An Inside Look at Our 11th Round Pick (by bledsoe), June 10 Game Thread

So the local grapevine has been abuzz, as a kid on my son’s baseball team has been bruited about as an MLB prospect as a pitcher. Every game he pitched had ten guys with radar guns behind the backstop. It was pretty heady stuff, and the gossip about how high he would go, etc., was the principal topic of conversation around here.

So lo and behold, he drops to the 11th round where he is snagged by none other than America’s Team. So, Braves Journal readers, I give you Alec Grosser.

How fun is this? I’ve been watching this kid pitch since he was eleven. (He beat my Little League team in the championship, 7-1). He’s not only good friends with my son, but was his quarterback on the high school team as well.

Alec is probably 6-2, 185, with room to add some weight. He has always had a cannon for an arm, but suffered from wildness in the past. He also has some power at the plate: I saw him hit a HR that was easily over 400 feet. I didn’t think he was really headed for prospect status, but somehow he figured it out in the last year. He gained control over his FB, and added a very sneaky slider that he consistently threw for strikes. This is how The Washington Post wrote him up.

I won’t bother you with his HS stats: most HS stats are GIGO, anyway, due to good old home cooking. (For example, I was at a game at one of our archrivals. We had five hits after four innings, but the scoreboard maintained we only had two. There were also no errors given on the plays, so I suppose the batters got to first through time travel. In the last 2-3 seasons, I’ve seen three one-hitters become no-hitters through application of the Magic Eraser.) He got a full ride at George Mason after his junior year, but interest from major league teams continued to swell.

The stat that interested the Braves was 94, which is what he consistently throws. Standard wisdom is that 18-year-old pitchers add 2-3 mph on their pitches just by eating their Maypo and growing into their frame, so we could be talking 96-97 in a couple of years.

I’m really happy for Alec. For a young pitcher, you couldn’t ask to be in a better organization than Los Bravos. While it’s a long road to the majors, he’s got two things going for him: a great arm and a head screwed on very straight. He’s a super nice kid, and has handled the buzz and hubbub surrounding this whole deal with modesty and aplomb. I hope he signs with us — would love to see him with a Tomahawk on this chest in 5-6 years. Kris Medlen was a 10th rounder. You never know.

I’m not going to bother him now as he figures out what he is going to do. But if he signs, I will see if Junior will interview him for Bravesjournal.

112 thoughts on “An Inside Look at Our 11th Round Pick (by bledsoe), June 10 Game Thread”

  1. Nice writeup. When Alec Grosser enters the HOF, we here can always say we were very early for that particular train.

  2. Good write up, but do we really have to play the Fish and the Mets 30 more times this season?

  3. @3 – it is true. If this Braves team collapses, it won’t be due to quality opposition.

  4. didn’t i read just last week on this site that youngsters throwing sliders was most commonly related to TJ surgery? or am I grossly misstating a vaguely remembered artifact? either way, have him visit Dr. Andrews on his way to Rome, would you?

  5. Young kids – pre- and early-teens – should never throw anything but fastballs and change-ups.

  6. The word from an unidentified source through is that Grosser “has committed to sign.”

  7. @3, yes.

    As a matter of fact, here’s all the games we have left:

    ARI33 21
    CHC3 33 
    CHW3 321
    CIN44 22
    CLE33  3
    COL44  4
    KCR2 2 2
    SFG33 12
  8. I feel like pre/early-teen pitchers should work solely on the straight-change instead of breaking pitches. The changeup is the best “trick pitch” in the game anyways, and I would argue that deceptive change-in-velocity is usually enough to get someone out – extra movement/break is just icing on the cake.

    Young kids can’t spin the ball fast enough to make it break much in the first place. Plus they are throwing from like 45ft when they are little, so the ball doesn’t have time to curve even if they do have a good one. It’s the change of speed that fools young hitters, not the fact that it broke a quarter inch.

  9. So that’s three (3) games left on the road against teams with winning records (as of the morning of 6/10). And we’ve played the Natinals almost as often as all our other divisional rivals combined. This is one weird schedule, but you know me, I don’t like to complain.

  10. I presume the Braves would not have taken him if they didn’t have some solid expectation that they could sign him. But will await an official announcement.

  11. I totally agree. Unless you’re a knuckleballer, the most important pitch in baseball is the fastball. You need to learn to be able to locate the fastball, put a little on, take a little off, learn how to control the natural movement that your arm motion may put on the ball. Breaking pitches are important, but they can come later. A lot later. If you can command your fastball and can change speeds at the same time you’re changing the batter’s eye level, and you can throw at least 88 miles an hour, then there’s a reasonable chance that you can vie for a spot on a 25-man roster somewhere.

  12. Oh, I see that The Dumbest Man in the World got sprung:

    Can’t get blitzed by the Nats either, but we gotta like the schedule from here on out. Take 2/3 in SD, win the road trip & slink to 2 games over in the Away column.

  13. I got my 12-13 year old team to start throwing change-ups this year. Not even a proper change, just throw one slowly, don’t worry so much about disguising it since 90% of batters can’t tell anyways. When they get a swinging strike on a ball that lands in front of the plate, it’s fun to see their eyes light up, like ‘yeah, cool’. So I will second that speed and location are most important.

  14. Paulding County’s Zack Wheeler—the Mets’ other power-arm prospect—is now slated to make his MLB mound debut at The Ted during that June 18 doubleheader.

    I wonder if he’ll match up against Beachy.

  15. I taught my 10-12 year-olds a knuckleball (to keep them from throwing a curveball). Some of them got quite good at it.

    I like how our schedule plays out but wish we had played the Phils more when Utley was out.

