Minor League Camp Report: March 17

With the big league playing split-squad games, a number of guys got called over from the back fields, making Sunday a relatively quiet day. The lower affiliates stayed home while Double-A and Triple-A went on the road to play Los Angeles.

The marquee draw was a pair of innings each by Max Fried and Zach Eflin in the High-A game. The matchup was enough to draw scouts from two other organizations to the complex.

Fried gave up only one walk in his second game action of the spring, and that came on a questionable call that could have been strike three. The lefty worked 91-92 with his fastball in the first inning, jumping up to 94. He ended the inning with an absolutely nasty curveball that froze the hitter for strike three.

In his second frame inning, he got a broken bat grounder to short, a called strikeout with a fastball on the inside corner and a weak grounder to first. In all, he was efficient – important given that he was going after just two days of rest – and showed the combination of talent and polish that made him the organization's top pitcher in the 2012 draft.

Eflin's innings were equally full of promise. The big righty pumped his first fastball at 95 and didn't back off much from there with his four-seamer. He also showed a two-seam fastball at 90-91 and change up at 85-86 with good inside run. In the second, he also showed a slider that worked well to the outside corner. Although he doesn't have quite the same polish as Fried, his tools and approach were both impressive. Yimmi Brasoban, Matt Chabot, Kyle Ottoson and Mark Picca each worked two innings in the Low-A game before Mike Kelly followed for one. Brasoban, also coming back on short rest, again showed nice movement again and is an arm to watch once the short season clubs get going.

Ottoson and Picca offered an interesting contrast from the left side. Ottoson, seemingly one of the few pitchers in the organization not over 6'4", worked back-and-forth in the zone relying on deception and movement to pitch to contact. Picca had a little more velocity, especially working from the stretch.

At the end of the game, Mike Kelly showed both why he was a first-round pick in 2011 and why he struggled and couldn't make it out Peoria last summer. His fastball sat easily at 94-95, with a handful coming in at 97-98. He showed both a curve and slider, each with good velocity separation. But he was also all over the place.

Kelly walked one, struck out one and bounced a pair of wild pitches. He could have gotten out of the inning with a pair of grounders, but the defense behind him was spotty, so they rolled the inning over. Look for him to get much the same treatment this year that Johnny Barbato received last year, with the hope that he will respond as positively.

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News and notes:

Luis Domoromo got off the van from the Dodgers' complex with a heavily bandaged calf after he took a fastball off of it and was having visible trouble walking. He is currently day-to-day.

Carlos Quintana, who has impressed many with his development since last season, got the start at second base. Naturally a third baseman, and a guy whose size may mean he'll need to move back over eventually, made a nice play charging the hopper over the mound early in the game. His ability to move across the diamond will allow him and Duanel Jones to be on the field together most days for Ft. Wayne.

Another defensive experiment didn't work as well. Minor league Rule 5 pick Diego Goris got a look at shortstop, where he wasn't very fluid. I saw a pair of errors, and his mechanics were fairly choppy. He's likely headed to Elsinore as a utility player, although it appears his utility will be limited primarily to second and third. His ticket is definitely his bat.

A pair of outfielders are also working on position changes. Luis Tejada is playing almost exclusively at first base this spring and could break as Ft. Wayne's primary guy at the position. He has the size and right-handed bat to stick there.

Malquiel Brito is working on a move to second base. He got after a few balls up the middle well, but will likely stay in the desert to work on mechanics.

Yair Lopez had surgery on the hook of hamate in his left hand and is out until mid-year.


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