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Random Spring Training Thoughts from Fort Myers: 3/22/2013

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Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
I am officially at Fort Myers, where I will be through Monday, attending Twins' games and checking on the minor leaguers. Unlike last season, when I pretty much presented a photo diary with 20+ images a day and some commentary, this season I will be doing something different: I will be presenting some of my observations and thoughts during the day on both major and minor leaguers, as well as other Spring Training-related items. Of course, I will add a few pictures on each post. I will probably make a couple of picture posts after next week, maybe as a Spring Training retrospect of sorts (since I am taking a ton of pictures this season.)

Today the Twins hosted the Yankees at Hammond Stadium and the AAA team hosted the Red Sox' AAA team on field number 1. Here are my daily thoughts and observations:

  • Happy to be part of the biggest home Spring Training crowd ever for the Twins: a record 8366 people attended the game at Hammond Stadium and it showed it. Standing room only and even that was sold out before the game.
  • Speaking of Hammond Stadium, some pretty interesting additions to the ballpark menu include deep fried cheese curds and calamari fingers (both of them at the "party deck" area at short right field.)
  • For what is worth: Alex Meyer, Evan Bigley and Oswaldo Arcia were practicing with the Rochester group this morning.
  • Speaking of Rochester, I was not really impressed with 3 of the pitching newcomers: Elarton, Lane and Vasquez.
  • Got to see Miguel Sano take fielding drills with the New Britain squad. BJ Hermsen was in that group as well, as were Josmil Pinto and Matt Koch. Pinto is not a surprise to start at AA, but if Koch stays there. it will be a pretty big surprise. Likely he is filling for Dan Rohlfing who is with the big boys still.
  • Over at the A and lower field, there were major pitching drills going on. Kennys Vargas was on the field at first during those drills, and I would swear that he looks even bigger this season.
  • Speaking of pitching drills, back at the big league camp, there was a pretty large one going on this morning. Good to see that Rich Harden was actually participating, but was the only pitcher who did not throw the ball. Both Scott Diamond and Anthony Swarzak did throw the ball, btw.
  • Speaking of Swarzak, he later pitched batting practice to the infielders who were not playing today and he shattered Brian Dozier's bat to about 6 pieces (one of which went towards Swarzak and another popped in the back of the cage; nevertheless it was a large commotion) Pretty good to see Swarzak back; he could be ready be the beginning of the season, but the Twins will put him on the DL.
  • Speaking of bats, Dan Rohlfing, it his plate appearance before his home run, sent his flying into the crowd about 6 rows over the Twins' dugout. Large commotion but no injury and a nice souvenir. Dan Rohlfing keeps being the surprise of the Spring as far as I am concerned, because there was a guy from whom nobody expected anything at the beginning of ST and now he is on the Twins' catching prospects map.
  • Thoughts about individual performances today:
  • The good: Trevor Plouffe was great at the field in several chances and he had solid plate appearances. Good to see him back from his injury. Wilkin Ramirez, who went 3-3 and was hit by a pitch, will make the back up outfielder/last spot on the bench race really interesting. Solid on the plate against major leaguers. I really liked Ryan Pressly. He has an effortless delivery and can dial it up. At this point, I will be surprised if he does not make the team.
  • The bad: Vance Worley was all over the place today. I had a chance to watch him pitch both with the Phillies and with their AAA affiliate (IronPigs, which happens to be about 10 miles away from where I life) and he is not the same guy. Not sure what's up, but it is worrisome at this point. He had a bit of success lately when he tried to mix his offerings up, but the first few innings his two seamer was very flat. He probably lost a few ticks as well, since the Hammond Stadium gun had him at 88-91 (got to subtract 2-3 for that gone.) 2 weeks left, he really needs to pick it up. Ray Olmedo was fairly shaky on the field. Bad jumps, miss-judgements and the such. I thought that he had an outside chance at a utility role, but I just do not see it now. Darin Mastroianni was not at his best either. He let a couple balls drop right in front of him for singles during Tyler Robertson's breakdown, which brings us to
  • The ugly: Robertson was miss-matched at this game. The ball was coming off his hand flat when he was throwing the sinker that topped at 88 (with that gun) and the Yankees' AAA squad hit it like it. His breaking ball was good, but if the fastball is not there, he will not survive. I will be surprised if he is not one of the next cuts.
  • Several scouts at the game (look at the following picture) and not sure who they were scouting. Among them the Twins' First Scout who watched the game with a stopwatch on his left hand and a scouting book the size of Gutenberg's Bible on his lap.
  • Tomorrow I will be at Port Charlotte watching the Twins visit the Rays' home park. First time at that ballpark for me and I look forward to it.

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  1. jorgenswest's Avatar
    Thanks for the report.

    Do you think Hicks, Span or Revere get to any of those balls? Was it a bad day or is his range in centerfield more limited then we have seen from Span, Revere or Hicks?
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    Kind of a moot point after tonight's announcement of Hicks being the starter....

    Both of those balls were at short center. The first one he was playing deep and ran and then he stopped and the ball just fell 10 feet in front of him. I think he misjudged that. Slow high pop. No wind today btw. The second one he was playing more shallow and it was not that much of a moonshot as the first one so it got there faster but it was catchable. Maybe he was tired or hurt or something but both of those were catchable. And if they were caught, Tyler Robertson's day would looked a tad different.
  3. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    Where else would Meyer, Bigley and Arcia be playing at this point of spring training?

    You realize Lane, Elarton and Vasquez are all, I believe, over 30, so they certainly aren't brought in to be impressive, just to eat some innings.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts from Ft. Myers!
  4. tellis205's Avatar
    I was down last week. Hermsen pulled a rib cage muscle and had to come out after one inning last week. Interested to see if he's recovered. Watched Sano quite a bit. Noticed he just doesn't seem to take the fielding drills as seriously as he does when he steps into the cage for his cuts. I came to the conclusion that Vargas is at a tipping point as far as his weight. Thanks for the report.
  5. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    Curious what you mean, tellis that he doesn't take the defensive drills as seriously. 1.) Was he not putting in the effort? Was he joking around? 2.) What was the difference between when he was hitting and when he was fielding.
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