  16. It’s worth noting that the Phillies’ record looks better than it may actually be because they’ve beat up on the Marlins and Mets a good deal already. Obviously you have to win the games, but the Braves have a really favorable schedule in the second half.

  17. In their past 226 games dating back to the first game of the 2012 season, the Phillies are 112-114. They’re the definition of mediocre.

  18. Dan, that stat astounds me.

    They were withering just a few years ago and still have what should be one of the best rotations in the game.

    Wha’ happ’n?

  19. Yep, Phils bullpen is #14 in the NL with a 4.48 ERA. (BTW, Braves are #1 at 2.78.) And, for the past 2 years, the Phils’ rotation has been middle-of-the-league, actually.

    Philly’s lineup is no longer scary either. It’s an OK, middle-of-the-pack kinda lineup, but there’s no gauntlet of doom like they once had 1 thru 6.

  20. They also have the most easily game-planned cleanup hitter in the game. Howard has batted over 50 times against left-handed relief pitchers since the beginning of 2012, and has posted a ~590 OPS. He has never been pinch-hit for in that time.

  21. I feel like looking ahead at the Mets/Marlins series is setting us up for some frustration. Yes we should probably play at least .700 against them, but I bet we see a lot of really live young arms later in the year when we play them (especially the Marlins). Probably just the natural life-long-Braves-fan pessimism coming through, but I don’t want to count chickens just yet.

    I will certainly take our position right now though. Couldn’t have asked for a better start.

  22. Cowboy Joe West decides to play the bottom of 6th in pouring rain. Baltimore scores 2 to take 4-2 lead before putting the tarp down.

  23. Showing just enough life on offense and defense to keep his job. With help from the $70 million we still owe him.

  24. He’s given up what, 4 hard hit balls first time through. Julio needs to bear down a bit.

  25. Julio’s high fastball that worked so well against the Pirates is getting hammered early on here. Would like to see more of his changeup.

  26. PSA for anyone without an premium membership:

    They’re doing a 1/2 off Father’s Day week special, $50 if you buy this week.

  27. Let’s hope Julio holds them here, so that tonight will not reinforce in Fredi’s mind that only Laird can catch him.

  28. Simpson on Everth Cabrera: “The best way to neutralize him is to keep him off the bases.” Isn’t that true with every player?

    Also, has Christhian ever pitched to Everth?

  29. DOB…“I’ll let it be known that I don’t want to go down there (to the bullpen),” Medlen said. “I don’t. At all. But it’s out of my hands. I mean, if it happens, obviously it happens. I’m a team player.”

  30. Bowman just tweeted that Julio had allowed more than 2 ER in three of his past nine games. All three have come with McCann behind the plate. Laird may indeed be guaranteed a start every five games.

  31. If pitching to McCann causes Julio to struggle, wouldn’t you want Laird to start? McCann’s offense isn’t that good.

  32. Definitely. I just think that it is a little strange. I wonder what Laird does that makes Julio feel more comfortable with him.

    And Laird has been pretty decent with the bat so far.

  33. I feel like nobody’s mentioning one obvious possibility for the starter logjam. Is it that ridiculous that Beachy would make his start in the doubleheader and then, unless he’s spectacular, be sent to AAA? He hasn’t looked particularly great in any of his rehab starts, and kicking anyone out of the rotation right now is silly. It seems logical that he would need some more time to get to the point where he’s fully back and ready to re-enter the rotation full-time. I would stick him in the bullpen, but if that’s distasteful, isn’t AAA the obvious choice? He could easily come back up for spot starts and whatever else. And if he’s pitching well enough, you call him up at the beginning of August and get him ready for a playoff run.

    My issue is that you simply can’t assume that Beachy is going to be what he was before the surgery…at least not right away. You can’t even assume he’ll regain that form this year. So why mess with the rotation this year because Brandon Beachy was pitching really well over a year ago? There’s a very good chance he’d be the worst starter of the six right now.

  34. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. The only other time I can think of was Maddux with O’Brien/Perez/Bako/Blanco/Lunar/Anyone but Javy and Hudson with Ross (was it Hudson?). Have other teams ever utilized a specific pitcher with the backup catcher?

  35. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. The only other time I can think of was Maddux with O’Brien/Perez/Bako/Blanco/Lunar/Anyone but Javy and Hudson with Ross (was it Hudson?). Have other teams ever utilized a specific pitcher with the backup catcher?

  36. @71

    I think the fear is that he won’t be a top-of-the-rotation starter, at least immediately. It’s justified considering he’s coming off major surgery.

  37. Alex, you are sure getting to see a lot of things you love tonight. Glad the Braves are accommodating you.

  38. At this point, I would rather see anyone but Gearrin if the deficit is seven runs or less. He is the white flag.

  39. Too bad we’re stuck with Gearrin until somebody of the Lisp or Ayala comes off the DL. Still, always like to see the rally, even if it proves fruitless.

  40. That’s the Jason Heyward I know and love. Welcome back, my friend.

  41. Justin, seriously? You took THAT for strike three. That really stinks. REALLY wish BJ could have gotten on with that laser in the 9th.

  42. Rallies always warm the heart, even if they’re fruitless. But damn you, Gearrin. If only you didn’t suck so much (2.813 WHIP, above-15 ERA in his last six appearances).

  43. In most baseball leagues, if you are the best hitter on the team, then you play every single day. Except apparently at the highest level of baseball, where your playing time is soley predicated on how much you are getting paid.

  44. According to fWAR, the three best Braves in June, in descending order:

    (1) Jason Heyward
    (2) BJ Upton
    (3) Dan Uggla

    So that’s kind of interesting.

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