Today the big boys were playing the Orioles in Sarasota. So were the AAA, AA and A+ squads and the only action at the Lee County Sports Complex was the Beloit Snappers hosting the Orioles A league squad at field number 3 and several other players, most of them rookies, practicing and scrimmaging in field 1.
The Beloit game was a treat in many respects. First and foremost was that TK was the manager and it was interesting to watch TK manage a game from a dugout, even though this game was an A level Spring Training Game.
A lot of interesting names in this game, and if one assumes that they all will start in Beloit, the Snappers' fans will be in for a treat. Here is the lineup:
2B AJ Petersen
3B Nick Lockwood
RF Max Kepler
1B DJ Romero (a surprise to play at that level)
CF Romy Jimenez (another surprise to see at the level, the other way from Romero)
SS Tyler Grimes
DH Drew Leachman
C Matt Koch
LF Wang-Wei Lee
JD Williams, Nate Roberts and Miquel Sano were around and did not play and Micheal Quesada entered later as a Catcher.
Interesting to see Tom Kelly around young players at that level, especially for the ones of us who knew how he was with rookies as a major league manager later in his career. Lots of yelling encouraging stuff from the dugout, lots of playing and teasing with them (esp. Sano, more on that later) and in general good good feeling. I am certain that these players had a blast.
BJ Hermsen was the starter and he lasted about 3 innings. Hermsen is 22, played last season in Beloit and a little bit at Fort Myers, and he seems to be repeating Beloit. He was somewhat disappointing, having issues with his control and walking a lot of baby Orioles. I was really expecting a somewhat more polished pitcher than what I saw today. Maybe it is just a matter of time.
Second pitcher in was Steve Gruver (LHP) the 2011 7th Round pick who actually pitched 3 innings (and looks like he is stressed to be a starter in 2012.) He was very effective, a quick worker and he missed a few bats. I think that he has the potential to surprise in 2012.
Another pitcher I haven't seen play (other than that awful video from Vandy where he broke his kneecap on the mount and made the play) is Corey Williams, the Twins' 3rd round pick in 2011. This guy can be really special for the organization. He has a heavy singing FB with a lot of movement, that sits around 91-92 (had to move and go to the scouting table to look his velocity, because his staff is THAT good) a good curve in the low mid 70s and he is playing with a change. His sinker/cutter is his bread and butter and he both missed bats and induced ground balls. And he is a leftie. He will probably be the closer for Beloit but I can see him make it all the way up to New Britain this season, he is just this good. Alternatively, he might be stressed to be a starter in 2013 or so, if he has the endurance. But this kid is special.
Speaking of Special Kids. Sano did not play today for some reason. I overheard that he might be DHing tomorrow, so he might be fighting something or another. But he sat there absorbed in the game, very talkative with TK and his teammates and even brought water to the umpires at some point.
How about some swings from the game?
And if you are keeping score at home:
Here are a couple of action shots from the other field of 2011 high draft picks. Some of their first action shots in Twins' uniforms:
Hudson Boyd 55th overall:
Looks a lot like Joba Chamberlain, both in statute, looks and the way he pitches.
Travis Harrison 50th overall:
Both were selected from high school so they have some ways to go.
Tomorrow I will be watching the Twins-Phillies game at Fort Myers as well as other action before the game on the fields of the Lee County Complex.