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Thanks as always for stopping by the site. As you know, I went to the Phoenix Municipal Stadium this afternoon to watch the Phoenix Desert Dogs (the team the Twins players played on last year) and the Mesa Solar Sox (the team the Twins prospects player for this year). The Mesa Stadium was about 13 miles from Downtown Phoenix. The cab ride out there… $35.00! And of course, they wouldn’t take any credit card, so I was at the Arizona Fall League game with $14.00. I had to get a program/media guide thing for $2.00. Oh, and the ticket itself was $6.00 (which is really a great deal!) So, I was down to $6.00. Fortunately, I was watching some of baseball’s top prospects in Arizona where it was 71 degrees, comfortable and exciting. I forgot the fact that I hadn’t eaten the entire time because I figured I should keep $6.00 for just in case.
I got to the stadium about an hour before the gates even opened. There were about six people there. They were all standing around outside the stadium, waiting for the Mesa team bus to arrive so that they could collect autographs. They were standing around talking baseball issues. One guy insisted Roger Maris was a Hall of Famer. Others said Kirby Puckett shouldn’t be. There was discussion of steroids in baseball and Pete Rose. They talked about collecting autographs and much more. It was entertaining. When the Mesa bus finally got there, that group went active. But most of the team just walked in the stadium.
One hour before game time (11:35), the gates opened. The autograph hounds went to the area by the Mesa dugout. Some members of players’ families to seats around the stadium. Scouts from major league organizations trickled in, sitting directly behind home plate. Me? I went in and just observed. I watched Alex Burnett, Spencer Steedley and Steve Hirschfeld play catch in the outfield grass. I sat by the dugout, just taking in the stadium and all that was going on. Mesa players would come out of the dugout and start out to stretch in the outfield, but each would quickly go over to the autograph seekers and sign for a couple of minutes.
The game started and all three Twins hitters were in the lineup. Rene Tosoni was batting third and playing in right field. Chris Parmelee was batting fifth and playing 1B. Steve Singleton was at 2B and batting seventh. Since Hirschfeld started last night, he wouldn’t pitch, but I was hoping to see Spencer Steedley and Alex Burnett.
- 1st inning – With Bryan Peterson on 3B and one out, Rene Tosoni dropped a soft line drive into left field for an RBI single. Chris Parmelee struck out swinging on a curveball in the dirt. In the bottom of the inning, with runners on 1st and 2nd, Grant Desme singled into right field, Tosoni charged and made a strong throw right to the cutoff man, holding the lead runner at 3B.
- 2nd inning – With Ryan Kalish on 1B, Steve Singleton lined a single to left field between the SS and 3B. He later scored from 2B on a single to RF by Bryan Peterson. Rene Tosoni popped up to 1B.
- 3rd inning – Chris Parmelee drilled a line drive single up the middle to lead off the inning. Ryan Kalish got on with an infield single. Then Steve Singleton fell behind 0-2 before getting a fastball which he hit well over the right field wall. Rene Tosoni grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning. (Note – I’ve got video of the Singleton HR, a Tosoni RBI single and a bunch of pictures on my facebook page, which you can find here.)
- 4th inning – Chris Parmelee hit a long fly ball to the CF warning track, just in front of the 410 sign. Steve Singleton struck out on a curveball to end the inning.
- 5th inning – Spencer Steedley came into the game. It didn’t start out well. The first batter doubled down the right field line. Brad Emaus singled him to 3B. But then Steedley got lefty Matt Angle to strike out on a good fastball. Next, Darin Mastroianni grounded to Jose Iglesias who fed the ball to Steve Singleton who turned a very quick double play to get out of the inning.
- 6th inning – Rene Tosoni was called out on strikes. In the bottom of the inning, Steedley got a groundout to start the inning. Danny Espinosa singled on a perfect bunt down the 3B line. Then came a very strange play. Corey Brown grounded to 3B Casey Kelly. He threw to Singleton at 2B who stayed in strong against the sliding base runner, threw to 1B where the runner was called safe. But the runner was also called safe at 2B, and I wish I had a replay. My guess is that Singleton had one foot on each side of 2B. I truly don’t know. But Singleton was charged with a “missed catch errors” which makes no sense either. Wouldn’t it be a fielder’s choice instead? Anyway, with one out, Grant Desme flew out to Tosoni in RF. The lead runner forgot how many outs there were and Tosoni got a nice, easy assist.
- 7th inning – Chris Parmelee led off with a double down the left field line, the third ball he has hit very well since the strike out. With one out, Steve Singleton flew out to medium deep right field. Parmelee tagged up and went to 3rd. However, the Dogs appealed to 2B and Parmelee was called out. Again, from the angle I was sitting at, it appeared that Parmelee tagged up legally. Steedley came out of the game. Singleton made two nice defensive plays in the bottom of the inning.
