VIERA, Fla.–I caught a pair of games between the Nationals’ and Tigers’ low minors spring clubs this afternoon, then headed over to Space Coast Stadium to catch the big league game between Washington and Atlanta.
I just got into Orlando after an hour and 40 minutes of driving following tonight’s major league game and I’m heading to Braves camp early tomorrow morning, so I’ll post updates on today’s games tomorrow in the late afternoon/early evening. After spending eight hours a day in the sun on back fields of minor league complexes the last five days, my skin is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Rawlings.
Oh, and Tigers lefthander Casey Crosby looks healthy after coming back from Tommy John surgery; he topped out at 96 mph today.
VIERA, Fla.–Washington’s top two prospects are a pair of pitchers: righthander Jordan Zimmermann and lefty Ross Detwiler. And while lefty Jack McGeary is another promising young arm here in minor league camp, the rest of the system’s best youngsters are mostly hitters at the lower levels of the minor leagues. Nationals roving hitting instructor Ralph Dickenson checked in to talk about some of the young hitters in Washington’s farm system.
On 1B Chris Marrero: "Chris is going to hit with plus power, no doubt about that, and he should also hit for good average. He’s got a good knowledge of the strike zone and we see some big things out of him because he can use the whole field, especially with good power to right-center, but he he can hit the ball out of the ballpark from line to line. For a young guy he’s got a good idea of the strike zone and what he wants to try to get accomplished. It’s unfortunate last year when he got hurt (injuring his ankle sliding into home plate on June 18), and he was coming on stronger, but we expect things out of him this year for sure."
On RF Michael Burgess: "We’re hoping that Mike can continue to progress like he did last year. He came out of the (Rookie-level) Gulf Coast League and went to the (low class A) Sally League, where anything could have happened. He could have gone sideways or he could have done well, and he did well. He’s a gamer type guy who comes to work every day, works out in the gym early, first guy to the ballpark, last guy to leave. We expect him to continue to progress 1.) because of the way he goes about his business and 2.) he’s a driven guy with pop to all fields. He plays good defensively in right field, throws well and plays hard, so we’re hoping that he continues to progress just like he did last year."
ST. LUCIE, Fla.—Some notes from a pair of low minors games at the Mets’ minor league complex between the Mets and Marlins:
Jose Reyes and David Wright give the Mets the best left side of the infield in baseball. The projected left side of the Mets’ low Class A Savannah infield isn’t too shabby either with shortstop Wilmer Flores and third baseman Jefry Marte. In fact, I can’t think of a more prospect-laden shortstop/third base combination on any minor league team this year, unless the Brewers have Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel team up again this year in Triple-A.
Flores and Marte were both impressive today. Flores, the No. 47 prospect in baseball, is the more decorated of the two, a 17-year-old who hit .310/.352/.490 with eight home runs in 59 games in the Rookie-level Appalachian League last year. From his face to his body, Flores looks every bit like a player who didn’t turn 17 until the last month of the 2008 season—until he steps into the batter’s box. The righty-batting Flores stays quiet at the plate with little hand movement, showing natural hitting ability with excellent hands to drive the ball to all fields. In his first at-bat against 2008 Marlins’ second-rounder Brad Hand, Flores ripped a line drive over the third baseman’s head for a double, then hit the ball hard in the rest of his at-bats.
JUPITER, Fla.–I meant to have this post up earlier tonight, but the wireless connection at this hotel room is, well, pretty much what I should have expected from a hotel that shares an office with an IHOP.
Some of the highlights from the four minor league games going on simultaneously at adjacent fields between the Marlins and Cardinals, in consultation with talent evaluators in attendance:
Florida’s Matt Dominguez made an incredible defensive play at third base, diving to his backhand side on a ground ball smashed down the line. Dominguez fielded the ball cleanly on a tough hop, got up and fired an accurate throw to first base to get the runner. “Best play I’ve seen this spring,” said one talent evaluator.
JUPITER, Fla.—The Marlins have the No. 2 farm system in baseball, thanks in large part to the strength of their hitting prospects.
Florida’s one-two-three punch of Cameron Maybin, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison might be the best trio of hitting prospects in any organization, while first baseman Gaby Sanchez and second baseman Chris Coghlan are polished, disciplined hitters on the verge of helping the big league club. And that’s all without yet mentioning the team’s last two first-round picks—catcher Kyle Skipworth (sixth overall, 2008) and third baseman Matt Dominguez (12th overall, 2007), or toolsy 19-year-old outfielder Isaac Galloway.
Marlins hitting coordinator John Mallee sat down to talk about some of the talented hitters in the organization. We talked plenty about Stanton, but we’ll have more on him in the coming weeks. [...] Continue Reading »
Tracy Ringolsby of insidetherockies.com reports that baseball has regained the third member of Colorado’s McDonald family.
Outfielder Darin McDonald—younger brother of ex-big leaguers Donzell and Darnell McDonald—has left Wyoming, where he played college football, and rejoined the Phillies organization.
Just a year ago, the youngest McDonald quit baseball to pursue football at the University of Wyoming. He redshirted last fall, and now has decided to resume baseball after head coach Joe Glenn was replaced by Dave Christensen, former offensive coordinator at Missouri.
