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 Post subject: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:11 pm 
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- Made a trip to Lexington, KY to catch West Virgina while they were visiting last night. Lexington is the Kansas City Royals Low A affiliate.

- This was my second trip to Whitaker Bank Ballpark, first since 2013, which on paper was the more interesting WV team from a prospect perspective (Bell, Herrera). In some ways, though, WV is one of the most interesting affiliates this year because, as it goes at this level, there are so many question marks, and lots of fresh faces from last year's draft. Doing some previous research on the Royals system, it's a similar story. The last time I was there, I got to see prospects like Raul Mondesi Jr. (who has now jumped to a top 2-3 prospect in their system) and Bubba Starling.

- It's worth noting that Whitaker Bank Ballpark is perhaps the oddest minor league park you'll ever visit, location-wise. The stadium and parking lot is attached to the same parking lot as a shopping mall and apartment complex. And even odder, a mile down the road you drive from this suburban area where the stadium is located right into the heart of downtown Lexington.

- Cole Tucker is, predictably, a lot of fun to watch in person. He hit a line drive single on the first pitch of the game, a sac bunt, K'd twice, and grounded into a forceout. Defensively, it was a shaky outing. He bobbled a grounder that would have assuredly been scored an error, however the Lexington runner (who was on second) attempted to take off, and Tucker recovered to nab him at third. On another play, he made a great read on a sharp grounder, but rushed the release and nearly pulled the 1B off the bag on a high throw.

From a scouting perspective, it's pretty obvious what made Tucker's drafting so polarizing. Aside from the baby face, you would never guess this was a kid who doesn't turn 19 for a few months. At the same time, it's very easy to see what makes the long limbs questionable for sticking at SS defensively. Obviously there is little point in attempting to make any objective conclusion with less than ten pro games under his belt. But it made me even more interested to see what the defense looks like at the end of the year. His swing looked good.

- Tito Polo, the CF (and a great baseball name), was 3-4 w/ a double off the wall and is off to a terrific start. If he has a breakout year, you will see him jump up on some prospect lists. A toolsy international signing OF, which the Pirates have proven extremely efficient of finding, he has had strong seasons at the plate in the DSL and GCL.

- Michael Suchy is an interesting athlete to watch in person. He his built like a football FB (so it was no surprise to find that he was primarily a football player in HS). He is a plus defender in RF despite the size. He was disappointment in his Jamestown debut last year, showing no power, though he is obviously capable.

- Lexington's pitching was ridiculously sloppy. They walked 7 batters (several of which were with RISP) and there were, just off memory, 3-4 wild pitches that allowed runners to advance.

- Taylor Gushue's defense behind the plate left a lot to be desired.

- SP Austin Coley, a 2014 8th rounder, was solid, cruising through 5 IP and giving up 3 hits and 1 ER. His fastball sat in the upper 80s with consistent control and rarely ever falling behind a batter (with zero BBs to show).

- The Power went into the bottom of the 9th win a 8-2 lead. Reliever Eric Dorsch, another college arm late rounder from last year's draft (and one of the tallest players I've seen in person ... listed at 6'8), who had pitched a rocky 8th, promptly walked two batters, gave up as single, and then a grand slam to make it 8-6 before recording an out. He was relieved by Nick Neumann, who earned a save for closing it out, through he gave up two more singles before doing so.

I sat first row down the third baseline next to the Power dugout, which was perfect territory to snap some pics ... that is if you wanted pics of the WV bullpen warming up. From that angle, none of the pics I snapped of players at the plate came out well. Alas, here are a few ...

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Cole Tucker on third base
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Lexington's infamous mustache logo
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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:15 pm 
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Good stuff!

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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:30 pm 
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I saw a lot of these guys play with Jamestown last year. I was even lucky enough to catch them last year playing at Aberdeen, MD when Stephen Tarpley pitched against them. Suchy is a really strong dude. He looks like a young Matt Holliday. His bat is kind of slow though. I agree on Gushue's defense. I think he'll end up switching positions. One guy you didn't mention is Chase Simpson. He might be the best hitter on the team. Of course he is 23 years old because he was drafted as a college senior so he is way more polished than the young prospects like Tucker and Polo that have a pedigree. Simpson will have to rake at every level because time isn't on his side. I plan on seeing the Power at the end of May when they travel to Lakewood and Delmarva.


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:13 pm 
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mjdouble wrote:
I plan on seeing the Power at the end of May when they travel to Lakewood and Delmarva.

I'm pretty sure I will catch them a couple of times the weekend they play the Shorebirds.


