Report From Everett
Thursday evening, I was up in Everett catching the Aquasox home finale, fan appreciation night, where some guy won $5k on the dice throw and I ended up getting my ticket called to receive a bag of Aquasox goodies. Baseball was played too, and good baseball at that. I donâ€™t know if there will be any revealing remarks as Dave had, what with Everett being a lot closer in proximity to the majority of the fanbase than Pulaski is, but here are some notes I scratched down on my legal pad.
â€¢ Weâ€™ve talked a bit about how itâ€™s funny looking back now to think that most teams were looking at James Jones as a pitcher and how he was hurting his stock by playing the field. I can confirm having seen it with my eyes what youâ€™ve all heard: the guy can hit. He stands pretty tall in the box and can handle just about everything you throw to him. While he did K in the second AB, the first one had him line one for a double down the right field line, the third one had pretty much the same double, this time hugging the left field line. Breaking away from the corner to corner thing, he hit a shot over the wall in right-center for his final at-bat of the night. Odds are if he came up a fifth time the â€˜Sox would have won it. That he wasnâ€™t seeing a whole lot of pitches is my only complaint. On the field, he plays quite alertly, diving back to the bag on what could have been a 3-6 lined double play. I only got to see him at first, but he nearly dove on a slow, looped ball in foul territory, and you donâ€™t see that much.
â€¢ Franklin looks good on the field, ranging well to his right and featuring a solid arm. He and Martinez both missed a dribbler on the left side of the infield that ended up costing the Aquasox, but that was the only mistake I saw him make. His stance is on the opposite end from Jones, crouched and spread out, a little funny looking, but the swing stays level. Coaches are going to love him because even on the 4-3 groundouts, he was running like he was confident he could beat it out, and even seemed visibly disappointed when he didnâ€™t.
â€¢ Speaking of Martinez, heâ€™s a little bit rangier than I expected him to be. He has some power, putting a charge to around the warning track on a pitch that he got a bad swing on, though I think consistency will be something to watch for from him. The first and third at-bats, he only saw two pitches, but on the fourth he must have fouled off six or seven total.
â€¢ Two others I saw that made a small impression on me were Cerione and Mailloux. I showed up a little late to the game, buying my ticket online forty-five minutes before game time, and Cerione hit one out of the park to center right as I was taking my seat. He drew a couple of walks and likely saw as many pitches as anyone, he just had a few junk swings that either missed or made weak, foul contact. Mailloux stood out as one of the bigger athletes on a team of lean players, nothing on the level of the Dunigan/Halman/Sams outfield a few years back though. High stance, active bat, fairly advanced approach, little bit of trouble adjusting. Org players with the potential for more.
â€¢ On to the pitching. Hesketh is one of those pitchers who could really give hitters some comfortable 0-for-4 nights. He throws over the top and isnâ€™t an intimidating presence by any means, so itâ€™s all about staying cool and getting the job done for him, and can he ever. The stuff is nothing to write home about, weâ€™re talking a fastball that maybe hits 87 on a good day and sits in the low-to-mid 80s, but he can pitch up, down, lose ten miles, gain it, go back and forth, and then you look up and itâ€™s the seventh inning, heâ€™s still cool out there, and has hit double-digit Ks. I donâ€™t know if the shtick works against higher-level hitters, but heâ€™s a great value for a 20th-round pick.
â€¢ I can see why they converted Fray Martinez to pitching. Lanky right-hander, really lanky in the sense that his uniform looks a couple sizes too big, but thereâ€™s some juice in his arm. He was throwing high 80s, low 90s over the top and had a breaking ball around 80 mph that produced some really awkward swings. He could turn into something interesting in the unlikely event that he ever gets his command right.
I know some of you are expecting a weekly wrap, but I flew back Sunday and the regular season doesnâ€™t end until Monday anyway for most teams.