Well whatdya know, another day of watching baseball and talking baseball and baseballing and baseball. And that's just the baseball. Yep, the fun in the sun continues here in the desert and today featured a focus on the AAA and AA guys excluding those recent dispatches from the big league camp, i.e. nearly the entire starting lineup of Round Rock. So while it might have been a bit light in the premier prospect category it's still, as I may have mentioned, baseball.
The day began by watching a traveling group of Canadian late-teens take the field against some of your blue shirted Rangers. This is a dang good club from up there and it's one of the best in the country. Even produced your very own Kellin Deglan. So how did Texas greet these wide-eyed kiddos from the north? Why with big leaguers Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson of course. It went about how you'd expect and both fellas were clearly just trying to get their work in, but there was one extraordinary moment when Dyson, who was mostly working 92-94 realized he'd reached the pitch quota he needed, and the hitter had two strikes. For the first time in his outing, Sam unleashed that ridiculous 2-seamer that runs more than high school miler, and the 97mph f-you offering was not only missed, but it was flailed at as though the young Canadian hitter had never actually swung a bat before. The baseball gap between 18 year-olds and Sam Dyson is fairly large.
Wanted to mention Michael Roth too. The crafty lefty was signed by Texas before Spring Training, and he's got a little sumpthin' sumpthin'. I mean he pitched in the bigs for the Angels in 2014 and in AAA all last year, but if he goes exclusively into a relief role, there's something there. He's one of those guys who moves his arm slot around a lot (on purpose) and so his velo is all over the map. The side-arm stuff comes in in the mid-70s and he was easily dialing up high-80s from the higher slot. Just a name to remember.
Another name to file away somewhere is Curtis Terry. Last year's 13th round pick is a 1B prospect all the way. He's a 1B prospect because he's listed at 6'2" 255lbs. He's a colossal 19 year old. And as should be the case, he can make some very loud contact. As everyone knows, if you're defensively limited, you's gonna need to slug and slug often, so he'll be fairly easy to track. Big, big kid.
I LOVE SPEED! I LOVE VERY FAST MEN! Take that however you want, but I'm a sucker for the unteachable tool. And Texas has two of the very fastest in the game in Chris Garia and London Lindley. I'm getting my first look at Lindley and I asked Amateur Scouting Director Kip Fagg to confirm the story about London's 60 time being the fastest he'd ever seen, and "Yep, fastest I've ever had in 25 years. 6.1 seconds." That's absolutely flying and last year's 40th rounder can do it. I got him at 3.84 seconds on the bunt below. (helluva play by the Canadian 3B who gunned him out). And my man, Chris Garia: 2 triples in today's game and a 3.78 jailbreak bunt from the left side for the switch-hitter. They are both crazy absurdly fast and I'm hoping Garia is in Frisco in 2016.
I'm also a bit of a fan of middle infielder Brallan Perez. He too has one unique skill- he has very advanced approach. After 3 seasons in the very low minors, the recently turned 20 yr-old has drawn 87 walks against only 50 Ks. Not sure he's a shortstop, though that's where he's been the last couple of days, but he goes to the plate with a good idea about how to hit, and frankly, compared to most kids his age, that's at least something.
Here's a 2 and a half minute walk:
Here's a 1 minute walk:
Here's a single that preceded him quickly stealing second base:
Jimmy Reyes was really salty today and I still think he pitches in the big leagues. FB was 86-90 and was really cutting. I asked a guy who would know, if it was a cutter and was told, "Nope, he just gets on the side of it." His breaking ball is better than I have ever seen it and his beard is outrageously perfect.
Even with his unconscionable speed, London Lindley wasn't playing CF today, Leody Taveras was. This kid is good and this is going to be fun.
When Patrick Kivlehan hits the ball, he pulls it and he hits it very, very hard. When he doesn't hit the ball, he really doesn't hit the ball. Mostly working at 1B, he seems adept over there and obviously, he's a good athlete. Not sure what he'll turn into, but he's ox-strong and can move around the field with the glove a bit.
Jefri Hernandez was 94-97, but still has very little offspeed to offer. Did snap off one good SL though.
Kellin Deglan had a 2.07 pop time. Still working hard behind the plate. Footwork, transfer, framing, all getting better- still not quite MLB level. I think he plays in the Show at some point.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa caught 3 innings yesterday and looked decent considering he's been catching for about 20 minutes in his career. He's a good athlete and can sting the ball a little so I'm curious to see how 2016 plays out for him. Obviously, I'm paying closer attention thanks to the tools of ignorance.
Speaking of converting to catcher- I'm not sure how much of that we're going to see from Josh Morgan this year. It's not that he couldn't do it or wasn't eager to try, seems more like he's a very legit MLB prospect as a SS/2B and why mess with that? Not sure how much time he'll see behind the dish, but I know he still has a very good eye and can hit.
AND I WALKED INTO THE BIG LEAGUE GAME JUST IN TIME TO SEE THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPEN! J-MO HOMERED IN A BIG LEAGUE GAME! IN A BIG LEAGUE BALLPARK! I DON'T CARE IF IT'S JUST A SPRING TRAINING GAME! I DON'T CARE! YANK BOMBO FOR J-MO!!!
So there ya go. Another day in the books. Had a chance to catch up with some familiar faces now plying their trade on the big league fields and managed to see the pitchers take batting practice. Both of those experiences were really fun, but for very different reasons. Hollywood Hamels homered in 2012? With that swing? Huh. Tuesday should be juicy as it marks the return to the backfields for some of those bold faced names we loaned to the big league club for a few weeks. (they had Monday off) I imagine it's gonna be the backfield swan song for at least a couple of those dudes, so hopefully they're bringing all their mojo for a flourishing finale. 'Til we meet again!
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!