This past week I had the opportunity to spend two days at Spring Training. I use most of the morning at the Minor League fields and catch a game in the afternoon. Followers of South Side Sox are pretty tuned in, so I look for things that might be of interest but not generally known here.
The days were warm and sun filled. I met up with Dickscr on one morning. We had the chance to greet Jim Thome on Wednesday morning. Later we found seats in the shade and watched the Sox and San Diego.
For those of you who wonder, the players in the Minor camp have their names on the back, the big boys do not. The names help because there might be two number 10's ( there where). I have more on the kids than the big boys, so I will start with the big league camp.
Alexei speaks English. He was talking a mile a minute to Tyler Flowers. I just thought this was funny, him being a man of few words.
Carlos Sanchez has added muscle in his upper body, chest and arms. The difference is noticeable. My guess is that he finds his way back into the top ten lists next year.
Davidson and Liddi are very large men. Liddi played SS at Cleveland , and to see someone this big playing Short Stop was unusual to say the least. He did well and hit a lazer beam out of the park. Boom, gone. Both should start at AAA but we might see either this year at some point.
Surkamp got hit hard. At the same time, he was betrayed by bad defense behind him on more than one occasion.
Marcus Semien played Short in the other game. He disappointed in this game. Twice, on double play chances, he failed to even get the throw off.
Eric Johnson was the starting pitcher against Cleveland. He looked very strong. He is not afraid to pitch to contact and use his defense. I look forward to a lot of innings out of this kid. He appeared to be in mid season form.
Jose Abreu, as you all know, looks great. At Cleveland, he smashed a double deep into the left-center gap. Abreu also had no problem taking a walk if there was not a pitch to hit.
One last thing, Hector Gimenez looked very comfortable, and at ease. He could well be the second catcher.
Trey Michalczewski, they call him Mic. Drafted in the seventh round as a switch hitter. I saw him take over 300 swings from the left side over a two day period.. From the right side, zero. At one point, Buddy Bell got out of his cart during his time in the cage and offered impute on his release. Without question his kid is getting extra attention, including batting practice against live pitching. he has a strong accurate throw to first. I saw him make it 40 or 50 times, all right on the money.
Tim Anderson and Jacob May. these guys look fast , even when they are standing still. Similar in size, they are both about six foot, no more. Very lean in build. Tim Anderson looks very smooth at short. he has a very quick, clean catch and throw. Even from deep in the hole, he can throw it on a line. That being said, he does not have a big arm like Alexei.
In the batters box, he sets up like Beckham did to start the season last year. a deep crouch, that he springs out of it, lashing at the ball. He seems to be seeing it well. May's set up is quite different. He stands taller, weight back, bat cocked. He drops the bat and sweeps it through the zone. you can see where the extra pop comes from. These two also faced live pitching and more cage work than some others.
Courtney Hawkins, I only saw on one day. He was more serious this year. Just like last year, he hit the ball the same way. A long way, not just over the fence, wayyyyy over the fence.
Tyler Danish is listed as 6'2". No. Standing with all the pitchers, he is one of the smallest. I don't mean he is frail or anything, In fact, he is more athletic than most.
Myles Jaye was one of the few pitchers I had a chance to see throw. They keep that out of view. He pitched live practice, getting signs from the catcher. He looked poised and very sharp. He was balanced and always around the plate. This could be a year for him to move up.
Keon Barnum has changed. Never small, it appears he is a little taller. his weight is distributed a little better. They don't appear to be rushing him.
Miker Adolfo was there but I did not see him at the plate. I did see him in right field,running down fly balls. He has a long easy stride and great range. Right now he looks like he is just trying to fit in.
Joey D. as I am sure WU would like to know, was very hitterish. Lashing one homer to right that the fielder just watched. He Also hit several balls foul at the end of day two ,that Dick and I scooped up on our way out. So thanks Joey!
I had a nice long talk with Ken Thomore, Carl's dad. He is a regular reader of SSS and had checked in that morning.He told me how glad Carl is to be with the Sox. The White Sox scouted him and had him on their board, even meeting with the family pre-draft. Carl went in the second round, right before Eric Johnson. Carl was told he needed to change his swing, not unusual. They gave him a wide stance and had him slapping at the ball. I guess the idea was to get on and use his speed, which is good but not plus. In school he stole 56 base in a row, never caught, including home plate four times.His one plus tool is power. Anyway, a change in personnel in the Rockies System soon after he was drafted, left him adrift. That plus a bad hamstring tear in mid season 2012, put him on the outs in Colorado. The Sox were watching, and offered to buy him out of there. The Rockies declined so the Sox came back with more doe. The Rockies gave in and shipped him our way. Buddy Bell sat down with Carl. He said," We didn't bring your here to fill our Minor League roster. We think you can be a Major League outfielder. You aren't getting there with that approach at the plate." They have closed his stance and are working to unleash his power. Everybody is pretty happy. He stands 6 foot 2 1/2" at 218 lbs. If he had gone to College, he would be in this years draft. So time is still on his side. He turned twenty one in January. Soooooooooooo.... dibs for me.
In non baseball related news, I was putting and driving the ball very well.