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:35 pm 
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mjdouble wrote:
I saw a lot of these guys play with Jamestown last year. I was even lucky enough to catch them last year playing at Aberdeen, MD when Stephen Tarpley pitched against them. Suchy is a really strong dude. He looks like a young Matt Holliday. His bat is kind of slow though. I agree on Gushue's defense. I think he'll end up switching positions. One guy you didn't mention is Chase Simpson. He might be the best hitter on the team. Of course he is 23 years old because he was drafted as a college senior so he is way more polished than the young prospects like Tucker and Polo that have a pedigree. Simpson will have to rake at every level because time isn't on his side. I plan on seeing the Power at the end of May when they travel to Lakewood and Delmarva.


I did mean to mention something about Simspon and Suiter, just thought the post was getting too long and not sure if anyone would be interested (thanks for your follow up comments).

Will be interesting to see how the positions end up evening out by the end of the year when Connor Joe is healthy, who I would have loved to have gotten to see, even if he is one of the most seemingly unimpressive early round draft picks in a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:40 pm 
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Would've been interested to hear how Luplow looked at 3B if he was up. He and Joe were pretty similarly regarded, it seemed.

Good write-up, hopefully you're able to get out to more of these games. Minor league games are always a good time, strange as it may sound.

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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:06 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Good write-up, hopefully you're able to get out to more of these games. Minor league games are always a good time, strange as it may sound.

Not strange at all. I have a lot more fun at minor league games. Two years ago I saw a steal of home, the only time I've seen one live, another game where there were three catcher interferences, by three different catchers, in one game, and last year I saw Stetson Allie hit a home run that cleared the fence in right center field by at least 30 feet above the fence. And I saw the Greensboro Grasshoppers mascot's birthday. That's a hoot, what with all the other mascots they invited to come in...


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:36 pm 
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The plan for the rest of the year is Indy (do that one multiple times a year), Columbus and Louisville. Haven't made it to Columbus yet, and Louisville has been years. Unfortunately, the latter two are both AAA, and living an hour and a half from Indy I can catch them at home whenever. It's a testament to the how far the system has came that I think AAA is one of the least interesting levels this year, even though there are still Hanson and Diaz (and Kingham if you catch his start). Overall though, they'd probably be the last affiliate I'd want to see multiple times.


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:30 pm 
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Saw Tucker and Polo several times here in Bradenton (Pirate City) and some of the nicest guys you;d want to meet too.
Here's some video I took of them when they were here.








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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:34 am 
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TheShark wrote:
From a scouting perspective, it's pretty obvious what made Tucker's drafting so polarizing. Aside from the baby face, you would never guess this was a kid who doesn't turn 19 for a few months. At the same time, it's very easy to see what makes the long limbs questionable for sticking at SS defensively. Obviously there is little point in attempting to make any objective conclusion with less than ten pro games under his belt. But it made me even more interested to see what the defense looks like at the end of the year. His swing looked good.


One other thing to point out is the Pirates seem to like big middle infielders, or atleast they aren't afraid of them. Jordy Mercer is 6'3". They moved Walker to 2B despite being exceptionally large for the position. JaCoby Jones is a big guy. Bigger players project more offense and if you can get offense from a position that doesn't normally provide a lot then you got an edge on the competition. Tucker at 19 looks physically a lot like Tulowitzki did when he was at Long Beach State.


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 Post subject: Re: Detailed Game Report: West Virgina vs. Lexington 4/18/15
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:39 am 
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mjdouble wrote:
One other thing to point out is the Pirates seem to like big middle infielders, or atleast they aren't afraid of them. Jordy Mercer is 6'3". They moved Walker to 2B despite being exceptionally large for the position. JaCoby Jones is a big guy. Bigger players project more offense and if you can get offense from a position that doesn't normally provide a lot then you got an edge on the competition. Tucker at 19 looks physically a lot like Tulowitzki did when he was at Long Beach State.


It's an interesting (and to this point valid) strategy for certain. Not sure if JaCoby will stick at SS, he seems slated for a switch to 3B to me (especially if Mathisen doesn't pan out there, and there will be zilch depth at the position in the system). Of course, the bigger issue issue probably lies with the bat if he continues a 25% K rate in A ball. I'm not sure that I'd include Walker in the discussion, as he was more just jerked around to almost every position after repeating AAA a few times, seemingly being groomed as a utility guy, and I don't believe he made the switch to 2B until Aki Iwamura flopped in the majors. Completely agree with your larger point though.


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