This past weekend I took a couple of days to catch a few Pelicans games while they were in town against the Salem Red Sox. I wasn't able to make it out for the entire 4 games series but I did get to catch Erlin and Ross take the hill on Friday and Sunday. Below I have some notes and observations from the weekend so give it a read after the jump. I apologize for the length but I wanted to give you guys as much detail as possible.
First, let me say that I ended up being late to Erlin's start on Friday night due to a family emergency that came up over the weekend. I ended up getting to the ballpark when the top of the 4th inning started so I can't really speak to what happened on the solo homer he gave up. Prior to my arrival Erlin posted a line of 3 innings, 1 ER, 4 Ks.
When Erlin took the mound the first thing I noticed was how incredibly small the guy is. I know he is listed at 6'0 but I find that really hard to believe. Erlin has some really smooth mechanics that are easily repeatable and consistent that allow him to keep the ball hidden really well throughout his delivery and you could really tell some of the Red Sox hitters were having a hard time picking his fastball up until it was right on top of them.
In the 4 innings of his start I was able to catch, Erlin worked really fast and used a good mix of pitches to keep guys off balance. In the 4th inning Erlin had Rey Rodriguez tripping over himself in the box. He started him off with consecutive CBs for strikes to get ahead 0-2 then busted him inside with 2 FBs before coming back with a filthy CU low and away that Rodriguez was so far out in front of he almost fell down swinging at it. In the 5th and 6th innings Erlin elevated a few fastballs that guys made solid contact on but on a cool night they only carried to the warning track.
All in all, his secondaries were a little inconsistent at times but he used a good mix of them early in counts to keep the hitters uncomfortable. He worked quickly all night and moved his fastball all around the zone during his outing. The Red Sox have been pretty hot at the plate so far this season but they honestly didn't stand a chance against Erlin on Friday. I'd be shocked if he isn't bumped up to Frisco by the AS Break at the latest.
Robbie Ross - (6 Inn, 1 R, 4 H, 6:2 K:BB)
Unlike Erlin's start on Friday, I was able to catch the entirety of Ross's outing on Mother's Day (and my bday). The difference in pitching motion and mound presence between Ross and Erlin are night and day. Erlin had an eerie calm about him on the mound that was kind of frightening to watch. Ross on the other hand, is a very energetic guy on the mound that almost never stops moving. Ross generates a really high leg kick in his motion and keeps the ball hidden for a really long time when going to the plate. He seems to really generate a lot of power from his lower half in his pitching motion.
In the first Ross's displayed some nice athleticism fielding a bunt and slow roller on the 3rd base side of the mound. Early in the game Ross went mostly with fastballs away from the hitters that most guys had trouble catching up to. Unfortunately, the stadium gun wasn't working for either start so I couldn't get any velocity reading for either Robbie (no matter how inaccurate).
To be honest, Ross's slider wasn't very impressive on Sunday. He really struggled to get it over the plate for strikes and buried the pitch in the dirt most of the outing. He just didn't have a good feel for the pitch. Also, it looked to me like Ross was tipping his offspeed pitches during his outing. He looked to be dropping his arm slot a little and slowing his motion whenever he tried to throw a slider or changeup. All in all he had a good outing based on his line but I was a lot more impressed by Erlin's performance on Friday.
Johan Yan - (1 Inn, 0 R, 0 H, 2:0 K:BB)
Sunday in the 9th inning I got the pleasant surprise of seeing Johan Yan in action. To be honest, I hardly recognized who he was when he walked out to the mound and the PA announcer didn't even give his name or put his stats on the big screen. Yan is a tall, lanky guy who pitched exclusively from the stretch in his one inning of work.
Yan has a really bizarre delivery that was hard to pick up and you could tell by the body language of the hitters they had trouble picking up the ball out of his hand. He worked a really efficient inning by getting the first and third hitters on strikes split up by a weak grounder to second base. He had a lot of arm side movement with his fastball and what looked like a pretty sick slider that gave both righties he faced absolute fits.
Mike Olt - Luckily for me, Mike Olt played both games I was able to catch over the weekend and for anyone wondering, yes, he is just as dreamy in person as we all thought. Olt definitely displays a smooth glove at third base and has really good recognition skills on balls off the bat. He seemed to put himself in a good position to field the ball cleanly on all of his chances. He made one absolutely spectacular play on a slow roller in front of the shortstop on Friday night. Olt displayed a quick first step on the play and surprisingly good athleticism to make a strong, off-balance throw to first and displayed a strong accurate arm. He had a couple of nice hits on the weekend, including a hard hit single on a slider outside he took to right field.
One last note on things I saw over the weekend: the Pelicans outfield defense is TERRIBLE. With the exception of Ryan Strausborger, who is insanely fast, the Pelicans outfield is dreadfully slow and took several terrible angles to balls that had no business dropping in for hits. The infield defense is pretty slick with Olt, Andres James and Chirino up the middle, but wow that outfield defense seriously sucks.
I was hoping to get some photos and video for you guys but had some things come up that prevented me from really being as prepared for the weekend as I had hoped. Also, I really want to punch the ticket office lady from Friday night. Granted, I got to the ballpark as the bottom of the third inning was over but when I asked to be "as close to the visiting dugout as possible" I didn't mean 2 sections away behind the net with a girl scout troupe. It was challenging to get some good notes with a handful of 7 year olds running around in front of you not paying attention to the game. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed the read and I'll put up another recap when the Pelicans visit again this year.