then it needs better hitters at rhe corners.

corkedbat
12-02-2008, 10:44 PM
Four corner spots and a possibility of Votto, Bruce, Alonso, Frazier, Francisco and maybe even Soto vying for those spots in as little as two years. Seems to me at least one and possibly two will be dealt sometime in the next two years to address the current lack of quality depth at the core SS, C & CF positions or for a quality starter.

I believe that if the right target becomes along the first deal may well be this offseason (most likely Frazier or Francisco). Ironically though, it appears that the the deal might actually be for a veteran corner man (LF).

Also, if Frazier remains in the organization this year, and continues his current success, I think there's a good chance this is EdE's last as a Red.

bubbachunk
12-02-2008, 10:59 PM
When talking about Alonso being below average defensively does it just boil down to a lack of range or is there more to it?

Mario-Rijo
12-03-2008, 02:25 AM
When talking about Alonso being below average defensively does it just boil down to a lack of range or is there more to it?

His range isn't Casey-bad but he's no Votto over there. I think he has some trouble around the bag receiving the ball, especially on a hop. But to be fair I assume that off of just a few college games I saw, he misplayed 2 throws (maybe 3 I can't recall) and took one of them off his nose pretty hard. Other than that I have no clue what he may or may not be good or bad at.

camisadelgolf
12-03-2008, 07:58 AM
I don't like my pitchers having to throw an extra 10-15 pitches in an inning because his shortstop isn't quick enough to turn a doubleplay or lacks the range to turn a routine grounder into an out. I saw enough of that with Keppinger in 2008 and I hope I never have to witness it again on a daily basis. Frazier's bat is good enough for third base or left.

Obviously, I wouldn't want my pitcher having to throw an additional 10+ pitches per game as a result of having a shortstop with a lack of range, but I do want my pitcher to be able to pitch with a lead as often as possible. Theoretically, he needs to throw less pitches because the hitters would change their approach at the plate.

redsof72
12-03-2008, 09:46 AM
I don't want to give an impression of Frazier as a bad defensive infielder. He just lacks that explosive first gear that you need at the shortstop position. He is listed at 6'3", 215. He is not going to be as quick at that size as a typical shortstop. I saw him at shortstop and love him as a prospect but would not want him at shortstop on a winning team.

Good points are raised about a trade of a couple of these top prospects. Of course, the key for the Reds is to be smart enough to recognize which ones truly are blue-chippers among their prize group of 5-7 players and which ones are over-rated. They all are not going to be MLB stars. To many of us, they all look like solid prospects but teams that win are the teams that are smarter than the Baseball America rankings and keep the players that are bound for success and trade the players that are bound to become the Sean Burroughs of the baseball world. There are 100 Burroughs, Corey Patterson, Tyler Houston guys who were thought to be destined for greatness and were simply over-rated, over-hyped, or just mis-evaluated.

RedlegJake
12-03-2008, 10:58 AM
I don't want to give an impression of Frazier as a bad defensive infielder. He just lacks that explosive first gear that you need at the shortstop position. He is listed at 6'3", 215. He is not going to be as quick at that size as a typical shortstop. I saw him at shortstop and love him as a prospect but would not want him at shortstop on a winning team.

Good points are raised about a trade of a couple of these top prospects. Of course, the key for the Reds is to be smart enough to recognize which ones truly are blue-chippers among their prize group of 5-7 players and which ones are over-rated. They all are not going to be MLB stars. To many of us, they all look like solid prospects but teams that win are the teams that are smarter than the Baseball America rankings and keep the players that are bound for success and trade the players that are bound to become the Sean Burroughs of the baseball world. There are 100 Burroughs, Corey Patterson, Tyler Houston guys who were thought to be destined for greatness and were simply over-rated, over-hyped, or just mis-evaluated.

Good post. Raw tools get way over hyped. Baseball skills get second measure. Great speed, quickness, power and great arm gets a guy a lot of oohs and ahs but none of it is much good at making contact with a 90+ mph fastball followed by a knee buckling curveball, or at deciding in a split millisecond to swing or not swing at a slider just off the corner and low or laying off that fat looking fastball up around your shoulders. Tools count a lot at the highest level but the skills to go with them are important too.