XST and Threshers May 8, 2014

I was all set to watch the Williamsport squad with Denton Keys starting when I went over to see Davis Whitehead warm up for the GCL game. He throws a heavy ball with some movement. He’s 6’4, 240 and reminds me of a thin Joe Blanton. I decided to watch him pitch since I hadn’t seen him since his return from TJ surgery last May. Since I went back and forth between the 2 fields, I don’t have a whole game summary for either game, but rather a few observations of individual players.

David Whitehead. The 34th round pick out of Elon University broke the bat of the first batter he faced but the third baseman air mailed the throw over Luis Encarnacion. The second batter broke his bat on a ball he punched into shallow center. Herlis Rodriguez charged and fired home preventing the runner from scoring. Unfortunately, the cut off man couldn’t handle the throw and the batter was able to take second. The third batter hit a line drive that Olvy Marte missed twice at second. He leaped to glove the ball but couldn’t control it. The ball landed on him as he hit the ground, but again he couldn’t get a handle on it. The runners had to hold. So, after breaking two bats and facing three batter the bases were loaded with no outs instead of a runner on first with two outs. The clean-up hitter lofted a double to left center and the Pirates scored 2 unearned runs. Whitehead’s one inning line was 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K. He deserved a better fate. I left to watch the Williamsport squad and hopefully better defense.

Cord Sandberg continues to impress. I missed his 1st inning AB. He led off and Williams was on third when I got to their field. They had scored a run but I don’t know how. Sandberg drew a walk in the 3rd inning with 1 out. He stole second. After a pitching change, he scored on a Trey Williams single. He led of the 6th inning with a drag bunt single. He reached second when Emmanuel Serra pushed a bunt between the pitcher and first and beat the second baseman to the bag. Both advanced when Williams successfully executed a sac bunt. Sandberg scored on a balk. He can play all 3 outfield positions well. Today he was in center. He has a strong arm. He’s fast. He stole second and third in the intrasquad game Wednesday. He’s not adverse to bunting if that’s what the defense is giving him. He seems to be a real smart player. He’ll probably go as far as his bat will take him.

Trey Williams drove in Sandberg with a solid single in the 3rd inning. He probably drove in the initial run in the 1st inning. He was thrown out trying to steal second. By a large margin.

I watched 4 of the 5 innings Denton Keys pitched. The 19 year old, 11th round pick out of Rye High School doesn’t seem to be throwing hard. Yet, he is able to move the ball around and keep the batters off balance. He faced 13 batters in those 4 innings. He allowed a run in the second on a lead off double, sac bunt, and sac fly. He forced 8 ground ball outs. His line for those 4 innings was – 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.

Back at the GCL field, Chris Burgess was saddled with an unearned run when Olvy Marte committed a throwing error on an easy ground ball with 2 outs. Arrrggghh!

Roman Quinn. Quinn was in uniform and started for the second game in a row. He was lifted in the 5th or 6th inning. I saw one AB. He worked a walk while batting left-handed. He promptly stole second base. Easily. On an earlier visit, he was on first with Luis Encarnacio batting. He broke for second and had that base stolen but Encarnacion struck out to end the inning. He turned in one dynamic play while I was watching. A ball was chopped over the mound and was going to die on the grass before reaching the dirt. Quinn charged the ball and was able to glove and throw the ball to nab the batter at first to end the inning. I don’t have much of a personal baseline for Quinn’s abilities. I saw him briefly in the Florida Instruct League in 2012 and again in spring training in 2013. But he sure looks like he got his speed back.

Freddy Zorrilla clubbed a home run well over the right field wall. The were intermittent gusts to right, but I think this ball got out on its own.

Herlis Rodriguez. H-Rod has long been a favorite player of mine to watch. He hit over .400 and made some unbelievable catches in and throws from the outfield last year in the GCL before be promoted to Williamsport.  Today, he was coming off his productive intrasquad game on Wednesday.  He stroked a 2-run triple to right field. He threw out a would be run when he bounced a strike to Chace Numata.

By the way. Chace Numata has been limited to catching so far since his return. While warming up Whitehead, some of the pitchers asked him when he would begin hitting. Monday was his response.

Justin Parr was in the line up for the Williamsport group.

Bryan Martelo looked much better in the two ABs I saw today.

Not much to talk about from the Threshers’ game. They lost 4-0 in 1 hour and 59 minutes, or less. They were already beginning their post game stuff at 8:59PM.

