Slight RHP Cody Buckel had a nice season in 2010 but not nice enough to dissuade many that he would most likely be some kind of #4. He seemed small in stature with fringy velo, though first year velo is often depressed due to the vastly increased physical demands of any pitcher's first professional year. This year we're getting a glimpse of the Buckel who Texas scouts likely viewed as a decent bet to become a mid-roto type of arm. His velo is better in the second half of his starts, he's stronger, and his secondary pitches have improved. Here is Buckle after his most recent start (6/2/0/9):
"I was just using good pitch sequences, seeing the reaction time of the hitter, seeing what they're doing in the box," said Buckel. "It was just one of those nights where I was throwing all my pitches for strikes. The changeup was huge. I had the cutter going, the slider going and a curveball going all on top of good fastball command." The 6-foot-1 right-hander credited his workouts with Bauer for his improved ability to throw harder this season later into games."We just worked on my arm strength, mechanical stuff, getting more athletic movements in my motion," he said. "My velocity has spiked up from last year and my arm doesn't feel fatigued around the sixth inning. I'm still up at 92, not dropping down to 89."
Neil Ramirez is on a pitch count to begin the year, presumably to baby his shoulder, which cut short his 2011 AFL stint, and which was also likely the reason he was not stretched out to begin the year, coupled with some mechanical issues that he appeared to be dealing with during his mediocre camp. His first 2 outings: 66 pitches; 77 pitches. It likely increases to 85 and 95 during his next 2 starts before his restrictions are loosed. His velo is still down - as it was during the spring - compared to where he sat during the first half of 2011. I'm still think there is a better than average likelihood that NeRa ends up in the bullpen due to his durability issues: he was very inefficient in 2011 and was more than likely to exit in the 4th last year with 100 pitches than make it into the 6th.