San Antonio, TX: A few quick notes and observations from MadFriars.com trip to San Antonio where we saw the progress of the Cedric Hunter, Mitch Canham's role, the bullpen, the highlight reel, Logan Forsythe's progress, and more…
Cedric Hunter does look much better this year. He's shortened up the amount of movement that he has before he loads his hands, so he's much quicker to the ball. Additionally, he's changed his approach at the plate, trying to force the pitcher to throw more balls they don't want too, which has resulted in more power and walks.
As with Simon Castro, it's fun to watch Wynn Pelzer take bullpens because he is dead serious, as opposed to his more carefree presence in the clubhouse. There is hardly any wasted movement or motion as he takes the same intensity he shows in games into his practice sessions. Pelzer subscribes to the old adage of how you practice is how you perform.
The Padres seem fairly determined to make Mitch Canham into a type of super-utility player; a left-handed hitter that can catch, play both first and third and some outfield. The real question is how good will he be defensively at any of those positions and right now there is still much work to do.
Behind the plate, he still has trouble unbending his 6-foot-3 frame for the low balls and base runners have stolen 11 out of 15 bases on him. The toughest position for him this year, though, has been third base where he has an .882 fielding percentage.
Also, in his second tour of the Texas League he has been struggling at the plate.
Despite having the advantage of pitching in a quasi-wind tunnel; the Missions bullpen is for real. Mike Saeger, the Missions play-by-play broadcaster, has been covering minor league baseball for over 20 years, and according to him, he has never seen a deeper and more talented bullpen – with a lineup that consists of Mike DeMark (before he moved to Portland), Brandon Gomes, Alexis Lara, Evan Scribner and Craig Italiano.
"All of these guys can throw in the 90's, throw strikes and are fearless."
If shortstop Beamer Weems bat can ever come around, watch out; he's an incredibly gifted defensive shortstop. One of the most fluid athletes that you will see in any sport; he makes so many plays look much easier than they have any right to be.
Get to the park early and watch him take infield, he will put on a show.
Second baseman Logan Forsythe has been out since April 23 but was taking ground balls and took batting practice for the first time on Friday. The Missions expect him back shortly, maybe even by the end of this week.
Keep an eye on pitcher Corey Kluber. He's 1-3 with a 3.95 ERA but his peripheral numbers and stuff indicate he could be much better. He has 52 strikeouts in 49 IP against only 18 walks and his IP/hits ratio is 49/47 coming into his Tuesday start. At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, he has good size and decent velocity.
The unanimous answer by all the players on the most underrated player is super-utility man Andy Parrino, who got called up to San Antonio when shortstop Weems was hurt.
The switch-hitting Parrino has played second, short and third and leads the team in OPS at .850.
Parrino wasn't resting much on his laurels, he was one of the first players to the park everyday to take extra batting practice in the cage.
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