First Cactus League Gamethread

marc w · February 23, 2013 at 10:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Blake Beavan vs. Tyson Ross, 12:05pm

You may say, “This is exactly the same as yesterday’s game – the M’s vs. the Padres with absolutely nothing riding on the outcome.” There’s obviously more than a kernel of truth there, but today’s game should include top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. And while Blake Beavan doesn’t make for the most exciting starting pitcher, leave it to Hector Noesi to make you appreciate the steady, unassuming, quiet dignity that comes with replacement level (or, hopefully, a touch above).

The M’s line-up looks like this:
1: Franklin Gutierrez – CF
2: Casper Wells – RF
3: Jason Bay – LF
4: Justin Smoak – 1B
5: Kelly Shoppach –
6: Ronny Paulino – DH
7: Alex Liddi – 3B
8: Nick Franklin – 2B
9: Brad Miller – SS
SP: Beavan

Good to see the M’s two big middle-infield prospects playing together. The M’s haven’t officially said Franklin’s moving off of SS, but he’s played a lot of 2B in the Arizona Fall League, and Miller may have more arm strength. The fact that they’re lined up this way in the cactus league doesn’t mean much, but my guess is this is the way the M’s see them most of the time in 2013.

Tyson Ross, who the Padres picked up from Oakland, starts for San Diego today. He’s long been an intriguing pitcher to me, with very good velocity and a funky, short-stride delivery, but he’s struggled to stay healthy. The kind of trunk rotation that allows him to throw 95mph fastballs puts a lot of strain on his obliques. He’s the kind of pitcher who could put up an ‘out of nowhere’ good season, especially in Petco, but his command has to get better. He was legitimately bad last year in Oakland, but he’s got talent.

Hultzen and Walker are slated to pitch after Beavan, along with Bobby LaFromboise, Kameron Loe, Lucan Luetge and hopefully hard throwing sinkerballer Carson Smith.


36 Responses to “First Cactus League Gamethread”

  1. maqman on February 23rd, 2013 11:06 am

    It’s really early but at least we get a tease about what might be. Hopefully Noesi has shown already what he probably will never be.

  2. texasmarinerfan on February 23rd, 2013 12:14 pm

    And Justin Bay just did something he did 8 times last year.

  3. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 12:33 pm

    Jason Bay is in the best shape of his life. He also has rediscovered the fire in his belly, and is a professional hitter oozing veteran leadership.

  4. GhostofMarinersPast on February 23rd, 2013 12:49 pm

    Who’s Justin Bay and what did he do 8 times last year? Adopt cats? He adopted 8 cats?!!? Justin Bay is humanitarian!

  5. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 1:19 pm

    Sounds like a kids book…

    (Imagine a picture of a man with eight kittens)

    Justin Bay adopted some cats. He adopted eight cats.

    Justin Bay likes cats.

    (Next, picture Raul Ibañez with nine young Mariners)

    Raul Ibañez mentored some young players. He mentored nine young players.

    Raul Ibañez is a good mentor.

  6. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:28 pm

    Very nice game for Bay so far w/HR and a couple of walks.

    Taijuan Walker pitched a scoreless inning – 1H, 0R – couldn’t get his curveball over, but his FB was enough to get him through.

    Blake Beavan went two scoreless. Lots of change-ups, fewer curves than normal. Pitch fx said he threw almost exclusively two-seamers, but that pitch fx system’s wonky calibration makes it really hard to tell.

  7. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:29 pm

    HR for Justin Smoak. Man, it would sure be nice if he learned to hit MLB pitching consistently.

  8. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:31 pm

    OK, Hultzen time…

  9. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:35 pm

    All strikes so far for Hultzen – 3 pitch K of John Baker, and then he gets Jaff Decker looking, whose first name is absurd.

    Julio Morban in the game in CF.

  10. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:36 pm

    2 Ks, 1 ground ball, 7 pitches. That’ll do, Hultzen.

  11. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:49 pm

    Beavan interviewed on the radio, talking about his off-season work with a pitching coach in Austin, TX. Seems to be a real trend here, with the M’s young players going out of the org for some work here and there. Not saying the M’s PD folks are falling down on the job – could be really good to get some outside eyes, and different things/approaches work for different players.

  12. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 1:58 pm

    Julio Morban singles in his first spring training AB. Really hope that kid can stay healthy this year.

  13. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 1:59 pm

    Marc, do you know if this trend (for lack of a better word) where players go outside the org for help is also occurring with other clubs? Or is it outside the norm?

