A few of us took the day off and drove I-88 to Binghamton for the 1:05 game on Thursday. When we arrived, there was a bit more buzz outside the stadium then we expected. Turns out this was “Water Splash” day, and the promotion generated the year’s largest attendance, more than 5,000 fans.
Our first surprise was at the ticket booth. Did we want the “wet section” or the “dry section”?
Ah, decisions, decisions. We opted for dry, not wishing for a day of random spray attacks. And being high-rollers, we eyeballed the $12 tickets for the best seats in the house.
“That’s $6,” the guy behind the window said.
“No, total. The tickets are $2 each.”
(We had upgraded, you see, to the fancy seats; otherwise, pretty sure it was free. Thus, the big crowd of Binghamton’s finest.)
So we walked into the park, and planted ourselves in the fourth row behind home plate. In the sections behind us, gaggles of kids in bathing suits and their gap-toothed moms got sprayed by garden hoses all game long. We felt good about our decision to go dry. Gotta love small town baseball.
Anyway, I’m not a scout, not pretending to be an expert. Just a fan. All I have are impressions.
Brandon Nimmo: The body looks very good. I saw him two years ago and he definitely appears more solid, with the bone structure to add muscle in the future. I was glad to see that Brandon was aggressive on balls in the zone — I don’t think he took more than two strikes in all five PA’s. He swung through a high number of fastballs throughout the day, however, and only managed a weak, opposite flair for a single. He walked once, too. His AA average at the start of the game was at .197, in limited time. Scored from first on a double, showing good speed. Oh, yeah, one more thing: This kid is white bread all the way. Just strikes me as a bland, sincere, earnest player. Wears the cross. More St. Louis than New York. Just an impression.
Steven Matz: I was very excited to see Matz for the first time. Another guy with a great body, tall and lean, looks like a player. This was only his 4th start at AA after a call-up from St. Lucie. Smooth windup, hit 95 with an easy motion. He held the Sea Dogs hitless through four innings, seemed to tire in the 6th, and left after 5.1 IP after giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. Threw 90 pitches. That said, I wish I was more blown away. The secondary stuff didn’t have much break, but was effective against the hitters. Not overpowering, but a kid who seemed comfortable and in command on the hill. As often happens at these minor league games, you look at his face as he walks toward the dugout and think, “Still just a boy.”
Dilson Herrera: Had a very quiet game and was never tested defensively. Again, and I guess this is sort of a theme here, but the looked like a player. Great body, strong, solid, athletic, vibrant. He whiffed twice and never hit a ball solid all day, though he did manage a sac fly with a runner on 3rd, which I appreciated. He bunted for a hit, though the pitcher bungled in his attempt to field it. Good speed going down the line. On this one day, he looked bad on a number of breaking balls. And again, when he took off his helmet after grounding out, we looked at his face and thought,, “So young.” Just another case where watching a kid for one game is pretty meaningless, from a scouting perspective.
Other quick impressions:
Jack Leathersich: Threw 1.2 IP, struck out 3, gave up a hit. I was searching out an Italian Ice at the time and didn’t really focus. Seemed like he went with gas like the last time I saw him. Who knows with this guy. The K-rates are crazy. On this day, he didn’t walk hitters, got the job done. I’d still love to see a great slider or some “plus” secondary pitch before I’ll be a true believer.
Chase Huchingson: Side-armer, he brings the funk. Hit pretty hard, batters looked comfortable. 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K. But: lefty sidearmer!
Brian Burgamy (as played by Kevin Costner): He’s small, 5-10, definitely not a first baseman — but he played there this day as prospect Jayce Boyd got a day off. He’s 33 and has played in Independent Leagues for the past several years, so you have to hand it to this guy. A real deal ballplayer. Every AB was quality, got some great rips, hit a couple of blistering line drives. The old man can play the game, kids. I think he’ll put up awesome numbers in Vegas. It would be nice if he gets called up some future September, gets a few games in the bigs for somebody, something to tell the grandkids about.
Darrel Ceciliani: Had the best game of the bunch. Played a good CF, almost made a sensational diving grab, and hit the ball hard at least 3 times. Showed excellent speed on a stand-up triple. I’ve never been high on his as a prospect, but he has hit over .300 a couple of seasons already, so I guess you can’t write him off as a future 4th/5th outfielder. The K/BB numbers are not promising for this type of player (52/13 this year). Just turned 24.
Dustin Lawley: Blasted one out to the track with the bases juiced, but otherwise K’d twice and didn’t do much. Solid, stocky, not light on his feet at 3B. He’s shown power over his young career, so that’s something.
Xorge Carrillo: The catcher roped a hard double to LF, went 2-4, and is batting .327. He was probably glad to see Plawecki get promoted. I didn’t notice anything particular about him behind the plate, meaning that he was not obviously awesome or horrendous.
Cody Satterwhite: He entered the game in the 9th, by this time the Sea Dogs had the bus started and the AC on full, so it’s hard to say. He is a big guy with a big guy’s mug, and he came in throwing 95 MPH, maybe hit 96 once. Struck out all three hitters he faced, piece of pie, seemed to enjoy it. He’s 27 years old. Good chance we’ll see him down the road.
On the Sea Dogs . . .
Sean Coyle: The Sea Dogs’ 2B really impressed me, just looked like the best ballplayer on the field. Only guy to wear high socks, like he wanted to stand out in every way, and he did. Ripped a double, the first hit off Matz, in the 5th. Batted cleanup, hitting .336. He’s only 5′-8″. I made a point to remember his name and mention him here.
Luis Diaz: Started on the hill for the Dogs, struck out 9, showing a top-shelf breaking ball and fastball. He had one bad inning, a walk, an error, things kind of spiraled, a little erratic, then he settled down. Who knows? Not me! But I could imagine the 22-year-old in the Red Sox bullpen some future day.
Lastly . . .
Ballwinkle: This just seemed wrong to me on so many levels.