- James Kaprielian was absolutely dominant in his second minor league Spring Training start on Monday, recording his first seven outs via the strikeout [two looking, five swinging]. He was sitting 95-97 mph with his fastball in the first inning en route a 1-2-3 frame, all via the strikeout. His slider was clearly plus on the day and baffled the over-matched Dunedin Blue Jays and even a couple of his changeups flashed plus potential too. He allowed just one hit and one walk in his three innings, and sat anywhere from 93-97 mph over his final two frames. He looked like a big leaguer on Monday.
- While Kaprielian was doing his thing on the mound for the Tampa Yankees, it was Charleston third baseman Drew Bridges doing his at the plate for the RiverDogs in their 5-5 tie. He put Charleston on the board immediately with a towering three-run blast to left-centerfield in his very first at-bat, plating Jeff Hendrix [1-3, SB, run] and Hoy Jun Park [1-2, BB, K, run] to give the Dogs a quick three-run lead. It was his only hit in the game as he struck out in his final two plate appearances, one of them looking.
Tampa Starting Lineup: Jorge Mateo, Thairo Estrada, Miguel Andujar, Bo Thompson, Austin Aune, Zach Zefner, Carlos Diaz, Michael O'Neill, and Santiago Nessy.
Charleston Starting Lineup: Jeff Hendrix, Kyle Holder, Hoy Jun Park, Drew Bridges, Trey Amburgey, Kendall Coleman, Luis Torrens, Kane Sweeney, and Estevan Florial.
- Bridges wasn't the only one swinging some heavy lumber on Monday; Tampa right fielder Austin Aune [1-2, BB, K, 2 RBI, run] also had a monstrous first-inning blast, driving in a pair with an opposite field home run to deep left field. His home run was even more impressive, however, as his blast went into the wind. Aune has put on some great weight over the past couple of years and this offseason is no different. He physically looks stronger than ever.
- Kaprielian wasn't the only impressive hurler who tossed for the Tampa Yankees on Monday. In fact, Dunedin never really stood a chance as Jose "Vicente" Campos piggy-backed Kaprielian. While he wasn't nearly as powerful, sitting mostly 91-92 mph, Campos was nearly as effective, tossing 3 2/3 shutout innings of his own. He scattered two hits [one was an infield single of the swinging bunt variety] and one walk, and struck out four batters. His curveball in particular, while not exactly consistent, displayed its plus potential on a few occasions. He too looked quite good.
- While Bridges had the big blast for Charleston, it was the depth of the lineup that helped their cause overall. Catcher Luis Torrens had a very good game of his own, reaching base all three times he stepped to plate, going 2-2 with a walk. Defensively he was on his game too, gunning down the only runner who attempted to steal on him.
- Charleston starting pitcher Brody Koerner struggled with his command on Monday but still pitched well overall, limiting Toronto to just one run over 2.1 innings despite walking three batters. Of course his four strikeouts helped, many of which came off of a very good breaking ball he was throwing.
- Tampa didn't have a whole lot going their way hit-wise as a number of batters had some really bad luck, including Jorge Mateo [0-2, BB] and Miguel Andujar [0-2, K]. Both batters scorched the ball right at defenders all day long. Mateo lined out to shortstop in his first at-bat and then lined out sharply to centerfield in his third plate appearance. It was the same deal for Andujar, hitting a missile shot right to the third baseman in one at-bat and then doing the same to the left fielder later in the game.
- Officially Bo Thompson went 0-1 in the game, hitting into a double-play, but yet he reached base three times in the Tampa Victory. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
- Charleston left fielder Kendall Coleman did his best Thompson impression, walking twice in his game. He also scored two runs, stole a base, and had an infield single in a 1-2 afternoon. Coleman put on a tremendous amount of useful weight in the offseason; he looks stronger than ever and still has room to fill out even more.
- Not to be outdone by Coleman, Charleston outfielder Trey Amburgey [0-3, K] reported to camp in fantastic shape. He appears to be a solid 12-15 pounds heavier than last season and doesn't appear to have lost a step speed-wise either.
- Many of the people who could afford to put on good weight this offseason did [Coleman, Amburgey, Andujar] and those that needed to trim their bodies did too, including Nelson Gomez [0-1] and Dermis Garcia [1-1]. Both had one at-bat in their respective games but it's physically where they look great, especially Gomez. He went from potential 'bad body' to trim but muscular over the offseason.
- On the subject of top International free agents, centerfielder Estevan Florial continues to be the talk of camp among the lower level players. He went just 1-4 in Charleston's tie but the one hit was extremely impressive and emblematic of his playing style. He hit a towering popup between the second baseman and right fielder into very shallow right-center and busted it right out of the batter's box for a sliding double when the ball bounced between the defenders on a very windy afternoon in Tampa.
- The International program made their presence felt beyond Gomez, Garcia, and Florial. Erick Mendez [1-1, RBI, HBP], Jason Lopez [1-1], and Welfrin Mateo [0-1, BB] all had very good at-bats on Monday. The same can be said for Gosuke Katoh too. He didn't get a hit but he a rocket to the centerfielder in his first at-bat and later drew a walk in his second and final plate appearance.
- It was reported that Matt Duran was released over the weekend and so has Ty McFarland. Both players, despite being hitter-ish infielders, simply weren't able to avoid the training room over the past couple of years.