Baseball in A+ Minor: Four Nights with the Threshers

So, Clearwater's in town again, playing a four game series at the Brevard Manatees (motto: "Fear the Sea Cow"). Naturally, yours truly is planning on attending all four games, which began last night with a July Fourth game that was extremely crowded. I'll update this as I get a chance after each game with stats and things I noticed.

Game 1: July 4th, 2011: Clearwater 5, Brevard 1

James (0-3, 2 BB, 2 K)

Dabbs (0-4)

Singleton (1-5)

Ruf (3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI)

Valle (1-3, BB)

Barnes (1-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K)

Hernandez (0-3, BB)

Hanzawa (0-3, RBI, K)

Gump (0-4, K)



Rodriguez (5.2 IP, 93-58, 7 K, 3 BB, 3 H, 1 HBP, 1 R)

Whatcott (1.1 IP, 16-11, 2 K)

Pettis (2 IP, 27-18, 3 K, 1 H)


The wind was fairly brisk, from left field towards the first base line, temperature 81 degrees. James was absolutely robbed on his non-K out. A line drive over the shortstop, the SS turned and made a Willie Mays-esque running catch about 8 feet deep in the outfield. Barnes made some darn good plays at 3B, including snagging a grounder that bounced over the bag and making a jump throw to first to throw out the runner. VALLE GOT A WALK!!!1!1!!! The sixth inning was bizarre: Dabbs flies out to left. Singleton rips one to the left field corner for a double. Ruf rips one to the <em>right</em> field corner for a double, scoring Singleton. Valle walks. Barnes flies out to right. Hernandez walks, loading the bases. The pitcher gets pulled for a reliever. The reliever's first pitch plunks Hanzawa, forcing Ruf home. Gump strikes out to end the inning. Hernandez has a .296 OBP, and Hanzawa a .260, yet they drew a walk and a HBP back-to-back to force in a run. Freaky stuff. Rodriguez looked good. The strike zone was wide vertically but pinched horizontally, especially on the LH box side. His fastball was 88-91, mostly in the 88-89 range, with off-speed pitches at 77-78 and 68-71, with some flutter on the slowest pitch. He had a four-pitch sequence of 89-68-91-70, which is just wicked for a batter to try to compensate for, although the slow pitch had a tendency to drift out of the strike zone. He did give up a home run (to a good power hitter on the Manatees), but the other two hits were a single that fell between the 2B, CF, and RF, and a well-hit double to left field. Whatcott looked solid, throwing five pitches to get his first two outs (a four pitch K and a first pitch grounder), and Pettis was good.


Game 2: July 5th, 2011: Brevard 4, Clearwater 3


James (0-4, BB, K)

Dabbs (0-5, K)

Singleton (1-3, BB, 2K)

Ruf (2-3, BB, 2 RBI)

Valle (1-4, K)

Barnes (0-4, K)

Hernandez (1-4)

Hanzawa (1-4, K)

Gump (1-4, K)



Colvin (6.0 IP, 92-64, 5 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 3 R, 1 HBP)

Lugo (2.0 IP, 21-14, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 H, 1 R)


This was a frustrating game. 5 errors between the two teams, lots of weird shit on the basepaths (including Hernandez botching a play where the ball bounced between the baserunner's legs without touching the runner), and no extra base hits from Clearwater. Colvin should not be a starter at higher levels. He had a 94 mph fastball to start with, but after 60 pitches it was down to 90-91. His secondary stuff is decent, but when the fastball slows down there's not enough of a speed differential (his slower pitches were around 80-82). Barnes looked solid at third again, although he either doesn't move well to the left or was playing tighter to the bag than he should, since he missed a rolling grounder to his left.



Game 3: July 6th, 2011: Clearwater 11, Brevard 4


James (3-4, 2B, BB)

Myers (3-5, RBI, CS)

Singleton (1-4, K, Sac RBI)

Ruf (4-5, HR, RBI)

Valle (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K)

Barnes (2-4, BB, 3 RBI)

Suomi (1-4, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K)

Hanzawa (0-4, BB)

F. Hernandez (2-5)



Cosart (5.0 IP, 103-61, 3 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 3 R)

Whatcott (2.0 IP, 24-16, 1 K, 3 H, 1 R)

Loomis (2.0 IP, 20-13, 1 K, 1 H)


EVERYBODY HITS! (except Hanzawa, but he doesn't hit anyway). This was a loooooooong game. Every other game was about 20 minutes per inning. This one was closer to 25 per inning. Not quite Red Sox-Yankees, but still noticeably slower. Cosart was very hittable. His off-speed control was lacking, and his fastball didn't seem to have much movement, yet he still only gave up three runs due to some very solid defense. One of those runs was a leadoff homer to Brevard's Scooter Gennett, his fifth of the year. And Gennett's an everyday player and solid prospect (he's a speedy second baseman). I like Cosart more as a middle reliever or late inning pitcher, when he can throw full speed for one or two innings, then sit before he wears down. 103 pitches over 5 innings is too much for him, given his injury history. I was fully expecting him to be pulled after the fourth. Whatcott and Loomis are both over-age, and threw solid, unspectacular stuff.

Singleton was in left field for the first time this series, and he looked OK. His mobility's about average, and his arm's good for left field (no Ibanez Lawn Darts). Maybe he can play there at higher levels, maybe he can't - I didn't see anything that either impressed me or scared me. Valle got a sort-of night off, as Ruf moved to 1B, Suomi played C, and Valle was the DH.  James and Valle scored unearned runs off wild pitches in the first and the ninth, respectively. Until the eighth inning, James was 3-3 with a double and a walk (and hits from both sides of the plate), before grounding into a double play. Cesar Hernandez had the night off, and was replaced by Fidel Hernandez. I was confused until Fidel came up to bat in the second (I missed the player introductions). Suomi had an interesting night - struck out to end the first, walked in the third and got stranded, struck out to end the fifth, hit a solo home run over the billboards behind the right field wall (the tall wall) to start the eighth, and had a foul ball caught by the third baseman in the ninth.

In the sixth, Hanzawa led off with a flyball to the RF warning track, Fidel singled, James singled, Myers singled to score Fidel and advance James to third, Singleton sacrificed James home with a towering fly to center. Ruf had a 2-2 count when Myers was given the signal to run. Ball 3, but Myers thrown out. Ruf came back up to start the seventh and promptly hit a single. The ninth inning was smallball at its finest - Myers singles, Singleton singles, Ruf singles, Valle singles and gets an RBI, Barnes singles and gets 2 RBIs, Valle scores on a wild pitch, Suomi flies out to third, Hanzawa walks, and Fidel GIDPs to end the inning. 5 singles (and a walk), 4 runs.


I ended up missing Game 4 due to being ill, so that'll wrap it up for me. If you have questions, I'll try to answer them, but I didn't note everything (i.e. I have no clue what Pettis was hitting on the gun, to answer one already existing question). I still like James and Valle, and think Singleton can be good as he develops (he's still just 19). Cesar Hernandez is raw at the plate, and I don't think he'll ever have much power.