We’re about 3/4 through the ABL season and I’ve finally seen the Oilers. This game was a blowout — 12-2 in favor of the Oilers — and I decided to focus most of my attention on pitching. Why? For one thing, there were a lot of scouts in the crowd. Scouts have radar guns. I do not. So whenever I see a scout with a gun I invade his personal space and jot down velocities with one hand and steal his radar gun readings with the other. But perhaps most importantly, tonight’s match-up featured two of the best pitching prospects in the league this year and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to see them gunned and take good notes.
As you might have guessed, most of the good pitching was on the Oilers side, but the Bucs put perhaps the best pitching prospect in the league this season on the bump for the start: Kyle Finnegan. I’ve given Finnegan some ink recently but he earned another paragraph tonight. He didn’t touch the 96 mph speed he has been but he was consistently between 91 and 93 on his fastball. Besides just having the velocity, he’s got nice movement on the heater. His fastball has a late tailing action which he uses to catch the corner for a called strike. He complements this fastball with a big looping curve with a 5-o’clock break, that settles in at about 77-78 mph. I would say that his two flaws are that he did not show a definite third pitch, and that he got rallied on. Once the Oilers started hitting, it was tough to get them to stop. But Finnegan, being a college freshman, has time to develop in these areas. If he can keep the tools he’s got sharp, he could be the total package.
The Bucs may have had Finnegan, but the Oilers bested them in the pitching department overall. They started the game with left-hander Jordan Mills. Mills operates out of a straight side-armed pitching slot. His velocity isn’t eye-popping but it is adequate at around 85-88 on the fastball, which also had a little bit of a tail to it. He definitely had the advantage in keeping his cool and working efficiently.
Eventually Mills gave way to right hander Cameron McVey, a Junior out of Biola, who is a hot prospect indeed. McVey is a straight-up power reliever with plus velocity on his fastball, settling in at 91-92 and flirting with 93 mph. His heater also tails off a bit, but its not as hard of a break and it occurs later in the pitch. His off-speed stuff is much more subtle than Finnegans, dropping down into the neighborhood of 85 mph. At this velocity he spins a power curve with a sharp drop straight down. McVey was selected by the Giants in the 22nd round this season. He has until August 15th to sign or go back to school. He will probably become a farmhand for the San Francisco club here shortly, so there’s a little preview for any Giants fans reading this.
I got a few quick shots on some Oilers position players. Patrick Wisdom flashed his power with a no-doubt pull homer which he blasted off of Finnegan. Manny Acosta showed his ability to turn on an inside pitch when he knocked an RBI double off Finnegan in the third. Mike Miller looked really impressive, obviously at the plate (4 for 5 + a walk) but also caught my eye on defense. Quick, soft hands on that guy.
I definitely want to see the Oilers at least once again to zero in on the position players a little more; hopefully I can catch at least one of their games against the Miners and get some notes and scouting video on those guys. I got good footage of several pitchers tonight including radar gun readings. Wish I could gun pitchers all the time. If anyone wants to put something special in my Christmas stocking this year a Stalker gun would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
Well, anyway, I got some pics from the game. Actually about 150 of them, including the mandatory cute kid pics, turned out decent which is a pretty big amount. You can see all 150 pics on my Picasa album, but below are my favorites from the game. The standard rules apply: feel free to republish these photos on your blog, website, whatever. But if you do, please credit 49thstatehardball.com. I work hard to take, edit and organize these photos so I don’t think a link back my way is too much to ask in return for unlimited free usage. Thanks!