What was intended to be a slightly shorter day than usual, with a pair of 10:00 A.M. games on Wednesday, became much shorter when heavy early morning rains left the grounds crew with an impossible task of readying the fields in time.
The Mets were to bring their two clubs to Jupiter, but concurred with the decision to cancel the games. One Cardinals coach mentioned that the break for the players is something the staff had been discussing anyway, given they are about six weeks into the two-plus month camp.
A number of hitters, including newly-arrived Aledmys Diaz, got in cage work. The rehabbing pitchers also got in their conditioning. Among the pitchers throwing bullpens were Steven Farinaro and Dailyn Martinez.
With Wednesday's schedule diverted despite just a 40 percent rain forecast, Thursday's 80 percent chance of rain means nothing is written in ink for tomorrow, either. The Marlins apparently want to move up their noon home game against Oliver Marmol's Red club, but field conditions will have a say about that.
As is customary on some camp days, especially with a number of pitchers needing work, a seven-inning simulated game is also on Thursday's docket. In that case, the White club is further split to include a Blue team as well. So the sim game would be White against Blue.
Palm Beach also has a rare Thursday morning game, scheduled to play in the main stadium at 10:35 A.M. That and their Wednesday evening contest, both against the Dunedin Jays, will be at the mercy of the weather.
Following are the rosters from a few days ago. In other words, they are already out of date. For example, Trey Nielsen and Nick Frey from the rehab group threw a total of five innings for the White and Red teams, respectively, on Tuesday.
|EST Red||EST White||Rehab||Tm|
|D Perez||J Rodriguez||Gast||Mem|
|V De Leon||Caballero||Swagerty||Spr|
|Grana||De La Cruz|
|A De Leon||E Rodriguez|
I know a number of people are very interested in feedback on standout players from instructs, especially those considered under the radar. As I have been here just a couple of days, that type of information is best secured from those who have been watching games for weeks.
Subscribers should look forward to an in-depth such report from Johnson City manager Johnny Rodriguez in the next few days. In the meantime, here are a few snippets I have picked up. Seven of the eight are still teenagers. (Player ages are in parentheses.)
Regarding young pitchers, three names that have come up multiple times are Juan Perez (18), Dewin Perez (19) and Fernando Baez (22). The former two pitched in the Gulf Coast League this past season while Baez was at Johnson City. The Perezes (not related) are both starters, Juan a righty and Dewin a lefty. More advanced, reliever Baez cracked The Cardinal Nation's top 40 at number 38 prior to the season.
All three, like many of the pitchers here, have great stuff, but these are making good headway at establishing fastball command. That is viewed as crucial, as is throwing first-pitch strikes.
Juan Perez is big and stocky. Though he can throw in the mid-to-upper 90's, he is instead taking off some velocity in the name of improved command. Most of Perez' Tuesday fastballs were in the 88-91 mph range, though he touched 93. Baez is also on the lower velocity-better command plan, though I have not yet seen him pitch here.
Hitters called out include outfielder Magneuris Sierra (18), said to have exceptional closing speed and infielder Eliezer Alvarez (19). The latter has played up the middle, but has such a strong arm and a developing bat that he is being used at third base here in extended.
The middle infield sports a trio continuing to receive high marks in Oscar Mercado (19), Edmundo Sosa (18) and Chris Rivera (19). Mercado, the second-rounder from the 2013 draft, is considered the most complete player, while Rivera has impressed with his advanced bat. The challenge, with Sosa coming to the US for the first time this season, is where to place them all so they can play every day.
Link to earlier report
Cards extended spring camp report: 05/13/14
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