|The Bucs’ Eddie Rohan has a strong upper body
and a compact, crouched batting stance.
After a long break from the park, I finally got down to Hermon Brothers to see the Bucs take on the Miners tonight. I didn’t get any photos; my main focus tonight was to flesh out some of my scouting reports, which I accomplished, and to keep my assistant/four-year-old from throwing rocks on the field or knocking her head on the ground, which I had more mixed success with. In any event, I feel like I got a good look at some guys I hadn’t seen before, and some more bits to flesh out the reports on some that I have.
First, a preliminary note. Miner Quinn Pippin was a late scratch from this game; word is that he rolled his ankle in batting practice and took the game off as a precaution. Apparently it’s not a big deal, though, and he should be good to go tomorrow (thanks to Troy for the tip).
Now, on to the players. Casey Hauptman took the hill for the Bucs. He’s one of the more well-known players on the club, the big right-hander out of Nebraska. He came into the first inning and established himself immediately. It looked like he was throwing a good, hard fastball mixed in with a change and a curveball with late break. (Edit: I should also note that he displayed good defensive reaction, knocking down a comebacker with his bare hand, although in hindsight that might not have been the smartest thing to do.) He seemed like he cruised through the first four innings, but in the fifth inning things changed for him. It looked like he was out of gas and I could see a noticeable drop in velocity. I don’t have access to a radar gun, or box seats to sit behind the people who do, so I have no empirical evidence to support this, but it just didn’t look like he had a good crisp fastball after the fourth and that he was relying more on his other pitches to get outs. Still, he went strong through three more innings, pitching 7.0 and giving up 3 R (2 ER).
The Miners’ starting pitcher for the night was right-hander Jon Hughes. Watching the guy, it seemed like he was just trying a little too much. He worked fast, and his fastball looked like it had really good velocity on it, but it was all over the place. Still, he had a really good feel for his breaking ball and could hit his spots with it. After a while he settled down and used his curve to get ahead in the count, then utilized his fastball to blow Bucs hitters away (often getting them to chase pitches outside the zone). On 5.1 IP he gave up five runs, but only two of them were earned. He gave up 7 hits, walked one and struck out three. He got the loss for the game but he wasn’t terribly ineffective.
The only reliever of the game for the Bucs was Fielding Pittman out of Texas State. He came on and closed out the game with two solid innings, striking out three. Pittman throws out of a 3/4 arm slot. He definitely does not work fast; you can see the it in his face that he’s taking his time to concentrate on each pitch. The Miners threatened against him in both innings but he battled back and worked himself out of jams each time.
The Miners used three relievers in the contest; Jason Trivett (who also throws 3/4), Scott Sitz, and Gage Smith (the side-armer). Out of the three of them, I got the best look at Sitz, who is wearing #13 (previously Joaquin Hinojosa’s number, which leads me to believe that Hinojosa has gone home, as he’s also not on the Miners PDF roster). Like Hughes, he had a good hard fastball but couldn’t find the zone with it. He complimented that pitch with what looked to me like a big, slow breaking ball. A lot of people in the crowd were cheering him on by name, but it seemed like he just couldn’t find the zone tonight.
Some more Miners of interest: I’ve got some notes on Andy Mee, who was in right field for this contest. On the positive, he flashed a really strong arm in right field (he’s also a pitcher, so go figure) as well as some great defense with a solid over-the-shoulder catch. On the other hand, at the plate it seemed like he was chasing a lot of junk pitches. He might need to work on his eye if he’s going to make a career as a position player. Matt Wessinger looked really good at second base tonight; he has some graceful footwork in the field. Finally, the last Miner on my list with significant notes is third baseman Ryan Kaup; he’s a tall, slim guy with an upright batting stance. He showed a good eye for the strike zone and had a good at-bat in the seventh inning.
Now, across the field to some Bucs. Dominic Piazza was behind the plate tonight and he had some decent MLB-caliber throwing times to second base, but I think he could use some work on his accuracy and ability to knock down errant pitches. I tried to get a good look at Eddie Rohan tonight, too, since last time I saw the Bucs he wasn’t in the lineup. That guy has a really built-up upper body; he’s got broad shoulders and a muscular upper torso. He gets down low in his stance when he bats.
Finally, I have to give a whole paragraph to the Bucs’ Zach Vincej. He’s a whiz kid with the glove. He made several big plays with the glove, and showed some good hustle on some other attempts. He’s got good footwork, soft hands, and shows great fundamental play. He also had a pretty impressive swipe of third. He’s got above-average speed, but he’s not uber fast; but he can get a good jump on the pitcher to swipe some bags.
The Bucs have won two league games in a row now, which is pretty big in its own right, but they’ve taken them both from the Miners who are part of the three-way pile-up at the top of the league standings. The Panners are off tonight, and the Pilots have an exhibition scheduled, so the only other game of consequence is the Oilers at Fire in Fairbanks. The Fire rallied behind their season’s best pitcher, Tyler Bersano, for a total 12-3 rout of the Peninsula club. With their loss tonight, the Miners won’t fall further behind the Oilers, the Bucs have the opportunity to start clawing their way out of the basement, and of course, the Goldpanners find themselves in the envious position of suddenly sitting pretty atop the ABL standings.