Welp, you win some, you win some a little more. Today, I won some. Just wasn't a lot of smokin' hot action on the backfields this afternoon. Another peek at the Low-A and High-A teams yielded a few more answers and lots more questions, but any day spent traipsing between fields with my man Scott Lucas towing his photography equipment is, at its core, a win. So let's get to bullet pointing some things:
-First look at Jose Trevino as a 3B. He looked good. Has the arm and moves better than you'd think. Came in on a bunt, barehanded it, and made a strong, accurate throw to 1B. Still want him to catch.
-Chatted for a few with Luis Ortiz (he's throwing Wednesday in Glendale for those of you out here) and he said he's been throwing lots of CHs and it looks and feels really good and a lot better than it used to. Luis was drafted in the first round last year because he has first round talent. His SL already projects as a plus pitch and his FB sits 91-95. The CH is key. I expect him to get the ball every fifth day in Hickory, and hopefully begin carving his path to the next level.
-For those who were asking about the other Ledbetter twin, I saw Ryan pitch today. Lots of 92-93mph FBs that were good and then a 73mph bender that went over the fence in LF. That wasn't so good. Still, a solid couple of outings for the Ledbetter Brothers this week.
-Darius Day can fly. Texas' 23rd round pick in last year's draft, the dude might have the saltiest wheels in the system. Not sure I'd throw an "80" on 'em, but I am not a scout, so I can just throw a "smoke show" on 'em. He was thrown out stealing 3B though, because stealing bases requires more than just raw speed.
-Speaking of raw speed, got my first look ever at Billy Hamilton tonight. Sue me, I don't deliberately watch the Cincinnati Reds very often. It was amazing. Just like you've heard for the last few years; there's fast, then there's Billy Hamilton fast. He's otherwordly.
-A Kevin Matthews sighting! On the mound! Pitching! Texas' 2011 1st rounder has been snake-bitten by the injury bug and has only pitched in 44 games in 4 years. The good news is, he's still left handed! FB was 'bout 90 and he dropped in a few nice upper 70s benders too. Fielded his position well. He's alive and still in the pipeline. Wouldn't it be something if he ended up a big league LOOGY for about a decade?
-Yeyson Yrizarri played SS today. I liked it, but I still think his booty gonna get too big for him to stick there. Was super-fun to get to see him uncork some throws though. His throws don't look like the other kids'. They're drawn with a ruler.
-Liked a bit of Joe Filomeno. 2014 15th rounder out of Louisville. Got a little Everyday Eddie Guardado mojo goin'. Listed at 5'11 and 235lbs, the southpaw worked a 92-93 mph FB he was keeping down and a high 70s bender he can throw for a strike or chase. All Everyday Eddie did was throw 944 big league innings. Not saying "Chicago Joe" (that's where he's from and I just decided he should be called that) is guaranteed to throw even 9.4 big league innings, but he is a left handed reliever who throws in the 90s, so that makes him much more valuable than me.
-Caught up with Keone Kela before the big league game. He's a proud papa to his new son, Kai Valor, and he confirmed my suspicions that he's using a "vulcan" grip on his new CH. Said he threw one last year and it ended up on Scott Lucas' video. That made me laugh because then I introduced him to Scott Lucas who was standing right next to me. Scott told us both the story about how during editing he looked at the pitch over and over again and had trouble identifying it. Well, it was the only CH Keone threw last year. He throws more now. I then asked him if he knew that he was standing in a big league bullpen. He said he knew. Then he struck out Joey Votto with a 96 mph fastball.
- I watched Adrian Beltre take dozens of screaming fungoes off the bat of my old friend Steve Buechele. The best part was, Belts started behind the bag, then took a bunch even with the bag, and took the final dozen or so on the grass. I'm almost certain he uses magnets. Enjoy him, folks. He's going to the Hall of Fame, and there's a good chance he's gonna do so with your team's logo on his hat. Enjoy him.
-I put some close eyes on our favorite underage catching phenom, Yohel Pozo. He missed a pop up, and created two runs for the opponent by attempting a very ill-advised back pick, with runners on, and one out. He also carried himself like a kid who isn't scared and is willing to fail to succeed. Also, he homered...and pimped it a bit. Catchers.
Here's a Jose Almonte AB followed by Pozo's HR and self-congratulations. Gotta love it.
Here's a couple vids of Jose Trevino in the cage. I like how his bat path is set to create natural backspin. His balls carry well currently and when he adds even more strength and power, they'll carry even further.
Jose is gonna hit the ball over the fence a few times.
Got you a Travis Demeritte AB. Yesterday, I mentioned how very, very legit his pull power is, but how I wasn't all that crazy about all the parts of his current swing. He K'd a bunch last year cuz he's got one of those swings with lots going on and more importantly, a lot has to go exactly right for him to make contact. When he does make contact, it's almost always gonna be salty. Peep the leg kick and the distance his hands have to travel to get through the zone. That's what I mean by "a lot has to go exactly right". He's got to get that front foot down while firing those hips and getting his hands to the ball. More moving parts than an Autobot. But I love the kid and still think it's beyond awesome that a 2B prospect hits the ever-living shit out of the ball like he does.
Got some questions yesterday 'bout Condor Guzman's bat speed and swing, so here's some visuals. Dude is massive. I mean massive. Though I've never actually stood back-to-back with him, I'm gonna say he's 6'6", and though I've never actually picked him up, I'm gonna say he's 220lbs. Even in a slight crouch, with his hands as high as they are in his setup they basically have to travel down the entire coast of Chile to get into the zone. If the pitch is hard and low, you gotta trigger that swing like Doc Holiday to get the barrel on it. And I'm not sure he's got that kinda bat speed these days. Course, after these two ABs, he smoked a pitch the other way for an opposite field home run, so what the fuck do I know?
Contrary to popular belief, it's not called "Spring Games", or "Spring Batting Practice", or "Spring Chipotle Run", it's called "Spring Training". And if you look for it, it's just that. Errybuddy knows, if you wanna be great, you gotta put in the work... when no one's looking. No one, that is, except weird minor league bloggers. Here's Ti'Quan Forbes during his 2-plus hour, one-on-one third base clinic. Working on glove positioning and his first step here. Do work, my man.
Many people know about my rather irrational affection for Curacao speedster, Chris Garia. Insert cliche here: "Can't teach speed", "Speed never slumps", "There's no substitution for speed." Unfortunately, another one is "You can't steal first base." Well, whatever. Chris can fly and I'm including this clip because of another term you hear from time to time, a "buggy whip" swing. Check this out. Nearly all of his front half hits the dirt before the bat even begins through the zone. It's like the kid is whipping the bat behind his hips. Does it work? Well, yeah, mostly. Did I mention he's fast?
And finally today, I just wanted to serve you up with the NSFW sounds of Nomar Mazara hitting baseballs into the Arizona aether.
Pretty pumped for a two-shot of steamy AA and AAA action on Tuesday. They're loaded. Really. There's lots and lots of talent in those levels right now, and frankly, after watching Adrian Beltre take grounders there's no way I could watch another afternoon of A-ball.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball! Love Ya!
# # # Quick Update I wanted to include before this went live. I just spoke with a very seasoned scout who has seen Carlos Peguero play lots and lots of baseball over the years. "Just looks like a different person. Just a different player altogether. Looks like he cares, he's hustling, he's taking balls the other way, he looks like he's in way better shape. I basically wrote the guy off a couple years ago, but this is a different player. If he didn't have the name on his back, I wouldn't have believed it was him. Good for Texas."