Monday, June 06, 2005

Game Report: Indianapolis vs Charlotte

I attended the Indianapolis Indians game yesterday afternoon. The player I wanted to see was pitcher Ian Snell. I also got another look at Nate McLouth and a first looks at Joe Borchard and Brian Anderson. I was hoping to see Brad Eldred, he didn't play, I presume because he was hit by a pitch on saturday.

Here's some background. It was really hot to begin with. A very stiff breeze out to left center. It was very gusty and I'm surprised nobody took advantage of it. Late in the game a front came through and it cooled off about 10 degrees almost immediately. Everybody was worried that a thunderstorm was imminent, but it never really happened.

Ian Snell looked pretty good, but the Knights got some hits off him. He worked primarily with his fastball. Probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of his pitches were heaters. He worked mostly at 93-95 with some 96's thrown in there. He also took a little off of it at times, going down to 90 and 91 probably half a dozen times, mostly early in the game. He didn't lose any velocity as he went on. He was consistently at 95-96 MPH in the 7th. He threw his "hard curve" in the low 80's, and it was his primary off-speed choice. He didn't throw very many changeups and when he did throw it, I could see it coming. He had the same release point on all of his pitches and the same arm action, but his arm SPEED was noticeably slower on the change than it was with the fastball or slurve. He left a couple of pitches up and got punished for it. Ross Gload smashed a triple to deep right center that would have been out of a lot of ballparks. Raul Cassanova hit one out to the right field power alley. It wasn't his best game obviously, but he always seemed like he was in control and I liked what I saw.

Jon Adkins was the opposing starter and I was surprised by his stuff. I didn't remember him having that kind of gas. He pumped it up regularly up to 96 and 97 MPH. The problem is that it didn't have much movement and he left it out over the plate. The Indy outfield combined for 8 hits, 3 of them for extra bases. Nate McLouth in particular looked good. He pulled 2 fastballs to right center ad went the other way with one. He worked the count and made good, hard contact with the pitch that he wanted.

Brian Anderson didn't make much of an impression. Snell didn't give him much to work with on offense, and in the field he did a reasonable job in center. He had one ugly looking play where the wind played havoc with a deep drive to right center and he went crashing into the outfield wall.

All in all, it was a nice afternoon at the ballpark.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Chad Orvella Report

Chad Orvella, RHP, Tampa Bays Devil Rays
Drafted 13th Rd, 2003 Draft, North Carolina State
Bats R/Throws R
24 YO, 5'11", 190 lbs

I just don't know how this happens. Orvella was a college shortstop with a big arm. The Rays drafted him and moved him to the mound and he hit the ground running. Even with little experience, he has 3 spectacular pitches and good command. His low-to-mid 90's fastball has a ton of movement. His changeup is filthy. And his worst pitch is his slider, which is still better than what you'll see from most good major leaguers. I don't know how a guy just picks up a ball and immediately starts doing this.

2004 Total: 1.71 ERA, 116 K, 10 BB, 42 H, 7 HR, 74 IP
pre-2005 mL Career: 1.46 ERA, 132 K, 11 BB, 48 H, 7 HR, 86 IP

After more of the same, he got the call. He should be more than able to be a dominant reliever. If the Rays want him to be their closer, he'd be great. If they want to keep his arbitration payday to be lower, they could get just as much use out of him giving him multiple inning assignments in tight games in the 7th and 8th. Bad teams like the Rays don't really have much of a reason to carry a designated closer. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on him. He joins the ranks that include Jesse Crain and Akinori Otsuka of closers in waiting, who would set the fantasy world alight if they actually do get a chance. If he was on Atlanta's roster, he'd already have been on SportsCenter 3 times by now.

ETA: Now
4 1/2 Stars

Note: Sorry this is only the second prospect report I've posted since coming back from vacation. I've been pretty busy at work and I've been gearing up for the draft.

Today, I hope to go see Ian Snell pitch for the first time. This is also the first time I'll get to see Brad Eldred.

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