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Large And In Charge

John Manuel -

Three members of the BA team braved the mid-30s weather and cold breezes at N.C. State's Doak Field to see righthander Andrew Brackman--listed at 6-foot-10, probably looming at around 7 feet when it's all said and done--make his first start of 2007.Scouts won't judge Brackman on individual starts or even on performance; he'll be judged by quality of stuff and the durability he shows in his first full season as a pitcher, after splitting time between baseball and basketball his first two seasons. The two dozen or so scouts on hand Friday saw plenty--a fastball that Brackman used to pound the strike zone with consistent velocity. Our gun had him consistently at 89-92 mph, touching 93, but when we checked with scouts, we learned our gun was off (at least we caught it early), and Brackman sat in the 92-95 range, touching 97 and a reported 98, according to a local media member.

College

Spencer For Higher Home Runs

Aaron Fitt -

Early on, it looked like Arizona State was well on its way to another 20-run outburst against Texas A&M. The Sun Devils' leadoff batter in the bottom of the first, Brett Wallace, started things off by rocketing a triple to the right-center-field gap. You read that right; 6-foot-1, 245-pound first baseman Brett Wallace tripled. Wallace is a very talented hitter (who was just a homer shy of the cycle through six innings), but fast he is not. Anyhow, Wallace scored on a scorched line drive to center by Eric Sogard. Two batters later, Kiel Roling smoked a double to the ridiculous hill in dead center field, and then Preson Paramore singled to right. Texas A&M starter Jason Meyer wasn't fooling anyone, and the red-hot Matt Spencer came up with runners on the corners. Early in the count, Spencer hit a mammoth fly ball down the right field line that hooked barely foul, missing a home run by just feet. He worked the count full, then fouled off a couple of slow breaking balls. Finally, Meyer tried to sneak a fastball by him, and Spencer proceeded to hit one of the most gargantuan home runs I've ever seen, a towering blast that disappeared somewhere between the Budweiser sign and the third (uppermost) deck of seats in right field. Spencer is a tremendous athlete who flashed power and speed at times in two up-and-down seasons at North Carolina, and it is starting to look like he could put it all together this year at ASU.

College

Price-Rice Matchup Lives Up To Billing

Aaron Fitt -

The first game here in Houston has been very entertaining. Since we've been anticipating the Price vs. Rice showdown for so long, I figured I'd break down Vanderbilt starter David Price's outing in some detail. The Owls jumped on Price early, putting a couple runners aboard in the first inning before Pedro Alvarez ended the threat with a 5-3 double play. Two Vandy errors and two Rice singles led to a pair of runs in the second, but then Price settled into a bit of a groove. He recorded strikeouts with his breaking ball in the third and fourth innings, during which he allowed just a pair of infield singles. Then in the fifth, after the first two Rice batters reached, Alan Zornes popped up a bunt for the first out, and Price struck out Aaron Luna and Joe Savery, both looking on pitchers on the inside corner (Luna watched a fastball go by him, and Savery was fooled by a slider). Price kept it going to start the sixth, getting Jordan Dodson looking at a fastball over the inside corner. Then he walked J.P. Padron on four pitches, and I noticed for the first time that he worked very quickly through that at-bat. Price has said the big reason he struggled down the stretch last season was because he let the game speed up on him, leading to big innings. On this occasion, however, he rebounded to strike out Chad Lembeck on a fastball up and in--his last batter of the game. Padron would score on a pinch-hit RBI double by Jess Buenger, closing the book on Price after 5 2/3 innings and 95 pitches. He finished with three earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six. The gaggle of scouts assembled behind home plate were dutifully impressed by Price's 92-95 mph fastball with good tailing action and his 82-84 slider, though his command was spotty at times, especially early in the game. That's to be expected in early February.

College

No Savery

Aaron Fitt -

Rumor was circulating last night that Rice lefthander Joe Savery would not pitch today against Vanderbilt, and indeed he is not. I just spoke with Rice coach Wayne Graham in the dugout, and he said Savery wants to get back into the pattern he established toward the end of his freshman year of pitching on Sundays for the sake of his bat in the first two games of the series. You have to wonder how much his bat would really be affected by working three innings today, but he wants to get back into the routine he's comfortable with. If that routine helps him stay healthy this year, then he's doing the right thing. Plus the Owls really need Savery's offense to come around; he and second baseman Aaron Luna are still looking for their first hits of the season. Graham said he wants both to be more aggressive this weekend.So, lefthander Chris Kelley is on the mound for Rice--he just worked a perfect top of the first, getting Vandy third baseman Pedro Alvarez to sky a fly ball to center to end the inning. Expect Kelly to go at least five innings, and we could see Bobby Bramhall or Ryne Tacker go two or three innings later in the game. With Cole St. Clair likely out for at least a couple of weeks, the soft-tossing Bramhall and the hard-throwing Tacker are two options to fill in as closer, as is two-way player Jordan Dodson. Bobby Bell could also pitch in relief should he return to full strength; he reported elbow soreness after working an inning against Texas State earlier this week.

College

History Says Price May Not Be Right For No. 1 Pick

Jim Callis -Premium Content

We stand behind our initial coverage of the 2007 draft in this issue, our annual Early Draft Preview. But it's simply the nature of the draft that so much changes over the course of the spring. Players improve, regress or get hurt, and signability becomes a factor as draft day approaches.

Minors | #2007#Column

Dodgers Organization Report

Tony Jackson -Premium Content

By the time Matt Kemp was optioned back to the minors on July 14, his smashing big league debut last season had begun to look like an illusion. A lackluster regular season showing for Oriente in the Dominican League only seemed to cement that notion. But the fact rival Licey wanted Kemp for its playoff roster showed how much potential the slugging outfield prospect possesses.

Majors | #2007#Los Angeles Dodgers#Organization Reports