Spring Training Report: Live in Arizona (Continued)
I attended my second spring training baseball game on March 10 in Surprise, Arizona. Two teams looking to improve upon recent disappointing seasons - the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals - met head-to-head. The Royals came out on top by the score of 6-5, although the Cubs had the tying run in scoring position in the ninth inning with two out. However, 2006 surprise No. 1 draft pick Tyler Colvin bounced back to the pitcher Gabe DeHoyos to end the game.
Interestingly enough, before the game began, one of the ushers at the game actually thought I was a professional scout. "You look just like a scout," she said. That made me feel pretty good. Now, if only the Cubs or Royals agreed...
Anyway, I decided to chart the entire game, including each type of pitch thrown and its speed. The starting pitchers were two lefties: Jorge De la Rosa for Kansas City, who is out of options, and Ted Lilly for Chicago, a major free agent acquisition.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 9 5 56 1.0 23 13 57 1.0 20 12 60 3.0 52 30 58 (TOTALS)
De la Rosa's fastball ranged between 89-92 mph and he touched 94 mph twice, so it's easy to see why the Royals really want him to win a starting gig. In total, he threw 33 fastballs, good for 64 percent. Seven of his 13 first pitches to batters were strikes (54%).
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 8 6 75 1.0 10 7 70 2.0 18 13 72 (TOTALS)
Rosa, a relief prospect, looked solid. His fastball ranged between 89-94 mph and he had solid command of his pitches. He threw a total of 10 fastballs (56%). All six of his first pitches to batters were for strikes. Obviously, getting ahead of batters is always a good sign with young pitchers.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 6 5 83 1.0 6 5 83 (TOTALs)Another relief prospect, Cromer had good command of his 89-94 mph fastball when he relieved Rosa in the fifth inning. Rosa threw four fastballs, or 67 percent. Both of his first pitches were strikes.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 11 8 73 1.0 11 7 64 1.0 15 10 67 3.0 37 25 68 (TOTALS)
Duckworth lost his 40-man rotation spot this past season. The right-hander had an excellent game against the Cubs and 62 percent of his pitches thrown were fastballs (23). Nine of his 12 first pitches were for strikes (75%). Duckworth's fastball was between 86-92 mph and he hit 96 with one pitch.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 0.1 10 7 70 0.1 10 7 70 (TOTALS)
Left-hander Bale, back after two seasons in Japan, faced three batters and allowed a single on a 0-2 pitch and a two-run homer on the first pitch (an 87 mph fastball) to catching prospect Jake Fox. He then induced a groundball out of uber-prospect Felix Pie on a 3-1 pitch. Bale fielded the ball and threw Pie out. However, after the play, Bale called the trainer out and was removed from the game. While on the mound, the trainer appeared to be focusing on Bale's throwing hand. But once in the dugout, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported that the focus shifted to his shoulder. All three of Bale's first pitches were for strikes and 80 percent of his pitches were fastballs. His fastball ranged from 84-91 mph.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 0.2 10 5 50 0.2 10 5 50 (TOTALS)
DeHoyos was an emergency replacement for Bale with one out in the ninth inning. The minor leaguer had a fastball between 85-91 mph. Of his 10 pitches, nine were fastballs (90%). Two of his three first pitches were for strikes (75%).
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 23 14 61 1.0 23 14 61 1.0 7 6 86 3.0 53 34 64 (TOTALS)
Former Blue Jay Lilly started off very slowly in the game. He faced 10 batters in the first two innings, before turning it around in the third inning when he faced only three batters. Lilly only threw 31 fastballs (58%). Ten of his 13 first pitches were for strikes and six of those were fastballs, while the other four were curveballs. In one at-bat against Emil Brown, an extreme fastball hitter, Lilly threw only one heater out of five pitches. Lilly's fastball was between 84-88 mph.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 17 9 53 1.0 23 11 48 2.0 40 20 50 (TOTALS)Prior was terrible. His fastball was between 84-89 mph, a far cry from the days of old. The oft-injured starter threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes (28). Only six of his 13 first pitches were for strikes and he was consistently behind in the count. Prior paid no attention to the runners on base and he looked stiff and uncomfortable on the mound.
IP Pitches Strikes K% 1.0 15 9 60 1.0 11 8 73 1.0 16 11 69 3.0 42 28 67 (TOTALS)
Guzman was easily the most impressive pitcher on this day and his fastball ranged from 87-95 mph. He also touched 99 mph on one occasion. He threw 64 percent of his pitches for strikes (27). Guzman struggled to make a good first pitch to batters. Only six on the 14 batters he faced saw a first-pitch strike 43%).
On the hitting side of things, Chicago did not bring a lot of its regulars down the highway from Mesa, Arizona. Only Mark DeRosa and Jacques Jones figure to see regular play at the beginning of the season. On the other hand, the Royals started seven of their projected starters.
