Monday, April 12, 2010

Delmarva Shorebirds @ Greenville Drive - 4/10/2010, Part 2

I gave you the quick game recap, now some observations on the Delmarva players.

RHP Matt Hobgood - Drafted 2009, 1st Round (5th overall)

You can see why the Orioles like Hobgood so much. Though only 19, he was sitting at 92-93 mph all night and hitting 95 with his fastball on occasion. He has a wicked 79 mph curve that was buckling the knees of the opposition and his stuff was dominant when he was putting it over the plate. Only two batters made solid contact and he only gave up 3 hits while striking out 4.

Unfortunately, he wasn't putting it over the plate consistently. At one point in the 3rd, he walked three straight batters. Early in his career, this will be his Achilles heel. He has the stuff to dominate low-A, he just needs to throw strikes more consistently.

He had a great move to first for a righty and nearly picked off runners more than once.

He's a big kid, listed at 6'4" and 250, although I would have guessed 260 and there were unconfirmed reports that he was as heavy as 270 in Sarasota. Given his young age, this has led to speculation that his weight may be a concern going forward. But it isn't yet.

Hobgood was quick off the mound to cover first on multiple occasions and sprinted to cover home on a wild pitch where he beat the speedy Drive runner(lots of speed on this Red Sox farm team) from third. (the ball did not beat the runner, unfortunately.) When he runs he brings to mind a charging defensive end or a pulling guard. He may be big (or even fat, if you want to be blunt) but he is still very athletic and carries his weight well. Whatever the future holds, his weight doesn't look to be a problem at the moment as he demonstrates all the skills to be a complete pitcher when it comes to fielding his position.

CF Steve Bumbry - Drafted 2009, 12th Round

While Hobgood's size makes you sit up and take notice, it's Steve Bumbry's wheels that grab your attention. Both his hits that night were of the infield variety and his speed made neither play particularly close. He bunted for a hit down the 3rd base line in the 4th and beat the throw by a couple steps. In the 6th, he hit a broken bat bounder to the Drive second baseman that the fielder ultimately misplayed but it wouldn't have mattered. Bumbry would have beaten even a good throw by a full step.

His speed is of great help in center but he seems to get good jumps on the ball anyway and looks to be a natural in the field. He backed up plays well, threw to the correct base and looked to know how to play his position like the back of his hand. Given that he is Al Bumbry's son, I suppose this is not a surprise. He had a good teacher.

On the negative side, his arm looks a little weak. The 22-year-old may not hit for much power although early in the season he already has three extra base hits in 4 games (2 triples and a double). He'll be an interesting guy to watch, especially once he gets to Frederick.

1B Tyler Kolodny - Drafted 2007, 16th Round

I like Kolodny's plate approach. He doesn't chase, demonstrates a good eye and when he gets one to hit, he hits it hard. Looking back at his stats, he has always gotten on base at a good clip compared to his batting averages (his OBP is 108 points higher than his batting average for his minor league career. Has good speed for a 6'3", 215 lb corner infielder and has good instincts on the bases.

However, he is 22 and repeating low-A. He needs to continue with his fast start and force his way up to Frederick this season if he wants to get himself some attention in 2010.

LF T.J. Baxter - Drafted 2008, 24th Round

If Stephen Bumbry was the fastest player on the field on Saturday, Baxter was a close second. Baxter stole two bases, got on base all four times he was at the plate and showed some good gap power. At 24, he's not exactly a prospect but he was damn fun to watch. If you head out to Salisbury this season to check out the Shorebirds and their highly touted prospects, take note of Baxter too.

C Justin Dalles - Drafted 2009, 6th Round

The 21-year-old Dalles gets a mention just because of the homerun he hit. Leading off the 7th, Dalles tattooed a 2-1 pitch to dead center where the ball sailed easily over the 30 foot centerfield wall 410 ft away. That shot and the fact that he attended the nearby University of South Carolina had the local media clamoring to talk to him after the game.

He did hit 22 extra base hits in 55 games for USC during his last season there. Might be a sleeper.

RHP Randy Henry - Drafted 2009, 4th Round

Henry won't turn 20 until May 10th but he was the fastest pitcher we saw all night. Henry was sitting at 93-94 mph but hit 95+ several times including 97 in the 8th. Henry was a flamethrower for two inings in relief giving up 2 hits (only one of which was well-struck) and striking out two. Most of the time the batters, were flailing, popping out or grounding out weakly up the middle. Hard to see him spending all season in Delmarva so get out to Salisbury and see him while you can.

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