September 30, 2011 at 3:28 PM
-Jose Vinicio has been more than holding his own the last two days, especially batting left-handed. Vinicio has displayed plus batspeed from the left side and the ability to turn around a good fastball. With a compact swing as a lefty, he uses his hands well to get the head of the bat out in front of the ball. Vinicio has some work to do as a righty. His swing is on the long side and he tends to tie himself up against inside fastballs. Vinicio has also been extremely fluid at shortstop, but has needlessly rushed a few plays that caused his throws to sail on him.
-Raul Alcantara worked 2.0 innings yesterday against Tampa's group and labored through his outing. Alcantara had a lot of trouble throwing strikes with his fastball. When he did get his fastball into the zone, it was grabbing too much of the upper tier and he gave up some hard contact. Alcantara's lack of fastball command yesterday can be attributed to failing to consistently find his release point. His heater worked 91-93 MPH and he also tried to throw his low-80s slider from time to time, with mixed results.
-Heiker Meneses put a charge into a first pitch fastball yesterday, driving it deep over the fence in left-center field for a home run. Meneses was quick getting the head of the bat through the hitting zone and did a good job getting his hands above the baseball to drive it with backspin. He did make an error on a routine play at shortstop and also looked a bit too laid back going after a couple of other balls hit out his way.
-Sean Coyle chased two high fastballs yesterday that resulted in a sky-high popup to the shortstop and a lazy flyball out to left field. Coyle looked too impatient in those plate appearances, going after offerings he had little chance to make good contact against. He showed off his quick bat in picking up a single on a fastball lower in the zone and also demonstrated better plate coverage with his swing than previously observed.
-Recently back to baseball activities, Garin Cecchini had two impressive batting practice sessions yesterday and this morning. Cecchini sprayed line drives around the field, driving the ball hard from gap-to-gap. In today's session, he rifled quite a few balls hard with strong backspin, showing little restriction from the broken hand that ended his 2011 season with Lowell.
-Jason Garcia sat 92-93 MPH with his fastball in yesterday's outing against Tampa, but had a tough time keeping the ball down and consistently throwing his fastball for strikes. Garcia rushed through his delivery frequently. He also worked in his 83-85 MPH slider, which was inconsistent and on the loopy side when he threw it. Garcia did snap off one very good slider to the last batter he faced. He's an intriguing arm to keep an eye on though and has shown solid mound presence for a pitcher his age.
-Jackie Bradley, Jr. has appeared in both games out in center field. Against Tampa yesterday, Bradley, Jr. tied himself up three times on inside fastballs to produce relatively weak contact in the process. He has a tendency to dive too far into the ball and this left him prone to hitting the ball off the handle yesterday. Today, he was diving less into the ball and picked up two hits against Baltimore's Instructs team. Bradley, Jr. used a fluid inside-out swing to line a single to center field and then drove a fastball away hard off the left field wall for a double, just missing the home run.
-Jordan Weems shows good reactions and fluid movements behind the dish. He has been tested on a lot of offerings in the dirt by the pitchers throwing in games. Weems moves well laterally and is also firm with his target when receiving the ball. He was slow coming out of his crouch when challenged by a runner today though. Weems recorded a 2.22 pop time down to second base on the play, which also was not helped by his slow release with his throw.
-Blake Swihart has a very fluid swing from both sides of the plate. Despite being on the lean side, the ball has come off his bat well in his batting practice sessions and he demonstrates plus batspeed, with the ability to produce solid backspin. On both days, Swihart has just gotten under fastballs batting right-handed to produce flyouts to left field. Down the line, with added strength due to physical maturation, these are balls that will have a better chance of carrying out of the ballpark.