- 8th inning – in the bottom of the inning, Singleton made a nice running grab on a pop up in foul territory. After a single, Jemile Weeks uncoiled on a long home run that essentially ended the game.
- 9th inning – Tosoni struck out swinging. The game ended when Parmelee grounded weakly to 1B.
OK, so there is the game information… here are just some more observational things on the players.
- Rene Tosoni – With the bat, Tosoni is solid. He does a good job of working the count. He has a quick bat and a good eye. He runs alright. He expects himself to get on base. He is confident. He isn’t real big, but he looks like a ballplayer. That said, he can’t hit left-handed pitching at all. I mean, even when he gets out against right-handers, they are solid at bats. Against lefties, he looks clueless. Fortunately, he still stays patient, so that gives hope that over time, he could get better. Defensively, he just looks like an outfielder. Good speed, but seems very good with the glove, and again, a strong and accurate arm.
- Chris Parmelee – He is a big guy; bigger than I would have thought, and not necessarily in a good way. But he is very strong. When he makes contact, it is solid contact. Today, he had a single up the middle, a deep fly ball to right CF and a double down the left field line. That’s a good sign that he uses the whole field. And, he is typically patient at the plate too. Defensively, he looked pretty bad on a pop up behind him near the 1B line, but other than that, he did a nice job of scooping balls.
- Steve Singleton – Seems to do better when he takes a couple of pitches, even if he falls behind. He will use the whole field. He’s not big, but he’s got a very strong swing. He has very quick hands. He can certainly hit a good fastball, but he can get out in front of offspeed pitched if mixed up well. Defensively, he had two errors in this game, but one was a ridiculous call by the umpire and shouldn’t have been called an error, and the other was a tough play to his backhand side. He has as quick a turn on a double play as I’ve seen since Luis Rivas. He holds his own at 2B on the pivot. He is very smooth defensively.
- Spencer Steedley – he’s a little guy, left-handed. Surprising that he’s able to hit 91-92 on the fastball based on his size, but now I can better understand why he does record quite a few strikeouts. Has a decent offspeed pitch .Today he threw strikes and was successful, but walks have really hurt him this fall. He looks like he can be a big league LOOGY if necessary.
There are certain players that just look like ball players, and I think that Tosoni and Singleton look like ball players. Parmelee looks Adam Dunn . Doesn’t look like a great athlete, but could have a ton of power. Here are some others that I think are worth watching:
- Bryan Peterson – Florida Marlins – OF – Wow!! This guy has some talent. Defensively, he is excellent. I saw him cover some serious ground in Centerfield today. He also made about three or four throws that showed off a tremendously strong and accurate arm. Offensively, he takes pitches and rips shots. Line drives, but he has some pop in his bat too. And he is very fast. He had two triples in today’s game.
- Danny Espinosa – Washington Nationals – SS – excellent glove, strong arm, good range. Good top of the order hitter who hits a lot of line drives and can bunt well.
- Nevin Ashley – Tampa Bay Rays – C – terrific catch-and-release, strong and accurate arm. And, he’s been hitting well in Arizona. Of course, he’s 25 and spent the full season in Hi-A ball, but seems to be some talent.
- Josh Bell – Baltimore Orioles – 3B – He is 6-3 and 235 pounds and he hits everything hard. That said, he appears to be a dead pull hitter.
- Grant Desme – Oakland A’s – OF – The power appears to be legit. He hit a home run today and hit some deep fly balls. The old saying is that the ball just sounds different coming off of his bat, and that is the case with Desme.
- Casey Kelly – Boston Red Sox – 3B/P – Kelly is 6-3 and listed at 194, but he looks a little bigger than that. Pretty solid glove at 3B. He’s so young and has a lot to improve upon, but again, he looks like a ball player. Obviously he’s got a very strong arm.
- Jose Iglesius – Boston Red Sox – SS – The Cuban defector signed a nice $8.3 million deal with the Sox. He is the 2nd youngest player, still just 19 years old. He looks very young. He’s listed at 5-11 and 175 pounds, but he’s not that big. Next to Kelly, he’s tiny. Swings at everything. Decent speed, and just looks good out on defense.
- Starlin Castro – Chicago Cubs – SS/2B – He is the youngest player in the league, almost three months younger than Iglesius. He looked pretty smooth at 2B on Thursday night. He had to go to the dentist today though.
Finally, one other quick Twins related note. I learned the Mike McCardell was dropped from the Solar Sox roster at the end of October. He got some bone chips removed from his elbow. He is down in Florida rehabbing and doing very well.
I will be up early on Saturday morning and heading back to Minnesota. Getting away is great, but there’s nothing better than going home.
What do you think? Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.