Spring Training Notes
It’s nice to be in Arizona. The weather here is wonderful- aside from the unforgiving sun, that is. If you’re not sitting in the shade, you’re bound to feel a little uncomfortable after a while. This is perhaps the first trip out here that I’ll be seeing the Giants every game, which is nice. Also, I didn’t forget my camera! But I forgot the cord to upload it onto my laptop, so I can’t unload the pictures. Funny how that works. Anyways, some notes:
-Aubrey Huff’s defense isn’t great. That’s no shocker. But it’s not nearly as bad as people have made it out to be- he’s shown some agility around the bag and he’s not afraid to get down to keep the ball in front of him.
-Both Bengie Molina and Edgar Renteria have shown weaker arms than years’ past, at least in the limited times I’ve seen them. That’s not good. Both players are going to need a quicker release to accommodate for the lack of arm strength. Edgar’s going to have difficulty with plays in the hole, and Bengie’s going to have some issues with throwing out baserunners unless the staff is quick to the plate. Bengie was awfully aggressive in attempting to pick off runners on first (a la Yadier, his younger brother) but to no avail. Edgar’s mobility has looked fine so far. Neither hitter has looked particularly great at the plate, but Edgar had a few line drive smashes on Saturday. Bengie continues to swing at practically everything.
-I don’t care much for Todd Wellemeyer’s mechanics. He’s putting quite a bit of strain on his shoulder, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he experiences some shoulder problems. Looking at his injury history, he’s had some elbow problems in addition to one shoulder injury. I wouldn’t expect a ton of innings out of him, but I think he could definitely be serviceable. I’d prefer him to Bumgarner right now, simply to avoid Bumgarner’s arbitration clock from starting early.
-Barry Zito didn’t fool anyone today. Pretty much everyone that made contact hit it hard. There were a few balls in play that I believe should have been caught (Matt Downs, I’m looking at you), but they were smashed- so I can’t hold it against him.
-Buster looks comfortable hitting, and his receiving skills looked solid. He’s got a cannon for an arm; he picked off a runner on first but the runner was wrongly called safe. He’s got a patient approach and waits for his pitch- something unheard of in the organization. I can’t wait for him to be up here as a full-time player. He was working the count well and has a swing tailored for line drives, and, well…this kid has me excited.
-Nate Schierholtz has changed his stance. I’m not sure if this has been discussed before, but there’s a noticeable difference- he starts with his hands above his back shoulder rather than out in front. He smashed a fastball by Tanner Scheppers into deep center that bounced off the wall- it would’ve been out at AT&T, no question. It was a shot. Aside from that hit, he’s had some contact issues- he’s got a tendency to let go of the bat after contact and follows through with one arm rather than two. I’m not hitting mechanics expert, but it looks like he’s essentially hitting with one hand at times. The power is real, he just needs to clean up some of his mechanics.
-Velez has looked awfully uncomfortable at the plate and has taken some very questionable routes in left field. The Giants better have faith in him; I know I don’t. He scares me at the plate and in the field. He’s got some pitch recognition issues, his swing mechanics were off (or he was badly fooled), and he doesn’t look like he’s progressed in his development. Dude needs to make some changes, and fast if he’s to become a useful Major Leaguer.
-Darren Ford has gotten some recognition this Spring, and for good reason. I like watching him in the field- he’s looked very fluid out in center (again, in the small samples I’ve seen of him). He was employing a slap swing most times I saw him, but he put a charge into a Scheppers pitch and drove it a good 400+ feet for a triple. I remember Mike McBryde doing the same thing last year. Ford is regarded as one of the, if not the, fastest runners in the Minors- but I’m not sure that he’s faster than McBryde. If he is, he sure isn’t as graceful- McBryde looks like a gazelle and glides everywhere- but one thing is for sure: Ford can flat-out fly.
That’s all for now; I’ll be updating this post as the week progresses.