Binghamton at Bowie 7/20

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#1 Luke Jackson

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:51 PM

My Mets fan friend and I took the drive down to Bowie Friday evening hoping the rain would hold off and we'd be able to take in some Double-A action and watch a couple of premium talents in Zack Wheeler and Manny Machado as well as a handful of other prospects. I was hoping to see Mike Belfoire or Clay Schrader out of the Bowie 'pen; no such luck. Onto the players we saw...

Zack Wheeler had perhaps the worst start of his pro career, giving up eight runs on six hits in 3.2 innings. He walked three, hit two batters and struck out six. He has a big league body -- he's listed at 6-4, 185, but he might be 220 at this point. He's built to throw 220 innings. I don't know how accurate Bowie's gun is, but he was hitting 96 and 97 fairly regularly with his fastball and I saw 98 pop up there once. It's a hard, heavy fastball that will be tough for hitters to square up at the big league level. He was also throwing a firm upper-80s changeup that dove out of the strike zone and hitters were swinging over the top of it. He didn't throw his breaking stuff much, but when he did, he didn't have any feel for it. That may be because of the sudden change in weather -- really cool night in Bowie for late July. Wheeler's first four batters resulted in a HBP, BB, BB and a HBP. Needless to say, he was behind the eight-ball from the beginning and never crawled out. Was down 5-0 with one out in the first inning.

Manny Machado is becoming a pretty predictable prospect to watch in the sense that you know what you're going to get out of him every time you watch him play. You're going to get a highly advanced approach for his age at that level, a smooth swing that produces line drives, as well as fluid play at short with a rocket for an arm. It's an arm Kenny Powers would be proud of. Machado got two at-bats vs. Wheeler. The first AB was after Wheeler went HBP, BB, BB, HBP to the first four batters and Machado pounced on a first-pitch fastball and lined it into left field for a single, scoring two. Probably looking for Wheeler to throw a fastball in the zone after getting off to a rough start. He struck out in his second and final AB vs. Wheeler.

Machado also walked in the game, but the interesting part for me was when Machado struck out looking for a second time in the ballgame in his final AB. Manny was upset with the strike zone and had a few words for the home plate ump, who responded by kicking him out of the game. Machado was upset with the first K and was really upset with the second K, both of which appeared to occur on pitches that were a few inches off the plate. Manny was right that the pitches were balls -- he knows the strike zone really well. But by the time the second K occurred, the score was 10-0 Bowie. The ump wants the game to end. The strike zone is going to expand in every direction. Don't bitch about a strike three call six inches off the plate in a 10-0 game. The ump is going to have the patience of a dog awaiting food and he's going to throw you out. And as I saw Machado bicker with the ump over pitches four inches outside, I couldn't help but see a lot of Nick Markakis in Machado. Manny is said to be patient to a fault, and I think this was an illustration of that.

Jon Schoop had an interesting game at the dish, going 0-2 with a walk and a couple of sac flies (I think he had a BB, flyout, sac fly vs. Wheeler). He was aggressive in going after fastballs early in the count even if they weren't the best pitches to drive. But I'm not sure if that was because he was just looking for a pitch to get in the air in two of his at-bats given that runners were on third base, so I'll give him a pass on that. There was one pitch vs. Wheeler that Schoop definitely wanted back. Wheeler threw a terrible breaking ball that floated up in the zone that Jon couldn't quite stay back on and ended up getting out in front and missing a double by about two feet. However, if he stayed back on that breaking ball, it may have landed in College Park.

Was surprised at how sparsely attended the game in Bowie was. I'm used to the Aberdeen atmosphere.
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#2 BobPhelan



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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:09 AM

Good stuff, thanks for the observation.

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