Prospect Notes: Paul Goldschmidt Continues To Confound

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Putting together the Midseason Top 50 Prospects list involves a lot of calls and emails. Unfortunately, it's not really possible to distill all of that information into the list. And even after an 80-question chat, notes remain left in the notebook. So for our subscribers, here are news and notes culled from our Top 50 calls.

• Double-A Mobile first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a prospect who will continue to confound. It's hard to find a consensus about the Diamondbacks slugger. Some scouts and front office officials still see him as a second-division regular at best, while others think he has star potential.

"The second pitch he sees, he hits it eight miles," said a scout who saw him at the Southern League all-star game. "I swore I've seen him before. It was a short and quick swing from an (Albert) Pujols-type stance with lift and loft."

The scout said that Goldschmidt does have a small hitch in the back side of his swing as he begins his load, and he did struggle to get around on good fastballs later in the all-star game. But the power is hard to ignore.

"He looks like he's trying to emulate Pujols. That's a good guy to emulate. The ball jumped off his bat."

• Phillies righthander Trevor May has had a lot of success this year, more than some of his high Class A Clearwater teammates Jarred Cosart, Brody Colvin and Jon Pettibone. But his delivery still leaves scouts worried about his chances to stick in the rotation.

What he does have is excellent deception on his fastball. No matter how hard you throw, getting swings and misses with your fastball is hard to do. But in May's case, it happens with regularity.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pettibone makes it look easy. He doesn't have the pure stuff of his trio of teammates, but Pettibone's ability to locate his entire array of pitches stands out. His fastball, which sits at 90-93 mph, isn't bad, but he also has a solid slider and changeup, both of which could end up as plus pitches.

For pure velocity, Cosart and Colvin stand out. Cosart's fastball sits between 93-95 mph, with frequent forays up to 97. He shows intriguing, if inconsistent, curveballs and changeups. Scouts also have a few worries about his delivery—he's somewhat crossfire, throwing across his body. It adds deception to his delivery, but also stress on his shoulder.

Colvin has been tougher to evaluate this year. He missed time with a back injury, but he's shown the same 92-95 mph fastball when healthy and two potentially plus secondary pitches.

Put all the pieces together and the Clearwater foursome ranks as one of the most intriguing rotations in the minors. One scout may rank them May, Colvin, Cosart, then Pettibone, while another may argue Cosart, Pettibone, Colvin then May.

• Speaking of power pitchers, Pirates righthander Jameson Taillon and Cardinals righthander Shelby Miller are two Texas fireballlers with great fastballs and the kind of frames that allow scouts to project them as front-end members of the rotation.

Miller, like May, is generating a lot of swings and misses with his fastball, but he's also getting plenty of strikeouts looking when he locks up the hitter. But one scout who has seen both of them says he'd take Taillon, who pitches for low Class A West Virginia, over Miller, who pitches for Double-A Springfield, because he has a more consistent breaking ball and more top-end velocity.

• One name you didn't see on the Top 50 was Chris Archer. The Double-A Montgomery righthander was one of the players the Rays picked up from the Cubs in the offseason Matt Garza trade. At the time, one could argue that Archer was the centerpiece of the deal. He could return to that status, but for now high Class A Charlotte shortstop Hak-Ju Lee has stepped ahead of him on the pecking order.

The problem with Archer? He doesn't look like the same fluid pitcher who dominated two levels last year. "He's a completely different guy. His arm slot is different. The delivery is not as athletic," a scout said. "It looks like he's throwing with more effort."

Archer's arm slot is higher than it was last year, which appears to have cut into the run and sink he got on his fastball. The result? In 17 Southern League starts, he's gone 4-4, 4.72 with a strikeout-to-walk-ratio of 1.7-to-1. In 13 SL starts last year he went 8-2, 1.80 with the same troubling 1.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Archer has shown some signs of improvement lately. His ERA on June 1 stood at 5.98, but since then he's managed to lop a run.