Because why wouldn’t I lead with a song that was a staple in minor league ballparks a scant three years ago. More importantly, the man who re-invented the song, Stephen Colbert, has been tabbed to replace David Letterman as the host of the Late Show. All that is just meant to give myself enough reason to link to this video:
Among the many games I’ve attended over the first week-plus of the season, the series I was most looking forward to was easily Lakewood at Greensboro. Partially because I handle the Phillies for the Prospect Handbook, but mostly because of the presence of shortstop J.P. Crawford, the team’s No. 1 pick from last year. Because of a few unforeseen circumstances, I missed the first game. All Crawford did was collect four hits, including a go-ahead homer in an eventual Blueclaws loss. Sometime during the game, Crawford took a pitch to one of his knees and subsequently missed the rest of the series. He was back in the lineup and at shortstop on Thursday for the team’s home opener, however, so it doesn’t appear that the injury was serious.
With Crawford out, I was left with a host of hitters from which to choose, including outfielder Dylan Cozens, massive third baseman Zach Green and converted switch-pitcher Andrew Pullin. Also among that mix was left fielder Larry Greene, the team’s top pick in 2011, a supplemental first-rounder who hasn’t made a very good impression over his first three seasons in pro ball.
Known for his power entering the draft, Greene has mustered just six home runs in 681 career at-bats and is slugging a scant .335. This week in Lakewood, Greene played a familiar tune. Take a particular at-bat against Greensboro starter Max Garner:
Pitch 1: Changeup, 82 mph, outside. Result: Swing and miss.
Pitch 2: Changeup away, 81 mph. Result: Swing and miss.
Pitch 3: Fastball away, 90 mph. Result: Ball
Pitch 4: Slider inside, 86 mph. Result: Swing and miss, strikeout.
As you can see from the video, Greene has serious trouble recognizing offspeed pitches and tends to pull of the ball, leading to futile, weak hacks. It’s much different than what you’ll see from him in batting practice, when he shows you the sock the Phillies were looking for when they drafted him.
Greene actually executed a sacrifice bunt in his next trip—the first of his career—but Garner clearly recognized Greene’s weaknesses in a subsequent plate appearance. He attacked him similarly starting with a pair of changeups, then going with a fastball on the third pitch. This time, however, Garner was at the end of his rope and missed badly with his first three offerings. He did the same with his fourth pitch, an 89 mph fastball that Greene took to complete his walk.
Greene was far from a consensus supplemental first-round pick when he entered pro ball, but he was drafted for his raw power, very little of which is translating, nearly three years out, as game power. Greene has a lot of work to do to start making good on the promise the Phillies saw in him.
Jake Arrieta, RHP: Double-A Tennessee (Cubs): Arrieta spun 3 2/3 scoreless innings against Chattanooga on Thursday. He walked two and struck out four.
Freddy Galvis, SS: High Class A Clearwater (Phillies): Galvis was 1-for-4 with a triple, a run and an RBI on Thursday.
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP: High Class A Daytona (Cubs): The hard-throwing righty walked one and struck out one in a scoreless inning.
— Sean Kernan (@KernanSean) April 11, 2014
Jeremy Affeldt, LHP: High Class A San Jose (Giants): Affeldt fanned two in a scoreless frame for the SJ Giants.
POSITION PLAYERS. PITCHING.
High Class A Stockton’s two elder statesmen—shortstop 25-year-old Wade Kirkland and outfielder 24-year-old Dusty Robinson—spun three scoreless innings in the Ports’ marathon 18-inning win over Visalia.
New Rays RHP Matt Andriese fanned eight in five innings in a matinee win against Charlotte. He allowed three runs, all earned, and walked two . . . Orioles OF prospect Henry Urrutia collected two doubles and drove in two runs against Gwinnett in another International League matinee . . . Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman allowed three runs (two earned) in an abbreviated, four-inning start. He struck out four and walked three. . . Cubs SS Javier Baez slammed his second home run of the year, a two-run shot against Nashville and Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson. You can listen to the audio call of Baez’s homer here … Astros prospects George Springer and Jonathan Singleton each went deep for Oklahoma City. Springer also stole a base . . . Miami LHP Adam Conley whiffed six in 5 1/3 frames . . . The Cardinals’ dream outfield of Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk combined to go 9-for-15 with four doubles, six runs and three RBIs for Memphis. The Redbirds’ starter, Tim Cooney, allowed one earned run over 6 1/3 frames . . . Angels 1B C.J. Cron was 2-for-4 with a double for Salt Lake . . . Fresno LHP Edwin Escobar fanned seven over four innings . . . Boston OF Bryce Brentz connected on his first HR of the year . . . Pirates OF Gregory Polanco was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and a run . . . Nationals outfielders Eury Perez and Brian Goodwin each collected a double for Syracuse.
