Second time I’ve had to sit through a Bingo/Rock Cats double header this year, and second time I have been inundated with 8-10 year olds who want to sit up front, and whose parents have no intention of watching them. I should start charging babysitting fees. Pretty full crowd, and filled up quickly considering it was a double header. I had been stuck helping out at my cousin’s bridal shower all afternoon, so I missed that they moved Carson to game one. It gave me more time to look at the hitters, at least. It was also Irish Night, so the Rock Cats were giving away a green hat, mind you, it was a lime green hat, a color not found in the flag of the Republic of Ireland (to my knowledge), but they did at least invite a leprechaun to play:
I get flack from certain people (garik16, I am looking at you) for my fandom of Josh Satin, but his swing is so much fun to watch. A compact, line drive, gap-to-gap swing that gets right on the baseball. Satin smacked a double over the first baseman’s head and smoked another single into left-center in game one, and reached based two more times on a walk and HBP. He’s obviously playing a bit over his head, and has been lucky on balls in play this year. Though at this point we have a two year sample with a BABIP over .380, which means he’s hitting line drives in bunches. Even his 1st inning out in the second game was a lined shot, it just happened to be right at the left fielder.
He looked better at 3B as well, making a pair of nice plays, and handling all the routine stuff. This is the first year he has played this much at third base, so he could just be starting to get comfortable now. The arm is still mediocre for the position, but not egregiously so. He played 2B in the nightcap and stayed mostly anonymous, one bad throw trying to turn a double play, but he had to handle a weird backhanded flip from Valdespin deep behind second base. Probably should have put it in his pocket, but it didn’t really effect anything.
Okay, so he’s six months older than Daniel Murphy, and he’s a future utility guy in an org that is stuffed to the brim with future utility guys. But I lobby for Josh Satin. I will lobby Sandy, and I will lobby Paul. He’s our new Jeff Keppinger, right down to the part where he’s going to be 28 before he gets a shot somewhere, and it probably won’t be with the Mets.
I am pretty high on Valdespin. He’s already walked more this year then he did all of last year, and he’s turned some doubles into home runs. These are both good signs, as it means the tools are starting to turn into baseball skills. He showed everything that makes him both a intriguing prospect and a maddening one in the doubleheader. He chased a high fastball to strike out, he dropped a perfect drag bunt for a basehit, he laced a 2 RBI double to right, and he got a little fancy with a flip to Satin to try and start the 6-4-3
Part of the reason he had to try the flip to Satin is he is not as rangy as you would expect, and despite his speed and base stealing ability, he hasn’t quite figured out shortstop. He’s a second baseman in the end, probably, albeit one who has an all-star ceiling.
MATT DEN DEKKER
The scouting report is pretty accurate. Den Dekker’s swing is hard and long. (#unintentionallysexual), and he’s going to strike out a lot. The biggest thing I noticed is once he commits, he can’t really adjust to offspeed stuff. However, when he does make contact, it is loud. He is walking more at AA, though 6 of those walks have come in two games, and he only has 4 in the other nineteen. He plays a confident center, and while he didn’t really get tested too much, he is very fluid and quick to get to flyballs. He looks like he will be boom or bust with the bat, and has a very low ceiling compared to a lot of other Mets prospects, but he is probably more likely to have a quiet 5-10 year major league career then, say, Cesar Puello. It will be as a 2nd division starter/4th outfielder, mind you, and you will probably have to hide him against lefties, but CFs with plus gloves and decent pop find the field.
In between games I got a visit from AA’s own Chris McShane who is a thoroughly pleasant fellow, though he has rosier memories of the old Beehive Field then I do (I recall the bleacher seats being incredibly uncomfortable). He also has a much nicer camera than me. I think I need to upgrade.
Game 2 started, which brings me to…
Familia by the numbers:
5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, HBP, 5:2 GO:FO
76 pitches (through 5)
51 strikes/25 balls
20 called strikes/8 swinging strikes/12 fouls/11 in play
He threw 45 fastballs out of the 76 pitches.
What he throws
Fastball (93-95): Topped out at 97 mph, once in the first inning and once in the fourth. Threw mostly four seamers on the night, but did mix in some 2-seamers at 91-93, especially early in the game. It was a little flat on the night, though the two seamer had some nice fade to it. He was throwing strikes with it,, though he did have a tendency to leave one middle-middle every once in a while. The 1st home run he gave up was on a 94 mph heater right down the pipe that the left-handed Chris Parmalee turned on and kept inside the foul pole. Only two swinging strikes with it, one on a nasty 2-seamer, and the other one was straight gas at 97 to get the strikeout to close out the first inning. Velocity held up into the later innings, but he had trouble missing bats with it all night.
