Firebat over at LSB charted the Saturday games for Robbie Ross and Michael Main as well as the Sunday game for Robbie Erlin so go check them out.
I like the way Ross pitches: he throws strikes, likes to pitch inside and break some bats, likes to pitch to contact with his FB and whiff'em with his slider. Over his last 2 starts, the Hickory announcer has yet to call a single changeup in his play by play and I don't think that is possible. It is his third pitch and he has likely been tasked by the coaching staff to throw a minimum amount of them per game. I think it must simply be a matter of whether or not the velo is displayed on the board or on a gun, otherwise, it is hard to differentiate them from a FB unless the pitched is tipped or the hitter is wildly out front. No velo info from his last 2 starts but last year in Spokane he was generally 90-94 and regularly touched 95.
Some weeks ago Robbie Erlin pitched 5 no-hit innings before reaching his pitch limit, while on Sunday Erlin pitched 6 no-hit innings with 8 strikeouts before reaching his pitch limit (to the relief of the opposition). He struck out seven in a row in one stretch. While Erlin only flashed 88-90 in Instructs and Spring training, he is now likely pitching in the low 90's (his range during his SR yr was 90-93 during the second half, with a 40-inning scoreless streak) but the pitch gets so many whiffs that he must have more deception than a LH normally has and also a good bit of late life on it as well. He throws all three of his pitches (4s, CB, CU) for strikes(in and out, low in the zone) and all three can be swing and miss pitches. Combine his stuff, command, and pitchability with his left- handedness and you just have to thank the baseball gods that TX is the only team that likes slight pitchers. Just a great prospect at age 19 in his first year of full season ball.
Michael Schlact threw 5 no hit innings on Sunday for Bak, before giving up a lead-off homer to begin the sixth. Chad Bell pitched well for Spokane, collecting 8 strikeouts over 5 innings. Bell has all the tools to be a mid-rotation LH workhorse: big strong frame, FB 88-92 (sits 90-91), plus changeup, and a promising CB that is at least average right now if not better, and could project as a plus offering down the line according to some. He didn't have to use the pitch much in college.
Cody Eppley continues to dominate (AA). His arm slot doesn't seem as low as O'Day's but he appears to be just as unhittable vs RHH. He flashed 88 in this outing.
the Spokane announcer was impressed with 15th rd JR sign Ryan Rodenbaugh. The kid worked fast, threw strikes and was really effective with his fb/slider combo (he thought the FB might be a sinker). R&R struck out 4 over 2 perfect innings. Pitchers drafted in the 10-15 area (for the Rangers) are legit bullpen prospects so we'll see how he does over the course of the season.
Bakersfield crushed the opposing pitcher for 12 hits over the first 3.1 innings (18 over 8) so I wouldn't be too impressed with all of the impressive hitting lines you'll see in the morning box score. When Jared Bolden goes 3-3 you know the pitcher truly sucked.
Michael Main put in a solid 7.1 innings for Bak with 7 strikeouts on Saturday, though when they hit him, they hit him hard, likely stuff up in the zone: 6 of 7 hits XBH - 4 doubles, 2 HR. He was in a real groove in the 4th-6th innings, throwing all three pitches for strikes, while both his FB/CB were swing and miss offerings. However, both of his homeruns came vs LHH, which suggests that he is not yet ready for a promotion: he gave up his 8th and 9th homeruns vs LHH in less than 40 innings!! His changeup seems like a below average pitch right now and he probably isn't commanding his fastball effectively down and in to them either.
I hope they let him work on that area of his game in HighA for another 6 weeks before they give him a taste of AA the last 3-4 weeks. He has been pretty effective vs RHH this year but he needs to find more consistency working his FB down in the zone as his HR rate is still high (and his ability to get groundball outs appears to be lacking - his go/ao ration is about .65). The interesting thing about Main is that, while people argued that he sucked last year because of his illness, his "stuff" hasn't really improved much this year (FB 88-92, CB inconsistent, CU below average) rather his FB command vs RHH is what has improved the most. He just needed more innings.