Here: http://pix.scottlucas.com/txr/txst120318.htm. Includes Jurickson Profar, Tomas Telis, Jake Skole, David Perez, Luke Jackson and many more.
In three days here, I’ve barely seen any upper-level players. “Upper” in this case means almost everyone who played at Myrtle Beach or higher last year. That’s fine, as I prefer to concentrate on the guys I won’t see outside of March. Today will be my first (and probably only) extended look at some minor-league veterans.
Saturday and Monday had two lower-level squads playing in Surprise in the afternoon, and Saturday’s schedule upper-level intersquads were rained out. In six visits here, I’d never experienced a rain-shortened day, which consisted of an impromptu intrasquad at 10:30. I trudged to the field that morning under a light drizzle with a temperature below 50 and winds gusting to 35 MPH. The region to the north where I’d spent the previous night was trapped by closed highways under a foot of snow. Fun.
Standing out to me on Saturday were 1B Ronald Guzman and CF Jordan Akins. Guzman signed last July out of the Dominican Republic and turned 17 last fall. At 6’5” and a lanky 200 pounds, he towers over his peers and has plenty of filling out to do. Right now, he resembles a half-grown Labrador, his torso not matching his elongated limbs. He’s got some speed once he gets rolling, if not straight out of the box, and he legged out a triple on a hard shot to right-center. Guzman’s wingspan is ideal for first. On Monday during drills, he had no trouble scooping bunts off the carpet and throwing true to third. I’ll have video of his batting practice when I return. (My current laptop is too weak to edit what my camera shoots.)
Not that I don’t implicitly trust Jamey, Jason Cole, Jason Parks, etc., but the effusive praise last fall about Jordan Akins’ rapid development raised my eyebrows a bit. Well, let me join the chorus. After two years in the complex league with incremental progress, Akins has filled out and acquired consistent line-drive power. Last year, folks were openly mocking his defensive adventures with Willie Mays Hayes references, but he now looks more assured and stood out with a full-length diving catch.
Sunday’s dismal conditions didn’t perturb righties Luke Jackson and Justin Grimm. Jackson, a supplemental pick from 2010, ran mostly 93-94 MPH with his fastball and touched 97, and his curve also worked. He induced a meek wave from Ronald Guzman for a third strike. Former Sooner Grimm, 2010’s 5th rounder, doesn’t throw quite as hard as Jackson but was even sharper in his two innings. Grimm struck out Jurickson Profar on an offspeed pitch and froze AAA slugger Brad Nelson on a knee-high 93 MPH fastball for strike three.
Less effective was David Perez, a highly touted Dominican who turned 19 over the winter. I understand he’s working through some mechanical issues. His fastball was mostly in the upper 80s, compared to the mid-90’s range he’s reached previously, and consistently outside to lefties. His curve wasn’t so curvy. Last season in Spokane, Perez was impossible to hit (or even make contact against) on occasion but really struggled with his control.
Caveats to player notes: I’m not a scout by a long shot, just a semi-informed observer, and these are snapshot observations. Player performance varies wildly from day to day in March.
Since I’m already running late for this morning’s workouts, I’ll save the rest for later.
Just In Case
That picture of “me and my wife” from yesterday was of Frank Zappa (whom many recognized) and the delectable Claudia Cardinale (whom no one did), star of such features as “Once Upon A Time In America,” “8 ½,” and “Fitzcarraldo.”
Newberg Report (newbergreport.com)