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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Report From the Fort

Well it took about 20 extra hours but I finally arrived in sunny Florida.  Unfortunately the delay meant I missed the game against the Yankees last Saturday (my mother could at least have PRETENDED to be upset that she had to use my ticket) but I did get to see the debut of J.D. Martinez on Wednesday afternoon as part of a split squad game.

The game itself was non-descript.  Starter Chandler Shepherd who is likely in the mix to be a mid-season call up did himself no favors failing to get out of the first inning against a pretty representative Twin lineup.  Whether he was working on his curveball or what I don’t know but it was a pitch he struggled with and he seemed to lack any ability to put people away.  The rest of the pitching on the day was OK.  Heath Hembree scuffled in a second inning of work but there was nothing that leapt out as problematic.  At the same time no one particularly distinguished themselves on the mound either.

At the plate the bats were pretty quiet with the Sox mustering just four hits.  One of them came on a ringing line drive from a personal favorite of mine Chad De La Guerra.  He got the start at third base with Rafael Devers on the bus to play the Phillies.  Martinez had a couple of plays in left and while he may not be good defensively he’s not lumbering or awkward.  I saw nothing that made me think there was cause for concern if he has to be out there for any length of time.

A few other random notes;

- The tour of the minor league camp before the game was revealing and fun.  Revealing because it highlighted how sparse the system currently is.  There were few players I was excited to see.  Bobby Dalbec is one guy I was interested in.  He looked decent on the infield with his pitcher’s arm on display on several plays.  At the plate his power is legitimate.  He is country strong as the saying goes, one of those guys who the ball lands 25 feet further away than you expect it to and standing out against his contemporaries.  He reminds me of Will Middlebrooks in that he looks like a ball player.  He may not make enough contact but there is enough there to pay attention.

- Brett Netzer is another guy I am intrigued by and I got a look at him.  Again in the comparison to his similar class of players he stands out for his quick bat.  He uses the whole field with line drives aplenty.  Josh Ockimey on the other hand still lacks that drive.  Watching him swing I found myself thinking of former DH Mike Easler.  If you remember the Hit Man he had this distinctive finish where he would raise his hands above his head on his follow through.  Ockimey looks like something along those lines might serve him well.  He can hit but he doesn’t have the power you want from a first baseman.

- You know how everyone raves about Javier Baez’ tagging ability? It’s one of those odd little things but when you watch a drill that has players taking throws (or in this case taking batted balls from the pitchers mound) and making tags you can see distinct differences in ability.

- There was some fun when Juan Carlos Abreu broke his bat during BP.  Oh man did the guys let him have it for that one.  He claimed he didn’t break it but when one player said “let me see” he was like a little kid hiding the cookie behind his back.

- The parking lot for JetBlue Park is just an open field of grass.  They have it well organized.  However this year it was littered with sea shells making it a sea of white and green.  I assume that was some kind of leftover effect from Hurricane Irma which did a lot of damage.

Also I’ve taken a bunch of pictures but I’m having some internet issues so I’ll share those when I can.


First Fenway Frank,Sign at minor league camp, Bobby Dalbec ,Josh Ockimey ,Bobby Dalbec ,Lineup ,Me and Ortiz’ retired number out front, Williams/Doerr exhibit ,Me and trophy ,Me and Lego Papi ,JDM ,Xander ,Mitchy Two Bags ,Chad De La Guerra, Vazquez ,Brett Netzer ,Horatio the Hertz mascot first pitch, Sign behind home plate, Dennis Drinkwater, Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, My feet, JBJ, Robby Scott, Paul Molitor and friends, Nick Gordon, Addison Reed, Empty Bullpen in ninth inning

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 08, 2018 at 06:28 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5635964)
Bradfo has a nice article on the development of Tanner Houck. I am intrigued. Will you get a chance to see him in action?
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 09, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5636254)
I doubt it. The minor league bullpens are behind screens so unless he pitches and early inning or a minor league game which usually start around 11:30 it’s jot likely.. I saw him in Lowell last year and he’s intriguing at least. I don’t think he throws hard for the modern game (low 90s) but a bit of Kevin Appier (late edit on that one) in the delivery, lotta hands and feet coming at you.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 09, 2018 at 07:22 PM (#5636293)
Couple other things;