Yankees OF prospect Mason Williams collected two hits, including his first triple of the season. He also scored twice in Trenton’s win over Erie . . . Pirates prospects Stetson Allie and Alen Hanson each collected three hits—Allie had a double—and combined to score five times and drive in two runs. Hanson stole a base . . . Red Sox 2B Mookie Betts notched two hits, including his first triple of the year. He’s hitting a mere .464 through the opening week . . . Twins 1B Kennys Vargas was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI . . . Indians 2B Joey Wendle racked up three hits, including his first triple of the year . . . Phillies OF Kelly Dugan clubbed his first longball of the year for Reading . . . Diamondbacks 3B Jake Lamb doubled twice for Mobile . . . His teammate RHP Andrew Chafin fanned four over 5 1/3 scoreless frames . . . Marlins C J.T. Realmuto connected on his second homer of the year for Jacksonville . . . Marlins LHP Andrew Heaney notched eight strikeouts over six scoreless . . . Braves RHP Jason Hursh K’d three and walked none over six innings of one-run ball for Mississippi . . . Drew Robinson, Trever Adams and Ryan Rua each homered for Frisco, and 2B Rougned Odor singled twice . . . Astros SS Nolan Fontana was 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for Corpus Christi . . . Cardinals prospects went on a rampage yesterday for Springfield. To wit, OFs Mike O’Neill and James Ramsey were a combined 5-for-13 with five runs. Ramsey tripled, homered and drove in four runs. Shortstop Aledmys Diaz was 4-for-7 with two doubles, two runs, three RBIs. He also stole two bags … against Austin Hedges.
HIGH CLASS A
Nationals 2B Tony Renda went 1-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI against Lynchburg . . . Braves 2B Jose Peraza was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The 19-year-old has started the season with a .310/.355/.414 line and three doubles . . . White Sox prospects Courtney Hawkins and Tim Anderson each collected two hits and scored twice for Winston-Salem. Hawkins drove in two runs . . . In Wilmington’s notoriously pitcher-friendly park, Rangers 3B Joey Gallo went off. He homered twice, doubled, singled and drove in two runs in the Pelicans’ win . . . Royals RHP Miguel Almonte fanned eight but was touched for five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings . . . Mets OF Brandon Nimmo homered in the midst of a huge night that saw him go 2-for-4 with three runs, two RBIs and two walks . . . Blue Jays OF Dwight Smith doubled twice in his team’s 18-hit attack against Daytona . . . Yankees C Peter O’Brien smacked his third home run of the season. He’s got arguably the most raw power in the system, but badly needs a defensive home . . . Twins OF Adam Brett Walker hit his third home run of the year and second in as many days for Fort Myers . . . A trio of A’s prospects—Bobby Crocker, Chad Pinder and Renato Nunez—each went deep in the Ports’ 18-inning win over Visalia . . . Giants prospect Mac Williamson collected his first double of the season for San Jose . . . Rockies SS Trevor Story smacked a pair of doubles for Modesto . . . Astros RHP Mark Appel fanned six over five innings of three-hit, two-run ball.
LOW CLASS A
Cubs LHP Tyler Skulina was shelled for five runs (all earned) in 5 2/3 innings against Fort Wayne. On the bright side, he did strike out six against just one walk . . . Skulina’s counterpart, Padres RHP Walker Weickel, fared even worse. Weickel was blitzed four six runs (four earned) on five hits in two innings . . . Dodgers OF Jacob Scavuzzo collected two hits in his team’s loss to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday . . . Minnesota RHP Ryan Eades held the Loons to just an unearned run on six hits and no walks. He whiffed five . . . Brewers C Clint Coulter doubled twice and drove in two runs in Wisconsin’s blanking of West Michigan . . . Top Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito whiffed six over five innings of one-hit ball against Lakewood . . . White Sox OF Adam Engel was 3-for-5 with a double and scored twice for Kannapolis . . . Engel’s teammate, SS Cleuluis Rondon collected four hits, including a double, scored a run, drove in two and stole two bases . . . Red Sox RHP Jamie Callahan whiffed 11 over five innings of two-run ball against Kannapolis . . . Orioles RHP Hunter Harvey fanned a half-dozen over five two-run innings against Greensboro . . . Orioles OF Mike Yastrzemski collected his first triple of the year as part of a two-hit night . . . Mets SS Gavin Cecchini singled twice, walked and scored . . . Rangers 2B Travis Demeritte homered twice and drove in four runs against Asheville. Teammate Lewis Brinson also went deep, as did Asheville OF David Dahl . . . Mariners OF Austin Wilson homered as part of a 3-for-4 night with two runs and two RBIs . . . Indians SS Dorssys Paulino collected two hits, including a double, and drove in a run in Lake County’s loss . . . Diamondbacks OF Stryker Trahan singled and drove in two runs for South Bend.