The man of the hour was of course, Carlos Martinez. Having been described by his manager Johnny Rodriguez as being more advanced than Pedro Martinez at the same age, expectations are high for the 19-year-old. After showing some nerves in the early going, the Dominican settled in and showed why so many are excited.
On the mound, he reminds me of Pedro. Martinez finishes high in his delivery a lot like the future Hall-of-Famer. Of a little concern was his always finishing on the left side of the mound; almost falling to the left at times.
He has an easy, repeatable delivery and the ball seems to explode out of his hand. He showed good feel of a curveball that has a sharp bite. He threw it both hard, almost like a slider, and would take something off it at times. The right-hander also showed a good feel for his changeup and made a few of the Cougars look silly.
Very athletic, Martinez fields his position well and shows the foundation of a solid pickoff move. He showed good maturity, keeping his composure when things were not going his way.
Following in alphabetical order are my impressions on the rest of the Quad Cities' team that saw action.
Angel De Jesus has a lean, projectable frame and reminds me of former farmhand Elvis Hernandez. He has good life on his fastball though was hurt on this night by leaving the ball up and it seeming flat. De Jesus repeated his delivery easily but does seem to have a lot of moving parts (long arms and legs). Looks very suited for life in the bullpen.
Greg Garcia reminds me a little of current Cardinal Daniel Descalso. He looks very comfortable in the field and has an above-average glove. The 21-year-old looked very good on the double play pivot and should be able to play middle infield at next level but not as an everyday shortstop. With a sweet lefty swing, the former Hawaii Rainbow makes good contact and will go with the pitch but does have below-average power.
Ronny Gil is really slick in the field. The diminutive middle infielder has an above-average arm and has really good range while looking the part of a shortstop at the highest level. Good speed on the basepaths. Little power but seems like he has a good approach.
I came away really, really impressed with Virgil Hill. The son of two world class athletes is a long, athletic player that reminded me of a Ron Gant lite. He shows good balance at the plate and gets the bat through the zone quickly generating above-average power. His swing is long which caused him trouble catching up with the high heat and is why he has 36 strikeouts in 84 at bats. Still green but you see why the Cardinals drafted him early; the ball explodes off his bat.
Another impressive athlete is Nick Longmire. With a wiry, lean frame, the outfielder shows a lot of range in center. I would like to see him take charge out there. His arm was solid average and shows that he could probably play any of the outfield positions.
At the plate, Longmire shows solid average power but like Hill, he will need to cut down on his swing. While waiting for the pitch, his hands were very busy and he had trouble catching up to the fastball. He has above-average speed on the base paths.
Jonathan Rodriguez told me it was a dream come true to play in a major league stadium. He also told me things are looking better at QC with the weather warming up. JRod feels healthy and if he can stick at third, Cards may have something.
The native of Puerto Rico has good power but needs to shorten up his swing. He has ability to hit to all fields. In the field, he showed a quick first step but slow lateral movement. His arm is strong but he throws from a sidearm release. He will have to watch his conditioning as he is blessed with a Brett Wallace-like lower body.
Victor Sanchez is an enigma to me. The first baseman shows good polish and nice balance at the plate. He has a long swing and had trouble catching up to the high heat. He possesses a solid average glove at first. I would expect more out of him.
Cody Stanley looks like a pro hitter. He carries himself like a ballplayer and shows good polish at the plate. In the box, he has good balance and an understanding of the strike zone. The backstop has a quick bat and the ability to hit the ball the other way. Though he will probably never have more than gap power, I'd expect him to run out lots of doubles.
Robert Stock does not stand as upright as when I saw him in Johnson City. Still doesn't seem to drive the ball and doesn't look comfortable regardless of his recent streak at the plate. On a positive note, the USC product did show an ability to go to the opposite field. Behind the plate, he shows good footwork and a quick release. Add that to a rocket of an arm, he makes life difficult for would-be base stealers. I still don't think he has enough bat to make it behind the plate. I would love to see him on the mound.
Michael Swinson shows a more mature approach than the last time I saw him. Still super athletic, the outfielder will go the other way with the pitch and seems content putting the ball in play and using his speed to cause terror on the base paths. Swinson showed patience at the plate and the ability to work the count. In the field, he covers a lot of ground and has a much better arm than expected.
Colin Walsh showed a solid glove at third while displaying a slightly below average arm. He reminded me a lot of former farmhand Mike Folli. At the plate, he has a good approach but slightly below-average bat speed.
Dustin Mattison can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter.
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