  14. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:01 pm

    Peguero with a base hit against a lefty, behind in the count, on a breaking pitch. After two unintentional walks yesterday. I don’t… I don’t even know.

  15. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:03 pm

    I don’t know, Westside Guy. I’ll ask. In all honesty, it’s probably happened for a while, but there’s more interest in stories like this after the Mike Saunders/Mike Bard thing last year.
    Trevor Bauer of course takes it to another level, as he was traded by AZ in part because he had no interest in anything AZ’s pitching coaches had to say, and made that very clear.

    But I don’t know how often big leaguers like Saunders/Beavan want to make moderate changes to swing/pitches and leave the org to do it.

  16. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:05 pm

    I have no doubt Peggy will revert to form soon enough. Fortunately that’ll happen in Tacoma – with the veteran pickups this winter, Wedge can’t even let himself be tempted.

  17. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:12 pm

    I wish AtBat would let you go back and see the Pitch F/X info from a previous at bat. I missed Smoak’s homer and would like to see what sort of pitch it came off of.

    As a side note – I’m glad they eased the rules regarding ending sentences with prepositions.

  18. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:17 pm

    Westside guy – it’s online, it’s just not user friendly at all. It came on a fastball, at 90.0 mph, from right-hander Brad Boxberger.

  19. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:18 pm

    Relief prospect Carson Smith, who did well in the AFL, with a great 1-2-3 inning. K, and two groundouts. He’s got a great, great sinker. Not just a pitch-to-contact thing – he’ll get K’s with it (as he did today), and it’s really tough for hitters to elevate. Good slider, too.

  20. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:19 pm

    Thank you sir.

  21. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:19 pm

    Catricala 2B scores John Hicks, who’d singled.

  22. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:23 pm

    Catricala 1B, rather.

  23. stevemotivateir on February 23rd, 2013 2:30 pm

    So, I come in late to see the talk about Peguero’s performance, and I gotta ask… could it be the water? Or maybe a hypnotist trained him subconsciously to lay off bad pitches?

  24. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:32 pm

    Matt Stites in for SD. Relief prospect who played in Arizona Fall League with Carson Smith, Zunino, Franklin. Had a nifty 60:3 K:BB ratio in MWL, but SD’s closer a level up in Cal League was also lights-out (And also played in AFL).

  25. stevemotivateir on February 23rd, 2013 2:33 pm

    There’s the Peguero we know!

  26. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:37 pm

    Yeah, Peguero just needed to face a right-hander and be ahead in the count.

  27. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:37 pm

    We’ve seen Peggy show glimpses of a new approach before – but it just never sticks. I’ve (obviously, given my comments) lost any hope.

  28. stevemotivateir on February 23rd, 2013 2:39 pm

    Yeah, it was the same story last year. Inconsistent plate discipline.

  29. marc w on February 23rd, 2013 2:40 pm

    M’s lead 8-1 after their 3rd HR of the day, this one a looong 2R HR from Mike Jacobs. Bottom of 9th.

    M’s avenging heart-breaking loss in the Charity Game yesterday. You can take our money, Padres, but you cannot take our dignity! (Uh, but we will straight-up give you Hector Noesi, if you like).

  30. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:41 pm

    Hehehe Marc.

  31. stevemotivateir on February 23rd, 2013 2:47 pm

    Did Bay see good pitches today? I was surprised when I looked at the box score.

  32. stevemotivateir on February 23rd, 2013 2:52 pm

    Nunez seems to have trouble keeping the ball down.

  33. Westside guy on February 23rd, 2013 2:59 pm

    I missed Bay’s homer, but I will not be surprised if he has a good ST.

    Nuñez just wanted to keep us fans interested.

  34. kellykoof15 on February 23rd, 2013 8:12 pm

    2 games, 4 2-run HR’s. I could get used to that.

  35. Mariners121212 on February 23rd, 2013 9:36 pm

    Westside guy, if you go to classic mode on gameday up at the top you can go back to old at bats and see the actual pitches.

  36. MrZDevotee on February 24th, 2013 10:14 am

    Z’s a genius– we’re undefeated and in first place! Go M’s.

    (Hey, enjoy it while it lasts, right?!)

    In all seriousness though, I have a sneaky suspicion Danny Hultzen is gonna earn a starting spot… Mainly because, with the way he pitches (average velocity but great placement) I’m not sure he’ll benefit facing AAA batters as much as facing REAL major leaguers and learning where to place his pitches against them. And it’s common knowledge the only reason he struggled at AAA was he lost his command for those couple months. (After having played pretty much continously for a year and a half– college thru the world series, AFL, then a full season of minors.)

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