River Cats Report: Game Notes - June 19, 2004

In a rarely televised event, the Sacramento River Cats graced the small screen against the Tacoma Rainiers. Joshua Shinoff details some observations from the River Cats' 6-2 victory.

Since it was one of the few chances of the year to catch a River Cats game on television, I took the opportunity to TIVO the June 19th matchup between them and Seattle's AAA affiliate the Tacoma Rainiers. Starting for the River Cats was LHP John Rheinecker, the supplemental 1st round draft pick of the A's in 2001. Opposing him was LHP Craig Anderson (according to the broadcasters a childhood friend of Adam Morrissey) who was a tough match-up for the lefty batters.

Nick Swisher
Easily the most impressive hitter on both squads. He reminds me of a switch-hitting Scott Hatteberg. Patience at the plate, good pitch identification, and a short, but powerful stroke. Has one of those swings you think can't miss the ball. Had a double in the left-center gap but the hardest hit ball was a towering drive to dead centerfield (too high for the camera) that was caught back against the wall (403 feet). His body is not big ,so I'm not sure he'll ever be a 40 HR hitter in the majors but with added size (he's only 23; its still possible he'll add more strength) he'll impress. His position in the majors has been questioned as he doesn't look to have centerfielder speed though there was no play in the game to test him.

Adam Morrissey
Body type is that of a middle infielder though thirdbase is a possibility if he adds some muscle. Since he just turned 23 on June 1st, his body has some growth potential. Looks to have a good eye at the plate but not as patient as Swisher. Anderson kept throwing him a big Barry Zito-like curve. A compact swing and a quick bat through the zone. His high batting average is no fluke as he will make consistently good contact. He went 1-4 with a double (showed good opposite field power) but the first ball he hit could easily have been a single up the middle had the pitcher not just tipped it with his glove.

Mark Teahen
Teahen was the youngest player on the field (23 in September) and he struggled facing the lefties that the Rainiers threw at him. He was patient but didn't look to get a good read on the lefty breaking pitches. His body looks a bit lanky, so he could definitely fill out over the next couple of years. Defensively he's major league ready and might be one of the better defensive thirdbaseman around the moment he's promoted.

Dan Johnson
Not as big as Graham Koonce, but still a body you expect to see some power from. Uses a very open stance at the plate. Patient at the plate, but like Teahen was neutralized a bit by the all lefty pitching squad. A shorter, better contact swing than Koonce but still hits the ball hard. Definitely has major league potential if he can play a decent firstbase.

John Rheinecker
I've been following Rheinecker since the A's drafted him and he hasn't done much to impress from a stats perspective since hitting AA. However, his stuff has clearly advanced. He has a couple of nasty breaking pitches that are major league quality and a good fastball reaching the low 90's. He throws from low arm slot making him particularly tough on the leftys and this is what I see him doing in the majors, being a lefty specialist from the bullpen.

Graham Koonce
Lumberjack is probably the best word to describe Koonce. A huge man with a big swing (he took one deep to right-center that was helped over the wall by the centerfielder's glove). In the majors, he would definitely be a low average hitter with good power numbers and a lot of strikeouts, a modern-day Dave Kingman.

Mike Rose
The most intense player on the field. That is the overriding impression from watching Rose at bat and behind the plate. Has a quick bat and is fairly patient at the plate. The A's are lucky to have a catcher who could sub in as the backup at any time.

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