I watched bits and pieces of last night’s Phillies game and got to see Julio Rodriguez and Lisalbert Bonilla both take their shot against the Yankees reserves and backups. Neither guy had a night they will cherish, but both flashed some positive things, and I think both are definitely interesting guys to watch in 2012. Here are some very brief thoughts on both guys
* His fastball was mostly 87-90, consistently hitting 89 from what I saw. It did have a little bit of late life with movement in to righthanded hitters
* The deception people talk about is very real. Though he’s not the wiry skinny kid he was when he was drafted, he still creates a lot of funk with his arms and legs in his delivery, and some of the hitters took late, defensive swings because they weren’t able to really see the ball.
* His location wasn’t great, and he did miss up a few times, which we’ve heard about before.
* His slow curveball was in the low 70s and it did not look like a swing and miss offering. Definitely the big thing he’ll need to work on this year.
* He threw one or two solid changeups, a weapon he’ll need against lefties.
Nothing in his performance really changed my opinion of him. Because of the deception he creates, I think he will be able to generate swings and misses at the next level. I do think his future is likely in the bullpen. Tyler Clippard has proven you don’t need to throw 95 mph to be a successful short reliever, and he gets by with deception. Rodriguez is going to need to tighten up both his changeup and curveball significantly to get to that point, but I think he does have that potential.
* What struck me about Bonilla is how calm the first part of his delivery is, as he stays compact until his arm crosses his body, but his follow through is really violent, and he ends up falling off the mound to the first base side almost every time. This is going to cause command problems.
* His fastball was generally 90-92 from what I saw, I think I saw one 94. He has average or better arm strength.
* Like Rodriguez, his command was pretty poor, probably a case of nerves. He gets a pass.
* He threw a couple of really wicked changeups with excellent tumble and fade away from the lefthanded hitters. I believe he also hung one that got belted.
* His breaking ball was fringy, but he threw mainly fastballs.
I should have tivo’ed the game so I could have tried to capture the video and post it here, but this is from memory. If anyone else watched them pitch, please share your thoughts.