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The View From Behind the Backstop: Corey Oswalt, Scarlyn Reyes, and Luis Mateo

A closer look at a trio of Brooklyn Cyclones arms.

Cyclones' starter Corey Oswalt
Cyclones' starter Corey Oswalt
Gordon Donovan

Corey Oswalt

RHP, Brooklyn (SS-A)

Age: 20

Acquired: 7th round, 2012

Date(s) seen: 7/13/14 @ Connecticut Tigers

2014: 55.2 IP, 46 H, 17 R, 14 ER, 12 BB, 50 K, 0 HR

Tall righthander with a big frame, certainly looks the part of an MLB innings eater. Quick, full overhead delivery from the wind-up. Oswalt does tend to cut off his delivery at foot strike. He starts to sit down like a drop and drive guy, but stiffens his front leg hard as it lands. This cuts off any potential extension from his long frame and affects his ability to get his offerings down in the zone. Fastball was 87-89 early, touched 90, 86-88 by the fourth inning. Pitch had some arm side run, but Oswalt was wild in the zone, and at times out of the zone, with the heater. Breaking ball was 79-81, showed some curveball tilt at time, but was too often short and slurvy. Due to lack of feel, and probably in part to the delivery, he had trouble staying on top of the pitch and getting it to break down and out of the zone. Could spot it for a strike, but very hittable when it was out over the plate. Showed a handful of decent change-ups at 81 with a deceptive arm action and some fade. I likely saw Oswalt’s worst start of the season, but the lack of above-average stuff, present or projection, points towards a profile that tops out as a Double-A starter.

Scarlyn Reyes

RHP, Brooklyn (SS-A)

Age: 22

Acquired: IFA, 2013 ($25,000)

Date(s) seen: 7/13/14 @ Connecticut Tigers

2014: 38.2 IP, 31 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 13 BB, 37 K, 1 HR

Nice flyer for 25 grand, but the phrase that kept coming to me throughout this look was "Luis-Mateo-lite." Fastball was 93-94, T95 out of the wind up, but it takes some effort to get it there. Also showed a two-seamer at 90 with some nice arm side run. Reliever mechanics with a pronounced head jerk. Arm angle would wander between low 3/4 and high 3/4, depending on what he was throwing. Would really alter arm angle for the curveball to try and get on top of it. It’s a hard downer at 82-83, but not quite as consistent as Mateo’s slider at the same age and level. Also showed a firm change at 82-84. It's rudimentary, though he would occasionally show some sink on it, but had trouble consistently turning it over. Stuff all ticked down and Reyes was slow to the plate (1.6-1.7) out of the stretch. Certainly a nice find for the price, but will be a reliever likely as soon as full-season ball.

Luis Mateo

RHP, Brooklyn (SS-A)

Age: 24

Acquired: IFA, 2011 ($150,000)

Date(s) seen: 7/12/14

2014: 10.1 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 2 HR

I was lower than most on Mateo last time he came through Brooklyn, seeing an older arm with rough mechanics and a reliever profile dominating short-season hitters with a plus fastball and some feel for a sharp slider. The Mets have had him throwing exclusively in short stints out of the pen as he rehabs from last season's Tommy John surgery, so one might think the 24-year-old will move to the bullpen full-time once he is ready to resume a more normal throwing program in 2015. Mateo was just a bit over a year removed from the surgery when I saw him in Norwich, so you'd expect him to not be all the way back, and he certainly wasn't. Fastball was mostly 89-90, touched 91. That's down from where he was in 2012 (He generally sat 91-94, T95 for me, though others had him with more velocity in their looks). The arm action is still less than ideal, and Mateo seemed to be feeling his way through the delivery at times, which is not unusual for a guy coming off major arm surgery. He threw more sliders than usual in this short look, and the low-80s offering was actually more consistent now than in his vaunted 2012 season in Brooklyn. If the velocity gets back to where it was pre-TJ, Mateo could start the 2015 season in the Binghamton pen and move quickly, but he now hasn't thrown in game action in a month. It could just be precautionary, or there might have been a setback with his rehab, but it now looks like we won't see him again until next Spring either way.