Welcome to this week’s edition of the Blue Rocks report. You might notice I’ve changed the format up a bit this time around. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions for me, feel free to leave them below or on my twitter @nvitolano.
Offense: If found, please return immediately to Frawley Stadium
The red-hot Blue Rocks were coming into a long homestand with a full head of steam—which quickly vanished into thin air. However, the slow bats didn’t stop the pitching from coming out to play. While the Blue Rock rotation is arguably one of the most talented in the minors, we saw performances from some names you might not expect.
First, the game by game recap from this past week:
I couldn’t narrow it down to just one, so I am just going to leave all three here.
Marcelo Martinez on 4/17
The stat line speaks for itself here. He rolled through 5 innings only giving up 1 hit in his first start of the season after a handful of good appearances in relief. His line: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Daniel Lynch on 4/20
His control was impressive this time out; throwing 90 pitches and 60(!) for strikes. He got hit hard his first few appearances this season, so this start was a nice turnaround. Lynch was especially impressive against Texas’s top 2 prospects in Leody Tavares and JP Martinez. He froze Taveras with a 2-seamer in the first inning, and forced Martinez into a soft grounder and a high pop to center. My only criticism is that he drew contact (with exception to 1 HBP) on every batter the third time through the order (1 FO, 1 GO, 1 2B, 1 1B).
J.C Cloney vs Winston-Salem on 4/22
This was the most surprising/intriguing of the three, especially because Marcelo Martinez was the probable after throwing a gem last time out (see above). Cloney’s first start earlier in the month was nothing special and he made a handful of decent relief appearances. He had 3 strikeouts, and utilized a high fastball as the strikeout pitch in all three. The matchup of note in this game was against Nick Madrigal (MLB #49). Cloney shut him down, forcing a ground out and line out. He uses his 4 pitch repertoire well—and while the velocity isn’t always there, the control was. He slides under the radar compared to some of the other names on the staff, but is one to watch.
I thought it was going to be Kyle Isbel, and then he landed on the DL at the end of last week. Otherwise, there was no one that really stood out to me—or anyone, for that matter.
Kyle Isbel placed on the 7 day DL (4/18)
He left the game early the previous day after attempting to make a diving catch. It doesn’t look too serious; but still a scary moment nonetheless.
Rudy Martin called up from the Burlington Royals (4/18)
MJ Melendez’s arm behind the plate
This is nothing new or surprising. Most scouts agree that Melendez has a plus arm; and even said himself that defense comes first as a catcher. That said, it’s always promising to see scout evaluations translate to in-game performance. On Saturday, he picked off JP Martinez on a cross-diamond throw in the 6th and caught the speedy Yonny Hernandez stealing the previous inning.
Nick Pratto’s AB’s this week
By no means am I saying that he has been hot this past week. Actually, his stat line suggests the opposite. He did, however, have a handful of particularly promising at-bats later in the week. On Sunday (4/21), we saw an opposite field single on a 1-2 count.
In his first at-bat on Monday, with a RISP, he drew a 3-1 count and picked his pitch but didn’t make good contact—grounding out to end the inning. In his next AB, he drew a 3-2 walk. He still had his moments though, like a groundout on a 3-0 pitch out of the zone on Monday.
In his 600 plate appearances for Lexington last season, his K% was high at 28.5% and his BB% was low at 8.3%. While these two stats do not tell the entire story; it can be said that Pratto isn’t too patient of a hitter. Despite this, he still managed to slash .271/.335/.423 (and an wOBA of .341) as a 19 year old in A-ball. It should be said that improving plate discipline is part of a players development, so we will watch his at-bats closely throughout this season.
Seuly Matias’s Strikeouts
I was contemplating whether or not to leave this section blank given how early in the season it is. Even taking sample size in to account, the rate at which Seuly Matias struck out this past week is astounding.
In his last 27 plate appearances (4/17-4/23) he has struck out 14 times (all swinging)–9 of these on 1-2 or 0-2 counts. His swings have mostly been big boy hacks; at a mix of pitches in and out of the zone. Maybe snapping another bat over his knee with get him out of this funk.
That’s all for this week! Check back this around this time next week for another edition of the Blue Rock Report.
Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)