SAN DIEGO–So far this weekend, I’ve reported on three top pitching prospects for the 2008 draft (Brian Matusz, Tanner Scheppers and Aaron Crow) and two top pitching prospects for the 2009 draft (Stephen Strasburg and Kyle Gibson). Today I was looking forward to seeing one of the very early top pitching prospects for the 2010 draft, San Diego righthander Kyle Blair, and I was not disappointed–even though Blair took the loss against California.
After leaving Tony Gwynn Stadium following Gibson’s departure, I arrived at Cunningham Stadium in the third inning of USD’s game against Cal, with no score on the board and just a couple of hits for each team. Blair ran into trouble in the fourth, when four walks led to a pair of runs for the Golden Bears, but he minimized the damage by striking out Rich Gorman on a breaking ball and barehanding Jeff Kobernus’ drag bunt with the bases loaded and making a nice throw to first base to end the inning. He was strong the next two innings and finished with six strikeouts and five walks over six innings, allowing just the two runs and six hits. Blair threw four quality pitches, as advertised: an 89-91 mph fastball, a high-70s slider, a mid-70s curveball with 11-to-5 break and two-plane depth, and a 79-81 mph changeup.
"They can hit, they can really hit," Blair said. "I just needed to keep them off balance with my change, curve and slider and work off my fastball. My location wasn’t really there today, but I think I worked pretty well off of it with my offspeed stuff and kept them guessing a little bit. I was throwing more slider. My curve, the few times I got it over it was a good pitch, but I threw a lot more sliders for an out pitch, and my curve was more of a get-me-over pitch. My change feels really good, I threw it more to lefties, so I need to work on throwing it more to righties. But I kept it down and away today and got a lot of roll-me-over ground balls and first-pitch outs. It really worked well for me today."
After scratching together just enough runs to win the last three games, San Diego’s bats could not muster a run Sunday against Cal senior righty Alex Rollin and the Golden Bear bullpen. Rollin was wild at times, walking four over 3 1/3 innings, but he allowed just two hits. Rollin should be a solid third starter for Cal, with an 89-91 mph fastball with good arm-side run, a solid curveball and changeup. He left with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, and reliever Daniel Wolford got Kevin Muno to fly out harmlessly to right field to end the threat. Wolford shut the Toreros down for 4 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits and a walk before handing off to closer Matt Gorgen, who worked a scoreless ninth for the second straight day.
"(Wolford) really came down and shut them down, basically," Cal coach Dave Esquer said. "And then some clutch hitting from Josh Satin to give us a little bit of breathing room in the eighth, because the runs were hard to come by up until then. Blair, to me he’s as advertised. That breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch, and he’s similar to Tyson Ross as a freshman. But he’s got that Kevin Brown body too."
After Blair left, the Golden Bears put three runs on the board against lefthander Ricardo Pecina, with Satin’s two-run opposite-field homer in the ninth putting the game seemingly out of reach. Satin drilled a big three-run homer Saturday against San Diego State, and he stood out defensively at second base all weekend. The shoulder surgery that hindered Satin as a sophomore is now way behind him, and so are the occasional confidence issues that plagued him as a junior. He’s put on 20 pounds of muscle since last season, and he looks primed for a big senior year.
"This is the best I’ve felt in years," said Satin, who hit .348 as a freshman. "I don’t know what it is, I just came out hot this season, and it feels good. We’re winning, and I feel great. This fall and offseason I just worked hard on getting my swing back. My whole life, I just hit. I didn’t know the technique of hitting, I was just good at hitting. So when it left me, I didn’t know what to do. I finally figured it out, I guess."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog