First game had Ben Rodriguez Catching Blayne Enlow, the second game had Acosta throwing to Ben Reortvedt, and the third game I was pleasantly surprised to see Graterol come off the disabled list and toss 7 innings to Banuelos.
Rodriguez brought a calm professionalism behind the dish and appeared to be an on field pitching coach for Enlow. Enlows fastball hung in the 92-95 range all afternoon. And I mean all afternoon. I don't believe he threw anything other than fastballs the whole game. His final line wasn't impressive but it was obvious he was working on command and control of that fastball and that's it.
Ben Rortvedt behind the dish was impressive. His throws to second were lasers and perfect for making tags. His receiving was quiet and he seemed to be framing the ball quite well. we sat next to the Ball boys mom in the front row. She's a season ticket holder who has seen a lot of low A baseball. This is his 18th season as ball boy. We talked for a few minutes about Ben and she had a lot of praise for how he handles the pitchers and his receiving skills so it must be more than just the game I saw.
Graterol is a stud. First pitch my wife looks at me all wide eyed and says whoa! She didnt see the radar, she was just reacting to the speed and pop as it hit the mitt. That pitch was a 98 mile an hour fastball. He threw several that read 100. His 90 mile an hour slider was 5 miles an hour faster than Beloits Starters fastball. In the 6th inning his fastball dipped to 96. Commented that I thought he was getting tired but in the 7th inning he was back to 98-100 again. He needs to wrk on changing the batters eyes by moving the ball around more but that will come with experience I'm sure.
This kid is gonna be good!!
Banuelos looked solid until that eventful extra inning. The last out of the previous inning starts on 2nd in extra frames when you have 7 inning double headers. First batter decided to bunt and Banuelos threw late and high to third base instead of getting the out at first. With runners on first and third Faucher bounced a pitch I thought Banuelos should have handled. It was called a wild pitch and when Banuelos recovered it he didn't get an error for throwing it over the pitchers head covering home. Banuelos just looked like he was still thinking about his earlier throw to third instead of first. He looked rattled the whole inning.
Jacob Pearson and Akil Baddoo are speedsters that cover a lot of ground in the outfield.
Jordan Gore is a name I do not remember reading about before. He is physically smaller than his team mates but the kid can field. He played SS in game two and third in game three. He got to balls I did not expect him to get to and his throws were strong and on target.
Trey Cabbage is a big strong man. That guy has muscle definition. Most of the team looked like young men, he just looked like a man.
Miranda looks like the real deal at third and in the outfield. In game three he made an incredible diving catch in Left field. When he was at third in game two a ball was hit just fair down the line. Miranda snagged the ball a few feet behind third now in foul ground, jumped in the air throwing it back across his body right on target at first. Looked like an incredible play for a major league player, not low A. Oh, he's also the clean up hitter on a roster with Kirrilloff and Lewis.
Speaking of big, Alex Kirriloff is filling out also. Give him another year to fill out his body and watch out. And I mean watch out! He's already killing the ball. It was a lot of fun to see him hit that Grand Slam. He's not gonna be in Cedar Rapids much longer, he just did not look like someone that belonged with the rest of that team. I did not get to see his defensive skills so...
It's time to talk about Royce Lewis. Tuesday was his birthday and he had a nice gift handed to him, bases loaded! Unfortunately he is struggling (at least for these 3 games) with the low and outside breaking balls. He had a lot of week contact on sliders and got frustrated enough to break his bat on the ground as he ran out one weak grounder. But that's not the end of the story because the bases were loaded again later in the same game and he did not miss his second chance. Grand Slams in back to back innings by the first rounders made game two a LOT of fun.
Defensively, Lewis was really good. He was consistently smooth, always in the right place and he made some hard hit balls look easy. He went really deep into the hole on one play and made a perfect throw that almost got the speedster at first. The play should not have been close but Lewis made it close. The home crowd was duly impressed.
Edited by goulik, 07 June 2018 - 09:37 PM.