Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My First Look at Matt Hobgood...

...or "What I Learned On My Spring Vacation".

I went to the Oriole Minor League Camp at the Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex in Sarasota this past Saturday and I think I learned something.

I and others have discussed the troubling reports over the weight of top Oriole 2009 draft pick Matt Hobgood, first reported by MASN's Steve Melewski. Naturally, I was curious to see how the kid looked. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Here's Hobgood throwing long toss with fellow top pitching prospect Zach Britton. (Pardon the sound...it was windy...):

He's a big guy, no doubt, but watching him go through the various workouts, he moved well and came off as fairly athletic, at least for his size.

For instance, here's some video of a fielding drill. Hobgood is the first guy off the mound.

This was pretty indicative of what I saw. Through fielding, runs and agility drills, Hobgood did not look like a lumbering hulk, he looked like a good athlete. He looked more athletic than about half of the other pitchers and seemingly was well-conditioned. For lack of a better term, he carried his weight well. (On a side note, RP Eddie Gamboa, the Orioles 29th best prospect according to Baseball America, was probably the most athletic pitcher I saw. He was quick, smooth and threw well in fielding drills. He could probably do a yeoman's job as an infielder.)

It will be interesting to see if his conditioning improves but for now, I am reassured.

If any scouting or conditioning experts are reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

More on the minor league camp later...

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