Catching Up With Vasquez
A good deal of hype has surrounded Danry Vasquez since he signed for seven figures back in 2010 at the ripe age of 16. Having only had the opportunity to see Vasquez in practice over the years, I must say it was an absolute treat to finally watch him in game action. The 19-year-old, outfield prospect drove a first pitch fastball for a single and later added a double in the exhibition matchup against Western Michigan University. Afterwards Vasquez was kind enough to talk shop.
"[I've] been working a lot on my defense and running because I think I'm doing really good hitting and I don't want to change anything about it," Vasquez proudly stated, when asked what he'd been up to this off-season.
Vasquez admitted to hitting the gym hard this off-season, eager to increase his power production on the field.
"I want to get more power, and try to have more extra bases during the season," said Vasquez.
Young Danry also spoke highly of fellow countryman and teammate Miguel Cabrera, crediting him for his mentorship.
"I talk a lot with Miguel," said Vasquez. "He's like my dad here. He's helping me all the time if I need him."
Closing things out, Danry and I briefly spoke about his potential landing spot this season.
"I don't think about where I'm going," Vasquez stated. "I just know if they send me to [West] Michigan I just have to work hard and be better everyday,"
Collins Discusses Off-Season and Hot Start
Picking up right where he left off last season in Lakeland, outfield prospect Tyler Collins is turning heads and making the most of his invite to big league camp. Collins, 22, is batting .345 with two triples, two doubles and a home run over 29 at-bats this spring.
"I worked out hard this offseason," Collins explained, when asked about his hot start. "I got a real chance to hit the gym hard and prepare myself to play ball. Then, when I got to Lakeland, the coaching staff did a great job of getting us some live batting practice and a genuine opportunity to become prepared for the games."
After conversing a bit more about his off-season workouts, an interesting name surfaced: Josh Hamilton. Collins, a Texas native, briefly discussed his time at the gym with Hamilton this off-season.
"[Josh Hamilton] came to our gym for a few days before taking off to California," said Collins. "It was just cool to see a superhero in person; to know he is just another person."
With Spring Training winding down and cuts and assignments on the horizon I also inquired on Collins' potential assignment.
Collins diplomatically replied, "Anywhere I end up I'm going to play as hard as I can because everything else is out of my control. I can't afford to think nor worry about that kind of thing."
Rogers Bringing Heat
Southpaw Joe Rogers has looked impressive this spring, most notably in his relief appearance against Western Michigan University.
Rogers, who routinely works with a low-90s fastball, hit 94 mph with ease regularly, touching as high as 97 mph during his outing against the Broncos. The 22-year-old southpaw closed out games for UCF and short-season Connecticut last season.
While the Tigers' brass continues to whisper thoughts of giving Rogers a trial as a starter, general consensus from the scouts in attendance seemed to lean more towards future reliever.
"Easily a fast riser in relief." one scout replied. "And a good one too!"
Rogers toyed with Bronco batters, racking up multiple strikeouts, including this filthy hook here.
•Steven Moya appears to have healed well from his Tommy John surgery. At the plate, the 21-year-old put together some quality at-bats with nice swings. Moya also showcased his arm when he fired a missile from right-field, throwing out a WMU Bronco at home plate.
•Montreal Robertson's mid-to-high-90s fastball was filthy against WMU. He also flashed some nifty PFP skills to escape a late inning jam.
•Dixon Machado has noticeably bulked up a bit this off-season. I'm not claiming he's the Hulk or anything, but it's a solid improvement in size that's worth noting.
•Jake Thompson looked a little rusty in his outing against WMU. Fastball sat primarily in the high-80s, scraping 90 mph, maybe 91mph a time or two. Neither command, nor control were on his side. It's March. I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill. It's worth noting though.
James Chipman is the Lakeland Correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.