On my way to the backfields today, I took a moment to stop at the not-so-backfields. The frontfields, if you will. I try and do this for at least a few minutes every time I’m here. It’s a reminder. A moment to serve as a bellweather for what “it” looks like. Here, on the frontfields, I watch the big leaguers take batting practice. I can’t really explain to you how different it is than what I’m used to. The ball’s flight, the bats’ sound. It’s all different. I watched Belts, Nap, Rougie, Elvis, and my old pal Maz absolutely pepper the backside of the outfield walls. Left, Right, Center. All the fields were punished for merely existing. All the bats were remarkable in their quickness and strength. Maz’s, of course, is even more of a standout when framed against the fact that many of the kids on the backfields are the same age as him. But their bats don’t deliver nearly the same sound and fury. It’s always helpful to stop and watch the megarich do what made them megarich. Just a reminder of what it looks like.
We were treated to another does of what it looks like right out of the shoot in the afternoon minor league games. Andrew Cashner started in an A-ball game and he was impressive. I’ve never seen him throw, but short of stamina, he looked like he could have hung in a big league game today. His FB was 91-92 and had a healthy chunk of armside run. Threw what looked like a few 2-seamers as well, but they may have been 4s he was just subtracting velo from. He struck out wunderkind Fernando Tatis Jr, swinging, with a biting 83mph SL and he got Hudson Potts to pound a 91mph FB into an easy 5-3 putout. Full credit to Potts though because this time last year he was in the throes of his senior year at Southlake Carroll High School and now he’s staring down established big leaguers.
Speaking of the Padres, the reports of their absurd riches in the lower levels are not misplaced. There’s a bevy of talent in their coffers and I suppose the only question now is will AJ be kept around long enough to see the fruits of his labor. They’re not likely to be competitive at the big league level in 2017, but what’s he’s built at the lower levels is a scene all Rangers farm fans are familiar with.
The game action was fun again, but the bigger story for me was getting a better grip on the state of the Rangers farm as a whole. David Garcia popped an unreal 1.82 from his knees to gun out a would-be basestealer and he’s one of the Top-10 prospects in the Rangers system. He can catch and he can really throw. He’ll hit enough and even though he’s a very long ways away, he’s gonna flash enough tools to be high on radars this time next year.
Jonathan Hernandez touched 97 per usual, but it’s straight and kinda flat so it was barreled again. Nonetheless, 97 is 97, so he’s a dude.
Kole Enright played 2B and that may be a good home for him. He barrels stuff at the plate though, from both sides, and my initial instinct that if he gets there it’ll be his bat that carries him remains intact.
I expect Wes Benjamin to get a lot of starts in the minors. He’s left handed and shows an understanding of what he’s doing. Seems to have a plan on the mound, and that’s not as common as you’d think in the minor leagues. He threw 3 pitches and was 89-91 with the FB.
Kobie Taylor is a name to sock away for a minute. He glides around in CF and while raw, I think he might have some mojo comin’ on down the road.
The kiddos played a fun simulated game this morning with Minor League Field Coordinator Corey Ragsdale on the mound. It’s a process of constant teaching for these youngsters and Corey is as good at it as anyone I’ve seen. I thought I’d share some clips of something you’re not likely to see anywhere else.
Here’s 30 seconds of Josh Morgan swinging a baseball bat at baseballs.
Gonna have a big day on Thursday and I’ve been drinking beer with baseball people tonight so I’m now done. I’m putting in the hard work for you, people, just for you.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!