Oakland vs. Cleveland (Mesa AZ)

Day 2 of Baseball Spy’s Spring Training coverage and thanks to everyone who checked out and signed-up yesterday!

A little rain sprinkled the stunned scouting section expecting Arizona sun and 75 as the forecast called for. Cleveland traveled over from Goodyear with mostly non-roster invites, a minor league roster and some 25-man roster guys needing extra AB’s (I see you Taylor Naquin). Trevor Bauer started and cruised through 4 innings, not really amping up his FB but throwing his improved Change-ups in big spots. Bauer and Oakland starter Nathan Blackburn set the tone for what turned out to be a pitcher’s day, with both teams giving up a combined 7 hits and only 1 run (on a passed ball). Oakland rolled with 2 former Closers – Joakim Soria and the ageless Fernando Rodney and then brought in current closer Blake Treinen during the middle frames. None of them gave up a hit. Soria utilized different arm slots than I’ve seen in the past, including a slow bending low 3/4 breaking ball that got impatient Cleveland hitters out in front. Treinen was ONLY topping out at 96 on this day but his slow developing delivery and deceptive release makes that ball appear a lot quicker at the plate than the radar gun reads. Pretty much every batter was overmatched by him.

The most interesting “prospect” today was Frankie Montas, who I don’t think really qualifies as a prospect anymore. I have seen him in years sitting upper 90s and topping out over 100. Today he pitches from 91-95 over the last 3 innings and mostly sat 93 MPH. His FB was tight and had good late sinking action at times but more importantly he commanded it to both sides of the plate effectively. He also showcased a power slurve from 81-85 MPH that fooled RHH and showed a big shape change-up at 84-85 MPH that is at least a Major League average offering and potentially an above average pitch when all said and done. He showed 6 command of both off-speed pitches in addition to his FB. He has an efficient transfer of energy in his delivery and he repeats it very well. His overall control was above average, always in the zone, and he knew what he was doing – even incorporating a quick-pitch/slide-step at times from the windup and stretch, giving him an additional weapon to keep hitters off-balance.

There wasn’t much to report offensively except former top prospect Dustin Fowler (who seems to have that prospect title forever), with a really nice opposite field slash when he came on later in the game as a replacement. I liked the swing.

– Boomer