Long Beach - In a repeat match-up from Saturday, the Brewers (Blue) defeated the Nationals in a not so spirited game, 1-0.
There were four hits for the Brewers and two by middle infielder Phillip Evans (5'10" 180, R/R) from La Costa Canyon HS-Carlsbad (CA). Evans plays with some flash that I don't care for but underneath is all he is a really solid and talented baseball player, with good skill, ability, and feel for the game. He hits to all fields, hits all pitches, and is a good baserunner. In the infield you will not find too many fielders with softer hands than he has. I can see him being a favorite of the scouts come draft day for his potential as an offensive second baseman, maybe along the lines of a Placido Polanco type.
Catcher Austin Hedges had one of the other hits and he is a standout player. I don't know that he will be more than an average hitter at the pro level and his power will likely fall short of average but he is a very good defensive catcher, with excellent catch/throw skills and a plus arm.
The Brewers had three new pitchers toe the slab today and all were solid, but none of them were throwing up big time stuff, then again, two of them are 2012 grads to keep tabs on for the future. RHP Trevor Megill (6'7"7 220, Marina HS, Huntington Beach, CA) and LHP Cole Irvin (6'4" 170, Servite HS, Yorba Linda, CA) are their names. Megill was 85-89 with good movement on the fastball and a usable 73-74 mph curveball. He also likes to use his change-up that has a chance to be an average pitch. Irvin was 83-87 mph with two different breaking balls in terms of velocity but both are basically sweepers with big break. He showed a change-up that has a chance to be an above average pitch.
As for the Nationals, they were shutout and have scored one run in their last 14 innings, so it stands to reason there aren't too many hitters to make mention of. So I won't. After all, they only had four hits and one was a drag bunt by slick fielding infielder Erik Forgione (6'1" 165, S/R, W.F. West HS, Chehalis, WA).
The Nats had three repeat performers on the mound and two of them were better than they were the other day, which is saying something because I liked them the other day. RHP Dylan Davis is a power armed 6'0" right-hander and he once again showed his 92-94 mph heater. What was different today was that he showed and effectively used both a slider (80-81 mph) and a curveball (75 mph). I didn't see those pitches the other day and thought he was a one trick pony. Davis' slider has a chance to be a plus future pitch and grades out pretty close to average (MLB) already, with small tight late break and good spin. His curveball also had good spin.
The last Nats pitcher was a kid that I felt was a real talent, but a projection-type pitcher that still had some ways to go before catching the pro eyes. Well, RHP Kevin Moriarity announced that he has arrived ahead of schedule because he was steadily 88-90 in his one inning today, which is a bump from the 84-86 mph he was the throwing two days ago. I was speaking to a scout friend of mine that covers the Northwest and he said he loved Moriarity, but as a projection guy, and he hoped he didn't start to show that well until the spring. We had a text message exchange during the game when I was giving him the velocities for Moriarity, to which he said, "Really? I didn't want him to show that well here!" This kid is going to keep on throwing harder and harder. The cat is out of the bag.
Brewers (White) vs Reds
In another rematch game from yesterday, the Reds took down the Brewers (White) team, in what could be called an Area Code Games "upset" much like the Nationals beating the Brewers (Blue) team was this morning. I guess that is why they play the games. Obviously that is all tongue in cheek.
In a game that featured a grand total of seven hits, three of them infield hits, the Reds won 2-1, largely behind the stellar pitching of two lefties, Brandon Bonilla (6'3" 185, The Pendleton School, Bradenton, FL) and Michael Howard (6'1" 165, Prescott HS, AZ). If you recognize the Bonilla last name, yes, it is Bobby Bonilla's son and he is here watching his son perform, along with Shawon Dunston, Sr., and Wayne Gretzky, all watching their kids like any other fathers would be doing.
Both Bonilla and Howard had thrown in previous games and both looked good then and even better today. Bonilla pitches from an extreme overhand slot and creates difficult angles for a hitter, both with his pitches and in his delivery. Frankly, he is not easy for them to square up. His fastball was steadily 87-89 mph and his slider was very effective, with 80-82 mph velocity and great late tilt. Bonilla is particularly effective against left-handed hitters with his ability dominate the inner half with both his fastball and his slider.
Howard was also dominant today. He has a really quick loose arm action and gets after the hitters very aggressively. As he gets some meat on his bones his velocity will spike even higher than the 89-92 he was sitting at today. Yes, a 6'1" 165 pound lefty that is 89-92 is a good thing... and he pitches with feel. Howard also has feel of his curveball and the ability to change speeds with it, ranging from 72-77 mph. The harder curveball is really nasty against left-handed hitters and becaue the Brewers (White) had seven of them in the starting line-up and nine overall, both Bonilla and Howard had their way with that line-up. there were times when I was thinking of Giants' LHP Jonathan Sanchez when watching Howard.
The top Reds offensive performer was Drew Stankiewicz (5'9" 160, S/R) from Gilbert HS-Gilbert (AZ). He drove in the only two runs with a ringing double to left field off a very tough pitcher, Brewers right-hander Matthew Troupe (more on him in a second). Stankiewicz is a compactly built infielder with a contact approach and aggressive nature in the box. His double came late in a long battle type at-bat and he jumped on a mistake fastball up, driving it to the opposite field gap (left field).
The bases were loaded at the time of Stankiewicz's hit because the Troupe's catcher was having a very difficult time blocking and receiving his two strike pitches. Troupe (5'11" 175, Chaminade Prep, Northridge, CA) is a talented power arm right-hander with plus fastball command and a good breaking ball. He actually struck out five batters in his first inning because of the struggles of his catcher (Blake Grant-Parks). Can't say I have ever seen a five strikeout inning before. In three innings he struck out eight batters. Troupe's fastball was 88-93 and mostly sat 91-92. He painted on both sides of the plate and has good late life on his heater. He has a 74-75 mph curveball that flashes as an average (MLB) pitch and mixed in some change-ups too. He was seemingly 0-2 on every batter and make some great putaway pitches that just were not handled. The double from Stankiewicz came on a fastball and I think if Troupe had confidence in the catcher he would have gone to another pitch.
Starting on the mound for the Brewers (White) was right-hander Darin Gillies (6'4" 195) from San Benito HS-Hollister (CA). Gillies is a polished high school pitcher, with a 87-90 mph fastball, and feel of a short tight breaking curveball that he can change speeds with (69-77 mph). I don't particularly like how Gillies seems to preset and wrap the curveball because more advanced hitters are going to pick it up right away, but an adjustment will be made when he gets to college or pro ball. He also showed a 76-80 mph change-up.
As for the Brewers (White) hitters, Kevin Kramer is showing his ability with the bat more and more with each game. In this game he drove a double to left off a tough lefty (Howard) and continues to show that he can hit with authority to all fields. He also made a nice play to his right at second base, though his jump to get to the ball was a little delayed. Third baseman Tyler Goeddel drove in the only Brewers (White) run with a sharply hit ground ball to shortstop with a runner at 3rd base and one out. He is quite a good young player and even showed good range to his left on a sharply ball up the line. He threw strongly across the diamond, but it was a little high. Nice play though.
- Brewers infielder Dante Flores doubled deep to left-centerfield and also drove a ball deep to centerfield. He controlled the barrel well, but as a smaller guy, the more fly balls he hits, the less he will help his team.
- Brewers outfielder Desmond Henry is an exciting player to watch. He has a really quick bat and short swing which will allow him to maximize his plus speed. In this game he singled sharply to left before being picked off first base.