Complicating matters, the players were put through vision screening – making quite a few hitters unavailable until near the end of the session.
"Not nearly as much effort," one scout commented after seeing Poreda throw. "He was hitting 94 the other day and hasn't hit 90 today. It looks like he is going through the motions."
"He doesn't appear to be into it at all," another scout commented. "It is a shame – he should be using every session to get better."
The play of the defense also was lacking. Outfielders didn't show much in the way of attacking balls hit at them or over their head.
One player even commented on the lack of effort, offering up other options that would eliminate the players that weren't given their all. The player wasn't happy with the effort being put forth on multiple fronts.
One scout said he had to revise his thinking on the right-hander. "I originally had lousy changeup, lousy curveball and lousy command," the scout said. "The
changeup looked better and his command improved tenfold. A back of the bullpen kind of guy with a few years of development."
"He had a good inning – much better control," pitching coordinator Mike Couchee said. "His confidence is up."
His changeup came in at 83-84 mph and his fastball was in the low-90s, as he only threw those two pitches. He has hit the mid-90s with his fastball in the past.
Pelzer hit 92 mph on the gun and had command of his fastball. The changeup is still a work in progress but shows signs of being an adequate pitch.
There have been muttering that he could be dominant in relief and it might eventually be where he ends up.
Portillo hit 92 mph on the gun and tossed one changeup that came in at a ridiculous 66 – getting a strikeout on the pitch.
"At his age, mechanics are still difficult to repeat," pitching coach Jimmy Jones said of the bouts of wildness seen in Portillo. "In three years when he has more body control – geez, he will be really good."
There are times when Portillo will short-arm the ball rather than get a full over the top motion to secure a downward plane.
"He has the feel for a changeup but will choke the heck out of it," one scout noted.
A tournament has developed over the last two weeks with four teams vying for the title. Three situational hitting sessions are in the books with one more to go.
Matt Vern was money in the hit-and-run session, going 13-for-14, as he ended up going twice because their team was down a man.
Jaff Decker led all participants on Saturday, posting a 35 point round made up of 10 different innings that each presented a new situation. He hit four homers and was robbed of another one when it hit the top of the wall and bounced back into play.
Cole Figueroa went 7-for-7 in the hit-and run inning, going down to get balls that were at his shoe tops and getting on top of balls that were over his head.
"That was an exhibition," hitting coordinator Tony Muser said, complimentary.
Chris Tremblay didn't swing at one hit-and-run pitch, not getting credit for the point. It is hard to fault him when the pitch was above eye level.
"I am sorry if it doesn't click to swing at a pitch above my head," Tremblay said.
While one team is hitting, their opposition is in the field, offering up jibes.
The leading team is coached by Orv Franchuck. The Double-A hitting coach has Nate Freiman and Allan Dykstra on his team and got big contributions from Jeudy Valdez on Saturday. Freiman, you might recall, amassed 59 points in one session – the highest to date and the only one to exceed 40 points.
A 19-year-old right-hander, he topped out at 87 mph according to one scout and another had him at 89 mph. His changeup was a solid pitch, getting Kulbacki swinging over top once. His curveball wasn't very good at all. It lacked any break and floated in. Liriano scored a single and Valdez smacked a sharp liner down the line.
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