Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Three states in three days

Originally, I had mapped this weekend out with one goal in mind: Seeing Carlos Correa. If the No. 1 overall pick from this year’s draft had torn up the GCL, there was a scintilla of hope that the Astros might promote him to Short-Season Tri-City, and I couldn’t miss that opportunity.

Well, he hasn’t torn the cover off the ball in the GCL, and the Astros haven’t promoted him. Time for Plan B: Check out Salem at Wilmington for three games.

If I wasn’t going to see Correa, three games of Xander Bogaerts, plus the possibility of Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman would suffice just fine, thank you very much.

Womp, womp.

The Red Sox promoted Workman to Portland a week ago, and they bumped Bogaerts there just days before Salem invaded Delaware. Still, Barnes was scheduled to spin on Friday – against Wilmington’s Jason Adam, no less -- so that was an easy decision.

Womp, womp, womp.

After fighting an unusually trafficky I-95 to Wilmington, I hadn’t been in the Frawley press box for more than two minutes before word got out that Barnes was scratched in favor of reliever Manny Rivera. Barnes wasn’t hurt; the Red Sox just wanted to give him a few extra days. He’ll start Tuesday.

So, there would be no Barnes, no Bogaerts and no Workman. That left with me Adam, who, while an excellent prospect, I’d already seen twice this season. He was very nice once again, pitching at 92-94 with a nice slider. He fanned a half-dozen Salem hitters over his seven innings. You can see two of those strikeout victims – Brandon Jacobs and Sean Coyle, prospects both – below.

The big bonus of the night, though, came between innings when I got to see … THE ZOOPERSTARS. I had never seen them perform, and I’m a sucker for animals and bad puns, so you’ll have to pardon my joy. Below are two of the mid-inning diversions, first with Domenik HaShark and Harry Canary, second with the legendary Cow Ripken.

The joy to which this delighted me bordered on child-like. In fact, I’m fairly sure I was more entertained by the Zooperstars than the kids behind me.

Rivera was also pretty nice, for a reliever making a spot start. Lots of moving parts and long levers, but he brought it from the left side at 91-93 with a nice little change-up. Not quite a substitute for Barnes, good enough, anyway.

Day two brought Brooklyn and the A’s International Man of Mystery, Michael Ynoa. Standing at 6-foot-7 and having pitched just 24 1/3 pro innings since signing for a whopping $4.25 million in 2009, there was a lot of intrigue on the mound at MCU Park.

At that price, you knew the stuff would be there. The question was: Could he harness it? The answer: No, then yes, then no.

Ynoa was all over the place in the first, and the Cyclones, headed by Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki, the Mets’ first-rounder from 2011 and supplemental first-rounder from this year, took advantage and put a pair on Ynoa and the Monsters in the first inning.

The damage would have been greater were it not for a pair of stellar plays from Chris Bostick, who might have been the most impressive player on the field on Saturday. His diving catch robbed Jayce Boyd of a hit for the first out, and his quick thinking allowed him to snare Ynoa’s errant attempt at 1-6-3 double play and recover a force out.

Bostick also worked an 11-pitch walk off of starter Julian Hilario on Saturday. That’s impressive for anyone, but for a 19-year-old against a guy who’s about to turn 22 in the New York Penn League, that’s pretty darn special.

In the second inning, however, Ynoa looked like a new man. He whiffed ninth-hitter Eudy Pina on three fastballs down in the zone, showed brief command of a sharp breaking ball and got through the frame in less than 10 pitches. Still, he was on a limit of three innings or 50 pitches, whichever came first, and was yanked after walking two and uncorking a very wild pitch in the third.

There were flashes of the potential for sure, but it’s going to be a very long wait if Oakland hopes to get anything out of its investment in Ynoa.

Vermont also featured Addison Russell, Oakland’s first-rounder from this draft, who utilized a really smooth swing to collect three hits in five trips. Daniel Robertson, whom they plucked one pick before the Mets chose Plawecki, drew the collar.

And then there was Nimmo, the tartar-raw outfielder from Wyoming with tools for days. He showcased a short, quick swing and opposite-field power when he nearly missed a longball (settled for a double). His other hit, a single off of Ynoa, also went to the opposite side.

Note: Nimmo’s single drove in a run. However, the throw from left field had the runner, Phillip Evans, out by at least 40 feet. Catcher Bruce Maxwell, in a perfect example of why the Penn League is the Penn League, dropped the ball almost before Evans slid home.

Nimmo also lined hard to the second baseman and fanned in the eighth against Vermont’s Austin Healy.

Plawecki hit a longball and had an RBI single in four trips.

The final day brought afternoon baseball at beautiful Ripken Stadium and a chance to see Kevin Gausman, the fourth pick – and first pitcher selected -- in the country this year, make his second pro start with the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

He did not disappoint.

The delivery has crazy funk and deception, but his 92-94 mile per hour heat and plus change-up was clearly too much for the Connecticut Tigers. He fanned three over three innings of one-hit ball without walking a batter.

You can see all three of Gausman’s strikeouts below.

All in all, the weekend worked out pretty nicely, and the talent I saw made traveling to three states in three days well worth my time.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home