Darin Ruf started at first base. He went 0-3 with a K and BB. He didn’t get the ball out of the infield in his other two ABs.

The Jays starter, Ben Knight, came in 1-1, 3.34. He had been tougher on right-handed batters (.224) than left-handed batters (.333). So, the Threshers with 6 starters batting from the left side managed to go 1-17 with 2 BB, 3 K, a hit batter, and hit into a double play to end a bases loaded threat in the second inning.

In addition to loading the bases in the second, they loaded them again with one out in the third and managed to not score again. Three lefties whizzed through a 4 pitch 4th inning after making Knight throw 24 pitches in the 3rd inning.

Meanwhile, Jon Prosinski had a better night than his line would indicate. The 23 year old Seton Hall grad breezed through the first 3 innings, seeing the minimum batters, allowing only 1 hit, and throwing 21 pitches, 16 for strikes. His ball seemed to be moving enough to keep the Jays’ batters off balance. ProsinskI gave up a 2 out home run in the 4th inning then came back to strike out the next batter. He recorded 2 outs in the 5th before giving up back-to-back doubles. A first pitch lead off home run in the 6th and a lead off home run in the 7th closed out the scoring. Prosinki’s final line was 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. He threw 78 pitches, 53 strikes. The 7 hits included 3 HR and 3 doubles. It looked like they were first pitch fast ball hunting on the second HR and 2 of the doubles. The other 3 extra base hits occurred in deep counts where it looked like an off speed pitch might have hung.

Lee Ridenhour mopped up allowing a walk and recording a strike out in his 2 innings.

The defense played flawlessly, turning two double plays.

Tomorrow, 2 road games. XST at Dunedin in the afternoon and Threshers at Dunedin in the evening.


17 thoughts on “XST and Threshers May 8, 2014

  1. Good read as usual, but slight correction you can fix whenever: Williamsport group, not Williamsburg.

  2. excellent write up. Williamsport might have as much potential as lakewood.

  3. I’m glad Sandberg is playing well, but it would be nice if the story was that he was driving the ball – by your reports his games always seem to be about his D, bunts, singles and such (and thanks for the reports!)

    1. I disagree … hearing a report of Sandberg playing in CF (and well, to boot) is music to my ears. He’d been talked up as a potential centerfielder when drafted, yet he’s seemed to be ticketed for a corner by the org since he put on the uniform. Hopefully this is a small sign that the Phils are willing to try him out there.

      1. I’ll give the org credit for playing most of their outfielders in all positions. I’ve seen Pujols, Sandberg, Biter, Zorrilla, Rodriguez, and Sweaney in center field and at least one of the corner positions. Last year, Pujols played exclusively in right, Sandberg played center then slid over to left when Biter signed and reported, Zorrilla hardly ever saw the field, Rodriguez played sparringly in left until they couldn’t ignore his bat, and Sweaney was a catcher. (And, last year, Cozens, Parr, Hiciano, and G. Martinez were getting most of the XST time in the OF until June.) FWIW, I could see Pujols, Sandberg, and Rodriguez as the starters in Williamsport this year.

    2. Good catch. I try to write positive stuff and tip-toed around his not driving the ball. We’ve made the same observation down here and hope that he starts doing that consistently. He did in his first AB Wednesday. He does so much else well that it will be his bat that determines how far he goes. Keep in mind, that he was only drafted in 2013. He has time to develop. Shoot, even if he were hitting bombs and line drives now, at 19 he would probably still have to sit in the system for another 3-4 years.

  4. JimmyPeyton….how much are we paying you?
    I think you are in line for a raise it would seem.

    1. I would think that staying in Clearwater would be the best thing for him. He could get more and better attention here than in the VSL. Right now, he’s listed as a DH most days. Occasionally, he gets half a game in the outfield. He’s a real raw talent. He doesn’t turn 18 until October. Physically, he’s a big kid – 6’2, 180. He looks like he’s trying to adjust to a new body after a growth spurt. Like he hasn’t grown into his new size yet. (However, be advised that the day after I said that I thought that Andrew Knapp would remain in GCL until he could resume catching duties, he was advanced to Clearwater to DH for them.)

      1. VSL starts Monday and since he is still in Clearwater most likely he is there to stay. He is not on the VSL roster any more though of course that is not real till opening day.

    1. He had to finish high school first. Then they deal last year was he’d go to the vsl or something.

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