Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Instrasquad game dos and camp notes

Intrasquad Box
You definitely know its ST when: Smoak and Vlad both steal a base in the same game...

Intrasquad per TRS:
Kirkman and Phillips:
Pitchers of the Day: Michael Kirkman and Zach Phillips both pitched well in their one inning work, setting down the side in order. Kirkman struck out two, Phillips struck out one. "Impressive," Washington said. "They seem to have a repertoire of pitches and use their fastball on both sides of the plate."

Nice small ball quote from Face:
"I might have wanted to take that pitch, work the count to 3-and-1 and then look for something to drive," Young said. "But at this point of the spring, we're trying to make sure we are fundamental sound. Julio had stolen second and I wanted to get him over."

Intrasquad per Cole:
One of the many ZPhillips advocates out there (shout out to Mike Hindman, and perhaps, The Newberg) Jason Cole makes the middie/loogie prospect with the fringy fastball sound like the second coming in this tweet from IS game 2:
Zach Phillips strikes out Chris Davis on all fastballs. Took it 3-2. Blew two fastballs by him belt high then K looking on outside crnr FB.

Kirkman extremely impressive in his inning. Throwing strikes with all his pitches. 1-2-3. K'd Moreland and German.

Johnny Whittleman is a monster. He is about twice the size he was last year. Heard he'd worked hard this offseason, but wow.

Inrasquad per EG:
Liked Phillips' curveball a lot. Kirkman had a nice breaking ball, too...
(Mendoza's) sinker had outstanding movement...
Also Justin Smoak had trouble fielding and throwing to first on a bunt and later couldn't get his foot back on the bag...

Recall that, only days ago, during the career defining spring fielding drills, Smoak was reported to look have looked great at first (by someone)...

Evan Grant's newsletter:
Grant continues (from last year and the off season - let's call it an EGM - "Evan Grant Meme") with his "Feliz is destined to the bullpen because his secondary pitches aren't good enough" in his latest newsletter (my fav, but a close second is the "Tea is suspect at blocking balls and framing pitches" EGM- there are others I'm forgetting at the moment. Way OT, but one of my fav EG moments last year was when he was with DMAG and hyperventilated non-stop about the imminent trade of Derek Holland Toronto at the deadline):

Feliz showed an improved curve and changeup when he got to the majors last year, but that faded over the last month of the season and indications are he still doesn't have the deception back with those two pitches. If he doesn't get them this spring, his immediate future will be as a late-inning reliever. You can get by for one inning at a time with an incredible fastball. You can't get by for six with that one pitch.

Also, he continues to assert, as do many, that there is a wide-open competition for the last 2 rotation spots while claiming that Hunter has the 4th spot all locked up. This - and awarding Lewis the 3rd spot as a contingency of signing with TX - goes a long way to suggest that competition has little to do with anything really. This is actually what happened last year. The Staff erred gravely in putting together a pitching staff not based on competion but on future in-season strategems and paid the price: Feldy to the pen; Benson to the rotation over Feldy; Jennings to the pen (rather than AAA); Holland to AAA (rather than the pen); Donnelly released; Mags making the team, etc.

However, I don't think that Hunter has a spot locked up as there are three guys ahead of him who have higher ceilings than he does - Feliz, Holland and Harrison. I like the idea of the highest upside guy sticking in the rotation, all things being equal, that is, if the staff has faith that each can compete well. Hunter and BMac to the minors is a real possibility, even if Feliz sticks in the pen.


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