The Farm Report -- 3/21/2013
Pictures: http://pix.scottlucas.com/txr/130318/pix.htm -- Akins, Alfaro, Beras, Brinson, Castro, Edwards, Gallo, Jackson, Kela, Marte, Mazara, McDonald, Mendez, Perez, Smith, Valdespina, Vazquez, Wiles, Williams.
Here's a larger shot of Pudge Rodriguez watching Jorge Alfaro: http://pix.scottlucas.com/rundown/pudgealfaro.jpg
Sad to say, both pictures of 3B Joey Gallo preceded errors, one a booted grounder, the other a short-hopped throw to first. Most observers are skeptical that he can stick at third, although he's athletic and certainly has the arm and desire for the position. First base is the obvious alternative, given his power bat, but that would negate the arm. Might he see right field at some point? I don't think Texas is in any hurry to move him off third. That's what the minors are for, to learn and test.
OFs Lewis Brinson and Nick Williams have been most impressive in my short time here, both squaring up well. If you hadn't heard, Brinson in particular isn't nearly as raw as last summer's reports suggested. I haven't seen them display their defensive skills much. Waiting for outfield exhibitions can be a chore. Back in 2011 in Round Rock, several games elapsed before the Chris Davis Outfield Experiment produced a batted ball requiring a decent read or quality throw.
OF Jairo Beras was the object of last spring's showdown between Texas and MLB. Of allegedly indeterminate age (now officially 18) and under suspension until the end of June, Beras is in his first legitimate Spring Training. So far, he's looked terrible, to be honest, not getting a single good swing on a live pitch. I've got (unposted) video of two strikeouts clogging my camera. But, I've only seen a small handful of at-bats. I'd strongly recommend not getting too high or low on anything I say. It's a lesson I've had to learn myself. I saw Neftali Feliz pitch against short-A Boise back in 2007; his "slider" looked like a drunken Aussie trying to throw a boomerang. He walked five and didn't complete the first. On that basis, I wasn't nearly as high on him as most others, because I'd seen him with my own eyes. Well, I just happened to catch his worst outing of the year. Less than two years later, he was on the mound in Arlington.
2011 48th-rounder CJ Edwards showed well on Tuesday. His fastball ranged from 91-93 (it's hit mid-90s in the past) and he froze solid a batter on a third-strike curve. Edwards is still unnervingly skinny, carrying all of 155 pounds on his 6'2" frame.
On Monday, righty Jose Valdespina couldn't find the handle, throwing 15 of 28 pitches for balls (by my rough count) including a wild pitch. This is nothing new. His inning was rolled with only one batter retired (via swinging strikeout), but his defense mates didn't help. The 6'6"Valdespina reaches mid-90s on the gun and offers a change and curve. He's intriguing but very much a project. Valdespina turns 21 tomorrow.
I also caught 2012 12th-rounder Keone Kela at less than his best. 20 next month, Kela has touched triple digits on guns I trust. On Monday, he hovered mostly around 93-95 with a sinking, high-80s change and a curve. He controlled everything poorly, albeit better as his outing progressed. It's March. Kela signed out of Washington's Everett Community College.
Righty Santo Perez (5.38 ERA in Hickory last year) is 6'5" but pitches 5"6". His extreme drop-and-drive delivery negates his height advantage and results in a pancake-flat fastball .
I'll be getting my first look at the AAA/AA side today. In rough terms, the Spring low and high-A squads are composed of last year's rookie league and short-A guys, while the upper levels include almost everyone with significant full-season experience. So, for example, 2012 low-A alumni Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Zach Cone were on Monday's AA roster.
Newberg Report (newbergreport.com)