Change-up (81-83) Very, very nice pitch. His best offering of the evening. Generated 5 swings and misses and was his go to strikeout pitch. Classic pull the string type pitch when it was going good, and could throw it for strikes even when the batters weren’t swinging. Definitely has a plus projection with further refinement.
Slider (82-84) They have him working on this pitch in particular in AA, and you can see why. Sometimes it looks like a good pitch, and other it is just kind of this flat, tailing thing. He could throw it for strikes and occasionally lock guys up with it, but it also got fouled off a bunch.
How he throws it
¾ delivery, and he kind of slings the ball, whipping his arm through and across. I’m not a mechanics guy, but this is not ideal. The velocity looks easier than you would think based on the mechanics, but there is room for them to be cleaned up some. Like all the Binghamton pitchers, he works very quickly. I don’t know if that is a directive from the organization, but he worked about as fast as Moore, though nobody works as fast as Cohoon.
His general game plan seemed to be first pitch fastball for a strike. Period. He usually got it, too. When he got in a bit of a one-out jam in the first, he actually tripled up on his slider, which he had only thrown once to that point. It got him to 1-2 and he got the strikeout looking on the next pitch with his fastball. Also, after struggling to put away hitters in the fourth, he worked backwards more in the fifth, twice leading with his change-up to get ahead. It worked as the fifth was a seven pitch inning for Familia. As mentioned, the change-up was his out pitch, though he oddly got away from it in the back half of the fourth inning, throwing almost all fastballs and sliders.
The slider needs to get better, and the mechanics need to get more consistent, but there is a lot to like here. Familia throws hard and maintains his velocity late in the game. The change-up has the potential to be a plus pitch, and I think, at worst, will be above average. Familia doesn’t quite have the upside that Harvey or Mejia has, and there is a reasonable chance he ends up in the pen, but I like what I saw a lot. He definitely looks like he could be a mid-rotation arm (somewhere between a 2 and a 4), and might even be more likely to stick as a starter than Mejia at this point. I had him pegged for a mid-late 2012 call-up, but that might be a bit optimistic. I think Opening Day 2013 is a better guess.
Sunday, 7/10/11- CONNECTICUT 2, BROOKLYN 1
I love Dodd Stadium. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, and its parking lot is basically rocks and more rocks, but it is just a beautiful stadium. It was originally built as a AA park, but when the Giants moved their AA team to Richmond, they had to scramble to get the Tigers NYPL team. It’s just not a very well populated area, and doesn’t have the history that New Britain has, so it hasn’t drawn great throughout the years.
It was a sparse crowd, almost nobody in my section. I did, of course, draw a couple of Judd Apatow protagonists sitting by the dugout, who thought they were much funnier than they actually were, as well as the weird Mets fan sitting behind me, who had a tattoo of the original home run apple on his left shoulder and referred to all the players by number. No gaggle of Little Leaguers at least, which was a plus. Also have to give props to the CT Tigers uniforms, which are just the Detroit Tigers uniforms with an Old English ‘C.’ Given that minor league franchises often go for weird, off-putting color combos, these classic looking duds were a refreshing change of pace. They especially looked good with the high socks, but I think high socks or stirrups need to be mandated by MLB, so I am a bit fascist in that regard.
Now at first I thought that the Connecticut PA guy was playing the Cyclones actual walk-up music, and thus was very pleased that Brian Harrison came out to R.E.M. However, right about the time that they played "Flashdance" for Travis Taijeron, I realized that was probably not the case. Cole Frenzel took the brunt of the abuse, walking up to "Ice, Ice Baby," the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" theme, and finally, "Man, I Feel Like a Woman." He seemed to be fairly good-natured about it. The vertically challenged Danny Muno got the "Chipmunks" theme, which just seems mean-spirited. I guess we have to hope Lucas Duda never has to play a rehab game there or he might crack under the pressure.
Game itself was pretty boring. The Tigers starter was all over the place, walking guys, and hitting guys, but avoiding the big inning, while Walters plugged along nondescriptly. I had a chili dog, which I really shouldn’t have and am still reaping the benefits of 24 hours later; and then Dippin’ Dots, because every couple of years I go "Hey, I haven’t had Dippin’ Dots in a while," and then I have Dippin’ Dots and remember that they are disgusting. If Ferran Adria is condemned to hell for sins venial or mortal, I imagine he will have to spend an eternity making Dippin’ Dots.
