So I've made my first ever trip to the desert. Well, not my first trip to the desert actually, but my first trip to this desert. I'm in Arizona. It's next to New Mexico. I've been there, and those people have crazy in their eyes. Come to think of it, so do some of the folks I came across today. Anyway, Arizona has an absence of green. I just don't think they really like the hue, ya know, personally. That makes driving up to the Spring Training complexes sort of discombobulating. The complexes have green everywhere. It's the kind of ballfield-green that's impossibly bright from a distance, but oddly dull and soothing up close. It's an awesome green. And it's even more awesome when minor leaguers are frolicking around on it. I've decided to write some reports from Arizona in bullet point form. I figure the simpler it is, the more likely I am to actually do it.
-There's an airplane in the airport. You know how some places do that? Suspend 'em from the ceiling? Yeah, they do that out here. Don't be alarmed.
-It takes about 45 minutes to get from the Phoenix airport to Surprise. It's like a suburb or something.
-Somehow through the magic of auto rentals, I have a white Crown Victoria to captain around while I'm here. I basically forgot what I was driving until I got on the highway and everyone refused to let me drive behind them. It's pretty funny. Lane change after lane change and parting seas in front of me.
-Kellin Deglan has some pop. We know he can defend, and I'd obviously seen the numbers, but somehow he stood out to me today. Really drove the ball in the BP session. I know, I know, it's a.) a freakin' BP session and b.) a freakin' BP session, but not many other guys hit it like he did. Making consistent contact is his issue, but it's nice to know there's some power there.
-watching Connor Sadzeck's side work was impressive. Actually, it kind of wasn't. He was working on some stuff and was basically under watchful, interjecting eyes, but that fastball...oooooweeee....its got some juice.
-Pat Cantwell doesn't wear batting gloves. Catchers.
-Jake Brigham's slider is a really good pitch.
-given "TWO PITCHES! TWO PITCHES!" for his last turn in the cage Drew Robinson parked both of them close to the airport. The workouts are workin' out.
-Justin Grimm looked like Justin Grimm. In his side work, then in a single inning of an intrasquad game. He's going to be a big league starter. Maybe not a star, but a starter.
Now, let's discuss the batting practice session that you may have seen my lose my shit about on Twitter. There was some kind of a prospect All-Star game tonight for Rangers' brass, scouts, etc. My invitation was lost in the mail. So as the afternoon wore on, I'd given up hope for seeing some of the big guns today. No worries, I'd caught a few tuna, no marlins, but a few tuna. Besides, I'll be here all week, I'll get plenty of...wait..oh, oh here they come. Plodding out towards the backfields, come some of the already-household-names-in-certain-households. They were gonna warm up, stretch, take BP, etc on the backfields while the stadium emptied from the big league game. So the assault began. The first group in the cage was Jorge Alfaro, Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, and Nick Williams. Poor baseballs never stood a chance. Into a gusting wind primarily blowing in from center, these guys launched ball after ball into the blue haze of the Arizona sky. It was everything you think it was. Brinson's swing is a little loopier than I thought, Alfaro appears to be opening up a little perhaps to pull the ball a bit more, Gallo's swing starts in another county. But none of this mattered. In front of nearly every member of the scouting staff, player development staff, coaching staff, and the front office, not to mention two bustling fields of their peers, these guys put on a show. They make a different set of noises at contact. Many of the other players make the noise on a few pitches during their multi-session batting practice, but these guys make the special noises on nearly every pitch. Joey Gallo's bat to ball is a thunderclap. It's a graduate-level biology textbook landing flush on a tile floor from 4 feet. The ball leaves the cage in a manner befitting a three-man water-balloon launcher manned by the fratiest of frat bros. The ball is a package whose address reads: "The Aether". Get it? You all metaphored out? Well, me too. It's been a long day that began with a scant amount of sleep and ended as all good days should, with a Moons Over My Hammy egg sandwich from Denny's.
I'll get back to you with more updates. I'll be dumping some thoughts on Twitter, and I'll be trying think of ways to somehow fill the ample empty retail space out here. If there's a particular player you want me to check on over the next few days, hit me up @tepidp and I'll see what I can find. I know Professor Parks and The Poobah of Prospects, Jason Cole are still out here too (clocking in well over a months worth of Arizona time. (I'm gonna ask them about Alfaro's stance)), so I'm planning on catching up with them as well. Had a great time hanging with Godfather Newberg today on the backfields and Dr. Scott Lucas Esq., PhD., MBA, BMF just left town after a week of beisbol. So if I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, I'll tell you "I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about- go ask a professional." I'll be bringing in more bullet points in the next day or so, in the meantime, enjoy baseball...it's almost here.