Chicago (Select hitters):
Pitch Count, Result
2-1 LD to 1B
0-1 single up middle
0-1 infield single to SS
1-0 GB to SS
2-for-4, two singles
1-1 GB to SS
0-1 GB to 3B (hit and run, runners advanced)
0-1 double to CF, RBI
1-0 GB to 2B
0-for-3, two strikeouts
1-2 pop to CF
0-for-4, three strikeouts
2-0 double to CF, RBI
1-1 GB to 3B
0-0 pop to SS
3-2 GB to 1B
0-0 pop to RF
0-for-3, two strikeouts
1-2 GB to 1B
0-0 GB to 1B, runner to third
3-1 GB to pitcher
0-0 LD to LF
1-1 GB to pitcher
0-0 GB to 1B
0-1 double to LF
0-0 two-run homer, 450 feet
2-for-2, two-run homer
Kansas City (Select hitters):
3-2 GB to 2B
0-0 GB to 3B
1-0 one-run home run
1-1 LD to SS, reached on error
0-0 LD to RF
1-2 GB to 3B, reached on error
0-0 single to CF
1-2 double down third base line
0-1 pop to catcher
3-1 LD to SS
1-1 pop to 2B, over-the-shoulder catch by DeRosa
1-2 GB to 2B
0-0 GB to 3B
1-0 pop to CF
3-1 single through 3B/SS
3-1 GB to 3B
1-1 single to CF, RBI
2-0 blooper single to CF
3-for-4, two singles, RBI
0-1 single to CF
0-0 double off CF wall, two RBI
2-for-3, single, double, two RBI
1-1 GB to SS, moved runner to third base
1-1 foul pop to 1B
3-2 single to CF, broken bat RBI
1-0 pop to CF
1-1 GB to 2B
1-for-3, single, RBI
1-1 GB to 2B
2-0 single to RF
2-0 GB to 3B
2-2 hit by pitch
1-2 fly to LF
Gonzalez, looking to make the Royals after retiring early in the 2006 season, was in good baseball shape and had a solid swing. He looked further along than most hitters at this point in the spring. If he continues to play well, don't be surprised if he makes the roster as a bench player.
Sanders' swing looked very slow, which is not surprising considering he is 39.
Shealy looked impressive but has a very thick lower half and could age poorly. Two of his singles were solid line drives, while the third was a blooper over first base. He also displayed solid patience at the plate.
Butler looked like a player who needs a little more minor league seasoning. Nothing about his play stood out.
It was clear that pitchers were avoiding throwing Brown fastballs and he struggled to take good swings on breaking balls.
Ward did not look interested in the game whatsoever. He struck out three times and looked foolish on both fastballs and breaking balls.
Pie definitely carries himself like a big leaguer and "hotdogs" a bit. He looks a lot like Alfonso Soriano with his wiry frame and high socks in centerfield. Pie bumbled an easy bouncing ball in center. He did not hit a ball out of the infield in four at-bats.
Colvin hit one ball on the button, but right at the left-fielder. His second at-bat resulted in a weak bouncer back to the pitcher.
Fox performed well at the plate and could be ready for a back-up gig by 2007. After relieving Blanco, he went 2-for-2 with two very well hit balls for a double and homer.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traveled to Surprise, Arizona on March 11 and defeated Texas by the score of 2-0 during spring training action. Non-roster pitcher Jamey Wright received the start for Texas and was opposed by pitcher Dustin Moseley.
Wright, a groundball pitcher, threw three perfect innings, induced three groundballs and struck out two. His fastball touched 93 mph. Prospect Eric Hurley pitched the fourth inning and was wild. His fastball touched 91 mph. Hurley walked two and struck out two. Mike Wood pitched the fifth and sixth inning and his fastball topped out around 88 mph. LHP A.J. Murray and RHP Scott Feldman pitched the final three innings of the game. Murray faced three batters and induced two pop-outs and a groundball. Feldman did not fare as well, allowing the game-winning two-run homer to Angels prospect Erick Aybar. In the ninth inning, he hit a batter, allowed an infield hit (which should have been an error) and a walk.
Moseley was economical with his pitches and worked through the fifth inning. He induced five flyball outs and seven groundball outs. Moseley also struck out one and walked one. His fastball ranged between 86-92 mph. He also showed a good pick-off move. Chris Bootcheck relieved Moseley and pitched the sixth and seventh innings. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out two. His fastball was 86-93 mph. Minor leaguer Alex Serrano pitched the final two innings of the game. He induced four groundball outs and one flyball out. Serrano allowed one hit, which was erased by a double play, and walked a batter.
As the road team, the Angels fielded few regulars, although catcher Jeff Mathis and infielder Maicer Izturis both started the game in the field. Mathis was 0-for-3 and gave way to Bobby Wilson, while Izturis went 0-for-3 at second base. He showed very quick hands and reactions. His bat also plays better at second base, rather than third base. First base prospect Kendry Morales looked slow and out-of-shape. He struck out, popped out to first base and hit a weak fly ball to center. His only well-hit ball was a line drive to third base in the second inning. Top power prospect Brandon Wood received the start at third base. He went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. Aybar played a solid shortstop and went 1-for-3 with the game-winning homer and a walk. He also stole a base. Reggie Willits, hoping to win the job as the fourth outfielder, went 1-for-2 with a walk. Prospect Mark Trumbo received one at-bat and was hit by a pitch.
Veteran Kenny Lofton led the offensive attack for Texas but went 0-for-4. Free agent signee Frank Catalanotto also went hitless (0-for-3) as the designated hitter. Michael Young had a good day at the plate and went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double. Non-roster outfielder Sammy Sosa continued his solid play and went 1-for3 with a single. Catcher Gerald Laird hit a single in the third after spending three or four minutes in the dirt when he hit a ball off his foot. He was removed from the game after the inning and was replaced by Guillermo Quiroz, a former top prospect with Toronto who is hoping to win a bench role after his career was waylaid by injuries. He went 1-for-3 and turned around a 93-mph Bootcheck fastball for a double.