McDonald originally signed with the Phillies after being selected in the 12th round of the 2006 draft. He has hit .219/.279/.281 in 302 at-bats.
JUPITER, Fla.—Some observations from watching a pair of games between the Cardinals’ and Mets’ high minors work groups, in consultation with field staff in attendance:
On one field, righthander Jess Todd got the start for the Cardinals opposite Mets lefthander Jon Niese, the No. 77 prospect in baseball. Todd’s fastball sat at 87-88 mph, and his best pitch was a tight 82-83 mph slider with sharp bite. Facing a largely lefthanded lineup, Todd got in trouble with his changeup, which at 81-84 mph didn’t have a great difference in velocity from his fastball. After Fernando Martinez led off the game by hitting one of Todd’s changeups for a line-drive single to center field, Jose Coronado—who hit one home run in 139 Double-A games last year—pulled another Todd changeup for a home run to right field. Todd has a short arm action in the back that provides some deception by affecting the timing of some hitters, but the only swing-and-miss pitch in his repertoire today was his slider.
Niese also looked shaky, though his stuff was more impressive. Niese threw an 88-90 fastball with some sink, though his location of the pitch got him hit around today. Niese elevated his fastball too frequently, leading to several hard-hit balls off the pitch, including a wind-assisted home run to right field by Allen Craig. Niese’s secondary pitches were better than his fastball today. Niese’s curveball came in at 68-73 mph, a plus pitch with sharp break and two-plane depth. His low-80s changeup was another quality secondary pitch that caught a few hitters out front.
On the second field, Mets righthander Brad Holt got the start against a Cardinals lineup that included third baseman Brett Wallace and outfielder Daryl Jones. It was clear that Holt was there to work on his changeup as he mixed the pitch in liberally today against hitters. Holt’s fastball sat at 91-92 mph, topping out at 93 against Wallace. Holt showed an 83-86 mph changeup, a pitch he changed his grip for this summer to a modified circle grip. He threw only a few breaking balls, a 77-79 mph pitch that Holt labeled a curveball.
[...] Continue Reading »
JUPITER, Fla.—The Cardinals have some talented infielders. They’re not the flashiest or the most athletic players on the field, but they get the job done at the plate. Cardinals roving hitting instructor Dan Radison sat down to talk about some of the Cardinals’ infield prospects.
On 3B Brett Wallace: “He’s got opposite-field power. He’s a guy who can let the ball get deep and still hit it out to left field. When you have that kind of power to left-center field, you can let the ball travel and you have more time to make good decisions what to swing at. He’s got two pluses for me: because he trusts his swing so much, he’s got good pitch selection, which we know is one of his big pluses. And with the strength he’s got in his legs, in his lower body, he lets the ball get deep and he can hit a fly ball out of the ballpark in left field.”
On 3B/OF Allen Craig: “He’s a guy who’s hit and been a run producer. He’s hit for a high slugging percentage, he’s an aggressive kid. He really attacks the baseball, adjusts his hands real well. He’s a good hitter, he’s hit everywhere he’s played. To his credit, when he came out of college he got his body in shape, he lost weight, he’s got more agility and he’s had a good spring training with the big league club and is a good-looking young hitter.”
On SS Pete Kozma: “Pete has trained himself to be a little bit of an inside-out hitter. He loves to inside-out the ball, which improves his contact ratio, and makes good decisions about swinging at pitches. We’re just working on him having a little more direct, being a little less inside-out, pulling the baseball a little bit more, getting on top a little bit more. When he came to the Florida State League last year he hit too many fly balls to the opposite field, so we’re just working on getting on top of the baseball a little bit more. He’s going to be a very good defensive shortstop, and he’s got something that I like. If you see him you would say maybe he doesn’t look real aggressive, but he just trusts his actions so much, he just does things easy. He does everything nice and easy; he trusts everything and slows the game down, on defense and at the plate.”
JUPITER, Fla.—Two things immediately stand out about Marlins righthander Jose Ceda.
1. There are only a handful of players on the planet who can throw a baseball as hard as he can.
2. There are only a handful of players—pitchers or hitters—who are as big as him.
At 6-foot-4 and around 260 pounds, Ceda has a fastball that has touched 100 mph and ranges from 95-98 mph in a typical relief outing.
Of course Ceda hasn’t always been able to throw that hard or been that colossal.
Ceda signed with the Padres on Nov. 1, 2004 at age 17. At the time Ceda weighed around 185 pounds and threw 88-89 mph, topping out at 91. Ceda pitched in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2005, holding down a 1.50 ERA with 29 walks and 83 strikeouts in 60 innings. His weight quickly grew, up to 225 pounds, then up to 260 pounds. It wasn’t all lean gains, but it helped Ceda start pumping fastballs that topped out in the mid- to high-90s soon after signing. [...] Continue Reading »
JUPITER, Fla.—Heavy afternoon rain foiled my plans for my first day of spring training here at Roger Dean Stadium, where the Cardinals and Marlins share a complex.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog