The Saturday portion of the Scout’s Showcase was supposed to feature all six teams, in three games, in one ballpark in one day. I went to this event in 2010 and loved it. Unfortunately, the weather had other things in store. Two games were cancelled outright. What I did see was a portion of a wet-and-wild match between the Mat-Su Miners and the Goldpanners of Fairbanks.
Actually, I was supposed to go to the Friday games. I had flexed my work hours to enable a half day and everything. Something else came up, though, and I said “Oh well. I’ll just go Saturday”. Big mistake. But I guess the upside is that rather than being buried under three games’ worth of notes I can just issue a brief report. I would rather have lots to say but, well, sometimes you just have to look on the bright side, and it’s not like I would get anywhere by being all angry about the weather.
The Miners/Goldpanners game was a little wacky. It stopped raining prior to start but the field was still soaked, and by the second or third inning the rain had started in again. The turf field was a bit like a slip and slide. I saw no fewer than three runners (I forget who) overslide the bags. The second time it happened, the runner had the sense to pop back up and start running for third. One scout actually remarked that it was a smart idea, maybe half jokingly, but who knows? Give him an 8 in the “instincts” box? The third time the runner (Chris Taladay, maybe) looked like he anticipated the overslide so he flipped onto his belly and grabbed the bag as he slid by.
After four and a half innings of damp and dreary play the game was called. Peter Kaplan couldn’t get the crud out of his cleats and I’m guessing they decided that there was going to be no way to quickly mop up the mess on the field. The Miners won the exhibition match-up by a score of 5 to 2. The scouts all went to Humpy’s.
On a side note, despite the foul weather and the lack of actual baseball, the scouts were definitely there. The PA guy announced the organizations in attendance and it seemed that nearly every MLB club was represented over the weekend (there were a few who weren’t but they may have swung through earlier). Some organizations had two scouts present, as did the MLB Scouting Bureau.
That’s also good because, from where I was sitting, my Pocket Radar didn’t pick up the pitches very well, but for the few pitches that did read I was able to check them against the scout guns. I’m still trying to get a feel for the good spots in each ballpark where the device works reliably, and each game I’ve used it I’ve checked it against another gun for a least a few pitches to make sure it’s accurate. At this point I’m pretty confident about its accuracy, but you have to find a good, close spot to sit in order for it to work consistently, and that’s the main trade-off versus a $900 Stalker gun as I see it. But I’m off on a tangent.
I saw Tanner Anderson (Harvard) for the second time, although the first time I saw him he only threw five pitches. In any event, I don’t have any velocities to report but he looked like he was dealing a two-seam fastball with a few inches of hand-side tailing movement to it.
Branden Berry (Washington) hit a tremendous pull homer out to left, the type where you just look up and watch it go. Up to that point he hadn’t hit a home run, but since then he has hit one in an official league game. I wonder if he’s just now finding a power stroke.
Ian Miller (Wagner) looked quick; maybe single-plus speed. Good time to first and a stolen base. Once again, aggressive at the plate. He’s looked to me like a first-pitch swinger all season. He made a good play defensively to run down a ball in the gap and make the reaching, falling-down catch and hang on for the out.
Chris Taladay (Central Florida) jumped on a first pitch and drove it all the way to the track in straight-away center. It fell in and he stretched it into a triple.
Patrick McGrath (Southwestern College) got the start for the Goldpanners. His fastball was coming in about 85-87 on the gun. He set that off against a slow breaking ball that was a little bit slurvy with a 11-5 break to it. His control of his fastball wasn’t great (rain?) but he looked like he could drop his curve in for a strike well enough.
Paul Politi (UC Davis) swung the big bat. The right-hander crushed it to the opposite field. He’s got five home runs in league play so it seems safe to say that he has a power swing.
Blake Miller (Western Oregon) made an aggressive, laid-out play at shortstop and came up with it, but his throw (with a probably soaking wet baseball) was low. Last time I saw him play was at first, but in this brief outing he looked good as well; a versatile defensive talent.
Kurt Schlangen (Minnesota) looked good in left field to stick with a foul fly and catch it at the fence. He also turned on a fastball in and drove it to left with two strikes.
I did get a few photos, mostly of pitchers. But for whatever reason, I didn’t get them up on my Picasa gallery and I’m not in a position to do so at the moment. I don’t really want to sit on these notes any longer than I have, so I’m going to put this post up there and publish the photos later.