Through the Fence: End of Instructs 10/9-10/10 The Rise of Flash Jr.
Posted by Bob Sacamento , 11 October 2015 · 1,272 views
nick gordon fernando romero tyree davis sam clay
Once again, the Twins and Red Sox took to the diamonds for Instructional League ball. Yet there was a new giddiness in the air as the League is done as of Tuesday and a good deal of these players will head home for the winter. Everyone already has their plans set and everyone has something different in store. Still for now there was baseball to be played and talent to be evaluated. This weekend the Twins front office were visible in the stands with GM Terry Ryan, Special Assistant Bill Smith, Scouting Director Deron Johnson, and head of Player Personnel Mike Radcliffe. The Red Sox top brass was also in the stands with GM Dave Dombrowski being the most noticeable.
On the rubber for the Twins Friday was Williams Ramirez who was facing one of the Red Sox's top pitching prospects in Michael Kopech. The two matched each other pitch for pitch in the first two innings before Ramirez gave up a couple hits and a run. For the duration of Instructs, the Twins have either let their starter go two or four innings dependent upon their seasonal workload. Ramirez went 4 IP and was relieved by Logan Lombana (1 IP), John Curtiss (2 IP), and Yorman Landa (1 IP). Landa once again was 93-95 mph spotting his fastball on both corners while breaking off a couple decent sliders.
So I know this might sound like a broken record but Nick "Flash Jr" Gordon is really good not only in the field but at the plate. In the field, he showed slick fielding going far into the hole jumping and showing off a strong accurate throw to first. Later in the game, he charged a soft grounder barehanded and threw out the runner while never getting his feet under him. At the plate, he hit the ball hard and up the middle with a compact stroke that is designed to take advantage of his speed. Additionally, he worked on his bunting skills. This wasn't a sacrifice style bunt yet rather a run and tap ala Otis Nixon/Brett Butler style. After the game, I asked Gordon about his bunt earlier, he said that's part of his game that he really wants to improve and feels it adds another part to his game. He plans on working on it this offseason with his brother who's one of the better bunters in baseball today and has been coached by some of the best. Another hitter, I'm continually pleased to see is Lamonte Wade with his beautiful lefthanded swing and advanced approach at the plate. He really has some good at bats.
Apparently, Gonsalves last outing was Thursday where he went two innings and he said he felt good but was excited to shut it down for the rest of the year. As he said this was the most he's ever threw and by the end of the regular season he was tiring, throwing in Instructs just added even more fuel to the fire. Also throwing on Thursday was Fernando Romero who went two innings hitting 93-95 mph.
In side notes, 2015 draftee and reliever Rich Condeelis was sidelined with several stitches in his chin as he was hit by a ball thrown by fellow pitcher Zach Tillery. Unlike most of the pitchers in camp, Condeelis is going to continue to throw for another month or so to stretch out his arm. Unbeknowst to me, Rich has only been pitching for the last 6-7 months as he spent much of his career as a first baseman. The organization is supportive of his sidearm delivery and will let him continue to throw in that fashion. As it turns out, the player I've been sitting and talking Spanglish with over the entire summer was Fernando Romero (he would never give his name other than "Paul"), he saved me a front row seat next to Deron Johnson and Mike Radcliff so that was nice of him. He absolutely hates his picture taken and thought I was a scout for the beginning of the GCL season.
On Saturday, lefty Sam Clay started for the Twins going 4 innings, his fastball was continually 89-91 mph maxing out at 92 mph with a slider around 76-78 mph. I was sitting next to two AL East Scouts (one amateur, one pro), and they were comparing notes on Clay. Last year, Clay's fastball was continually 92-95 mph when he first joined the Twins. They jokingly said that's the Twin's for you, I asked them what they meant and they said happens alot with Twins pitchers. Clay was relieved by an inning of Wilfredy Liranzo and Brandon Poulson for an inning before the game was called due to rain. Poulson threw one slider, the rest were fastballs at 90-95 mph averaging 93.
In the box, Tyree Davis got some of his first game action of the 2015 season. Tyree has really bulked up, adding 20 lbs of muscle over the year as he's been regulated to much of the weight room due to his elbow injury. He luckily avoided surgery and is said that it feels 100%. He wants to continue his season in the Caribbean but is unsure if the team will give the okay. Also getting some at bats was former first rounder Levi Michael, who looked very rusty out on the field. Levi's a great guy and I'll always root for him but his baseball career is looking bleek.
Overall, it was a great summer of the GCL and Instructs, the Twins wrap up their season hosting the Orioles on Monday and visiting the Red Sox on Tuesday. Til February!! In the meantime, I'll be getting my baseball fix and a foothold on the 2016 draft with all the showcases in South Florida.
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