I really liked the Muno pick at the time, but he’s not quite as polished as you might think for a guy with his profile. He looked a little overmatched early, getting frozen on a backdoor slider, and then watching a 93 mph fastball on the outside corner for his 2 Ks. He did draw two walks, but it’s tough to tell how much credit to give Muno, and how much to give to the quite wild Tigers pitching staff. He did a nice job in the ninth going back up the box for a single, though it was against a right-handed sidearmer. He also proceeded to get caught stealing by a good five feet, to erase himself as the tying run. Speed is not really his calling card, though it was a good throw from the Tigers catcher.
Defensively, he is just not a short stop. He simply doesn’t have the arm for the position. The ball just sort of floats out of his hand with none of the zing you see from a Jose Reyes. Frankly, his arm’s not even as good as Eckstein’s. He bounced a couple throws, one dug out by Frenzel, one leading to an error, but even just watching him in infield warm-ups, you can see the arm is lacking. He’s a 2B in the end, not that we didn’t know that. The bigger issue is he might be stuck there, and he really needs to be able to play multiple positions to have a big league career, as he profiles more like a Reggie Willits type.
Jeffrey Walters- FB 88-90, decent sink and gets a fair amount of groundballs, but doesn’t miss bats. No real secondary stuff to speak of. Looks like an org guy that will top out around AA, which is not the greatest outcome in the world for a 7th round pick.
Travis Taijeron- Pronounced "Tyrone" apparently, which means I have been adding like a half dozen unnecessary syllables to it in my head up until this point. Division II pick from Cal Poly Pomona who raked this year in school and has been hitting well in the NYPL so far. Problem is he is a thickly built dude, and not really fast, so I don’t think he stays in CF as he moves up. Didn’t really see his arm or range tested at the game, but on the one ball he had to track down deep he took a weird route to and got turned around. Would be a small sleeper for me if he could stay in center.
Casey Hauptman- Another 2011 draftee who I am destined to develop a soft spot for, as although he has what scout’s would call ‘a pitcher’s frame,’ he throws nothing but slow curves and change-ups. The couple fastballs he threw topped out in the mid-eighties. He has been reasonably successful so far, but only gets mentioned here because of my penchant for junkballers.
Javier Rodriguez- Has some tools, clearly, showed good speed on the bases and got a good jump on his one steal. Slapped a couple line drives against a pitcher that was sitting 91-93. Not terribly old for his league, and I would send him back to Savannah next year and give him another shot there. He didn’t really hit all that much worse than other Rodriguez before getting hurt.
Cole Frenzel- I think the Lucas Duda comparisons are inaccurate. He’s shorter than Duda (listed at 6’2" which looks generous to me) and kind of stocky. Basically, he looks like he should be a catcher. He played a pretty solid first, though nothing too difficult came his way. He was a SS/3B coming out of high school, so he should be fine there. Like the swing, but don’t know how much power he will hit for, hamate or no hamate.
Brian Harrison- Pretty solid at 3rd, made a pair of nice plays. Got fooled badly on a heater his first at-bat. He showed pretty good power, pulling one left of the foul pole that would have been out by a bunch, and scorched one back up the middle later in the game. Looked to be among the more polished guys in the game.
Robert Carson- Not a great performance from the lefthander, but I don’t know that it is a stuff issue. Fastball was popping in at 91-92 and the slider looked decent. Control issues and some defensive butchery made things worse. He is only 22, which I always forget, since it seems like he has been around forever. I still think he could be a useful piece out of the pen if he figures out how to get the groundballs back. Everybody else in the org is adding a cutter, so maybe he should try it. #notapitchingcoach
Allan Dykstra- Not much new to say about Dykstra. He is very patient at the plate, drawing a pair of walks in game one of the doubleheader. Made a nice scoop at first. First at-bat gave it a ride, but it was right at the New Britain centerfielder. Still not Eddie Kunz. I think we are basically talking about an org guy or AAA roster filler for the next couple of years. Just don’t see how he is more than a 15-20 homer guy in the majors, and he can’t hit lefties at all. If he does make the majors, with the strikeouts he will struggle to hit .250. And while .240/.350/.450 might play at 1b, .240/.350/.390 doesn’t. Non-zero chance to be a bench bat/platoon DH for a 2nd division AL team, but that’s towards the top of his ceiling.