Saturday, March 19, 2016

2016 Twins Spring Training Coverage from Fort Myers. 3/19: Rainy Day Fields Two and Three

The thunderstorm system that caused havoc in Central Florida and the Grapefruit League and cancelled the Twins' game against the Pirates in Bradenton, hit Fort Myers with its tail end and cut action in the Minor League Fields short.   Here are my notes from today:

With the Twins A+ and A teams playing at home against those of the Red Sox, I was looking forward to see Nick Gordon in action.  Alas, he is still out injured.

Andro Cutura, the Twins 7th round pick in the 2014 draft from Southeastern Louisiana University has never been on my radar, but now he will.  He has an interesting 4 pitch mix: four-seamer, two-seamer, slider/cutter and a changeup.  They all overlap in velocity and his range is up to 91 for the four-seamer and down to 81 mph for the changeup.  He has great command and control of all his pitches and thew all of them in any count.  All of his pitches have the potential of being swing and miss pitches.  His velocity range is somewhat atypical for successful pitches, but his command is also atypical.  He utilizes the whole zone, up, down, in and out, and he is not afraid to throw a sinker or a cutter in the dirt for the hitters to change.  His windup will bring memories of Juan Berenguer to the older Twins' fans, since he starts it with both of his glove and ball arms extended in front of him.  Easy mechanics with a small pause right before his release, which is enough to confuse the hitters.  He pitched 3 great innings striking out 5 and having the rest of the hitters ground out.  He fell apart in his fourth inning of work, allowing 4 consecutive singles after his first fly out.  Not sure whether there stamina issues (the 22 year old missed all of 2014 recovering from injury) or whether his excellent sinker and cutter flatten when he pitches form the stretch, which was the case today.   Definitely someone who is not a household name, to keep an eye on.

Logan Wade, the 24 year old Australian who had an excellent 2013 in Elizabethton and then he fell off the face of the earth, looked very good today.   In his first plate appearance, he singled to the opposite field,  was successful in a delayed steal of second base when the ball was pitched in the dirt, and  then scored from second on a single by TJ White to shallow right field.  In his next plate appearance he hit a line drive home run to the opposite (right) field as a right hand batter against Boston's LHP Jalen Beeks.

Speaking of TJ White, the 24 year old Twins' 18th round draft pick in 2014 from UNLV, has been riding a 4 AB hitting streak that he extended to 6 with singles in his first 2 plate appearances. 

Max Murphy, also 24 and the 9th round pick of the 2014 draft, had another excellent day with a long home run and a shoestring catch in the outfield.   I wrote what he did about days ago here.

Brian Navarreto, the 21 year old Twins 6th round pick in 2013 from Jacksonville, FL Arlington Day School, looked definitely bigger in statute from last Spring.  At this point he looks bigger than Adam Walker.  Navarreto was always regarded as a good catcher, but his hitting was been more than suspect.   He has a very good plate appearance with a single at the opposite field, after he swang wildly at a breaking ball in the dirt, but let the next one go for a ball.  There are some hopeful signs but there is still a lot of work necessary.


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