I saw a lot today so I’m probably not going to get the information up all at once. I went to see the young’uns in Clearwater today and saw some really good young prospects playing for the Jays and some for the Phillies (if you check out my post tomorrow at Grading on the Curve, you can read up on some of the Phillies players too).
I’ve been to the Phillies complex in Clearwater before and I really like it. The fields are in much better shape than in Dunedin and you can tell that they’ve put a lot of money in their minor league facilities. But my day didn’t start there. I went to the Blue Jays’ complex first.
I got to the Engelbert Complex (the Jays’ home) just in time to see some batting practice. The catchers tend to hit first so that they can go and catch the pitchers. I saw Mike Reeves hit a bit and he didn’t light the doors on fire. He’s got a nice line-drive swing but I haven’t seen him really drive the ball yet. Santiago Nessy, however, was really putting a charge into it. Long line drives and fly balls hit deep into the outfield were ringing off his bat. I’m realy looking forward to seeing what Nessy can do this year, particularly now that he seems to be over his concussion that plagued him last year.
The next group of hitters was a great one to watch. It included Mitch Nay, Matt Dean, Dawel Lugo, Tim Locastro and another guy (who was wearing his pullover and I couldn’t tell who it was). Nay put on a show, driving a couple balls out. Dean also showed his power and it really makes me excited to get to Lansing this year.
Another group that came to hit included Anthony Alford and D.J. Davis. Both looked ok but nothing really jumped out and caught my attention. Alford has a kind of uppercut-type swing that generates a lot of loft. I didn’t see too much from him in the game either.
There weren’t as many pitchers going in the bullpen as I had seen yesterday. I did see Matt Dermody pitch and I had been looking forward to that. He had a great season out of the bullpen in Vancouver and he may be ready to make a leap. I didn’t get any velocity readings but he was really hitting spots, showed a nice, tight slider and had a decent changeup.
I also saw Frank Viola throw. He throws a much harder knuckleball than Ohka does and it’s still very inconsistent. When he throws a good one, it’s pretty to watch as it dances, however. That said, he did have some issues with his release point.
Scott Copeland was also very impressive. As his catcher, Derrick Chung, told me, he’s a ground-ball machine. Everything he throws sinks from the fastball to the changeup to the slider. It’s not a big breaking slider but he’s very consistent with it.
Deck McGuire also threw his bullpen today and, while I didn’t really spend much time watching him, I did notice that he’s looking slimmer.
That’s all for Part 1. I’ll get to what I saw in the actual games either later tonight or for tomorrow morning.
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