Pic: Patrick Cavey
Pic: Patrick Cavey

by Eric Garfield

This morning I checked in a little early, arriving at 8 am with some players but the locker room opens a bit later.  I’ll see what’s going on and check back in.  


12:15 Update-There was good action at several fields and I was able to make my way around.  I have good video of a Chandler Shepherd bullpen session and looked into his delivery a bit.  He has good balance, he has a little swirl at the top that looks to be his timing mechanism working in conjunction with his back foot.  It works for him and I didn’t focus too much on his stuff.  

12:30 Update-I think the reason Shepherd was isolated in the mound today is because he’s starting the first game of the spring season at Atlanta this Saturday. He’ll be followed by Ty Blach.

Highlights from Hyde’s session include telling us that Davis is ‘under the weather so we kept him out of workouts for today’. 
Iglesias ‘puts on a display every day out here and is passionate about his defense’. He likes how Iggy is influencing Martin and they have been grouped in defensive drills together each day.  Hyde said that due to the fact that there are so many utility guys that have to be seen at several positions, he’ll be moving guys around in game, not initially but ‘that’ll happen as our numbers get down a little bit’. So pay attention to the cuts.

As far as the young pitchers he’s finally getting familiar with guys like Akin, Lakins and Kremer.  It’s ‘really early’ in this process but he wants to see more than their stuff, he needs to see how hitters react.  Command coming for the next wave of arms involves lots of factors, mechanical and emotional.  ‘You gotta have fastball command first, then you gotta be able to throw secondary pitches in the strike zone and bury them when you want to’.  It’s up to the player to take that to the game.  
Hyde talked on David Hess for a bit and sees improvement in his pitches, delivery and body so hopefully the results will follow.  
Finally, there is a plan for Cobb, ‘we’ve mapped out his spring with a some room to move if we have to’. The priority is health  throughout camp but especially at the end. I haven’t seen a ton of him working out or in drills so the plan is probably to not overexert him or even come close to it.  

Diaz is a priority for me to get info on and I’ll work on that.  Physically, he has always been ‘lower body thick’ and I love that in hitters who aren’t flying out of the box.  Now, he’s closer to ‘upper body thick’ and defined strongly throughout his arms, shoulders and neck.  He put muscle on, not a ton but he also took some of his weight and made it into muscle.  That’s not the easiest process so maybe I’ll find out some more.

Santander has similar dimensions but a different build.  He’s slightly leaner but his lower legs are explosive and he can run, stop and start quickly.  Diaz seems more stuck to a spot but not badly.  
Stats tell a different story as Santander can put up some pop numbers, but that’s more swing and athleticism.  His neck isn’t huge across like Diaz’s is now.  If they were both tracking a ball in the outfield, Santander can probably get to it and be ready to throw quickly while that process may be slower for a slightly heavier legged guy like Diaz.  Not an insult, just a differing physical profile.  
I’ve heard the comp so many times for Diaz as being Melky Cabrera.  I don’t think that’s off by too much because I could see him making contact and driving gappers hard to the wall if he gets his stroke going.  I’d love to see it with consistency.  I don’t think that Santander is more powerful but he’s proven that he can do more with his swing at this point in his career.