Monday, March 19, 2012

Whispers from Surprise 3/18/12

Today was my first day in Surprise this Spring. Unfortunately, due to the weather I was only able to watch the Major League game and about an inning and a half of the intrasquad game in the Minor League camp. I tweeted all day long, but I thought I'd go ahead and put all my thoughts into a post here.
  • First off, today Cody Clark got the opportunity start for the Major League team. Greg Schaum decided to start the #TeamCody movement on twitter for those hoping to see Cody Clark get a shot in the Majors. Personally, the organization is lucky to have a player such as Cody Clark. The guy is an organizational warrior and every Spring he provides depth for Major League camp. I've always thought that was all he was and nothing more. However, after a couple of injuries the Royals depth is in question. The fact is, if the Royals don't make a move for a guy outside the organization the back up catcher spot is going to be a competition between Cody Clark and Max Ramirez.

  • In the first inning Hosmer fielded a ball deep in the hole between first and second. It was a spectacular play, as he was positioned well off the line. Perhaps, this is the result of improved positioning for Hosmer entering 2012. Anyway, after the stop Hosmer decided to go with a long underhand throw to Hochevar. As a result, Hochevar was pulled off the bag and the runner was safe. Hopefully as Hosmer fields more and more balls in the hole, he'll get more comfortable firing the ball to the pitcher covering the bag.

  • Speaking of Eric Hosmer, the dude was really on the top of his offensive game today. He finished the game 3-3 and was a triple short of the cycle. His home run was a no doubter to straight away center, his double was a beautiful piece of hitting that saw him take the ball the other way when he hit a laser down the left field line, and his single was a nice pull right through the second and first base hole. 

  • Another guy that impressed me with that bat today, was Alcides Escobar. Escobar crushed a ball off the top of the wall in left center and had he not began to coast into second just momentarily, he would have had an in the park home run. Later in the game, Escobar did a magnificent job of going with a pitch on the outside part of the plate. The result was a line drive to right for a single.

  • On the opposite side of the bag and spectrum was Johnny Giavotella. Giavotella's first two at bats weren't pretty and when he made a diving stop in the field he bobbled the transfer. Meanwhile, Chris Getz came in and almost immediately made a great play deep on the outfield grass for an out. 

  • For the first time, I got the opportunity to see Chris Getz new batting stance in action. Ned Yost and Kevin Seitzer are both extremely happy with the way Getz is swinging the bat as a result. They site the ability to create more power and an altered swing path as reasons for optimism. Here's a picture I took of the stance:

  • Joakim Soria probably looked the worst out of an Royal today, but then it turned from bad performance to bad sign as he signaled for the trainer to meet him on the mound. Ultimately he left the game and judging by the quotations I've read since, I can't help but to be pessimistic. Luckily for the Royals, the bullpen has so much depth and so many quality arms they can probably overcome such a problem as well as any team.

  • After the Major League game, I strolled to the Minor League complex. I didn't get to see much action, but I did briefly get to watch lefty Stephen Lumpkins. Lumpkins is an imposing presence on the mound. He's 6-8. I was impressed with the smoothness to his delivery. He's twenty-one years old, and he walked almost as many as he struck out last season in the Arizona League. He may not develop into anything, but he caught my eye today nonetheless. I took some video of him, so I'll see if I can get that posted before the week is out.

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