1. In the ninth inning on Wednesday I strolled down the left field line to get pictures from a different angle. I was standing there with my scorebook and camera doing my thing (the place was a ghost town at this point) and suddenly this older gentleman walked up to me and without saying anything started taking my picture. “No no, just keep doing what you’re doing.” I’m not a wanted felon (questions on this need to go to my attorney) but some random dude taking my picture is a bit unsettling. Anyway he went and sat back down no harm, no foul but as I was leaving I passed him and he explained he was just a retired reporter and he loves seeing someone keeping score.

2. Hertz has a mascot, his name is Horatio and there is no way to know he is the Hertz mascot. He was very nice though.

3. On a personal note JetBlue and Hertz both get serious customer service thumbs up from me. The chaos from my flight being cancelled on Friday was handled about as well as could be by both companies.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 09, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5636299)
Hooray photos!
   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 11, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5636625)
JDM showed good range in the first to cut off a single down the left field line and keep the runner on first from going to third.

Devers with a bit of a bobble on what should have been a double play in the first.

Mookie’s homer was a rocket.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 11, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5636627)
Oriole left handed hitters have attempted three bunts against the shift already. One hit and two foul balls.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 11, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5636638)
Smith and Bembree both looked sharp, Swihart looked a bit rough behind the plate.f
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 11, 2018 at 08:57 PM (#5636720)
...but does it smell like farts?
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 11, 2018 at 09:49 PM (#5636729)
As always the Orioles brought Mike Yastrzemski for a cameo. Buck Showalter stopped and double backed to sign a baseball for a kid on his way out.

My one complaint about JetBlue Park is they don’t have nearly enough water vendors walking around. Beer vendors are plentiful but I’m not a big beer drinker and when it’s 80 degrees and sunny some water comes in handy.
   10. villageidiom Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5636770)
Nice pictures!

I really hope the ball in the JBJ photo was in play, and not where the pitch was.
   11. Bad Fish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:24 PM (#5637128)
Yeah, nice pics. It's nice to see your led with one of the two most important ball park ingredients. How are prices, same as big league parks?
   12. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:22 PM (#5637167)
Yeah seems like it’s about the same. I’m a street meat guy at Fenway but prices seem comparable. The sausages aren’t as good though. The big difference is parking is only $10 which you ain’t getting at Fenway.
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 15, 2018 at 06:18 PM (#5638724)
Notes from my third and final spring training game;

-Price looked sharp. The changeup seemed to really have Toronto hitters off balance and he was zipping the fastball in to get four of his five strikeouts looking. I’ve been fooled by this before in the spring (see Buchholz, Clay) but the Sox seem to have him working quicker. Very unscientific timing had him between 13 and 17 seconds between pitches. However, the five pitches he threw in a potential base stealing situation were all over 20 and with runners on but a steal not likely (2nd and 3rd) he was between 17 and 21 seconds.

-Devers had an up and down day. A couple of solid hits on 0-2 pitches and a near terrific play on a ball down the line by Hernandez but Teoscar beat the throw. He also made a poor play trying to throw to first in a bases loaded situation on a slow chopper when he could have stopped and tagged third. It was a bit of lack of awareness that I thought we didn’t see much last year.

-Joe Kelly cruised threw his inning and looked very good. Carson Smith looked alright except for an inability to put away Steve Pearce but he struck out the side in his inning. The black mark for the staff was Roenis Elias. Auditioning for a LOOGY role he retired the leadoff lefty he faced then couldn’t get a righty out and had to be lifted mid inning.

-Pretty much an Opening Day lineup today except Hanley over Moreland (and maybe then). FWIW

Benintendi (who smoked a couple balls also but the short hair is weirding me out man)
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 15, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5638738)

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