Let's do something a little different for this week's minor league update. Last week longtime reader/commenter Mornacale e-mailed me to let me know that he'd be able to see Indianapolis play Pawtuckett, including Brad Lincoln's start last Friday, and that he could e-mail me some observations and pictures. Since I'm never one to turn down content that I don't even have to generate on my own, check out Mornacale's words and pics below.
Jose Tabata hit the ball hard. His first-inning double was a beautiful drive to deep left-center, and the flyout in the 6th was hit hard enough to get out if he hadn't been under it. The single was extremely sharply hit, and the groundout wasn't bad either. If these two games were an indication, I think 10-15 HR with plenty of other XBH is a pretty reasonable hope. He also got a really good jump on his post-double steal. (Jose did put a poor swing on the pitch that struck him out in the 9th, though.)
Pedro Alvarez didn't show great patience at the plate, striking out on a low breaking ball in the first inning and grounding weakly to first on the first pitch of his fourth-inning at-bat. His 3-run HR in the 5th, however, was absolutely crushed. No wonder everyone who sees him his gets so excited. Pedro also struck out in the 7th, swinging through a pitch that looked to be in the zone. He doesn't look bad in the field, either, displaying good mobility to both his left and right (though he doesn't seem great at throwing on the run).
Didn't see much of interest in Neil Walker's PAs, nor his fielding. On both Tuesday and Friday he played in LF, where it would take a much better scout than I to notice anything. He didn't look out of place, though, and did (via Friday at SS) throw Bubba Bell out at the plate--however, I think that was mostly a poor decision to try to score and a good block of the plate by Luke Carlin (whose performance, incidentally, makes me wish he were age-appropriate).
Brandon Moss isn't looking so great. He almost made a great play in right, but the best that could be said of his batting was that two of his four outs moved Steve Pearce from 2nd to 3rd.
With Brad Lincoln's fastball consistently touching 94 through the fifth (though he may have lost a mph or two by the 6th), and offspeed stuff in the low 80s (touching 79 and 80 in the first two innings respectively), as well as a third pitch in the high 80s, velocity was not Lincoln's problem. Unfortunately, there definitely was some sort of problem, as he got shelled: of the seven hits he allowed in six innings of work, four--including two homers--went for extra bases, and several outs were long fly balls (especially a warning track shot by Tug Hulett in the 3rd). Apart from two walks to lead off the 2nd, he pitched largely in the zone; I suspect he was throwing balls a little too much in there. Based on the XBH and the lack of Ks, and supported by what I saw, my guess is that Brad just wasn't getting a lot of movement on his pitches.
The 6th, though, was a perfect illustration of why we've been hoping to see him in Pittsburgh; it was probably the most dominant inning I've ever seen live. Dusty Brown got blown away by a high fastball, then he induced a horrible swing on a low curve against Jorge Jimenez, then dropped a beautiful breaking ball that froze Bubba Bell. Unfortunately, those were Lincoln's only three strikeouts on the day, and it was the only inning in which he didn't allow a baserunner.
(Pat again) Finally, just a few more pictures that I enjoyed and wanted to share. First up, Pedro Alvarez walking to the plate. I know it's the context that it's snapped in, but it looks like the whole world is on his shoulders here.
And here's Tabata doing exactly what he did every time I saw him in spring training, smiling and having fun. The more this guy hits at Triple-A, the more I get excited that we really might have something.
Here's Neil Walker in the on-deck circle with what I suspect may be his own tribute to either Andy Van Slyke or Jason Kendall (doesn't matter to me, either is a fine choice for a Pirate fan his age and either one would make me want to see him do well).
Finally, the end of an inning:
Thanks for sharing, Mornacale.