Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Notes from Frisco

I was able to get out to Frisco again on Monday and saw a very good outing from Jerad Eickhoff, as well as a walkoff base hit by Drew Robinson.

- Eickhoff's fastball sat at 92-94, touching 95, with real good plane, utilizing his 6'4" frame well. He can run it or cut it, although nearly all his fastballs are of the running, or tailing, variety. His curve sat at 78-80, going all the way down to 73 and topping out at 81, with his best curves of the harder variety, where the break is later and sharper. Got three whiffs on twelve curves thrown, with all three whiffs being on 79+ mph curves. Struggled when he tried to run it through the zone for strikes, with multiple hangers up above the zone. Slider sat at 84-85, topping out at 86, and is more of a get-me-over pitch. Also tended to hang his slider when it was elevated at all. Not much movement, but a late break. Change sat 84-86. Just not a real good pitch, with multiple changes catching the middle of the plate, not a huge gap between CH and FB speed, and minimal movement. His command was overall pretty good, especially on his fastball which he consistently kept at the knees, although he struggled with pulling the ball too far glove-side (outside to RHH, inside to LHH). Very few pitches caught the middle of the plate, but strike-throwing came and went, although he only walked 2 in 7 innings of work.

I saw a potential 55 fastball, 55 curve, 45 slider, and 40 change. He has the potential to be a reliable back end starter, with the chance to develop into a legit #4 type if his FB or CV can become a plus pitch or his slider league average.

- Francisco Mendoza has some intriguing stuff, with a fastball that has a lot of tail and sits in the low-90s and a slider that could be a potential plus pitch. However, the control and command just aren't there at all.

- I continue to be impressed with Ryan Rua's approach and plate discipline this year. He has been laying off outside pitches and been able to wait on off-speed stuff much better than he has in the past. He also moves pretty well for a guy his size, and I don't see his speed being anything less than slightly below average, if that.

- I have not been as impressed with Luis Sardinas' approach at the plate. I saw him chase some bad pitches out at Spring Training, and have continued to see some questionable swings in the chances I've got to see him in the regular season. On Monday, he struck out chasing a slider well out of the strike zone, and swung at a borderline strike on the low outside corner on the first pitch of an at-bat with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out, rolling over the ball for what was almost a double play ball. That is just not a pitch that needs to or should be swung at. It's not that his approach is terrible, it's just not as good as I feel it needs to be with his tools at the plate.

- Drew Granier, the Midland starter, has an absolutely nasty, filthy, wipeout, insert positive adjective here slider. A serious plus-plus pitch. He has a very fringy fastball, but it is a good enough pitch for him to be successful with a slider of that caliber. He will be in the Oakland bullpen later this year, and he will be good. Be ready to see him later on, and be ready to dislike him a lot.