Pic: Patrick Cavey
Pic: Patrick Cavey

by Eric Garfield

Today I’m not at Spring Training, I’m at the minor league complex learning the facility and day to day. I have already met Matt Blood and he took me around a bit to watch some drills. He knows his stuff inside, outside and upside down! Be confident in him.

I have video of Hall and Grayson doing warm-ups w the pitching group.
The fields are being set up for BP and I think maybe bullpens. I’m in heaven and have some notes that I’ll get back to. I watched throw drills from the outfield wall and catching blocking drills. I’m going to keep watching and learning and apologize for not making the trip to Northport for the O’s game. First thing, Cody Sedlock is not big, he’s very very very big!


Update there were bullpens, no Baumann, Hall or Grayson. I saw Jake Lyons up close and personal, and that was a treat as I hadn’t seen him let it fly in months, delivery analysis I’ll do later because wanted to organize and get stuff out to you first.

I saw lots of calisthenics and warm up type stuff with the pitchers once I hit the field. Grayson is quite flexible and looks the same weight wise. Hall is in lots of ways an elite athlete and controlling his lower body, he shows it’s easy for him but he can get even better. It’s very early in the minor league calendar, their camp start date officially is 3/4. These guys are here early because they want to be or because the team wants a look at them before the season starts. Team officials supplied me with a roster to help but still, no jerseys for the guys. So I’ll memorize soon but not as of yet.

When I checked in I was told today’s rundown, the where and when and told where I was allowed to go. The team had been pretty accommodating. I watched stretches and stuff and a football drill where none of the coaches could throw a spiral. They were trying to get lift under the balm forcing the outfielder to backtrack. One guy tried and he did it well so they let him stay. When he was walking off I asked him if he was a qb because he showed good leading. He laughed a little and said no I’m Matt. After talking and discovering in one exchange that he knew every player I realized it was Matt Blood.
At that point I just wanted to say who I am and why I was there and let him get back to work but it was impossible to not ask him about guys. The fielders switched to off the wall bouncing ball drills and he named them one by one to help me….‘there’s Daschbach, that’s TJ Nichting, Neustrom, Stowers, Mase Janvrin, Watson…Thorburn’

I asked him if Daschbach was no longer a corner, my instinct forced it out. He said that he sees some versatility being possible and wanting to get and keep his bat in the lineup is important.
By the way, watching the drills I saw that Watson has good pivot skills and good leg/hip connection tracking the ball and turning with it. Stowers looks slender and showed he gets to the ball better and gets rid of it, could use some steam on the throw but it was also among the season’s first drills.
Then we went into the cage to watch the catchers. I saw the list and no Chris Burgess so I knew my personal GCL MVP would not be there but I saw the flat hand drill where a special glove is worn to trap and bring in bouncing balls softly. It’s difficult and the instructor made the bounces even tougher. Blood told me Burgess was there 2 weeks ago and will probably check in close to 3/4. The catching group was being tested right in front of me. Now is a good time to mention that the player I saw the most today was Cumberland. This guy has such a great baseball attitude. A worker with skills. He pops up off the crouch very well and his arms don’t go all over the place. Blood was cheering the guys on and liked Cumby too. Hitting, Cumberland is really pull heavy when he’s lefty. Here’s prospect Cody Roberts sizzling one towards the X.

Then I went outside and watched on my own. Different drills on 4 fields. I located Gunnar and size wise he’s a bit different and getting closer to muscular but is a large dude regardless. From the back, he and Ryan Ripken are the biggest in the group I saw, which also included Joey Ortiz, JC Encarnacion, Welk and Mav Handley. Maybe a corner guys group plus Ortiz. Speaking of Ortiz he has good high quality bat skills and I saw some stretch on it too to get to balls and then drive them. He pops it out of the hitting zone quick and loud. Gunnar at the plate is in my mind on a different level. ‘Tapping into’ his skills isn’t the thing, he’s dripping with them. Here’s some swings mixed in with some takes but who doesn’t want some Gunman?

I just wrote a lot more including a rudimentary swing analysis of JCE, it refreshed and it was gone so here’s my notes that I wrote down.

Cumberland as a lefty looks shiftable but upper/lower body is in full sync. He’s prob better than I’m seeing now
Daschbach looks like an exit velo stud.
Mav Handley contact lands farther than you’d think.
Jensen Elliott lost weight.
Sedlock is so massive and ripped he could rush a qb. Carries and moves with it pretty well. Didn’t see turns or torque
Grayson is the most flexible of the pitchers and his limbs are the longest.
Josh Rogers is the loudest and ‘cheeriest’.
Watsons legs look bigger At the top but did not effect explosion or acceleration at all…OF/IF? Good, obvious turn of direction ability.
-DL Hall can land and jump and land and jump like it’s walking. He’s a unique athlete especially in terms of leg/foot ability. I cannot wait
-learned DSL teams are divided by players team wants to have opportunities, ABs and reps so it’s based on playing time first, other factors after.
-also the 2020 GCL squad will finally feature a significant percentage of DSL Orioles and I’ll be getting more info on specifics as the weeks go on.