Minor League Spring Training Report: 3/12/07

Minor League Spring Training camp focused on batting practice and baserunning drills. Continue reading to find out who stood out and why.

Powered by my last full day in Florida, onto the bullet points:

--Position players participated in sliding drills under the guidance of Minor League Fielding/Baserunning Instructor Tom Lawless. The drill involved players running 90 feet in their socks and sliding on a tarp surface with a towel attached on the far side. Coach Lawless wasn't emphasizing anything too advanced, so no one really struggled with the drills, but it was fun watching big boys like Chris Vinyard and Mark Fleisher try to gain enough momentum to complete the slide.

--Shortstop and 2006 4th round selection Blake Davis looked sharp in batting practice. No one doubts his acumen in the field, but his bat is considered very fringy. Today, however, the small-framed Davis was squaring the ball consistently and spraying line drives to all fields. He'll make his full-season debut at high-A Frederick and appears ready for the assignment.

--Pedro Florimon looked better in batting practice than in previous days. He has a tendency of hitting a few balls square and then looking really ugly on the next pitch. Most of the time when he struggles, it looks like he is loading up expecting an inside pitch. When the pitch comes on the outer half, he steps in the hole and flails with one hand. This is something that full-season league pitchers are going to be able to exploit, so he'll have to make some adjustments to see the kind of success he did in rookie-level Bluefield again.

--There were few sights more amusing than seeing the diminutive Jonathan Tucker alternating with the much larger Mark Fleisher and Nolan Reimold in the same batting practice session. While Reimold was clearly working on situational hitting and did not get to display his prodigious power, Fleisher and Tucker looked sharp. Fleisher hit a lot of long flyballs, while Tucker showed more pop than his stature would suggest. Like Blake Davis, Tucker excelled at spraying line drives to all fields.

--Arturo Rivas put on a display in batting practice. No one has doubted Rivas' tools, but he needs to turn them into baseball skills. He started to do that in the second half of 2006 and will need to continue that trend to avoid getting buried.

--Camp ended with baserunning drills, this time on the actual bases. On the field consisting of players from the lowest levels; Dashenko Ricardo, Bobby Andrews, Dave Cash, Tyler (aka Bobby) Henson, and Luis Lopez looked like the next wave of base-stealing threats.

Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com

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