Must Read Musings
Written by VaTech 1994
Rox and I caught the game in Sarasota Sunday. We split spring training season tickets with a friend and it got us great seats 5 rows above the Orioles dugout. We'll post some pics at some point.
Today, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman stood on the top step of the dugout directly in front of us for the first 4 or 5 innings. They were no more than 12 feet away. I caught a bit of their conversation. One of them had someone important at the game today. They are definitely very tight.
Now for some thoughts on the game:
- I can't stress enough how impressed I was with Conor Jackson. His bat speed is outstanding. I'd argue up there with Adam Jones and the best on the team. He is a big, athletic guy, beautiful short direct swing, good eye. I was just very impressed. If he can hold that bat speed into the regular season there is no way he doesn't make the team. I can see why this guy has 2 110 OPS+ seasons at ML level.
- The Twins line up was terrible so it is difficult to draw many conclusions about the pitchers today. However, JJ and O'Day looked good. JJ's ball moves a ton as we know and O'Day really made a few guys look silly.
- I didn't think Steve Johnson had his best command, but the results were there. He did throw some nice sliders.
- Jurrjens is a pretty small guy. I didn't know that. My impressions of him won't make anyone happy. He had really exceptional arm speed, yet he was only throwing 88-90 mph because he is not tall and gets very little drive out of his lower body in his motion. His windup is much more violent than I expected. I'll be very surprised if his knees can stay healthy with the violence I see in his landing leg. That said, he threw some really nice pitches, is athletic, and clearly knows how to pitch. He'll need pinpoint control and I can't believe he can maintain it with that effort level in his motion. We'll see.
- So, I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but I swear all of the following things happened. From where we were sitting, we were in a basically straight line over Buck's head and Presley's head looking directly at the Orioles written on the front of the RHB at the plate. JJ Hardy came up the first time. Most of us realize that JJ kind of pulls the bat toward the umpire in his set and hangs it out away from his body a bit. This creates a straighter left arm than most hitters which makes watching him from the side I was on very informative. His first at bat I was watching him and, while during his prep his bottom hand on the bat was just at the top of the O on his uniform, his hands were dropping as the pitch approached until his bottom hand was below the O. I immediately said to Rox "know way that is right. he won't be able to get on anything above mid-thigh". He popped to the mound on a nothing fastball on the next pitch. So, I'm usually pretty quiet at games, but I said loudly enough for Presley to hear that JJ's hands were lower than normal right after the at bat. Buck and Presley started talking in an animated fashion pretty much immediately. Presley then called JJ over to the railing. They talked for a couple minutes. I watched Presley mime holding the bat and exaggerate dropping his hands. Next at bat JJ comes up and his hands are now above the O during his set and at the top of the O at the end of his load. It was a noticeable change. He hit a screaming homer on a fastball just above the belt that at bat. Several of the folks around me were kind of freaking out about this whole sequence. It was fairly funny. Unfortunately, I watched and JJ's hands ended up all over the place in his last two at bats. They literally were different on basically every pitch. Now, Presley may have noticed the same thing I did and called JJ over on his own because it was really obvious to me so I'm sure he saw it, but the sequence of how it all happened was pretty funny. I had people asking me if I was a coach / scout the whole game. Comical, but obviously gratifying. Rox giggled for a bit about it and then decided that I was making us work too hard by not "just doing this for a living. They make what we do or more and get to hang out in the sun". LOL, my wife is cool.
- Machado's timing is off pretty bad. He is stuck in between.
- The Roberts' play was even worse live than on TV. There has been a lot written in that other thread so I'm going to let it go, but I wasn't happy. Buck just stared straight at the batter's box after that play. I'm guessing he was pretty upset.
- Wieters is crazy strong. The homer was just a wrist flick. He looks really good at the plate.
- McClouth had an awful day. I felt bad for him.
- Davis doesn't have great bat speed so he guesses at the plate a lot, but his power is so amazing that he doesn't need to guess right much to create a lot of problems for the other team.
- Dickerson is a big, athletic guy. Very impressive physical specimen.
- We have watched ST for years as most of you know and I can honestly say that the professionalism and focus I see is just amazing compared to past years and most other teams. Buck, Duquette, and the whole crew should be proud of what they are doing.
We're heading to Ft. Myers today to watch the game against the Red Sox. Will post some thoughts later.MUST READ
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