Some quick HV impressions

I made what I thought was going to be a pointless trip to Hudson Valley in the rain and was pleasantly surprised to find decent baseball weather and a game. So, I thought I'd jot down a few impressions.

First a disclaimer: a few of these players I've seen before and know, but many of these guys I was seeing for the first time. Also, it was only one game, so I can't be nearly as accurate as if I'd seen the ups and downs as on some of my posts on the upper-level guys. Still, there's nothing like eyes on.

The opposing starter for Rome (Braves system) was Royber Salinas. He ensured that I'd have little good to report on the Yankee hitters. Salinas has filthy stuff, with a hard FB with very good late life, excellent curve. Although he's a bigger boy, he reminds me of Luis Medina in that he can blow away hitters at this level, but he doesn't really know where the ball is going sometimes. Tonight he was on: 6 IP, 13 SO, two hits.

Wagaman did the only real damage against Salinas with a HR. He looks very good at the plate. Good balance, quick powerful swing. But he is older for the level at 24. Despite the age I would consider him a prospect if anyone had ever explained to him what that leather thing is that he puts on his hand between his times at bat. Two of the "hits" against the Renegades were balls that went right past Wagaman, one that any fielder should have had, and the other that was a little hard hit but that even most minor-league first basemen get. So at this point Wagaman is a long shot to amount to anything.

By contrast Pereira had a line drive double for the other hit. I have seen him before and he continues to look very good. The ball jumps off his bat with more power than you'd expect for his relatively average size. He flashed his speed, good defensive range. He's the one serious position prospect who played (Wells is out at the moment). One play showed me his baseball acumen: Pereira was on second after his double. There was a hard grounder down the third base line that the 3B had to go right and back to have enough time to get it. He set himself nicely and quickly to make the long throw from foul territory behind the bag to nail the runner by a half step at first. Pereira rightly took about two steps back toward second on the grounder, then froze, and then as soon as the ball left the 3B's hand he sprinted to third knowing that it would take not only an accurate throw from 3B but also a very long accurate throw from the 1B and a good tag to get him. That was a smart, mature read by the young man. It didn't matter in the game since he didn't score, but it matters for the eval.

James Nelson stole three bases, after a couple of BB. He's a holdover from last season at 3B playing some OF now as well for versatility. Not impressive speed but good reads and he knew that Salinas didn't have any sort of move to first, so very good jumps. He has a pretty good glove and arm, but doesn't hit much, so isn't a prospect.

Bowman at SS looked good defensively, but not mlb SS good. So his status hinges on his bat. He's off to a good start at the plate (.812 OPS), and he's hit well in the system, so I'll have to keep an eye on him. But he was simply overmatched by Salinas this game.

Torrealba at 2B had a poor game on offense and defense. I saw him a few years ago at SI and his defense looked good then. So either it's a blip or he's gotten worse. Looks like an organizational guy at this point.

Seigler was healthy and leading off at DH to give him lots of looks. One for five with three strikeouts, he was simply overmatched by Salinas as well. Just hope he stays healthy enough to keep working. Got to be tough to try to be a switch hitter and a catcher. His swing looks much better, but still too long to hit at the higher levels.

The Renegades (NYY) starter was Blas Castano, an undersized young rhp I hadn't seen before. He threw five shutout innings with a solid arsenal: clean 92-5 FB, SL, CB, CH. All pitches out of the stretch. I really loved his command (don't know if that's typical of him or just a good day) and his mentality. He never let any of the bad defense fluster him, just kept mixing pitches and working his way around the jams. Few balls hit hard. If this is at all typical of him, he could be a guy who overachieves and makes it as a backend guy or middle relief.

Hutchison is a very big boy who came in looking intimidating and then threw nothing but slow curves and changeups. But he got outs with them. So HV held them scoreless and was winning the duel 1-0.

Then Nelvin Correa entered and simply couldn't locate his pitches. It looked like he had pretty good stuff if he could command it. But he coughed up three hits (one of which Torrealba should have had) and four walks to lose the game.

After I've seen a full series or two later this season I'll try to find time to write something again. Until then, happy to talk with those of you who have come away with similar or different impressions of these kids.

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