Not exactly a pleasant welcome to Spring Training Baseball.
As you may or may not know, I was in attendance for this afternoon’s game; a game in which the Mariners handed their rear-ends to the A’s on a illustrious silver platter. But sorry is the soul who invests interest in Spring Training wins. This is a time for players to prepare for the regular season; to re-familiarize themselves with baseball life. There was plenty of interest in today’s throttling, to include Hector Noesi and an extremely live fastball, Carlos Triunfel‘s bat sling, Vinnie Catricala‘s defense at 3B, a first look at Chih-Hsien Chiang, and Ichiro’s new batting stance.
Some folks will tell you that first impressions are everything. Today, Noesi made an impression– his fastball is electric. With an effortless delivery, he slings a late breaking fastball between 92 and 97 MPH. Noesi has good stuff; probably a lot better than anyone knew when we acquired him this winter. I’m not predicting that he is going to break out and win 20 games or anything, but I believe slotting him as a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher is completely underselling him. I was very impressed with what I saw, and I hope once I get the video uploaded, you’ll see what I mean. Another point of interest for me was this new, wider stance Ichiro was sporting. I didn’t see too big of a difference, but you can decide for yourselves.
After the middle innings, Chiang, Triunfel, and Catricala all made their appearances. All three disappoint me defensively, and I honestly walked away unimpressed and a bit confused. Neither Triunfel or Chiang made solid contact during their plate appearances, but when Triunfel was called out on strikes, it was an obvious ball and the stadium let the umpire know it. Catricala smashed a ball up the middle for a base knock in his lone at-bat, and Peguero did what he does best by hitting a towering home run; this bomb went higher than it did far. We know Peguero is plenty capable when it comes to going yard, but what was more impressive was watching him swing at good pitches. He didn’t exactly see a ton of pitches in today’s game, but he swung at good ones, and for Carlos that is a massive improvement. Saunders…well I’ll be frank – he looked like Saunders. He definitely has added some hip into his swing, but if you didn’t know that coming in, you wouldn’t think twice.
The outcome of the game was a wreck, but I had an amazing time. The complex down here is gorgeous and it brings you closer to the players than you can ever imagine at SafeCo. I have tons of video to convert from tape to disk and then to GIFs so I can share them with you faithful readers. But, oh man, what an exhausting trip. I’m off to bed. If anyone has specific questions about anything I saw or anything about a certain player that played today, post them in the comments. I’ll be more than happy to answer.